A sorry tale.

How many dimensions can one uncover to this trivial, slightly tawdry news item? The sight, yesterday, of the Home Secretary’s husband Richard Timney issuing a twenty two second apology outside the family home for downloading two pornographic films, which his wife then mistakenly claimed as part of her parliamentary expense account, fills me with an uneasy sadness and human sympathy. For him. For the Home Secretary. And for their family.

To me, it’s an irrelevant little sidebar to the much more substantive question of how and how much MP’s claim as their expenses or more accurately, their allowances. I pretty much agree with Nick Robinson’s blog today on this one.

I certainly don’t think anyone genuinely believes that the Home Secretary is merrily fiddling the tax payer in order to fund her husband’s porn movie habit. It speaks of a far more mundane human error. Smith wouldn’t be the first woman on earth not to know exactly what her partner/spouse gets up to ( although she may be the first female Home Secretary not to know exactly…………)

Seriously, there’d be no film or television industry or popular book trade if deception ( in some form) of one’s spouse/partner/family member wasn’t a common human story.

The porn-on-expenses ( sic) story also has very little to do with the substance of Smith’s tenure as Britain’s first female Home Secretary and what the government is doing on the major issues of personal liberty, policing policy, citizen surveillance and the rest.

Talking of surveilliance, however, I’m curious: how did the press find out what the Home Secretary’s family watch in the so called privacy of their own home? What invasion of personal liberty was involved in uncovering that?

And, to continue the questioning of the questioners for a moment: how come it’s allright for every newspaper, advertiser, film company, not to mention the multi million pound porn industry, to make massive profits from exploiting womens’ – and mens’ bodies, come to think of it – for entertainment, from the mildly titillating to the truly horrendous, but it’s big news when an adult male actually purchases the stuff?

It’s odd actually, how men are considered seedy for consuming porn but can hold their head high if they write or make it in some form? If Jacqui’s Smith’s husband was writing novels with steamy sex scenes – and turning a healthy profit while doing it – he’d be a national hero. Perhaps not if it was gay porn however………..

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