Monday, 5 September 2016

Keith Vaz MP and Sexual Scandal

The BBC has given prominence to the views of Peter Tatchell, the gay rights activist (1) and Simon Danczuk (2) who have argued that any sexual act in private, that is legal, should not be made public, with its predictable damaging professional and reputational consequences. (Danczuk it should be noted, was suspended from the Labour party in December 2015 for texting a seventeen year old girl) Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour Party Leader, has also argued that it should be treated as a private matter. (3) This I would suggest may be an approach out of kilter with current public opinion, and dent his reputation for probity in public office. (4) Other Labour colleagues have declined to comment.

In contrast, maybe the public takes the view, that despite the more liberal and social framework that is now in place in the UK, largely at the initiative of politicians (partly it might be argued to mitigate their own indiscretions) the fact that an individual in a prominent Parliamentary position, charged with aspects of child abuse, might be homosexual and employ for money young male prostitutes, might at the very least be compromised? (5) More sinister explanations might be forthcoming of active control by those wishing to play down the incriminating evidence. The public has become increasingly sceptical about Government assurances, made by the then Home Secretary, now Prime Minister, Theresa May, that the Government is genuinely intent on getting to the bottom of the unseemly allegations.

Keith Vaz MP., PC. has had a high profile political career. He has been labelled " the Teflon MP" for the way in which he has escaped scandals in the past a term applied also to "Teflon Tony" to whom he owes much of his preferment and protection one suspects - a strong reason for loyalty and support.

The Independent had this to say about him in the context of being at Luton Airport, to meet, in a private capacity, newly arrived immigrants from Romania in 2014, which takes on additional significance in the light of the recent revelations.

"For he is one of the UK’s most glamorous and influential British Asians, and the longest-serving in Parliament. He’s been MP for Leicester East since 1987, a member of the Privy Council since 2006, chairman of the Home Affairs committee since 2007. And he has spent much of his 26 years in the corridors of power mired in near-scandals, actual scandals, watchdog scrutinies, leaks, accusations, investigations, complaints and a suspension. Vaz has glided through it all in his serene, elaborately polite way. He’s been christened “the Teflon MP” and “Keith Vazeline” for the way he seems to slide past trouble, lubricated against failure." (6)

Vaz has been the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, charged with investigating child abuse (amongst other things) for over nine years. Early in 2015 he is quoted as saying:

“I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement to the House announcing the name of her nominee for the chair of the child abuse inquiry.

The Committee is very interested to hear from all stakeholders. We hope to also meet with survivors before the pre-appointment hearing to listen to their views and to hear from any other relevant party.

I sincerely hope that after two false starts, progress can now be made in the search for truth in respect of these horrendous crimes and also so that survivors can obtain closure.”

Of course in reality, the appointment of New Zealand judge, Justice Lowell Goddard at huge public expense proved to be yet another 'false start'. Critics might suspect this was its very purpose.

If at the same time he had added that he was partial to poppers and rent boys, his "search for truth" might have been placed in context. Needless to say, it might also have raised some justified questions as to his sincerity and probity.

Keith Vaz has been an MP since 1987. He has been a government Minister for Europe and been a prestigious Privy Councillor - adviser to the Crown -since 2006. 

If recent revelations are correct, Prime Ministers, Whips and MI5 must have been in the know, which provides an interesting slant on his appointment as Chairman of a Parliamentary Committee charged with investigating child abuse by prominent figures. What better qualified person could there be? 

It also adds piquancy to the fact that contrary to assurances, the identity of people giving evidence was published leading to further harassment. 

For those that think the revelation might have been a recent and untypical aberration, it is strange how the career of this man has had a mystifying correlation with other dubious events. 

He originates from Aden (now Yemen) and Goa. He was educated at St Joseph's College and later at Cambridge. It looks like the former has some questions to answer (8) and the sexual and intelligence history of the University is well known. (9) Before his political career, he held senior solicitor posts at Richmond upon Thames and Islington, both of which had notorious child abuse issues. (10 &11) Note at both, he was in a senior legal position when abuse and cover up were going on.

