Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's About That Old Fashioned Thing Called Shame

Lord Browne has had a very unpleasant 24 hours. In some ways, for having lied to a court, you'd have to say he deserves it and that few should have sympathy with him. But - and it is a big but - that would be to ignore two facts. This story would not have taken up so much space in the newspapers if he hadn't been gay, but it is the second fact which few in the media have commented on, and this is why I am posting this now.

The only reason John Browne lied to the court - and I do not offer this as an excuse - was because of an old fashioned thing called shame. He felt ashamed that he had resorted to a gay website to meet his former partner. For all I know he may have felt a sense of shame about his sexuality as well. It would not surprise me - he is, after all, 59 years old. He comes from a generation of men who could never 'come out' in the way that people are able to today. While he may be comfortable in his own skin, he mixes in circles that still have difficulties with friends and colleagues who don't conform to society's norms. The City is sometimes not a comfortable place for openly gay people.

Shame is regarded as a bit odd in today's 'everything goes' society. It's almost regarded as quaint. It's no longer shameful to have a baby out of wedlock. It's no longer shameful to have a criminal record. It is no longer shameful to be unemployed. It is no longer shameful to be divorced. It is no longer shameful to be gay. For most of these, it's a very good thing too that shame has been partially banished from our society. However, we do have to recognise that for people of an older generation many of these things are indeed shameful.

So I don't excuse John Browne for not telling the truth to the court. But I do have some understanding for why he did it. He will now have to face the consequences.

The man I have total contempt for here is his former lover who sought to make money out of a kiss and tell. He is beneath contempt.

Matthew Parris is, as ever, on the money HERE.

92 comments:

Marquee Mark said...

It was widely thought in BP that he was gay, although my understanding was that he was not out in deference to the feelings of his elderly mother, with whom he lived. (He may still, but I thought I'd heard she had recently died - I don't know if that was a factor in what he said in court.)

Didn't get in the way of him turning BP into one the world's major energy companies. Even if he was a little too cosy to New Labour in the process...!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure of the sequence of events here, but what seems to being reported is that an affair ended, the other party fell on hard times, demanded money and was refused, and then told his story to get revenge. This sounds close to attempted blackmail, and any newspaper participating in printing the story as part of an attempted extortion could be guilty of aiding and abetting.

Newspaper corruption seems to me a more relevant part of the story.

esmerelda said...

Iain, I felt the same. I deplore the fact that this young man has tried to take him to the cleaners. (I am an elderly female heterosexual btw.)

The Hitch said...

While I agree with most of your posting I will say this
He wasnt Brownes "lover" he was bought and paid for , just as Mark oaten didnt have an "affair" with that rent boy , he paid for sex.
Browne had four years out of the life of a troubled person , he should have made provision for his toy when he tired of it.

Hamer Shawcross said...

Totally agree, Iain.

sockpuppet said...

well said Iain. But in our (justified) haste to damn the young (and obviously immature) gold-digging Chevalier, let's not exonerate the muckrakers at AN who decided to witch hunt Browne because he dared challenge their 'right' to splash the details of his sex life all over their front pages.

You can sort of put up with it from the NOTW, it's their stock-in-trade, but the prurience of the MoS is repugnant.

Laurence Boyce said...

I’m not convinced that the Mail on Sunday is looking too great either. Matthew Parris has written a nice article over here.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Iain, you say it's no longer shameful:
1.To have a baby out of wedlock.
2.To have a criminal record.
3.To be unemployed.
4.To be divorced.
5.It is no longer shameful to be gay.

As to numbers 3 and 5, I agree. Not shameful, and never should have been.

As to the rest, they are shameful in my book because they are all undesirable things which could and should have been avoided.

TomTom said...

The Civil Procedure Rules in English Courts state exactly what Truth Statement is to be signed in a Witness Statement. Browne committed perjury as Jonathan Aitken committed perjury.

Lord Browne is a People's Peer in the Upper House; Jonathan Aitken was a Privy Councillor in the Lower House.

Alan Miller was ordered to pay £5 million to his ex-wife Melissa after 3 years of childless marriage. Lord Browne dumps a live-in gay lover after 4 years and tries to use courts and wealth to crush him rather than paying him off as a divorce court would demand for a Civil Partnership

Lord Browne wants it all and thinks all is his, that truth can be flexible in pursuit of his satisfaction. For too long we have tolerated people in public life engaged in self-serving lying and angering the public, and coming from a People's Peer, the example is proof of why our society is so fractured

He should have paid off his ex-partner, that is how boardrooms keep departing directors quiet

Guido Faux said...

"he was bought and paid for"

Not that I agree prostitution *should* be illegal but I thought we were getting tough on men who paid for sex after the whole Ipswich thing?

AnyoneButBlair said...

I feel very sorry for Browne, I don't excuse his lying to a court but understand why as your excellent post describes. I hope he recovers from this - today's headlines tomorrows fish wrapper.

Today nobody cares that he's gay. He could sleep with goats as far as I'm concerned

Colin D said...

The man lied in court. end of. if one asserts or swears to tell the truth, and then lies, punishment must follow. Don't for pity's sake think this is the first time he has lied. Non the less it appears he did a Good job at BP and deserves credit for that.

verity said...

There's something sleazy about this, and I speak as a regular defender of gay men.

