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well, its been an interesting day for the second Party of Opposition. As Ive said in previous threads, I feel slightly sorry for Oaten but you dont do things like that, especially not in frontline politics.

Abour the Lucky us, that wasnt to say we were lucky this happened and it was a good thing. It wasnt. Its going to be rammed down our throats for the next two days if not longer with as many sordid details as the NoW can find which isnt going to be pleasant for anyone connected to this story. The family must be devastated. I hope some good can come of this, though Im not sure how. Editor, I didnt mean any offence, I assure you.

After the Liberals sowed the wind on, to name but one, Stephen Milligan, they need to reap the whirlwind on this one.

The sympathy meter is stuck on zero, Im afraid.

I feel sorry for his family. I don't feel sorry for Oaten himself, who chose to play up his 'regular family guy' credentials while cheating on his wife (and with someone young enough to be his son).

You've got to feel for the rent boy.

Am I right in thinking that Oaten and Milligan represented the same constituency?

Does the rent boy own a Great Dane?

No, Oaten is in Winchester, Milligan was in neighbouring Eastleigh, where we had the excellent Conor Burns last year.

Incidentally, Conor came within an ace of defeating Chris Huhne for the seat. Perhaps one for the Gold List blog, Mr Editor?

I see the whale's dead.

I find the whale story ridiculous. With so many terrible things and world changing events happening on a daily basis, the best the Sun can get is a picture of "Wally"?

"..in neighbouring Eastleigh, where we had the excellent Conor Burns last year."

Conor was an excellent candidate and I hope he has the courage and spirit to go again. It was a travesty that the UKIP vote held the seat for Lib Dems.

What were people in Thanet thinking about most this morning: the whale or the Lib Dem leadership contest?

I wouldnt know...I was stuck at work all day and they were more interested in the result of the EuroMillions draw last night. They were also pretty concerned about the dangerous set of traffic lights metres from the shop which no Councillor was speaking up about. Both the whale and the Lib Dem contest were not mentioned.

Sorry about the whale
Sorry for Mark Oaten, stupid but its not really my business, its between him and his wife
Most of all sorry for his family

Can you remind us of how the LDs treated Stephen Milligans problem in the by election that followed.

If there's one thing that can be said for David Cameron, he has yet to degrade himself in this unplesant way. I have no sympathy for Oaten, what he did was wrong. There can be no excuses. I do not expect perfection from politicians but I do not expect standards as low as this.

Happy as I am to put the boot into the Lib Dems, it can't be denied the Stephen Milligan story was hilarious.

Sean - the untimely death of a fellow human being was 'hilarious'?

Please check the calibration on your badtasteometer.

That's well out of order, Sean. I don't think there are any circumstances under which the death of a 45-year-old man (or anyone, for the matter) is "hilarious".

Oaten has obviously had a severe lapse in judgement and is now seeing the consequences. I couldn't care less if he's gay, straight or bisexual but having an affair with a prostitute clearly leaves big question marks about his judgement and suitability for office. Alas he is probably far from alone, and I feel terribly sorry for his wife and children.

Anyway, I suppose this puts to bed any lingering talk of a defection.

Japanese:- "dinner's ready guys"

Tut, tut. Obviously Mr. Oaten is confused about his sexuality. I hope he is not as bad as his predecessor, Jeremy Thorpe!

Someone is selling a HofC bottle of whisky signed by Charles Kennedy on ebay

Very tempting, might make a last minute offer if the price is right

Good luck!

Someone is selling a bottle of whisky signed by Charles Kennedy on ebay

Is the bottle full or empty?

Its a full bottle of whiskey, aged 8 years and the current top bid is £48. would look fantastic on my shelf as well

This must surely be the month in Lib Dem history. The only thing worse I can think of, was when they were replaced by Labour as one of the 2 main parties. Can this all be put down to David Cameron?

Should read:- This must surely be the worst month in Lib Dem history. The only thing worse I can think of, was when they were replaced by Labour as one of the 2 main parties. Can this all be put down to David Cameron?

Enough about Oaten and sorry to change subject, but this is much more worrying from Harrys place:

Imprisoned Chinese journalist was ratted out by Yahoo
Posted by Gene

The sellout by internet corporate giants to Chinese government repression is increasingly reprehensible.

First Microsoft shut down a Beijing blogger at the request of the authorities. Then-- again at the request of the government-- Yahoo provided the name of the sender of embarrassing emails.

