Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oaten makes a wise move

A curious reticence seems to have descended on the Lib Dem blogosphere over the long-overdue announcement by Mark Oaten that he is standing down as an MP at the next election.

Doubtless it stems from that very British desire not to kick a man when he is down, and in some senses I sympathise with that.

In others, though, I think this has been a deeply unsatisfactory episode in terms of the relationship between politicians and the public, and the role of the media in maintaining that relationship.

It was regularly alleged that "the media establishment," or "the Lobby" had kept Charles Kennedy's drinking a secret. Well, likewise, the News of the Screws decided the great British public didn't really need to know the details of what Oaten had been getting up to with rent boys, saying only that it was "too revolting to describe."

I understand their reasons, of course, but in a case such as this, what you then end up with is a situation where the public only gets half the story and is hence not able to make an informed judgement about whether they want someone to represent them.

In this instance, the nature of the "revolting" act is and always was the story, because it is this, rather than the fact that Oaten used rent boys, which would persuade most normal people not to vote for him.

As it is, thanks in part to the blogosphere and its ability to disemminate material such as this, Oaten probably concluded in the end that enough people knew the truth to make his position untenable.

Amidst all the self-delusion that has characterised his career in recent months, including thinking that he could be leader of the Liberal Democrats, he at least deserves to be congratulated for finally recognising the reality of this.

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stalin's gran said...

Saw him last night on the terrace looking very smug - how?

skipper said...

It's kind of nice to know/learn that Guido, despite his constant protestations of only being interested in the gossip and the dirt, in reality has some real opinions on things.

Anonymous said...

Still, it allows his wife to sell yet another 'exclusive' story to Sky News -,,30000-1228914,00.html
and make some quick money,

Inamicus said...

I'm no Oaten fan but question whether the alleged "revolting acts" were in fact as scatalogical as have been rumoured... whilst the act in question might not be printable in a so-called "family newspaper", it doesn't automatically mean it was coprophiliac...