But this fellow knowingly hid a critical factor about his life from shareholders, meaning, he knew it would affect some of them negatively. As shareholders, they have a right to know if their chairman is hiding something he considers critical.

I agree with The Hitch. The "boyfriend" was a whore, so let's not dress it up. I have often said that Mark Oaten was not, as he claimed, having "an affair" with a rent boy. Brown was paying for this fellow's company.

The Hitch said Brown had four years out of the life of a troubled person and should have seen him OK. Well, I don't know whether Chevalier was "troubled" or smart and don't care, but a man who was astute enough to run a giant public company was surely worldly enough to know that he would do well to pay this boy off for the rest of his life. Did he really think he could say, in effect, "It was great fun, but it was just one of those things. All the best in your bedsit in Toronto!" ???

Another Labour sleaze who thought he could get away with it because he was one of the annointed ones. Tough. No sympathy.

wrinkled weasel said...

It seems that if you are gay you can get away with anything, citing "homophobia" whenever you get caught.

This bloke got caught lying, in a court of law.

I agree that he can keep his nasty lifestyle private, and I do not believe it should be a matter for public curiosity, but he lied and that is the reason he is now in trouble...not for being gay.

As for Matthew Parris, he is just another decadent apologist for a minority lifestyle and he shamelessly uses his position to promote it.

I do not care what gays do as long as they don't attempt to proseletyse and as long as they realise that they are here curtesy of a tolerant society and not one that thinks they are God's gift and can do no wrong.

DanG said...

Iain, I have read your piece several times and find I disagree with most of it. Shame I don't believe was part of Browne's problem. Pure embarrassment of having been done by his ex-pal Chevalier. He went for a swim in the shark pool and got bitten. How could he have been so reckless if he was the top person in a major company like BP, he would be asking himself. And as far as coming out is concerned it's obvious to anyone that he was gay by his appearance. Dead ringer for Ian McKellan. Could have been his stunt double in the movies! You make him sound like a victim. For goodness sake, he was the boss of one of the biggest companies in the world. Quite a toughie I would imagine.

Anonymous said...

Iain

Moral equivalence between 'baby out of wedlock', 'criminal record', etc and 'unemployed'? Nice try but I don't think many will fall for that.

Newmania said...

It's no longer shameful to have a criminal record.- Should be

It is no longer shameful to be unemployed.-m Should be

It is no longer shameful to be divorced.- Should be ( I am ashamed of it )


It is no longer shameful to be gay- … rightly so ,but Old men paying for sex with young boys is not exactly exemplary behavior is it. Perhaps you noticed the story about Boy George and the escort who is trying to shake him down for some game with chains and sex toys . Nothing new , when I ran household contents scheme if an old man was entertaining a young man the fact that the young man would eventually disappear with the jewelery was so usual as to be legend . You say that gay men should have a uniquely protected right to adopt when others are stopped on the basis of colour class and religion . My point is that while their may be loving stable gay relationships it is pretty obvious that there is a parallel gay culture of irresponsible and uncaring carnal selfishness which , in itself I have no objection to . There is every good reason for an adoption agency taking no chances though. A third of gay men with AIDS continue to have unprotected sex so you cannot say that I am talking about a tiny minority (according to a survey today)

Its hard for Gays to accept but they do not have some of the prerequisite inhibitors that make for a long term family unit; there is much evidence of it, and if there are numerous exceptions that is not a chance you take with children.

I feel most unkind for saying this I admit but there it is

DanG said...

Iain, I have read your piece several times and find I disagree with most of it. Shame I don't believe was part of Browne's problem. Pure embarrassment of having been done by his ex-pal Chevalier. He went for a swim in the shark pool and got bitten. How could he have been so reckless if he was the top person in a major company like BP, he would be asking himself. And as far as coming out is concerned it's obvious to anyone that he was gay by his appearance. Dead ringer for Ian McKellan. Could have been his stunt double in the movies! You make him sound like a victim. For goodness sake, he was the boss of one of the biggest companies in the world. Quite a toughie I would imagine.

verity said...

Guido Faux writes: "I thought we were getting tough on men who paid for sex after the whole Ipswich thing?"

You did? You thought we were going to outlaw prostitution? Who told you that?

Bel said...

tomtom, you say:

Alan Miller was ordered to pay £5 million to his ex-wife Melissa after 3 years of childless marriage. Lord Browne dumps a live-in gay lover after 4 years and tries to use courts and wealth to crush him rather than paying him off as a divorce court would demand for a Civil Partnership

Not a valid comparison, in my opinion. Mr Chevalier was not in a civil partnership with Lord Browne. His position is analogous to that of a boyfriend in a heterosexual relationship. If people want their 'interests' protected, they can marry or if gay, enter into civil partnerships. That was not the case with Lord Browne and this young man.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Well I couldn't care less about his sexual proclivities - that's not the point. However, the Judge's findings have been published in full: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1732379.ece and they present a much wider and more complex picture than that portrayed here.

Browne did the 'honourable' thing by resigning, but my suspicion is that he would have found it very difficult to continue. He was open to a charge of perjury, anyway.

Of much greater interest is his discussions with Gordon Brown, Mandelson and Mandelson's consort. The Judge in his wisdom has agreed that these details should not be revealed.

mitch said...

How do you know his motivation was shame? It could be any one of a number of other things.

In any case, avoiding embarrasment isn't a defence to perjury.

kris said...

It's a middle aged man thing.

antifrank said...

