This is our truth, tell us yours
PhilBC, who is a good writer and thoroughly engaged with Labour politics, has written about the Keith Vaz affair here.
For those who’ve missed it, a Sunday paper has decided there is a public interest in a story about Keith Vaz, two sex workers and the stupid things Keith Vaz said to them after paying for their services.
Like PhilBC, I’ve been aware of a story about Keith Vaz for some years. The version that was retailed to me shares some of the details of the Sunday Mirror’s story, along with the additional detail that Vaz, who was, on occasion, a junior minister, had been warned off by Special Branch officers responsible for the safety of ministers, which may have contributed to his standing down as a minister in 2001.
To say that Vaz is a person of interest to the press in the UK is something of an understatement. He is one of those politicians who is of interest to the news desk, not just the political specialists, and he seeks the media spotlight with enthusiasm. Kevin Maguire once said that the most dangerous place to be, in Britain, was between Keith Vaz and a camera. Explore the wilder corners of the internet and you will find conspiracy theorists, often racist in their motivation, who try and link Vaz to every scandal of the last 25 years.
Keith Vaz knows all this. So what the fuck was he doing inviting two sex workers to spend time with him, when he must know that every journo left in London would give their first born to the devil to be able to put him in the frame?
Leave aside the analogy to Max Mosley, that even the most deplorable of people must be allowed privacy. Keith Vaz must have known that he wouldn’t be treated as fairly as a sleazy old fascist with questionable business connections.
In the circumstances the kindest explanation of Vaz’s behaviour is that it’s a kind of self harm. Either that, or he genuinely thought he would, as in all the previous cases, get away with it.
Journalists shouldn’t select our senior politicians, but at the moment, they do, and Keith Vaz knows that. Why on earth did he do it?