Hmm…David Laws. What to do?
There is the Iain Dale humanitarian argument, which has undoubted truth somewhere in it:
“…When Ken Livingstone came into the studio to trail his programme he said he couldn’t understand why Laws would keep quiet about his sexuality “in this day and age”. I understand only too well. I did the same thing for a number of years and only ‘came out’ (I hate that expression) to family and friends when I was 40. No one can understand how difficult it is, telling your parents that the person they thought they knew is actually someone else. Sort of. Everyone told me: “They will already know, you’ll see”. No, I replied. I know my parents. And I was right. They hadn’t got a clue.
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
Furthermore, those who accuse Laws of exploiting the taxpayer would do well to remember that he clearly didn’t gain from the rental arrangement he had. He paid £950 pcm for renting a room in Kennington. I know this is a bargain as I looked to do exactly the same thing in Kennington last year but decided I couldn’t afford it. If he had moved into a one bedroom flat the taxpayer would have been paying far more. If Laws was seeking to maximise his income he would have either designated his Somerset home as his second home and claimed for the mortgage on that, or he would have bought a property in London and claimed for that. He didn’t, and yet he’s being mercilessly slagged off...”
A bit messy, but true. Then there is the gleeful Rod Liddle pisstake:
“As you are no doubt aware, I am an intensely private person, and for this reason I hope that you can understand my decision not to have declared a very large amount of income tax to the Inland Revenue over the last seven years. This was money I earned writing for publications which I would rather people did not know I wrote for, such as the magazine “Bouncy Barnyard Fun” and the low circulation periodical “I Love My Goat”. I hope you will appreciate that my intention, in not declaring this source of income to the tax authorities, was solely to protect the privacy of both myself and that of my Valais Blackneck goat, Campbell-Bannerman, and not to maximize the amount of money I trousered as a consequence. The fact that I accrued some £40,000 in this manner was never the point – just an, um, unfortunate coincidence. I ought to point out too that my relationship with Campbell-Bannerman ended three years ago and we have gone our separate ways (he is now living in a sanctuary for traumatized exotic livestock near Rochester, but that is none of your business). But equally, even at the time we were together we did not consider one another spouses, per se; we had separate bank accounts and used distinct bedding materials, as you might expect. And when friends came to visit, Campbell-Bannerman would vacate the living room and be tethered to a fence post at the bottom of the garden, where he would munch away at the surrounding foliage in an innocent goat-like manner….”
Dave (Cameron, not Laws) seems to be keeping his powder dry. The Knife’s view is that Laws has justifiably garnered glowing reviews until now. He is clearly sorry – genuinely so – but for a rich man he appears greedy and it doesn’t look good.
However, for the country’s sake if he is the best man for the job, he should stay. No doubt there are lots of other good candidates – Philip Hammond and Brooks Newmark – though not in the Lib Dems.
ps: It should be said that most of the anti-Laws sentiment is obviously not genuine horror, it’s just a delightfully early chance to have a go at the new government,by the usual suspects.