Iain, with the exception of your commments on the scumbag ex, I disagree with almost every word you wrote on this.

1) He lied on oath, and took 2 weeks to admit it. That is perjury. Unforgiveable.

2) He was being accused of misusing company assets. The scale may not have been enormous, but the point is clearly one of public interest. Compare the treatment of Peter Robinson at the Woolwich, who resigned over similar levels of misuse in 1996 without a gay lover in sight:

http://calbears.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19960403/ai_n14051590

3) I simply don't buy the shame argument. If he were really ashamed of being gay, he would not have taken his boyfriend to various functions with the great and the good.

neil craig said...

I don't see that this is our, or newspaper readers business. It did not impinge on his job or public activities.

As for lying in court - on this one subject I would support him - it is a cliche that everybody lies about sex, but only because it is true.

I also regret that he has lost his £15m bonuses. If he earned them he is entitled to them.

verity said...

I'm sorry we seem to be ganging up on you,Iain! But Lord Browne (how much did he pay for his peerage, by the way, and was any of the money from BP's coffers?) has survived in a highly dangerous, cut-throat top corporate world for 40 years. I think this man he knows the score.

He should have paid his trick off with a regular stipend and got, in return, a written promise never to talk about the relationship in public on pain of the stipend being stopped. It is incredibly stupid not to do this when, in effect, he sacked the trick.

Then he went on to lie in court. As we know, this is a crime.
I'm not going to bother to read Matthew Parrish on this because I am tiring of professional gays. I haven't been able to bring myself to read Andrew Sullivan, whose writing I used to admire and look forward to, for over a year now.

wandsworthtory said...

I agree that Browne should not have lied in court, and that to a degree his reticence is understandable due to his age and position.

I think the Mail on Sunday's position is totally disingenuous, trying to appear concerned only with the business story, but in my eyes clearly a willing accessory to the sleazy blackmail being pursued by the ex lover.

The Mail papers are viciously pursuing their normal agenda of distortion and bile. They hated the fact that a gay man was in charge of a massive British business, and couldn't wait to bring him down. Shameful.

Man in a shed said...

This is a really difficult one. It certainly looks like BP and Britain can be thankful for the work Lord Browne did in making BP a top oil company.

My initial reaction was to feel real sadness for him. However, the perjury is a serious matter. The question is always if you can lie about this - what else are you able to do ? How can you be trusted ?

I saw Hazel Blears being interviewed by Paxo last night on the lying problem ( this time Labour and Blair serving a full term - but there are plenty of other examples ). She just squirmed - but kept blocking. That was, in my mind, shameful.

Lord Browne lying in written depositions was shameful. Any attempt to sell peerages for money would be shameful. But nobody feels shame - and the rich and well connected have excuses that get them off.

If there is now non such thing as shame - then there is no such thing as honour either.

Dr John Crippen said...

Quite disgraceful that such a talented business man should be driven out of his job because of personal matters.

He was a child of a homophobic age, with an elderly mother to whom he was close. His actions are understandable and should be forgiven and forgotten.

What a shame.

He is still a man of honour. His statement and apology were full and gracious.

Why did BP did not refuse to accept his resignation?

I trust that after the requisite "short interval for reflection" or whatever we are supposed to call it, that he will be able to return to a job commensurate with his ability.


John

wrinkled weasel said...

"I am tiring of professional gays" -Verity

On this occasion Verity, I think your patience thus far should be commended. I got tired of the soap box gay martyr deal a long time ago.

If Matthew Parris was a born again Christian, and had used his Times column to fart on about it as much as he uses it for gay propaganda, he would have been sacked long ago.

As it is, they are probably afraid to sack him for very obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

As for Matthew Parris, he is just another decadent apologist for a minority lifestyle

You think that gays need to apologise for being gay

and he shamelessly uses his position to promote it

you think being gay is shameful

as long as they don't attempt to proseletyse[sic]

Proselytise: Vb: To try and persuade someone to change their way of living to your own.

Do you meet many gays who try and persuade you to be gay?

and as long as they realise that they are here curtesy [sic] of a tolerant society

Because they couldn't just 'be here' because they were, you know, born here. Like, say, you?

I do not care what gays do

I'd say you manifestly do.

chatterbox said...

Iain, I agree with everything you have written on this matter. And as for the Daily Mail, yet again it shows what a nasty and mean minded media we have at times.
This "outing" was not in the public interest but more about selling papers, and a man's career and his private life has been trashed in the process.

verity said...

Wandsworth Tory - He was the CEO of a gigantic multinational company and he lied under oath.

If you really think he felt self-conscious about being gay, why, as someone pointed out above, did he regularly take the trick to high profile soirées? There's no reason why he shouldn't have, of course if he wanted to behave as though they were a couple, but to say he was embarrassed by the relationship is daft.

He committed perjury. More socialist sleaze. It just goes on and on.

Scroblene said...

Interesting what Chuck Unsworth noted here:-

'Of much greater interest is his discussions with Gordon Brown, Mandelson and Mandelson's consort. The Judge in his wisdom has agreed that these details should not be revealed'.

So Browne is thrown to the wolves for being gay as well as allegedly perjuring the court?

All the attention is on this but there isn't much coming from the sort of Nulab people who might well be looking at their shattered dreams in 36 hours time. Why are these details being kept out of the public domaine?

