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More in Anger than in Sorrow

I have known David Laws vaguely for several years. He has total integrity. He gave up a burgeoning career in finance because he had "already made enough money". For several years he worked for essentially no money to help craft a set of economically coherent policies for the Liberal Democrats. He has a forensic intelligence- a deeply impressive understanding of economic and financial context. He is a genuine star in a field where mediocrities are more usually the norm.

In the first few days of the new coalition he was already establishing himself as a key figure at the very heart of government, and was becoming not just respected but popular on both sides of the government.

David has always been intensely private about himself. Those who knew him best have generally assumed that he was gay, but if he chose not to discuss his private life then that was entirely his choice. To see the obvious personal distress that he is in as the result of the attacks against him in the press has filled me with a cold and furious contempt for those responsible.

Essentially no one can be safe from attack under the spurious label of expenses. David did not make a cent from these supposed abuses. It is incredible that such destructive cruelty can be unleashed in the name of "the public's right to know". Britain deserves better leaders: leaders with the quality of David Laws- but no one will put themselves forward in the future when any tiny mistake can become such a cause celebre: where no one in the public eye can defend themselves from a shredding at the hands of a criminally irresponsible media.

Make no mistake, what was done to David Laws was wicked.

Those responsible are evil- there is no other word for it.

It is time they were themselves held to account for their own vile hypocrisy.

UPDATE: I e-mailed a journalist friend as follows:

Following on from our discussion at lunch the other day, I must say the eventual outing of David Laws that we discussed as a possibility has really shown up the media in a truly horrid way.

I think what has been done to David is actually evil- I think the damage to our country that may come from his fall is appalling.

Those responsible- presumably the Barclay brothers- have behaved in a way that is simply monstrous. Every one of us- all of us- has something in their lives that could be read by the mind of evil doers in a bad light.

Quite frankly I hope that some one destroys the figures in the media that sponsored this with the same ferocious efficiency which has just been used to destroy the life of David Laws.

If he kills himself, they will all have blood on their hands.

Sorry- but I am absolutely incensed by this. The scandal is the media, not the minister.


Jock Coats said…
I sincerely hope you have no knowledge that leads you to believe that your antepenultimate sentence is a remote possibility?

I know, it would not be unheard of, of course, especially, perhaps, with people of his talent and brilliance, but I hope not.

Newmania said…
I was never overly concerned about the 'expenses scandal' anyway myself , hardly news that people are greedy is it . Not to me anyway. I found the sermons issued by Clegg somewhat tiresome at the time .
In this case Laws could have easily have claimed far more if he had wanted to,so it seems unlikely that cash was the objective. I am still unclear why he pretended he was renting from an un-connected person though , when he was not ? Your assertion that he made nothing is surely incorrect. He claimed , as I understand it , about £40,000 which he was not owed, by the taxpayer .He made £40,000 then ..didn`t he ?
I regard it as a technicality .I certainly agree with you that it is a dreadful day for the country .Laws immediately impressed me and his presence was crucial to the success of the coalition.

I hope you have underestimated Mr.Law`s intestinal fortitude .He had to go , I think, but his early and decisive action will enable him to rejoin the cabinet in no more than a year’s time. His replacement is ,I gather, exceedingly able

If I had to guess whose dirty tricks dept cooked this up I would look in the direction of Alistair Campbell but papers are there to sell papers and there is probably no more to it than that
lib dem bum den? said…
he'll probably send us the bill for the funeral
Cicero said…
I am sure David will be fine: but it has happened before in other circumstances. One day the media will indeed kill someone (I should say "again", because it has certainly happened before).
Here is a comment that I have already posted on a couple of blogs, one sympathetic to David Laws and one critical of him.

As well as showing my opinion of the British media - and it's strange how people who live outside the UK (I'm in Spain) see them differently from those that live there - it offers a possible explanation for why he acted as he did.

One point that is missed here, which would explain why he chose to claim less than he was entitled to in order to protect his privacy, is that in 2006 there was a change in the rules. Before that he was, presumably, declaring his payments to Landie correctly under the existing rules. After the change he should have stopped paying Landie but had he done so the sheet-sniffing reptiles of the British press would certainly have noticed, and might very well have done to him what they had done to another public figure who valued his privacy, Nigel Hawthorne, a few years earlier. Faced with the practical certainty of being outed and pilloried by the reptiles or carrying on as he was and hoping that nobody would notice, he seems to have chosen the latter course even though he lost out financially as a result.

And I do not blame him in the slightest.
Jock Coats said…
Indeed Lavergno, our local (Oxfordshire) press has for many years now done a review of the expenses claims by our six MPs and their register of interests entries and would certainly have picked up on a housing costs allowance falling to nothing if he had stopped completely.
I found the sermons issued by Clegg somewhat tiresome at the time .
In this case Laws could have easily have claimed far more if he had wanted to,so it seems unlikely that cash was the objective.

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