From June 1987, Vaz was elected as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East, that just happens to be adjacent to the constituency represented by Greville Janner of fond memory. A Leicester children's home, linked to the latter, with proven institutional child abuse, is very close to home. It may account for the way one survivor who claimed that children were murdered, has been pursued and persecuted by the authorities! (12) 

As we have seen with Mr Blair, eventually even 'Teflon coatings' lose their efficacy.



Mark you don't seem to notice you have fallen into the same trap as that you criticise. I'm not sure there is much to choose between "sick depravity" and "homophobic bigot". They both appear to smack somewhat of the same irrational prejudice. They may also have a touch of hypocrisy about them, a trap we should all try to avoid.

We need to recognise that all human adults, and to a certain degree, pre-pubescent humans also, are affected by a biological sexual impulse, that evidences in a variety of behaviours. These are conditioned and controlled by psychological and social factors both internal and external, that produce an ethical code by which we judge them in ourselves and others.

It is a context that has been generated over millennia, mainly by the prevailing religious belief system that operates in a geographical area. With the changes predicated on a scientific enlightenment in just the last couple of hundred years, understanding of and attitudes to human sexuality have changed particularly in the west, and these have accelerated in just the last thirty years or so, particularly regarding the desire that may exist between those of the same sex, in contrast to the more biologically 'natural' heterosexual.

For many the thought of homosexual activity may provoke feelings of deep disquiet, even disgust. However people may also squirm at a worm or fear a spider, so emotional reaction may not always be the best judge of reality. Indeed those that rail against homosexual activity may be averse or deeply uncomfortable with any. We all need to be rational and avoid the hypocrisy of condemning others, for the sins - if sins they are - we commit ourselves.

However by the same token we cannot forgo the necessity for ethical opinion, for it is the only thing that limits human behaviour and prevents it from becoming bestial or dangerous to others. The Crowley philosophy of "do as thou wilt", rather leaves out the consideration that those to whom it is done, might 'wilt-not'! Hedonism may be acceptable if all the participants are fully consenting but as we know this is often not the case.

Acquiescence may result from financial or chemical need or because the individual is too young to realise or resist. An even worse area exists where individuals are not compliant in the slightest but are forced to do things against their will up to and including murder. In these circumstances I believe it is right we label these immoral, illegal and 'perverted'.

Now getting back to Keith Vaz, first he makes himself vulnerable to public assessment on two grounds: one that he is a public figure and law-maker who represents thousands of people in Parliament; and two that he has sought to head up an important Committee on which he is obliged to make ethical judgements on the behaviour of others. For those reasons he can hardly complain if he is judged by the same standards that he applies to others.

We must presume that the action he has recently been caught out in, is fairly typical of his approach to the subject and a predilection that uses other men in return for payment. It is a sexual contract between two parties that hopefully is freely entered into and fully consensual, but the likelihood is very different: that it involves coercion and control for money. It also raises a question as to worse activities of the sort described above might have been involved at other times and places using his wealth and influence? There are certainly many strange coincidental associations to with places and people.

Do I think this renders him unsuitable as the Chairman of a committee investigating criminal sexual activity, or even a law-maker in the broad, yes I do, and I don't believe I am being a "homophobic bigot" as you put it, to say so.


  1. Leon brittan moved to Brussels to avoid sex scandal. Top EU jobs '89 - '99. Keith Vaz Europe Minister 1999 -2001. In Brussels in 1989 Marc Dutroux sentenced to 13 and a half and 5 years imprisonment, respectively, for the abduction and rape of five young girls, the youngest of whom was eleven years old. Dutroux was released after serving three years. In 2004 he was again convicted of having kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused six girls from 1995 to 1996, ranging in age from 8 to 19, four of whom he murdered. It is alleged many high profile persons used his 'services'. In 2001 the criminal fraud of 9/11 in America. The same year Vaz, along with Peter Mandelson and other MPs, contacted the Home Office about the Hinduja brothers. Also in 2001, Vaz assisted Anglo-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi in his attempts to avoid extradition to France. In 2003 the UK invades Iraq. Vaz votes in favour. 2005 London tube bombings. 2007 appointed chairman of the Home Affairs Committee contrary to normal procedure - a committee responsible for considering issues of prostitution and child abuse. Of course none of these facts are necessarily connected or causative.

