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Daedalus
Just wondering what people are thinking about Mark Oaten (who, until a few days ago, was running for leadership of the Liberal Democrats), given the latest 'news' about his private life. Should he have resigned? Should he be standing down from the Commons as well? Were his actions beyond the moral boundaries set for politicians?

Also, what effect will this have on the Lib Dems as a party? The way Charles Kennedy was percieved to have been stabbed in the back by his colleagues was bad enough for them. What will this latest scandal do to them?


http://politics.guardian.co.uk/libdems/0,,442881,00.html


PS: Isn't Oaten your MP, Mata?
Mata
Yes he is. Personally I don't give a damn about his sex life. I feel very sorry for his family to have to go something so personal in such a public way. I might have not been happy about what he's done if he wasn't an incredibly good at his job, but the simple fact is that he is an exceptional politician.

Last year I emailed him on a Sunday lunchtime to request that he made a stand on the issue of ID cards. I checked my email again about dinner time and, despite being a Sunday, he'd already got back to me with a personal response. I was very impressed, and from my perspective he has been consistently impressive on other issues: I haven't found a political issue with which I disagree with his views.

My favourite 'Mark Oaten' story is that during an election recently a Conservative party member came around to try and get me to vote for them. I told her that I supported the Lib Dems and Mark Oaten, so asked her what the Conservatives could offer me that would convince me to vote for them instead. Instead of rattling off a load of policy she simply said 'fair enough, Mark Oaten is really very good, and while I would rather we win I don't mind losing to him' or words to that effect. When even the opposition think you're great at your job then you must be doing something right.

As I said, I feel sorry for his family, who have probably suffered greatly from this. Then again, it might not be a surprise to them. It could be that his wife (although less likely his children) was already aware of Oaten's bisexuality and accepted that he needed sometimes to go and pay for sex with a man to keep him with her. Some bisexuals are like this, some are monogamous, but if this is the way that Oaten is then I'd be a little surprised if his wife didn't know at all. The scandal could really be why this is such a disgrace in the eyes of society, but we can't know without being inside the family itself.
Sir Psycho Sexy
Not a very liberal reaction is it?
Mata
Maybe that's why they're never been voted in!
Daria
I'm with you Mata, I think it doesn't matter but that it is just unfortunate for him and his family to have such coverage on it.

I did find it hillarous how the BBC news used the term "rent boy" biggrin.gif
Astarael
Poor guy. He sounds like a good politician and certainly doesn't deserve to go through this mess. Why on earth do tabloids feel that it is necessary to splash famous peoples' sex lives all over the tabloids? Trying to pick up your dignity after something like this is ousted must be horrible when journalists keep picking you and your life apart on the front of the newspapers.
Calantyr
The tabloids have their pound of flesh. The man may have his faults, but it seems like all this is vastly unjustified. A good polititians has had his career destroyed.

Makes me wonder who 'leaked' the information. Maybe someone was just too good at their job.

Ahhh, politics.
Mata
I suspect that the 'leak' came from the 80 prostitute. After the business relationship was over it was just a matter of time to wait before Oaten became famous and the story became valuable. The timing supports this: Oaten was running for leader of the Lib Dems but it didn't come out, only after he had resigned did it get into the papers. The person was clearly hoping that Oaten would win so that the story would be worth even more, then realising that this wouldn't happen he went straight to the press to take advantage of the story while Oaten was still famous enough to get a good price.
CommieBastard
In other Lib Dem news, I see today that Simon Hughes has announced that he himself has had gay relationships in the past, and, no, he's not leaving the leadership race, because that's his own damn business.

A politician with a spine. I didn't think I'd ever see such a thing.
pixie
QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Jan 26 2006, 06:48 AM)
In other Lib Dem news, I see today that Simon Hughes has announced that he himself has had gay relationships in the past, and, no, he's not leaving the leadership race, because that's his own damn business.

