Keith Vaz and Political Coercion: Why now?

English: Keith Vaz, British Labour politician,...

English: Keith Vaz, British Labour politician, at a march against knife crime in Hyde Park, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The news for Keith Vaz is devastating.[1] In the Sunday Mirror [2]it is reported that he is alleged to have hired male prostitutes for sex. The allegations[3] suggest that he is experienced in procuring their sexual services. The reports indicate that the behaviour has been going on for some time.

As we know from previous scandals, the party Whips are often aware of such behaviour. They need to be aware to protect the party. If they can help the MP, they help the party. A party with MPs in the news for sexual impropriety, ethical lapses, and the appearance of potential criminality is rarely successful at the polls.

Beneath the surface lies a vicious culture.

We have to consider the twilight political world where information is used privately for influence and advantage. In this world, political operatives, journalists, and even the police trade information for influence and to influence events. To influence events, they have to influence the main actors. For some this influence is simply called political deal making. For others, it is brutal political combat. You get an advantage and you exploit it for your benefit before they do it to you. For a dwindling majority, the political twilight world is akin to political blackmail for it thwarts the public’s democratic mandate. For the establishment, this majority is the necessary naïve electorate who foolishly believe in honesty, fair dealing, and the democratic process. If politicians are subject to moral or political coercion, then they cannot claim they represent the public. Instead, they represent the interests of those who control the information through which political and moral coercion is exercised.

How does it work? What Whips do is also what Editors do.

Tim Fortescue[4] explained how it worked.

“For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, I’m in a jam, can you help? It might be debt, it might be… a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more.” [Emphasis added][1]

The information can be used by the Whips to control their members. They can leak it to the press to punish a member if necessary. In this role, the press retains their ability to influence people and thereby events. We know that the Sun has a safe full of such information to which they rely on occasion to influence people.[5] What we see in public does not reflect what is being done in private. We are held captive to Arcana Imperii, the information the powerful use to rule yet the public never see.[6]

Can the UK ever escape a political culture of blackmail?

With Mr Vaz in a sensitive post regarding policing, the allegations raise some disturbing questions. Did the police know of his behaviour? When did the press become aware of it? When did the Whips know of it?

Was his public role influenced by his private information? Any party appearing before his committee would want to be able to influence his behaviour to influence the committee. They would have an incentive to learn his secrets and to exploit them. Moreover, they would have more to gain by keeping the secret and not disclosing it. Why is the information about his behaviour being disclosed now? When we can answer that question we begin to understand how politics works in the UK. We need to know how those who arranged for the story knew that he was vulnerable? Was he unaware that he was vulnerable in this way?

So the most important question to ask is the most chilling.

Who has benefited from being able to exploit this previously secret knowledge?

 

 

 

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-peter-wanless-and-richard-whittam-qc-review (Paragraph 10)

 

[1] I have purposefully omitted his family. They will be relieved. The double life, the lies, the deception, the hypocrisy are at an end. They can get on with their lives. If Keith Vaz had *any* concern for his family, he would have never engaged in this behaviour or created the double life.

[2] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/married-mp-keith-vaz-tells-8763805

[3] These remain allegations until confirmed. Mr Vaz has not confirmed them nor has he commented publicly on them beyond referring them to his solicitor. However, his chairmanship of the Home Affairs Select Committee would be untenable if they are true.

[4] He was a senior Whip, 1971-1973 in the Heath government.

[5] https://www.byline.com/column/2/article/925 Even if sources are boasting about the safe, that it does not contain as much or as sensitive material as they claim, it indicates an ethos, an attitude, and behaviour of how they work. These journalists, editors, and proprietors have no qualms about using it to their advantage as and when needed. They hold this to exercise political and moral coercion. If not, why do they hold it?

[6] https://lawrenceserewicz.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/sir-john-grieve-and-the-arcana-imperii-private-accountability-made-public/

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About lawrence serewicz

An American living and working in the UK trying to understand the American idea and explain it to others. The views in this blog are my own for better or worse.
This entry was posted in accountability, demagogic, democracy, ethics, journalism, police, politics, public interest, public opinion, reputation management and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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