September 7, 2016
September 4, 2016
O Vaseline! Were you never true? Seems you’re always slip-sliding through.
Keith Vaz MP has resigned as chair of the parliamentary Home Affairs select committee after the Sunday Mirror showed him consorting with male prostitutes. For two days following the tabloid revelations it seemed that even this story might not stick to the ‘Teflon politician’: Vaz, a former Labour minister also known as ‘Vaseline’ for his ability to slide away from successive financial scandals, maintained he was entitled to a private life and he had not done anything illegal. But on Tuesday 6 September he bowed to pressure not least from members of the Home Affairs committee who were threatening him with a vote of no confidence, and stepped down.
Was it just another move for you to make? From family man (wife and two children) to punter with poppers and boys on rent. In and out of Teflon-style hotels, bills assigned to the owner’s personal account. Glass, chrome, marble, so nothing soaks in.
Moving through, is what you do. Before the portly, bald guy (59) with lemon ties, there was smiley Keith, plenty of dark hair but already it’s wispy, whose first name had even been Nigel (had to go), radical lawyer, one of the first four black MPs elected in 1987 – that’s what non-white meant back then. But it was only skin-deep, this radicalism, soon to be peeled off when you learned how to operate in the Palace of Westminster.
Pleased with your progress up the proverbial? You’ve been singing Sade to yourself all these years, haven’t you? Suits you, Sir. Tones in with the anodyne dinner you ate before one of your assignations: lemon sole, still water and a J&B Rare (not so rare), signed for by the hotel owner.
Staff were told Mr Vaz was using the room upstairs to ‘wash’, allegedly. But it won’t wash, will it, Keith? For all your former usefulness as a go-between, going between cricketing Cambridge and cricket with the Indian Workers’ Association, between Bernie Grant and Hugh Grant, from the social conflict in politics proper to a simple case of snouts in the trough (with all the complications that entails), now you’re just the goner whose family hails from Goa: the Anglicised Indian via Aden (still a British colony when you were born there); compromised and not only in ways expected of you.
‘Gentle as a dove, cunning as a snake.’
Popeye for the ‘poorest of the poor’,
Saint Mother Teresa was canonised today.
She played her innocence impeccably, implacably.
Now her vow of poverty is upended in papal pomp and ceremony.
Beautifully…he went home to God,
She said of the beggar who’d told her
(Quoted in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize),
‘I lived like an animal in the streets but I am going to die like an angel.’
I know it’s churlish of me to ask,
But does it have to be ambrosia?
Is there no mezzo soul food to sup?
Neither scraping and foraging
Nor brutalised then flipped into blind faith.
Away from playing Mother to the Squeezed Middle,
The Other Theresa is hanging on in Hangzhou.
Despite the measured tone of her contralto voice,
At the G20 summit Britain’s position is vulnerable:
She could be squeezed until the pips squeak.
This Mother Theresa must forage in foreign affairs,
Calling in favours, hoping to scrape by.
Closer than she’d care to think
To the man of the streets who reportedly died in a state of grace.
Note that neither Mother has so far managed
To speak to us in a language we could call our own.