Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Blind to the truth
David Blunkett is the most authoritarian Home Secretary Britain has had since the 1950s. He frequently expresses his contempt for 'namby pamby' liberals and has consequently become our no.1 hate figure.
The current media feeding frenzy over Blunkett's relationship with his mistress has probably caused many liberals to think, "It couldn't happen to a nicer man." We should resist such emotional responses.
Rebecca Atkinson, writing in Monday's Guardian, gets to the heart of the matter. The idea of a blind man having an affair with a younger, attractive woman makes us feel uncomfortable. There is an unspoken rule in our society, that sex is a privilege for the young and beautiful (among which we naturally include ourselves). If you're old, disabled or simply not good looking, it's strictly out of bounds.
The media obsession with Blunkett's sex life reveals an unhealthy combination of prurience, schadenfreude and spite. Commentators getting on their high horse about 'ministerial conduct' don't impress. Has anyone noticed, by the way, the irony of Blunkett being accused of "looking over" a visa application?
This affair is a distraction. Let's focus on Blunkett's illiberal policies. We should keep out of Blunkett's private life, and he should reciprocate by keeping out of ours.