Labour is mired in sex and sleaze on an unprecedented scale
It is not ministers or their partners who are immoral, but the inadequate procedure which permits them to claim £20 for pornographic films and 88p for a bath plug.
One wonders why Nick Robinson did not apply this impeccable logic to the ‘Tory sleaze’ of John Major’s era, and blame ‘cash for questions’ on the easy availability of brown bags.
Cranmer is a little irritated by a claim against the taxpayer for pornography, but he is rather more irked by the incredible level of pedantic pettiness which is evidenced in an 88p claim for a bath plug. The Home Secretary earns £120,000 per annum plus £116,000 for her ‘second home’ and at least all that again in ‘expenses’. Last year her expenses claim was £33,000 more than that of the Prime Minister. So, she owns two houses, lives with her sister, and purchases sinks, plugs, washing machines, dryers, camp beds... cuddly toy, fondue set. And she also employs her husband as a ‘parliamentary assistant’ at a cost of £40,000 per annum.
And they have the audacity to claim 88p from the taxpayer for a bath plug.
There is something distastefully dishonourable about this sort of small-mindedness which begins to tarnish all politicians. The claim of 88p for a bath plug is every bit as immoral as the pornography. Like all senior government ministers, the Home Secretary has a grace and favour house in Belgravia, of which she has decided not to avail herself because she could not thereby enrich her family. If she were to buy a bath plug for her Belgravia abode, she would be perfectly entitled to reclaim the cost of it from the taxpayer. But, importantly for her, when she ceased being Home Secretary she would not own the plug; the taxpayer would. Her little sordid scam is rather neat, for it has not only enriched her and her husband, but also her sister, with whom she apparently resides in London on more nights than she spends with her husband and children in Redditch.
This is possibly, of course, why he needs the pornography.
This episode is not only sleazy: it is squalid, perverse and a gross abuse of the taxpayer at a time of unprecedented financial hardship.
The Home Secretary should be a credible figure on the world stage. In the week of the G20 summit and the coming of
The Prime Minister is not above all this (except, of course, in Nick Robinson’s mind). For he has stated that the pornography viewed by the Jacqui Smith’s husband is ‘a private matter’.
No, Prime Minister, it is not.
Perhaps what he was doing while he was watching the films is a private matter. But the moment an expenses claim was made and Cranmer was expected to pay for it, the ‘matter’ ceased to be private. And it is not sufficient for the Home Secretary to plead ignorance or blame her husband, for she had to sign her claim personally to declare that the expenses were ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily’ incurred for her duties as an MP.
Perhaps politics and pornography are both egotistically perverse. Politics is arguably more harmful, but pornography is a symptom of a deeper problem. What does it say about the Home Secretary that her husband has to resort to amusing himself with it?
Is she content that he is prepared to support the perception of ‘women as sexual objects’? This would be a little hypocritical, since she has taken a tough stance against the sex industry with a pledge to crack down on ‘lap dancing’ clubs.
She appears to assert that she spends more time with her sister than her children. Is she neglecting her family? Does she work such long hours that she is failing in her marital duties to her husband? Or is she withholding her body from him for other reasons?
Do not those who feel the need to watch pornography lead to deep-seated psycho-sexual problems? It has been called ‘the new crack cocaine’, leading to ‘addiction, misogyny, paedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction’. Pornography addicts ‘have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever’. It is also asserted that ‘pornography often leads to more harmful sexually addictive behaviour; eg, compulsive masturbation, fantasy, promiscuity, exhibitionism, soliciting prostitutes and rape. It isolates an individual – making him more intent on satisfying selfish needs even at the expense of his marriage, family, financial stability, and career.’
Men who need to indulge in pornography manifest the underlying problem of an addiction to ‘high intensity pleasure’. They have ceased to find deep and meaningful fulfilment in their personal relationships, and have forgotten (if ever they knew) how to experience pleasure from everyday, ordinary-life situations. They are invariably lonely, even if they do not know it. Quality time with the family is neglected; intimate honesty with one’s wife becomes infrequent. This leads inexorably to emotional suppression the inability to be honest.
The Home Secretary ought to resign – in order to ‘spend more time with her family’.