Thursday, October 13, 2011

UK: I do object to the gay card being played in Liam Fox's defense

A new and disturbing theory has arisen in the Liam Fox saga. It is that he is the victim of homophobic elements in the Press. Several commentators have suggested as much. And it would appear that the Defence Secretary himself believes it to be true.

On Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning, the BBC’s admirable political editor Nick Robinson offered an insight into Dr Fox’s thinking that can have only come from the man himself. He reportedly feels himself the ‘victim of a hate campaign’ and of ‘whispering in the weeds’, and was ‘categorically not in any form of relationship with Adam Werritty’.

Mr Robinson appeared to join forces with Dr Fox in suggesting that The Sun was guilty of homophobia for reporting that Tory bosses had lied when they claimed Dr Fox was alone in his flat when it was burgled shortly before the last election. The paper has claimed that a young man, who was not Mr Werritty, had been staying there overnight. The Mail was also implicitly criticised by Mr Robinson for alleging that Dr Fox had ‘used taxpayer-funded flights to arrange short holiday breaks with Mr Werritty’.

The idea that the Press has been partly driven by homophobia seems to me almost the precise opposite of the truth. There may have been a few buried insinuations as to the nature of the friendship between the two men, but that is hardly surprising given its apparent intensity. In fact, I have been struck by the virtual absence of innuendo and speculation.

To test my proposition, imagine things were the other way around. Imagine that Mr Werritty were a woman 16 years younger than Dr Fox who had met him at least 40 times in the space of 18 months, and been with him on 18 foreign visits out of the 48 he has made in 15 months as Defence Secretary, which is more than one-third of the total.

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