The right’s hypocrisy towards identity politics is on naked display today with the news that coalition minister David Laws claimed £40,000 on expenses.
There is a view on the story, articulated quite well here, that David Laws should be pardoned because he wasn’t trying to screw over taxpayers but keep his gay relationship secret.
But there is an equally compelling point that Laws is a millionaire. If he wanted to keep his relationship secret then why spend any taxpayer money at all? Why the need to claim it back? After all the other MPs who thought they were obeying the rules at the time weren’t spared were they?
Many Tories are either trying to imply homophobia on behalf of the Telegraph or saying how they understand Laws’ predicament:
I will never forget that day, even though on many occasions I have wanted to. I’m glad I did it, but I know it was a tremendous shock to my mother and we have never discussed it since. So when David Laws explains why he wanted to keep everything private I understand only too well. The only reason was because he didn’t want to hurt those closest to him, especially his mother. That’s the thing about us gayers, we’ll do anything to avoid hurting our mothers .
That was Iain Dale. I said on Twitter that Dale never showed that level of “understanding” on race issues, which Dale quickly tried to turn around by asking if I was accusing him of racism. Paul Sagar has earlier called this the Double-Demon maneouvre.
But there is a simple way to defend this. Iain Dale has no problems pointing out homophobia in the press or public life (and he is perfectly entitled to do that) but when he also has no problems accusing others of ‘playing the race card’ when they point out examples of racism. Especially myself.
In the second instance I was complaining about a Telegraph column by Melanie McDonagh where she is worried about non-whites in the UK having lots of babies. Iain Dale not only thinks I’m imagining it but says I should get my lawyers ready against the Telegraph. So much for tolerance and “understanding”.
When I asked Dale if I should now accuse him of “playing the gay” card, he says very little in response. It’s one rule for himself – screw the rest eh? Then he goes on to say “I couldn’t care less about you” while constantly blogging about me. Dale is not only vindictive, but obsessed.
Back to David Laws. Charlie Beckett says:
Laws may be a wonderful guy but he’s failed the test on transparency, accountability, honesty, judgement & the rules. He has to go.
Which is really what it comes down to. Update: Kerry McCarthy also spot on.
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