Jim Etchison writes on his blog BooYahoo!:

An anonymous Chinese citizen sent out information about how the Chinese government intended to censor information about the 15-year anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. This person used a Yahoo! e-mail address to do it. The Chinese Secret Police asked Yahoo! to turn over the sender’s identity. Yahoo! claims they did not know the reason why the Chinese government was requesting, and complied with the Chinese Secret Police without argument. They identified Shi Tau, a reporter with The Contemporary Business News in Hunan, who is now serving 10 years in jail.

Yahoo did not know the reason the secret police wanted the emailer's identity? That's a great excuse. Did they think maybe the government wanted to award him a medal for his bravery?

According to Reporters Without Borders, "at least 32 journalists and 62 cyber-dissidents are currently in prison in China."

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes:

Yahoo, of course, explains its actions the same way Microsoft does -- or, I suppose, as does Cisco Systems, which produces the equipment with which the Chinese censor the Internet: just following local custom. Maybe they have something of an argument, since American tech companies have supposedly cooperated with the National Security Agency in the effort to listen in on international phone calls -- a program disdaining court-issued warrants or congressional authorization. Still, there remains a vast difference between American-style illegality (if it amounts to that) and its Chinese equivalent. The law in China is what the Chinese leaders say it is. Currently it is illegal to post information on the Internet that "creates social uncertainty." Try defining that.

BooYahoo! has a petition for internet users to sign onto a boycott of Yahoo.

Please excuse a moment of over-the-top pedantry. but The LibDems were never one of the 2 main parties. The Liberal Party of Asquith, Churchill, Campbell Bannerman and Lloyd George still exists in a rump form with a few local councillors.

I recommend Alan Clarkes excellent "The Tories: Conservatives and the Nation State" for a good account of the demise of that once great party. This lot have merely hijacked a 100-year old brand name of a party which embraced Imperialism, free trade, and good old-fashioned gun-boat diplomacy.

To address Rob's point seriously, the timing of this 'revelation' is highly suspicious. Has the NotW known about this for a while and held on until the time when he would suffer most damage and they would get most publicity? Or was it brought on by a few establishment nudges and winks because of his high profile opposition to ID cards and 90-day detention?

I'd assume that in the absence of a leadership ballot, the NotW wouldn't have put much effort into lifting the sordid but ultimately unimportant lid on the private life of the Home Affairs Spokesman of an also-ran fringe party. They'd have kept their powder dry until an opportunity just like this. If we believe that DC's election forced theirs, then, yes, these events can all be indirectly linked back to the election of DC as a catalyst, but not 'put down' to him.

Back to film title-based satire, I rather liked "The Constant (Uphill) Gardener M.Oaten". Again, can't claim credit.

Tom Thumb, this particular case was reported by Media watchdog 'Reporters Without Borders' back in September 2005, which was approximately one month after Yahoo! acquired a large stake in the Chinese internet firm Alibaba for approximately $1bn.

Reporters Without Borders wrote to the bosses of Microsoft, Intel, Thomson, Nortel Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, Oracle, NEC, Samsung, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Yahoo! and Alcatel in Nov 2003 saying that they are all selling gear that helps the Chinese government spy upon and crack down on people using the Internet.

This is supposed to be a topical blog. Please keep up.

"Imprisoned Chinese journalist was ratted out by Yahoo"

What better ad for Google's gmail? Shame on Yahoo.

"This lot have merely hijacked a 100-year old brand name of a party which embraced Imperialism, free trade, and good old-fashioned gun-boat diplomacy."

I hate to be a pedant but the old Liberals dropped these policies long before the merger with the Social Democrats. If you look at the manifesto of the remnant of the Liberal Party, it's quite left-wing. Indeed, they accuse the SDP of introducing elements that one might consider right-wing (like support for nuclear weapons) into the Lib Dems.

The Liberal Party had already taken a leftwards swing during the Edwardian period while the Conservatives had mopped up Whig defectors and adopted a classical liberal economic policy under Salisbury.

This will help Ming - he's already been talking about how the Lib Dems need to "draw together."

He'll be the anti-sleaze candidate.

So the Party that advocates 'tolerance zones' for prostitution won't tolerate the use of prostitutes if it's too close to home. It's as if the idea were too sordid for themselves but good enough for the hardpressed communities were most of the 'tolerance zones' would be situated.

On whether this is the worst ever month for the Lib Dems (defined narrowly) - yes.

On whether this is the worst ever month for "Libs" - doubt it. Thorpe being arrested on charges of conspiracy to murder in the 1970s must have been worse. Arguably, the various splits in 1931 were more damaging to party viability.

In the late seventies one punk band produced a record called "Jeremy is Innocent" punctuated by sounds of gunfire and barking dogs.

The News of the World claims that Oaten et al entered into sexual acts that were too revolting to print? Thats quite an achievement by Oaten, the NOTW is hardly squeamish

Ironically, Oaten's usual website has a section called "dispelling the rumours" - on myths about the LibDems of course!

