Saturday, 29 May 2010

See-saw newsday

There haven't been many up-and-down news days like today before.

First thing this morning - and it's still the main news item this evening - is the revelation that the biggest rising 'star' and most popular politician of this barely fortnight-old coalition government has been claiming accommodation expenses to pay to his male lover of the past 9 years, whose rooms he had been renting. He says he didn't say anything about it because he wanted to protect his privacy and didn't wish to reveal his sexuality - though I'd never heard anyone question it, and if they had, so what? He hadn't been married to a woman, and he doesn't even now consider his partner to be a 'spouse'. But it's a fact that though he may not strictly have broken the law, it does contravene the spirit of it, as the practice is explicitly prohibited. David Laws is in his 40s, highly intelligent and competent, and widely respected, even outside his own Lib-Dem party - but it doesn't help for him to have been the very Minister slated to warn the country of the stringent times ahead and to publicly announce cuts in government expenditure. Oh dear. At the moment he is still in post but I don't see how he can stay there for long before David Cameron, our new Prime Minister, tells him he has to go. Great pity. I still quite like him - but if he does go, as he should, I suppose there is still time for him to bounce back. (By the way, I've heard no talk at all that he ought to go just because he's gay - something that probably would have been argued prominently until a little more than a decade ago.).

Then this afternoon there was the very happy news that the gay Malawian couple have been released from their 14-year prison sentences - pretty well certainly because of international pressure. Truly wonderful news! I only hope they can find somewhere to live safely and peacefully - though that's unlikely to be in their own country as there'd be far too many people, even the majority, who would wish them harm.

Then just an hour ago I heard the sad but not entirely unexpected news of the death of that marvellous maverick, Dennis Hopper. A legend in his own lifetime who managed to lift any film he featured in - including the ghastly 'Waterworld'. He'll never be forgotten by me and many others.

And now, in just over an hour, we have the glorious annual campery of the Eurovision Song Contest, live from Oslo. It's always guaranteed to be outrageous, - and that's only the men in the audience! I've been watching this since 1958 when it was taken far more seriously than it is now. It's not so important which country wins, but it's now 13 years since the U.K. triumphed. Last year we came 5th, with a specially-penned Andrew Lloyd Webber song. The actual winner was a cheekily good-looking and boyish singer, for Norway, but he did have a good lively song too. In this year's semi-finals my two choices of Netherlands and Slovakia both sadly failed to get enough votes to make tonight's final. The favourites to win are Azerbaijan and Germany - though the U.K. isn't such a bad entry either, unlike in some years. So, should be fun - and there are always some surprises.


  1. It's too bad about David Laws. I hope he pays restitution for his theft (it is considered theft, isn't it?).

  2. Thanks, Larry (I was beginning to fear you'd given up on me, but I can rest easy again now!) David Laws resigned last night - he really had no choice. He's promised to repay the money which was not technically a crime at all, more of a 'bad example' from someone who's telling the rest of us to tighten our belts for some years ahead. But I only found out myself that he's millionaire anyway - and was so before he entered politics! The personal trauma for him is that only his very closest friends knew he was gay - and he hadn't come out to his devout-Catholic parents. I can relate to that, though not ever having had a true relationship as he has, I didn't have much lying to do. Still, I've no doubt he will be back.

  3. The day I give up on you is the day hell freezes over.

  4. :-) I see I'll have to keep Hell well-fuelled. Shouldn't be too difficult.