Ditto to all the other couldn't care less if he's queer, straight, metrosexual or just curious. But I did have a bloody good laugh when I saw the plaque outside the public toilets in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre a while back. You know, the ones outside the train station entrance/exit. In big letters, apparently these very smelly public toilets were opened by Simon Hughes. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Thank you, Lang. Actually, I'm not back, I'm just watching from across the pond. Its all very entertaining. First of all Mr. Hughes rallies his Parliamentary friends to stab the Drunk Leader in the back, while he stands to one side - "nothing to do with me" - and waits for the dust to settle, so he can make a move on the job he's always wanted. Then the LibDem leader of the Lords also admits he's a recovering drunk. Then Oaten. Now this. Its bloody brilliant. I really hope they elect Hughes, purely because it will guarantee that the comedy bandwaggon keeps rolling along. I am so sorry to be missing it all. In the back of my mind, I keep seeing a particularly disturbing vision of the unwitting Mr Hughes on one of those old comedy prank shows- it may have been Brass Eye, or something similar- with Mr Hughes swaying to the fonky beat of techno music as he is surrounded in dry ice. I dare say one of those TV Hell programs has it in the archives somewhere. I do hope some TV exec digs it up again for a rerun.
By the way, how the hell did anyone ever think that someone who drives around in a bright pink London Taxi was straight down the line? I mean, just look at Governor Schwarzenegger's GM Hummer, for example. Or Two Jags Two Jags. Real men. Real cars. You wouldn't catch them in a pink cab.
Not commenting on his political career, as I don't think I have lived in the country or Southwark long enough to do that. But about this scandal of him being gay or bisexual after years of lying I do have an opinion about. I have often pondered about this: you grow up in a society, where being openly gay is going to block your career in almost any area. Society changes to a much more tolerant atmosphere, where sexuality really does not matter. How do people of Simon Hughes' (and mine) generation make the transition from the lying to save your life, to being open about your sexuality? Gay rights have improved so rapidly even in the past ten years that I have lived in the UK, that it really must be a difficult decision these days for anybody over 30 to decide to be open about their sexuality. You come out now, you will be ostracized for lying for years. If you don't do it, the press will blackmail you into an admission. Surely a no-win situation, that I could imagine a lot of gay guys struggling with.
I do admire Peter Thatchell's stance in this scandal: he knows, that not everybody has had the courage to be an all-out gay politician like him. And he will know how hard it was to come out as a gay man in the 80's- all the praise for him for doing that. But let's not forget that while we blame Simon Hughes for lying, that the tolerant(ish) atmosphere we now live in is a very very late arrival. If I was him I would feel relieved that all this has come out now - without doubt he must have been considering different options to stop the lie, but could not find a way to do it.
Let's see how liberal the party really is- I personally don't accept that he is bad just because he did not tell us earlier, how could he have, given the general attitude towards gays until recently? When exactly should he have stopped lying? (well, maybe during those newspaper interviews recently, but would it have made him look that much better?) It will now be a test for the Liberal Democrat party to show their tolerance. Really must get my British passport sorted, so I can actually vote in these matters apart from standing on my soap box...
I watched Peter Tatchell last night and I too admired his handling of it all. He had ample opportunity to slag off Simon but did not.
I heard that Simon never publicly admitted his true feelings out of respect for his Mum, something I can relate to. I'll vote for him, he has worked for the people of Southwark , unlike some of his peers he never only showed his face near election days. He is a highly visble, contactable M.P. I hope people forget about the ' lying ' soon..:-(
Simon Hughes is a fantastic MP, high profile but commited to local people and social justice. I think that now he has been 'outed' he will be an even better MP as the stress of concealment has been removed and he can be more naturally himself. I do believe that a lot of the condemnation of his lying is actually thinly disguised homophobia (although I am sure that applies more to the right wing press than to anyone on this forum).
Now, moving to more important things, what I really worry about is the aspersions cast on his dancing in yesterday's evening standard londoner's diary. He was described as 'dancing like a dad at a wedding' and dancing with his shirt open but not removed. Do we really want someone like this representing us kewler-than-though SE1ers??
ps I once danced with Ben Bradshaw who was held up as a pinnacle of kewlness in the same article. He danced like he was made of wood (and was all elbows and knees).