As politicians go Alan Duncan seems okay to me, he appears to want a freer society and has written about such issues. He is a radical careerist who holds ideas that are genuinely radical but is always willing to shelve them if they become to inconvenient, like his decision to remove the arguments he made for drug legalisation in future editions of "Saturn's Children" ( although he does still carry that chapter on his website). This isn't the worst sin in a politician and has to be compared to rigid ideologues who quit the minute their party adopts any policy they oppose (John Bercow springs to mind).
He should probably quit the front bench though. His comments about wanting to see Miss California dead because she opposed gay marriage were obviously intended as comical, and the people who complained really should have better things to do. That said it came across very badly, with even the other guest of Have I Got News For You being visibly startled. One of the strongest cards that the gay rights movement has had in recent decades is the principle of tolerance, so when Alan Duncan reveals a level of tolerance for differing opinions that would make Stalin uncomfortable, it clearly undercuts any argument he wishes to make.
More importantly gaffes like that don't make that much impact in opposition and with his party leading in the polls but when he is a minister that kind of indiscretion is going to cause a serious problem. Does anyone really doubt that when he enters David Cameron's cabinet in a year or so, he will soon have to be fired after blurting out something he shouldn't and that I will be referring back to this post saying "I told you so!"?
So what is the point of toiling away in the shadow cabinet for a decade when your spell in government will last a few months, tops. Especially when a career as a media tart beckons.
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