I also note that his Chief of Staff for Oaten's Lib Dem leadership election was called Edward Lord. If memory serves me right, there used to be someone of that name who hung around Conservative Students who went through various degrees of Isms before ending up on NUS Committee. Same person?

Yes, the very same.

That comment also took me by suprize...the NoW talking about 3 in a bed orgies and not saying what the act was...

Sympathy for Oaten? No way. For his family, yes, but he deserves all he gets. Lets not forget how the 'nice' Lib Dems told a pack of lies (some, very hurtful) about Peter Tatchell when he was the Labour Candidate for Bermondsey. Most of these allegations concerened Tatchell's sexuality. He later came out to confirm that he was gay (not a crime), but most of what had been said about him by the Lib Dems was totally false. The seat was won by now Party President and Leadership contender Simon Hughes. I didn't like Tatchell, still don't, but it just shows that the Lib Dems are capable of dishing it out. When it hits their own doorstep, we're supposed to feel sympathetic? Forget it, Oaten - you made your bed, now lay in it. Mrs Oaten, you have my heartfelt sympathies - leave him, now.

I suspect it is just a bit of clever journalism - "sexual acts that were too revolting to print" will always sound worse than what the acts actually were.

I suspect that Mr Oaten will cancel his Policy Exchange meeting with Michael Gove tomorrow night.

Shouldn't the Conservative party and members of the press be moving in on the other Lib Dem leadership candidates? Every week we have a new revelation from the "honest" and "nice" Lib Dems - Charles Kennedy a lying alcoholic; Mark Oaten a lying secret homosexual. What next?

There have been murmurings that Sir Menzies Campbell hasn't been entirely honest about his medical condition.

For a real perspective in what the Lib Dem's think of Oaten and for a good laugh try http://www.thedarbyshires.blogspot.com/
Many of you have already seen it but it is worth a re-visit. Worryingly its all true. (ps Robin Darbyshire used to work for Oaten)

They have a spoof blog called The Leicestershires by the way!

I can recommend thoroughly both the Darbyshires and the spoof Leicestershires blogs. Without knowing it would be difficult to guess which was the spoof and which the genuinely vapid original.

The war between the two blogs is now getting very enjoyable - Mrs Darbyshire in particular is being very catty about the female Lib Dem behind the spoof blog. She appears to have a touching belief that you can't be sued for libel if someone is parodying you.

The next scandal to hit a Lib Dem leadership candidate could well emerge by accident in the course of this spat.

Are we absolutely sure that the Darbyshires blog isn't a spoof as well?

Daniel, I agree - not even a Lib Dem could write that drivel with a straight face.

"The next scandal to hit a Lib Dem leadership candidate could well emerge by accident in the course of this spat."

Absolutely - have you seen some of the mud being slung in Simon Hughes's direction by 'Leah Darbyshire'? Given that her 'gorgeous hubby' Robin used to work for Hughes, it's very interesting indeed.

From Iain dale's blog
From the News of The World

"The naked MP then got the rent boys to humiliate him with a bizarre sex act too revolting to describe."

From Iain Dale's Diary

"Popbitch carried a Lib Dem quickie this week: "Which Lib Dem wannabe leader used to be a regular visitor to a brothel in Paddington where he used to pay girls to shit in their knickers for him, and would then put the dirty pants in his briefcase and take them home?"

Are they by chance related?

Oaten's local paper is calling for resignation. Prepare for a by-election!

Too much information Selsdon!

Really didnt need that image in my head thanks very much.....

On a serious note. A by-election would be a fantastic chance for the Conservatives, with the Lib Dems in self destruct mode, without a leader, the clever money would be on a CON GAIN FROM LIB DEM.

Sorry for any offence, Malcolm. There MAY be more information on Mr Oaten's activities that will make his position untenable.

Seriously, I feel sorry for his wife and children.

Selsdon - you haven't really got the hang of this compassionate conservatism stuff yet, have you?

Free market conservativism is nore compassionate in practice than collectivist conservatism.

What is wrong with making the most of Lib Dem hypocrisy?

Regrettably, The Leicestershires blog seems to have disappeared (unless I'm using the wrong URL). No matter though - The Darbyshires is quite funny enough in its own right, considering it's apparently supposed to be serious. It's like every Christmas 'round robin' I've ever received, rolled into one!

I don't really see what the fuss is all about as Oaten's activities are no more mendacious than those of Gorden Brown's own perverse activities with rent boys. May Oaten be promoted!

i too have heard the story doing the rounds about brown and his swinging both ways....

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