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Christopher Myers is leaving because…?

September 1, 2010

Sky News broke the news this afternoon (a few minutes before their 5 o clock show) that Foreign Secretary William Hague’s special adviser Christopher Myers has resigned due to “untrue and mailicous rumours”. Apparently some people thought the pair of them might have been having a relationship. You know, an affair. And, of course, if that were true that would obviously be a little tricky what with William Hague being married.

But really, do we really care? Does it really matter even if William Hague was having an affair when he was married? Well – maybe that last bit might be perceived as a bit problematic given he’s a member of the Cabinet although that in itself wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from doing the job. Should we really need to see a news anchor read out a prepared statement in order to give a cabinet minister’s version of events – events which really and true make for little consequence even set against the usual backdrop of political skullduggery.

Is there also a question over the use of the ‘gay card’ again? There’s undeniable overtones of a ‘gay affair’ (even though they’re strenuously denied). That ‘gay affair’ is emerging as the current achilles heel of the coalition. Maybe we’re returning to the heady days of “sleaze” which seemed to overwhelm the then Government in the years before Labour swept to power. Maybe this is the story we’ll be seeing more and more over the coming months.

This post doesn’t intend to elucidate any personal political views. More, it seeks to underline how the gay element to this story (and that of David Laws and Crispin Blunt) risks reinforcing negative messages about homosexuality.The gay ‘element’ is being used as a shortcut. Shame drips from it. That isn’t a positive message.

Could that change? Could we turn that around? Or is that an unlikely aspiration?

Because really, if you’re leaving because of “untrue and malicious rumours” (and your boss feels the need to make a fairly long statement about your resignation and his relationship with his wife) there’s one message which will hang around after you’ve gone and long after the next resignation: that gay accussation is a bad thing for you and for anyone. And it needn’t be.

*steps down off soapbox*

  1. Russell permalink

    Great post – I coundn’t agree more. Unfortunately the Tories (and maybe even the Lib Dems), despite their apparent conversion on the road to Damascus in regard to gay rights, still panic about the public reaction when one of their own is outed or ‘suspicious’ activities come to light. I’m afraid Hague’s lengthy statement only makes me think it more likely that there is some truth to the rumours. He admitted they shared hotel rooms, and in my experience two men only do that when they want to save money or if they are gay. I don’t think the former is very likely. I hope the rumours aren’t true because I’d like to believe that Hague et al would have the courage to acknowledge the facts in such an event. That’s probably wishful thinking though.

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