Using John Whittingdale to spank a free press across the Boobies
What’s John Whittingdale been up to? The Star says the Tory MP, currently working as the culture and media secretary (GSOH, WLTM 4 MTV) “had a two-year fling with a Daily Star Page 3 girl”. Will he be involving himself with other mainstays of tabloid news, buying a lawnmower from the classified section, perhaps, or appearing in the TV pages as a Britain’s Got Talent wannabe?
Whatever’s next for Whittingdale, we are more interested in his past, chiefly his five-month romance with Olivier King, a dominatrix he met on Match.com, when he was single man and before he became a government minister, though he was chair of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport select committee. When Whittingdale discovered the single woman’s job he called off the affair. You might have read about his squeamishness in the tabloids, but when the story was hawked around Fleet Street, no-one bought it.
Anti-free Press, pro-privacy outfit Hacked Off and the BBC thought that a shame. Andrew Gilligan writes that Hacked Off worked with the BBC to produce their story of Whittingdale and the sex worker for Newsnight – that’s the show that opted to keep Jimmy Savile’s crimes private, spiking a story on the paedophile. These champions of privacy who bemoan press invasion into private lives wanted us to know about John’s sex life.
One theory is that tabloid newspapers passed on the story to keep Whittingdale in his job? He’s not all that in favour of Leveson and plans to clamp-down on the free press. If the Press expose John as – shock of shocks – a single man who likes women, he might be replaced by someone keen on an increasingly State-regulated Press. Or maybe he was being blackmailed? Or maybe that’s all nuts because if a free press is free the politicians have no say over what goes in it. So much for the conspiracies – which rather undermine the other story about tabloids being peopled by unscrupulous bastards who name and shame before fabricating facts to support their salacious gossip. It turns out they are edited and considered publications. Who knew?
And now about that Page 3 girl. Stephanie Hutton, for it is she, “said the Culture Secretary cheated on her with a dungeon-dwelling dominatrix known as Mistress Kate.” On pages 6 and 7 – after we’ve seen Page 3 girl Brook tell us about a love of topless ice-skating – we get to Stephanie, one half of the Boobie Twins. Stephanie say she met John on a dating site in 2013. “He told me he was a Russian arms dealer,” says Stephanie. “I don’t know if he was just being careful or trying to make himself more attractive, but it wasn’t necessary. I liked him.” She says at the Commons, he “always turned the lights out so we wouldn’t be recorded on CCTV”.
The Mirror says this caution approach to dating means Whittingdale is “addicted to danger”. The paper says Whittingdale has “been spotted with East European women at public events in the UK”. Scurrying about for anything to spank Whittingdale with that doesn’t make the phone-hacking Mirror look opportunistic and crass, we learn via a Labour MP of concerns about “powerful, middle-aged men being targeted by young women from the old Soviet Union and left open to blackmail”.
You see, it’s not about sex and privacy – it’s about State secrets and, er, sex and secrecy. Much better and in the public interest.