It's all fun and games over here at the mo, politics-wise. You see, that's one of the many differences between us and you: Whereas "politics" in Israel conjures up images of life vs. death, good vs. evil, progress vs. medieval Islamist theocracy, over here it conjures up visions of good-time girls, rent-boys, three-in-a-bed romps and shamed wives insisting through gritted teeth that they will continue to stand by their man. In short, sex scandals.
It's the difference between the People of The Book and the People of The Scandal Sheet. Britain is famous for being sexually repressed, but what we actually have is a rather smutty schoolboyish approach to The Business which, unless you're a right po-faced piece, is quite appropriate and fun. Though our media are often accused of "witch-hunts" against sexually incontinent politicians, there is rarely any moral objection to the sex involved; it is, rather, hypocrisy which is seen as the deadliest sin a politician can commit, and what's wrong with that?
Simon Hughes, for instance, is the latest MP to be revealed as a posing pietist. Mr. Hughes entered parliament more than 20 years ago as a 500-1 outsider, taking a blue-collar London seat for the Liberals, which had been a Labor stronghold ever since Britain brought about full adult voting rights. During the election campaign, Liberals popularly portrayed as the "Nice Party" fought a campaign unparalleled in its viciousness toward its Labor opponent, the openly gay Peter Tatchell. One of their leaflets, called "The Straight Choice," urged the electorate to support the "heterosexual" Hughes, while some campaigners shamefully wore badges saying "I've been kissed by Peter Tatchell."
This was the same party, mind, whose previous leader Jeremy Thorpe had to bail out in disgrace when it was discovered that he had arranged for a hit-man to kill his ex-boyfriend's dog as a warning not to go public. Then the week before Hughes was forced to come clean, would-be Liberal leader Mark Oaten, a "devoted" family man, was revealed to have indulged in aforementioned three-in-a-bed romps with said rent-boys. Little wonder that Richard Littlejohn, one of the best and most brutal of tabloid columnists, recently wrote: "I have always presumed that every Lib.-Dem. MP is gay unless I have proof to the contrary."
Proving they're not homophobic, the same newspapers which outed Simon Hughes as a hyper-hypocrite have been consistent in their fingering of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, chairman of the Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCB) and currently the most "respectable" face of British Islam. This poisonous bigot said on Radio 4 a few weeks ago that homosexuality was "harmful," "not acceptable" and "responsible for the spread of disease." Bringing things full circle, the same Peter Tatchell, who was wronged by the disgraced Simon Hughes all those years ago, recently condemned the MCB for boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day for being "not sufficiently inclusive." This meant there was too much emphasis on the killing of Jews by Germans and not enough on the killing of Palestinians by Israelis. But as the excellent Mr. Tatchell also pointed out,drew attention to, the first time the MCB announced its boycott was in 2001 when they apparently found it too inclusive, and objected to the remembrance of the Nazis' "so-called gay-genocide."
So in the end, contrary to what I said at the beginning, sometimes the politics of both our countries are very similar and they come down to Islamists being vile.
C'est la vie!
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