Oh, what a tangled web we weave, Political Department, Tory Division

We’ve been here before, of course. In many countries, and in many situations, politicians who are gay or bi feel the need to conceal this fact in order to be elected. One might remember Senator Tapper McWidestance, the Idaho senator who was caught soliciting in a men’s lavatory at Minneapolis airport. Senator McWidestance…er…Craig repeatedly denied he was gay, in spite of a large body of evidence that pointed to a history of involvement with rent boys and the like.

The Secretary of State for Defence in the coalition government, Dr. Liam Fox, is married. To a woman. His best man, a gentleman named Adam Werritty, has been a close friend for years. Mr. Werritty handed out a business card saying that he was an “Advisor” to Dr. Fox.

The news broke last week about Mr. Werritty’s connection with Dr. Fox, and the Tories formed a circle firing outwards. Werritty was not an official of the government, was not paid by the government, and was most definitely not an advisor to Dr. Fox.

However, Werritty has been claiming that he was acting for the Defense Secretary’s office when booking hotel rooms in Dubai. He has been taking many trips with the Defense Secretary, and has been present at official meetings (there is photographic evidence). He has no current visible means of support, despite living in a £700,000 flat in London (with a female flatmate, it should be said). He was the director of a charity called Atlantic Bridge that was set up by Dr. Fox, and has now been wound up.

Atlantic Bridge, according to another article, has links to the Tea Party in the United States. So you Americans are also concerned in this.

And, finally, this morning it has been revealed that when Dr. Fox’s home was burglarised last year, a man was staying in his flat with Dr. Fox. The man was an overnight guest, says Dr. Fox, and was not Adam Werritty.

Now, taken separately, all these facts would be innocent. And an interview with a political analyst on BBC Radio 4’s Today program just now suggests that the innocent explanation was that Dr. Fox felt that he was isolated in the government, and that civil servants were undermining him. In those circumstances, it was only natural that someone that Dr. Fox trusted (ie, Mr. Werritty) would be tapped to assist him in talks with foreign officials and defense companies worldwide.

So we have an impasse. Dr. Fox is being prevented from doing his proper job by the drip-drip-drip of information and, to be frank, gossip that is appearing in the news media. I think that he will end up having to resign because the news media will make it impossible for him to evade or wave off these accusations. If he is not gay, the gossip is malicious and wrong. However, in politics appearance is everything. If it appears that a politician is dissimulating about his own personal circumstances in any way, he (it’s often a male politician, but not always) can wave goodbye to his political career.

I would not venture an opinion as to Dr. Fox’s sexual orientation. And the assumption that a person is straight unless otherwise specified is still very powerful. But I’m disturbed that politicians seem to think that the possession of a private life (which is important) means that they can separate that private life from their public persona.

Honest integration of one’s private and public lives is a good thing. It means that when asked a question about something in one’s personal life, a person can answer honestly and truthfully. There is no need to go and hide something just because it’s at odds with one’s public life. There would be no need to conceal anything, and the news media would have to go find gossip elsewhere.

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