Or are the elections tomorrow postponed?

Voyager said...

It did not impinge on his job or public activities.

Oh yes it did. He has been removed from the Remuneration Committee at Goldman Sachs for which he received £250.000

It is not acceptable for a People's Peer to tell lies in Court documents and seek advantage over another party by engaging in defamation while using Knighthood (1998) and Peerage (2001) together with name-dropping as proof of personal integrity.

I can see why this country has such a corroded sense of self-esteem after letting chancers lie about everythig and everyone

Anonymous said...

But surely it comes down to honesty and hypocrisy - as the judge pointed out, if he was going to trash another person's reputation, and make out, through referring to his honours from the Government, that he was the more honest man, then he had better be bloody sure he was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I would have more sympathy for him if he had a gay lover his own age, rather than a rent boy. He will not miss the '£ 15 million' - his payoff was too big anyway, and this just brings it down nearer the level it should have been anyway.



Live by the sword, die by the sword - although if it does prove one thing, Tories should have nothing to do with Associated Newspapers, even if they are seen as being anti Labour. That may seem helpful now, but they are so far beneath contempt when it comes to so-called 'journalism' that there is little point cosying up to them, as the next 'collateral damage' might be a Tory MP. You may hate me for saying this, but Ken Livingstone was 100% right to stand up to the bullying sanctimonious money-grubbing shits at the ratings-chasing no matter at what expense w@nkers at the Dacre 'Hate' Mail.

The Hitch said...

wandsworthtory
chances are there is much more to this than "old man sleeps with young boy and lies about it"
Its that old mans political connections that are behind the interest , no doubt Mr Chevalier picked up some interesting info over some of those cosy new labour dinner parties.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have missed the whole reason why Browne was in court in the first place.

The MOS wanted to publish a "business" story about a conversation between Browne and the Chancellor of the exchequer, Nothing to do with Browne's sexual orientation, other than the source was his ex Lover.

Browne then went to court to get an injunction to prevent the publication of this story and in the process he committed Perjury and tried to use his "Honours" to discredit His ex.

The injunction still stands on the conversation between Browne and Brown. That is how Radio 4 PM news reported it anyway.

AFAIK this is all about NuLabour and BP, not Sexuality

Anonymous said...

So, Iain, are you saying the crime of perjury is fiddlesticks ? Especially when the honesty of the two men in court is being weighed up to decide who is telling the truth ? I agree the behaviour of the Canadian is indefensible, but then Lord Browne was hardly an innocent bystander, and he fell into the trap of letting his standards drop to the level of the other party to the fight. Sorry, but he had it coming to him.

Pedant said...

By the very nature of his job, Lord Browne knows the Ways of the World. He knows the score, and he knows how to calculate risk. I have no sympathy with him in the position he finds himself both as regards the Law and the Mail on Sunday. He tried to use the Law, and he has used the press many times in the past. The biter bit.

Guido Faux said...

@Verity 1:19PM

Hmmm - maybe what I said wasn't clear.

I know prostitution is illegal but I don't think it *should* be.

After the Ipswich murders there was much debate on how we should be concentrating on arresting the guys who pay for sex rather than the streetwalkers.

It seems to me that Lord Browne was paying for sex so are we going to get tough on him?

Steven_L said...

'This story would not have taken up so much space in the newspapers if he hadn't been gay' (ID)

Yes it would Iain, if he had lied to the Courts about a 4 year affair with a female hooker it would still be a big story - look what happened to Lord Archer!

Guthrum said...

Its a shame that yet another man who lies to the Courts will keep his peerage (best mates with Blair again) just like Archer.

Whats the matter with the Wellingtonian Publish and be damned !

Posit said...

The MoS should be ashamed of themselves. Pricks - plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

The only reason John Browne lied to the court was because of an old fashioned thing called shame. John Browne is 59 years old. He comes from a generation of men who could never 'come out' in the way that people are able to today.

Gordon Brown is 56.

ordinary housewife said...

If Browne did a good job at BP then he deserves his money - but not being business minded I cannot comment on whether he did a good job or not -I leave that to the 'experts'

If he lied under oath then he knew the score since he is not unintelligent. I guess that if telling the truth brings pain to someone you love then. I can't hand on heart say I would not be tempted to lie -but have to be prepared to take the consequences.

but knowing the possible consequences why did he not let it continue without comment - he didn't have to say anything todays news is quickly forgotten.

What appals me is the way men and women have affairs - or get married and then try and use it to get money - it is prostitution even in marriage if children are not there to be cared for.

ALSO -what is it about the British that sex demands resignation? I am sure on the continent such a fuss would not be made.

I do, however, question the judgements of people like Browne, Prescott, etc they do not seem to have aquired a judgement of character, which is a fatal flaw.

Hugo Brampton said...

1. Lied under oath

2. Crawled up Tony Blair's arse

Why should I feel sorry for this creature?

and if it had been a whore he'd had an affair with it'd be all over the media too so don't play the gay sympathy card.

forthurst said...

klThe Times:

"The judge said he would not be reporting Lord Browne’s lie to the Attorney-General because “it is probably sufficient penalty that the claimant’s behaviour has had to be mentioned in this judgment”."

The Telegraph article by legal editor, Joshua Rozenberg (husband of Mail journalist, Melanie Phillips):

"The Mail on Sunday is to hand court papers about the deception to Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, arguing that there is a case for the businessman to be charged with perjury. Jonathan Aitken, the former Tory defence minister, and Lord Archer, the former Tory deputy chairman, were both jailed for perjury."

