Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Dirty secrets and the evil that men do


Dirty, dirty, dirty! Or in that way horrified mothers used to pronounce it: "Dutty!" Denis MacShane was lambasting men. Not all men, just the dutty ones. Dutty old men. Dutty middle-aged men. Dutty young men. These men who go to massage parlours were more than dutty; by the middle of his question they had become "desperately evil". No punishment is too harsh for evil duttiness. "Naming and shaming" is surely just the start. Denis wants any man paying for sex in a massage parlour to be named, shamed and (I think) prosecuted. It would be hard to let a "desperately evil" man go uncharged, when we're prosecuting women for reading out the names of the war dead in Whitehall without permission.

Trafficked women had prompted Den's duttiness. No one can be in favour of trafficking women so maybe he was indulging himself. Lathering himself up. Exciting himself. In public. Using the House as an ego massage parlour. It's bigger than the normal massage parlour but then Denis is built abnormally large in the ego department. Some questions, though. If, as a minister said, "we don't want to see brothels operating" why aren't they closed down? If trafficked women are suffering, why aren't the places raided? And why haven't we signed the treaty relating to trafficking? But that's all difficult. And not the fun of naming and shaming.

It wasn't the only moral exhibitionism of the day – the government front bench and one ambitious PPS were wearing white lapel twists. What did that mean? They were supporting the Eradication of Violence Against Women. They should be named and shamed.

David Davis is making excellent progress on his umpteenth home secretary. What, he asked her, about Project Stork (or possibly Stalk), an EU-wide data project run by the Home Office to test ID cards' fit with other countries? Could we be sure of data security with 27 countries being involved? Who knows? The Home Secretary didn't because she had clearly never heard of the project.

John Randall asked her to say if she had heard of Project Stork (or Stalk). She said, "No". Obviously she didn't say "No" as such but when she sat down she hadn't said, "Yes".

Is it significant? They can spin their way out of it. But those who like collecting evidence that the Government suddenly isn't up to it will go to bed happy.

PS: "This House is the guarantor of our liberties"– Liam Byrne. There, I've named him. He can shame himself.

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