A politician with a spine. I didn't think I'd ever see such a thing.
*


Gay relationships are not illegal, prostitutes are. Add to that Oaten being married with kids and it's a very compromised position he was in, both morally and legally.

Hughes is just gay, which is perfectly acceptable and nothing to resign over. Oaten however cheated on his wife with a prostitute. I don't think the sex of the prostitute was really the important thing here. Politicians cannot be allowed to break the law and keep a major job.

Personally if I lived in Winchester I would have no problem voting for Mark Oaten in an election because of this. I think with time and personal reflection Oaten can make a comeback on the front bench team. I do think he had to stand down from the leadership race and the front bench at this time though.
Polocrunch
Can I just say 'no' to the above post?

QUOTE
Gay relationships are not illegal, prostitutes are.


No! Neither are illegal. However, many activites associated with prostitution have been outlawed (such as kerb-crawling, and, for a little longer, running a brothel).

QUOTE
Hughes is just gay...


No! Read his statements to the press: he has had relationships with both men and women. This makes him a bisexual, unless he otherwise confirms that he was not attracted to the women. I have been very annoyed by media coverage of Hughes's sexuality because they keep making this mistake. Having one boyfriend amongst a thousand girlfriends does not make you gay, no matter what news editors might think (although Hughes actually implied he'd had similar numbers of male and female sexual partners).


Also, hello everyone. It's been a while!
Mata
Hiya Polo, I was thinking about you earlier today, for no apparent reason, and wondering when you'd next be back.

I saw in 'The Sun' today the exact thing that you are talking about. In one paragraph they describe him as 'homosexual' and in the next they talk about his relationships with both men and women. Come on... He's either homosexual or he's not. A man doesn't freely go ahead with long term relationships with women and claim to still be gay unless they are making a sexual-politics statement.

I can't remember the name of the academic, but there was once a bisexual critic speaking at a conference on Queer Theory (a semi-radical field of gender and sexuality based critical theory) and she was asked how, in light of her relationship with a man, she could claim to be queer. She replied, in one of the best statements ever made at an academic conference, 'when I f**k my boyfriend with a strap-on it feels pretty queer to me'. In a similar line of reasoning, just because a guy has had sex with other men it doesn't necessarily mean that they are gay, it just increases the likelihood that they are not straight. Even then there are numerous issues about attitudes towards sex, cultural values, and many other things to consider. It's a real annoyance to me that we live in a time where bisexuality still cannot be seen as an accurate label for a person whose sex-life, as a matter of public record, reflects this behaviour.
Astarael
Bisexuality seems to be a blind spot for the media and many people who fail to grasp that there are more than two sexualities. Some people understand it perfectly, and others just go "Not gay, then? Must be straight," despite very clear evidence of bisexuality. Hopefully the media (and humanity in general) will gain some maturity about sexuality and bother to learn what it's really about, but I'm not holding my breath.
pixie
QUOTE (Polocrunch @ Jan 26 2006, 08:21 PM)
Can I just say 'no' to the above post?

QUOTE
Gay relationships are not illegal, prostitutes are.


No! Neither are illegal. However, many activites associated with prostitution have been outlawed (such as kerb-crawling, and, for a little longer, running a brothel).

QUOTE
Hughes is just gay...


No! Read his statements to the press: he has had relationships with both men and women. This makes him a bisexual, unless he otherwise confirms that he was not attracted to the women. I have been very annoyed by media coverage of Hughes's sexuality because they keep making this mistake. Having one boyfriend amongst a thousand girlfriends does not make you gay, no matter what news editors might think (although Hughes actually implied he'd had similar numbers of male and female sexual partners).


Also, hello everyone. It's been a while!
*



The bloody news said he was Gay at the time I said that. Being bisexual myself I do see the distinction but the news story said 'Gay'. If they changed it after thats not really my fault. Maybe I should have phoned up myself? I can only go on what the news says you know.