Oh really? And coming from the legal editor of a broadsheet. If he doesn't understand the difference between someone lying to protect his privacy and someone using a lie as the basis for a libel suit, then he should not be employed in his current capacity.

People in business operate in the real world and were well aware of Lord Browne's homosexuality, but being 'out' would have made it difficult for the head of a multinational oil company which goes whereever the oil is.

javelin said...

Iain - pot, kettle, blog about gay footballers?

And whilst we're on the subject ...

Apparently (so they say), gays, non-whites, immigrants, women, and the poor are still all being discrimated against by us straight, middle-class, middle-aged white males, who are too busy working their arses off to disriminate against anybody.

The longevity gap in the UK for poverty is 5 years, the same as between men and women - you don't see us men banging on about how unfair that is and how we [men] must retire early.

The discrimination industry is all about justifying taking money from hard working men and lining other peoples pockets.

penlan said...

Quite right,Forthurst.It is not like Aitken or Archer.He worked wonders with BP and we have all,as taxpayers ,benefitted from his skill.I think he has suffered enough.

DanG said...

Guido Faux said...

@Verity 1:19PM

Hmmm - maybe what I said wasn't clear.

I know prostitution is illegal but I don't think it *should* be.

May 02, 2007 2:59 PM

Is it?

Anonymous said...

i dont think you're right that it wdnt have been in the papers if he wasnt gay to the extent that it was, iain.

anyone met on a call girl website offering fetish services, then set her up in business and used official services for her benefit and then lied in court about her?

quite.

Anonymous said...

Any heterosexual man who says that he has "never paid for sex" has obviously never read his wife's credit card statement...

Anonymous said...

I just don't know about this, Iain. It doesn't seem that Browne was just trying to keep his private life private - his sexuality wasn't even the main thrust of the story, rather it was the allegations that he abused his position and possibly even the facilities at BP to prop up his boyfriend's business.

In a way wasn't he playing the sexuality card in trying to use that factor to keep quiet the bigger story?

I agree with you that the press are making a bigger deal of it because he's gay, and that is wrong, but it seems he saw a handy way to try to keep this story down. He's a tough cookie and a wily businessman - that's why he's been so successful - and he was using every weapon in his arsenal, including exploiting the sexuality issue, to fight this battle.

He has certainly been sinned against, but the allegations are that he did a deal of sinning himself in his business dealings.

verity said...

Guido Faux writes: "I know prostitution is illegal but I don't think it *should* be."

Prostitution is illegal? It most assuredly is not. Soliciting on the street is, I believe, illegal, but prostitution per se is not illegal.

Ordinary Housewife writes: "ALSO -what is it about the British that sex demands resignation? I am sure on the continent such a fuss would not be made."

You seem to have missed the key point of the story. He lied under oath. That means he committed perjury. That is a crime.

This man guided a publicly owned company into a position of world dominance. He is a canny, clever operator, not some naive little person who gets paid to say, "Do you want fries with that?" 10,000 times a day. He's a highly intelligent, very savvy CEO at the highest international level. He knew damn' fine he was committing perjury, he knew the consequences and he did it anyway. Which is typical of NuLabour arrogance.

I'd still be interested to hear how much he paid for his peerage, of which he ought, in a sane world, to be stripped.

Forthurst and Penian - He committed perjury. Why do some people on this thread not seem to be able to grasp this? He lied under oath.

Yes, he worked wonders for BP. He is a very savvy individual. He knows the angles. He knows the odds.

Laurence Boyce said...

If Matthew Parris was a born again Christian, and had used his Times column to fart on about it as much as he uses it for gay propaganda, he would have been sacked long ago.

What a sad case you are weasel. In fact the Times is simply stuffed with religiose establishment bores who manage between them to produce more flatulence than is normally considered healthy. Parris is frankly the only reason to buy it.

"burn the fags" time said...

The santimonious twaddle on here about perjury really is vomit-inducing.

It's a pharisaic fig-leaf for some really quite nasty queer-bashing.

If there's any shame flying around, it should belong to some of the bigots venting their hate and bile.

wrinkled weasel said...

anon 2.05 First no brownie points for hiding behind your anonymity.

Second, your pathetic attempt at a Fisking:

1. an apologist can be simply one who espouses a particular view.
2. I wrote, "he shamlessly uses his position, not, "he is shamelessly gay".
3 proselytize. At this point I believe you simply have no idea what you are talking about.
4.Society is tolerant of many different lifestyles. I was born here but I don't go cruising on Hampstead Heath for rent boys or, like many gays, engage in unsafe sex. Furthermore, I don't spend my time trying to justify my sexual preferences, or marching down the street proclaiming my heterosexuality or wearing little badges or hanging around in bars looking for sex or playing the "het" card whenever someone has a legitimate argument with me. I disagree with that type of lifestyle choice because I think it is seedy and immoral.

I do not think that homosexuality is immoral and I do not think that same sex partnerships are immoral. I believe that a loving partnership can be meaningful and good regardless of sexual orientation.

Lord Browne is a typical example of somebody who "feasted with Panthers" and now all those soppy homos want him to be the martyred gay. He is not a martyr, he is a git who picked up a quick fuck and then dumped him when it didn't suit, and then lied to try and preserve some shred of decency he never had in the first place.



