Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Strangely Familiar Case of David Laws

I’m not one of those Labour voters sitting about waiting for this Government to collapse under the weight of its own hyperbole and sanctimony, bearing down as these must on the jerry-built foundations of the Coalition. We are in a deep economic morass, and 'strong and stable' governance is indeed needed, by whatever constitutional means and political talents can be found. David Laws was, evidently, more than competent for a posting as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, but it’s now clear that circumstances should never have conspired in his favour, and for reasons further to those that first seemed obvious (i.e. those arising from the outlandish notion of Liberal Democrats in government.) No, what’s got Laws – as he must have expected, right up to his recent ramrod posturing for cameras and at the despatch box – is that paying out of public money in rent to a long-time companion, albeit in a relationship that Laws would otherwise have denied to the world if pressed to, in the strange conviction that this was his entitlement.
I’ve never understood why those 'Orange Book' Lib Dems didn’t just flounce off and sign up to the Tories, of whom they were natural kinsmen. The Coalition showed me, at least, that the ‘National Interest’ offered them a convenient cover to make that furtive dash across the floor. Laws, of course, was among the fleetest of foot in that respect. Now we learn that Section 28 was always a huge barrier for him in reconciling to the Tories. Well, not so big, as it turned out.
I expect Laws will get another ministerial job in time, if he wants it – that’s the usual way. Otherwise he could go back to the City, from whence he came. No-one ever asked him to serve the public weal, and had he applied for the job then most of us would have said ‘Obviously, first up, don’t join the Liberal Democrats.’
There seems to be a lot of sympathy about for the 44-year-old Laws’ sad, self-inhibiting refusal to let his family know about his sexuality; in any event, since everyone else in his life and around Westminster seem to have known Laws was gay he will, one trusts, feel better soon, not having to lie and fiddle around this key part of his identity. And maybe the risible Nick Clegg will now keep his pompous mouth shut for a while about the 'New Politics' (?!), and the Liberal Democrats’ crusading embodiment of same. Tonight that fundamentally white, well-heeled, curiously self-repressive shower of a party look older than ever, as if it were 1963...

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