As for using a prostitute... he must have done something illegal along the lines considiring the number of laws around.
believe
QUOTE
Gay relationships are not illegal, prostitutes are.


QUOTE
No! Neither are illegal. However, many activites associated with prostitution have been outlawed (such as kerb-crawling, and, for a little longer, running a brothel).


Prostitution and hiring one is not illegal in Britain then? It sounds like you just said it was legal, Polo and I asked someone else British and they said it wasn't. I'm confused. >.> blink.gif
Polocrunch
Pixie: sorry! Didn't mean to be nasty, but I was a bit annoyed by the media blind-spot thing and you were the first person to get in the way of the Alex Is Annoyed train.

Believe: yep, prostitution is legal. So it's fine to pay someone to have sex with you. But soliciting for sex, advertising the sale of sex, pimping, operating brothels, etc, are not legal.
Polocrunch
QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Jan 26 2006, 06:48 AM)
A politician with a spine. I didn't think I'd ever see such a thing.
*


I don't you ever shall, either! Hughes (now rather infamously) allowed his party election organisers to portray him as "the straight choice" during a 1980s election campaign against Pete Tatchell of Stonewall, apparently. Although Hughes apologised for his party's behaviour, he failed to come out at the time and only came out now because of media pressure. Not much spine, IMO, though still a damn sight more than all the remaining secret queers hanging around Parliament. I just wish they'd all come out at once and be done with it!

QUOTE
Hiya Polo, I was thinking about you earlier today, for no apparent reason, and wondering when you'd next be back.


Aww, I think about you too sometimes, Mata! I don't think I'll be back for much, though. I had the urge to intervene in a couple of issues threads recently, but mostly what I wanted to say was said by another forumite, so this is probably a one-off.
pixie
No probs.

The Bermondsey situation was a little more complicated that than. I agree the campaign tactics by The Liberal Party (as it was then) was completely out of order but it was a means to an end really.

The Liberals were in an alliance with the SDP (this was before the merger) and there was a huge problem with Labour seats being infiltrated and controlled by far left groups like militant tendency. Tatchell was the candidate in one of these seats, even a Labour man stood against him at the time I believe. He was not standing under a Stonewall banner at this election, he was backed by Militant Tendency who had infiltrated and took over the local constituency Labour party, this was one reason the SDP split from Labour in the first place. There was a lot of bitterness.

It was dirty fighting, such as goes on in politics to this day with the likes of George Galloway, but the intention was not to be anti-gay as such.

I sould like an apologist here.... but I think there is more context to the story than most people claim. It was cheap dirty campaiging to win by any means to screw Labour and militant tendency.
artist.unknown
Unfortunately our Democrats can't keep their flies zipped in office either. Across the pond in New Jersey our governor resigned for having engaged in a homosexual extramarital affair with one of his aides.

At any rate, his resignation speech was very dignified and worth a read. Personally, I don't think that a politician's personal life should be what we judge their political abilities by. But there is a degree to which a lack of judgement, on any scale, should be taken into consideration, especially now. NJ is liberal, but the majority of the voting US isn't. The neo-con politicians' main battering ram is that they will rescue the country from immorality, and as long as the liberal canidates don't exercise good judgement they won't win national elections. Simple as.
Jonman
I think he was bloody stupid to think that it wouldn't come out. You've got to assume when you're in public office that everything that you ever did that was less whiter than white will out.
Wookiee
Personally, I'm chuffed. Sorry Mata, but I think Oaten is a twat and his brand of "Tough Liberalism" or whatever the tits he calls it is a disaster. Abolishment of the NHS anyone? No, thought not. This is why he had such little support and his only solid backer was Lembit Opik, a man who seems to have entered politics solely so he can wail about meteorites. And knob Sian Lloyd, obviously.

Personally, at this stage, I'm all for pointing and going "Ha ha!", a la Nelson Muntz.
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