Time for you to grow up and shut up Mr Anon.

Anonymous said...

now I remember who Lord Browne reminds me of:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/lj7te

verity said...

"burn the fags" time - What an insecure person you must be! If it had been a Conservative who lied under oath, you'd be slavvering at the mouth.

There are a couple of people here who seem to be anti-gay, but most of us are voicing a strong opinion about the arrogance of the socialists, who think they are entitled to get away with anything. He's a socialist peer. Is there anything on earth more hypocritical?

Also, I want to know how much money he "donated" to the Labour Party to get a peerage. And did he donate his own funds or BP funds? Same old Labour sleaze.

Chris said...

On the substantive issue, Browne almost certainly abused BP resources albeit in a "small" way - after all what's one first class trip here or there?
I'm sure that an expense fiddle of a fraction of that amount by a more lowly employee would have earned the sack.

Not only did he lie to the court about the escort agency, but also about the guy's supposed alcohol and drug problem, for which the judge concluded there was no evidence.

Now this would be a story in the Mail or any other paper, and a big problem for Browne, whether the other party in question was a male of female escort.

The judge does the justice system no favours by saying that he will not be pushing the perjury any further on the grounds that Browne has "suffered enough".

One law for the rich...not good enough.

And can we ditch the propaganda about his business genius?

Have you spotted that the oil price has soared? I think BP would have performed well under any one of the talented managers who were in the running for the top job at the time.

NB BP has in fact *underperformed* the average global oil company over the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

It is shameful to lie in Court........ end of story

kris said...

BtFs

Exactly! I shouldn't think Wrinkled Weasel has anything to worry about ;-)

jafo said...

Have to say I don't agree with you here, Iain.

The original story had nothing whatever to do with Lord Browne being gay, it was that he had abused his position and was misusing the facilities of BP for his own purposes. He started playing the gay card by trying to stop publication on the grounds of infringing his privacy because he was gay. But that wasn't a secret at all, as he well knew, couldn't possibly have been as he was taking his male partner to high-profile functions. He obviously didn't feel ashamed of being gay then - and indeed, why should he?

However, in order to stop the shareholders and Board of Directors from finding out what he had been doing, he lied under oath. As he is a very rich man, he must have had some extremely high-priced legal advice, and made his statement with the benefit of that advice. He didn't suddenly tell a fib when caught on the hop. He also spent some considerable time trashing his former lover, saying he was unstable and on drugs and couldn't be believed. This being the man he was taking to Downing Street parties!

Tragic that a distinguished career should end like this - but he's not a victim, he brought it on himself when he chose to lie to the Court.

Hey said...

The publication ban is keeping the true scandal out of the papers.

He had no reason to lie about being gay since his mother is 4 years dead and he was out to those in his social and business circle. You're not exactly closeted when your "life partner" goes with you to dinner with Brown, Blair, or Mandelson or to company functions. Not being out in the annual report, sure, but it wasn't exactly a state secret.

There is a difference when your life partner is more a rent boy who you've kept for four years and helped fiddle his visa. Lying about a prostitute is an equal opportunity offence, and no one gets away with the claim that they're simply rescuing fallen women, like some long ago politicians. Rent-boy brought into the highest councils of business and state, making allegations about misuse of company property.

Using one's position to defame another and to advance one's own perjury truly is a horrible thing to do. Browne needs to be prosecuted for his actions.

He only quit 3 months early, though the court case did have him advance his departure from 2008 to 2007 in his hope that he'd have left before the case made its way through the courts. Browne has been calculating, cynical, and manipulative in his pursuit of this case, rather than a vitim.

ordinary housewife said...

I know perjury is the crime Verity but almost always sex is the thing that is lied about.
If the British did not make such a thing about it the papers would not be so anxious to dish the dirt on everyone and these lowlifes would not be able to exert blackmail.

anon said...

I think all of those things listed are shameful, and I don't think there is anything bad about having an inherent sense of shame in oneself. It gives one humility and a desire to better oneself, besides acting as a motivating factor to be a better person. It should be noted though that it wasn't shame over his sexuality so much as shame over his having hired a prostitute that caused him to lie in court.

I think it admirable that he should act unselfishly in acting deference to his mother, rather than pursuing the modern policy of "I'm going to do it because I want to do it".

Associated Newspapers meanwhile provide another example of the media acting in the public interest - by screwing up someone's career for the sake of some tittle tattle - unless they think Lord Browne's sexual proclivities meant he should be sacked or some such, in which case I disagree.

Sure, they'll claim it was about abuse of position, but the thing that was going to get sales was the sex. I quote Mr B.Johnson writing in the Telegraph a little while back: "newspapers sell sex". All of them, these days, even the Times and Telegraph.

I'll end commenting on this quote:

"Today nobody cares that he's gay. He could sleep with goats as far as I'm concerned"

This is simply not true. You mean the majority of middle class young people don't care. In any case, he resigned because he lied in court, not because of homosexuality being a resigning offence.

hg said...

He's a socialist peer. Is there anything on earth more hypocritical?

Verity you have it. Whatever are socialists doing in a House of Lords?

verity said...

When I first read about this on Iain's blog this morning, it immediately reeked, in my mind, of Labour sleaze. As is so often the way that Labour stories are spun, something was missing; something didn't read quite right.

