Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wild Oaten

One certainty for the next general election is that Winchester will again become a Tory seat - and probably a rather safe one.

Part of me admires Mark Oaten for his brave attempts to salvage a political career, but he's wasting his time. The attempts are almost pitiful - the interview with the wife in Hello about how hurt she was, his own piece in the Times, the embarrassing rolling story on the Politics Show, where he's part of a cross-party group trying to get fit despite their rather sedentary lifestyles. Now he's doing a piece for Newsnight, according to Iain Dale, analysing why politicians come off the rails (catch it on Tuesday evening).

Mark - stop it. You are now just raging against the dying of the light on your political career. It is over, the body politic has given up the ghost. Let it pass peacefully into history. Perhaps you can rebuild something, but not now, not yet.

There is nothing he can do to expunge his recent escapades from the popular memory. Anytime he appears on TV, everyone's first thought will be 'Oh, that's the bloke who was doing something unspeakable with a rent boy.' He can't change that - the Oaten brand is fatally wounded.

As the saying goes in Southern US politics - never be caught with a dead girl or a live boy in your bed. Things aren't quite so bad over here, but every time Mark Oaten appears on TV trying to show us how normal he is, he's damaging himself and his party, because he's become a pantomime figure of fun and politicians' careers can survive most things except ridicule.

The party would be far better off helping Kennedy to dry out and retake his place at the helm.

1 comment:

Simon said...

I dunno, he might have stood a chance if he kept his head down (so to speak) and spent the next three years as a hard-working constituency MP. But if he's going to try and be a media celeb, he's clearly screwed.