Labour MP Chris Bryant claims Prince Andrew is bringing “not just the UK, but the Royal Family, into disrepute.” Perhaps Prince Andrew is. But are we sure that Chris Bryant is the right man to deliver such moral lectures?
Bryant, let us not forget, was the star of an episode so marmalade-droppingly revolting that it made Tony Blair’s infamous description of his night of lurve with Cherie Blair at Balmoral sound like Barbara Cartland. He was Underpants Man: the MP who posed in a pair of grubby Y-fronts for the website Gaydar, where he advertised his desire for a “good long ****”.
Of course, what politicians get up to in their spare time is none of our business. Whether they do it randomly in public toilets (Bryant has campaigned for the reform of laws against cottaging) or with consenting marsupials is absolute fine by me. I believe that the private lives of public figures should remain private. But with one notable exception: on the key issue of hypocrisy.
This was why I felt it was so wrong that (ex-) Formula 1 chief Max Mosley should be exposed in the press for having had “sado-masochistic” orgies with prostitutes dressed as Nazis. As I wrote at the time:
I have never been able to understand how a sport involving reckless speed, deadly crashes, champagne, stupid amounts of money and pouting dolly bird groupies could in any way have its reputation tarnished by the revelation that the man in charge likes the odd slap and a tickle now and again.
And it’s why I believe it’s so right that Bryant should not be allowed to get away with this disgraceful grandstanding on the subject of the Duke of York. If you’re going to indulge semi-publicly in the kind of sexual antics which large sections of the population find disgusting, you really are treading on very thin ice trying to condemn another public figure for undignified behaviour.
Ann Widdecombe condemning Prince Andrew for his lifestyle? No problem.
Chris Bryant condemning Prince Andrew for his lifestyle? Urrrrrggh!
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