The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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4:05pm on Sunday, 30th May, 2010:
I was more than a little sad to hear that David Laws resigned yesterday from his post as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. The way I read what happened, he claimed expenses legitimately then they changed the rules so you couldn't claim for renting from a "partner". If he'd stopped claiming expenses without moving, people would have figured out that the reason he'd done so was because he was renting from his partner, and therefore have twigged that he was gay. The definition of "partner" was fairly vague anyway, so he felt he was still working within the rules, but if he hadn't been worried that he'd have been outed by stopping his expenses claims, he would have stopped them. I'm not sure that his partner is indeed a partner under the new rules anyway — he sounds more like the male version of a mistress to me.
The sad thing is, nobody actually cares that Laws is gay; he was worried that he would suffer a backlash that was never going to come. Time has moved on: who these days is really bothered if their politicians are gay? What annoys them is if their politicians are corrupt. Laws rather touchingly tried to keep his sexuality private, but in so doing stepped over a line of financial propriety.
I hope he's cleared of any wrongdoing, even if he has formally broken the rules; justice, of not the law, would be better served that way.
Oh well, at least in the UK he doesn't have to explain away photographs of himself playing softball in 1993...
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