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Thursday, April 14, 2016 

Still got the Whittingdale blues.

Just in case the whole Whittingdale thing wasn't silly enough, here comes Nichi Hodgson in the Graun denouncing the culture secretary for in her view throwing Olivia King to the wolves:
But being scared for your own reputation shouldn’t be reason enough for you to sully somebody else’s. By stating over and over again that he had not known his former lover was a sex worker, and that he had ended the relationship immediately upon finding out, Whittingdale has thrown her to the red-top wolves, making sure to thoroughly shame her in the process. Unfortunately, Whittingdale seems blind to the fact that it’s not only his former partner he’s distanced himself from, it’s his own spine as well.
 Except Whittingdale hasn't stated anything over and over again. The only comment he has made was the statement released on Tuesday night.  When doorstepped yesterday morning he referred the reporters to the statement and said he wouldn't be saying anything further.  Hodgson does at least accept that if Whittingdale, as he says, was unaware of his partner's work then he
might have felt a justifiable sense of betrayal. But the fact that Whittingdale was so quick to drop her when the tabloid press revealed her identity to him, and is now so keen to stress that immediacy in his defence, doesn’t come across as the reaction of a hurt yet honourable man.
I'm probably one of the least qualified people to pass judgement on relationships, but keeping something like the fact you're a sex worker from a prospective long-term partner (if again that's what Whittingdale was looking for; we're all making huge assumptions here) must surely be considered a deal breaker, especially if active deceit was involved.  We can all comment on prudishness, shaming and hypocrisy, only to come to very different conclusions when it involves us personally.  It's similar to pornography; we might have no problem with consuming it, regard it as the canary in the free speech mine, but plenty would at the same time not want friends or relatives to be playing a starring role in it.  Such are our hang-ups.

In any case, the genuinely guilty of prudery here are barely so much as mentioned by Hodgson.  Yes, Whittingdale could well of said yes, I dated a sex worker, who wants to fucking touch me, only he's no doubt embarrassed by the whole affair also.  No one has disputed his statement as yet, more than suggesting that he was in the dark and ended the relationship because he felt he had been lied to.

Should we be making judgements on this as a whole in any case?  Just as with the other privacy story of the week, it's disingenuous to claim it isn't about that but in fact this for the reason there would be no story whatsoever had the tabloids not decided politician dates dominatrix was worth investigating, even if they didn't end up publishing it.  The irony here is the people who have truly shamed King are those who otherwise claim to be against press intrusion, or normally critical when sex scandals are played out by those whose natural habitat is the gutter.  There is a case for asking why it wasn't published, but it's been hijacked by those whose cause as Ian Dunt has said has degenerated far from where it started off.

All in all, a thoroughly depressing week.

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