So thanks to Jafo and Hey for their elucidations.

Ordinary Housewife comes bounding in with a great non sequitur: "I know almost always sex is the thing that is lied about.
If the British did not make such a thing about it the papers would not be so anxious to dish the dirt on everyone and these lowlifes would not be able to exert blackmail."

If you think gossip about sex is a British obsession rather than a universal one, you have not been exposed to much of the world. I assure you that sexual tittle has a universal fascination. Just because it's not allowed to be published in France does not mean to say that people are not interested.

I don't know that your statement that sex is "almost always" the thing that is lied about. I am guessing money outranks sex.

In any event, it is not pertinent. The man committed perjury.

Anon 7:44 - I believe he screwed up his own career. And then tried to blame everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Browne is considered such a great businessman anyway. The way the oil price has gone, BP would surely have made tremendous profits whoever was in charge. Couldn't be that Browne's path was eased to the top because he is a NuLab crony I suppose?

city trader said...

Let me dispel a myth being repeated on this thread.

In the City, Browne is not considered to have made a spectacular success of leading BP.

ALL the oil majors have increased profits hugely in recent years because oil prices have risen strongly, BP, however, have underperformed most of their peers.

ordinary housewife said...

OK he committed perjury and got found out - he's paying the price. There does seem very little compassion around and a hell of a lot of condemnation when perjury over far more serious things has been committed in Parliament - i.e. Iraq!

Someone's sexual indiscretions are not to be compared with the results of that.
and maybe its not such a bad idea if we followed the French example - hypocritical editors would not have amunition then and low life could crawl back under its stone.

some of us have had to see the results of 'sexual tittle tattle' in ruined lives.

OK justice demands that the purity of the crime is punished -but if justice is tempered by mercy or compassion in some cases why when it comes to a rich man is it not to be countenanced?

He has poor judgement - what socialist in high position hasn't!

One has actually seen quite a lot of the world verity and am aware how British attitudes on the subject often baffle -french, german, japanese, turkish friends.

Anonymous said...

It is no longer shameful to be gay.
I think you'll find it is. I also think you'll find they are God's (or, if you prefer, nature's) norms!

Anonymous said...

It is a shame he lied

tory boys never grow up said...

I generally agree with the tone of what you are saying - but pontificating on what is and what isn't shameful is a dangerous game. Shame is very much in the eye of the beholder. Personally - I think it would be shameful to vote Tory - but many here would disagree.

Only if there is a pretty overwhelming consensus in the society in which you operate can anything be considered shameful in a meaningful sense - In Lord Browne's case I suspect that this means perjury and even in this day and age anyone of any gender looking to pay for sex with anyone else. That said I suspect that he has now suffered more than enough for his sins - and perhaps its about time some attention was paid to the shameful and vindicative reptiles at the Mail.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Funny how Jeffrey Archer went to prison for perjury and this guy did not. why is that?

Anonymous said...

I've no sympathy for the People's Peer.

BP and its subsidiary Ropemaker want to concrete over 1000 acres and upwards of stunning Essex Green Belt, the vital green lungs of London, to build 25,000 houses at Harlow North.

This will overwhelm our already hugely strained infrastructure: water, sewerage, schools, health care, existing road congestion, employment demand. And when will infrastructure be put in place for this monstrous carbuncle? BP aren't saying.

The Newsletter of CPREssex Issue No 3 - February 2007 states that the 'two proposals - at Stansted Airport and North Harlow – are potentially the most serious threats that Essex has ever faced.

The development - which local campaign group Stop Harlow North claims will make £6 billion for BP - was resoundingly rejected by the government's own Inspectors as unsustainable. Ruth Kelly cynically rejected the inspectors' recomendations.

CPRE says this huge development would blight the lives of many thousands of people and seriously erode property values. The ‘knock-on’ effects could stretch right across the county.

Doesn't the 'people's peer' doesn't give two hoots about the people of Harlow, Stansted or Essex?

So, look at my face, John Browne, do I look bovvered about your problems?

Auntie Flo'

Hey said...

Ordinary housewife is anything but. That's exactly the demographic that gets most outraged about older men dating much younger women and hiring much younger women to be their playthings on an ongoing basis.

It's not the sex that was the cause of the perjury, it is the degraded way that the encountered one another. Being tumbled in the bushes of the park is one thing, but hiring a rent boy is something completely different. For a full and complete examination of the story, see the US version of the May 2nd Wall Street Jorunal (available online to subscribers and through most major databases)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It is no longer shameful to be gay.
I think you'll find it is. I also think you'll find they are God's (or, if you prefer, nature's) norms

Which God might that be, Anon, the punitive God of the Old Testament? The one conjured up during the dark age of humanity who demands an eye for an eye? The utterly perfect God who's person and Bible is riddled with contradiction and inconsistancies?

Seems to me that my beautiful gay daughter and I could demand two of your fingers as compensation for that homophobic insult. But we're Christian progressives so we'll settle for telling you to p**s off.

Auntie Flo'

Hey said...

I heartily second the point that Lord Browne screwed up by the numbers. When you are dallying with tarts of any persuasion, you had best ensure that you've bought their perpetual silence. A man who can give up 15 million pounds in compensation when the story comes out can easily afford to pay 100 or 200 grand a year to keep his former paramour's lips sealed.

