, ,


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.

But you’ll make it through the night, I reckon. You did it after your father committed suicide when you were 14, and nobody knew what questions to ask, you later recalled, only to make up stories for each other about him faking his death because he was really a member of MI5.

Perhaps that’s why… Then again, maybe it isn’t. All we know is the supply of Vaseline has run dry (for now).