  2. Toby Starbuck You can't reverse engineer that position, Tim, even from a position of full knowledge. The principal that we are innocent until proven guilty is central to the law and our human rights, and Jeremy - as always - gives precedence to due process before jumping on the condemnation bandwagon (an act which in some circumstances could prejudice legal outcomes).
    Like · Reply · 3 hrs
    Tim Veater
    Tim Veater Toby Starbuck I can see what he was trying to avoid. But leadership requires clear and decisive decision making. Married old men doing deals to get sex and drugs off young and desperate immigrants, may still be considered behaviour unbecoming for a top politician, particularly when wrapped in disguise and paid for (apparently) from a charity fund. That Corbyn should think this acceptible is worrying enough. But worse is a failure to be clear about the acceptability of such a person heading a committee charged with an impartial investigation of child abuse. Having now confirmed Vaz's prediliction for young men, shared it must be said by a large number of adult males, it places all previous rumours, associations and attitudes in a much more dubious light. As far as we know, Corbyn avoids a similar doubt, but his approach to it, is very damaging in a person whose main selling point is honesty and incorruptibility and I am sure it will be used by his enemies to undermine his reputation in these areas.

  3. Toby Starbuck Of course he doesn't 'think [it] acceptable' though. You're making a massive leap that's totally unfair. And you're asking him to predict the outcome of future events to prejudge a situation based on rumour. Think for a moment how utterly impractical that course would be.
    Like · Reply · 3 hrs
    Tim Veater
    Tim Veater Toby, I think mybe your loyalty is affecting your objectivity perhaps? Jeremy Corbyn - and I am far from a detractor - has been in Parliament representing Islington since the early eighties. If he didn't know about all the scandals at the time, he has certainly found out since, but he has been pretty silent about them in his search for a 'kinder Britain'. In other words in political terms, he cannot be naive about sexual abuse in general, or indeed Vaz in particular. It was an opportunity to make his position clear, and I'm afraid I have to say he muffed it - acceptable perhaps in a follower but not in a leader.

  4. Mark Taylor Yes, but he doesn't need to step down as MP.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
    Tim Veater
    Tim Veater No, but would you want him to represent you?
    Like · Reply · 16 mins
    Tim Veater
    Tim Veater and pay him this for the privilege? The salary entitlement of a Select Committee Chair is £89,951 (this figure comprises of MP's salary of £74,926 and additional salary for Select Committee Chairs of £15,025) from 1 April 2016. According to Wiki, Vaz's total expenses in 2008/2009 were £173,937. He lived in Stanmore, a 45-minute journey time from Parliament, but claimed mortgage interest on a flat in Westminster, which he bought in 2003. In 2007 he switched his designated second home to his constituency office and bought furniture. In 2009 the Telegraph claimed, he switched his designated second home from the £545,000 flat, to a house in his Leicester East constituency - and back again in the space of a year, presumably to maximise allowances. Perhaps more important is the question, whether his considerable wealth can all be attributed to these stated income streams, or were other sources not revealed, involved?

  5. Mark Taylor Yeah, why not? I'm not homophobic and his sexuality does not affect his ability to do the job.
    Like · Reply · 27 mins
    Tim Veater
    Tim Veater Yes but there are the small matters of deception still arn't there? Maybe it can be argued these were necessary precisely because of public prejudice against homo-sexual behaviour and because his wife wouldn't understand him. It is an ethical compromise many men have to make, but even so I'm not sure it sits well with a person who in his job, is making moral judgements on that very topic and seeks the trust of his constituents and those that come before the committee. Then there is the little matter of pretending to be a 'washing machine salesman', doing sex deals with people obviously desperate for money, whether they themselves were the subject of exploitation by pimps or not, and unprotected sex with probably very vulnerable young men. All this either in premises we the tax payers have paid for, or from resources that came from the public purse. And there is still the uncovered subject of whether his secret life (but undoubtedly known to the Whips and Secret Services) rendered him to either blackmail or just 'friendly persuasion' on sensitive issues? To reduce it to whether we are 'homophobic' or not, hardly does the subject justice don't you think?


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