Chevalier is a bounder and a cad, but a young man working on a gay escort site shouldn't be expected to be of sterling virtue. Browne is the one who was a fool, a knave, and ended up a criminal.

Using a 5.9% discount rate, 30 years of 200 grand payments to this cheavlier chap would have been less than the SALARY that Browne gave up for this year, not to mention the 12 million pounds in deferred compensation he lot by not being part of the long term bonus scheme.

So perhaps rather than this being the case of a surfeit of shame, it is in fact a demonstration of the problems of its lack. If Baron Madingley had an appropriate sense of shame he could have made better decisions as to how to deal with a fairly unsavoury lover with whom he wished to part ways. He would have best been advised to call around to the heads of other oil majors, fellow board members, or chaps at any of the clubs where he was a member and ask their advice as to how they dealt with a mistress they wished to be rid of (without calling in the Russians).

Overall this just highlights how very capable and bright people can be very, very stupid in their personal lives. As to his business acumen... it's rather hard to screw up when oil goes from $12 to $60/barrel, but his Amoco merger was a decent one. Not a genius, but not a brick, and he had impeccable timing and luck till yesterday.

Verity said...

Precisely, Hey. There are a lot of undercurrents to this story and one of them is, why didn't Browne just pay his gay escort off?

The fellow wasn't upset. He'd only ever been in it for the money, which is why he was on that site. £150,000 a year for life. "I can recommend an investment specialist. Cause problems and it comes to the end and I'll take the consequences because I am smarter and better connected than you are."

This was the best gig this guy was ever going to have. He's already getting over the hill trickwise.

Voyager said...

How much more spectacular would BP have been if they had not lost all that Alaskan oil through pipeline leaks (you'd think it was Thames Water)

and igniting a refinery did little for sales of refined product

That Alaskan pipeline put California and the West Coast at risk of petrol rationing at a time of tension in the MIddle East

BP may have benefitted from Shell's dodgy oil reserve accounting, but I don't think killing employees to save money or polluting the environment are signs of successful businesses

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that my beautiful gay daughter and I ...
Any photos? ;-)

ordinary housewife said...

I am well aware that he lied because of the way he met this man

I am well aware that perjury is a crime that deserves punishment (and going to jail didn't exactly cause Aitkin and Archer a terrible lot on inconvenience did it- the shame is worse)

but which one of us pontificating is so pure of heart and action that there isn't something in our lives of which we are ashamed? If you declare you are that squeaky clean- then you too are guilty of perjury.

I certainly am ordinary - "..no people are uninteresting their fate is like the chronicle of planets" (Yevgeny Yevtushenko)so in that respect no one is ordinary but in the eyes of our so sophisticated country...

and - I get outraged at anyone using another person regardless of age, gender, or position in life

so long -off to the village hall to vote -now I guess that is ordinary enough.

Anonymous said...

This bloke made his private life a public issue. It wasn't done to him, he did it to himself.

The people banging on about his sexuality are gayists outraged that any non-hetero should ever be accountable for anything they do.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that my beautiful gay daughter and I could demand two of your fingers
Is that one each?

Christina said...

Great post Iain! Agree 100%

forthurst said...

The Daily Telegraph has revealed itself to be a tawdrey heap of shit yet again.

By Andrew Pierce:

"In his ruling Mr Justice Eady said that he could refer the deceit to the Attorney General but added: "In any event, it is probably sufficient penalty that the claimant's [Lord Browne] behaviour has had to be mentioned in this judgment.""

Mr Justice Eady:

68: I could refer the matter to the Attorney-General but I cannot think that anything would be achieved by doing so. In any event, it is probably sufficient penalty that the Claimant’s behaviour has had to be mentioned in this judgment.

Notice the missing words, "but I cannot think that anything would be achieved by doing so."

In other words the DT has deliberately misquoted the Judge in order to bolster its claim that the Attorney General is to examine whether there should be a criminal prosecution.

Incidentally the last I read, some time ago, Browne was a 'working' Labour peer having made one appearance only at his place of 'work'.

verity said...

Why not Chippy, Boring Housewife?


I certainly am ordinary - "..no people are uninteresting their fate is like the chronicle of planets" (Yevgeny Yevtushenko)so in that respect no one is ordinary but in the eyes of our so sophisticated country...


The "but which one of us" argument can be used to explain anything. Browne's a sleaze. He got his trick off a site for gay prostitutes - which is entirely his business - then embarked on a series of lies, in court, about this chap to save his own reputation, painted himself into a situation where he had to lie about it, and committed perjury rather than saying "Uh, I may have been too hasty. I would like to correct my testimony." He was confident that his word, that of a "lord" would be easily accepted over that of a male prostitute. He persisted out of the arrogant notion that he could get away with it.

This whole story is very, very Nu Labour. Sleaze, sleaze, sleaze.

Dave said...

I'm a proud, out gay man. Always have been and it hasn't always been easy.
But I know 2 junior doctors, various lawyers, BBC reporters and even a man who owns a chain of Hairdressing salons... all of whom who aren't out.
They don't hide it, but they don't particularly mention it either. And for the doctors and the lawyers if they did come out they say it would damage their careers. I think they are cowards.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't Browne simply settle down with a Goldman boy ? I mean there must be a selection of bankers who have crossed his path over the years.....

boring housewife said...

Oh dear

I actually thought one copuld argue a point without name calling

sorry that's not me

so cheerio folks

sorry for boring you