No Sex Please, He's British


The Washington Post Online's Jefferson Morley (forever famous as "one of the few journalists with the courage to try crack before reporting on it") anatomizes a Britain-based sex scandal that's roiling Tony Blair's reelection campaign. The short version: Home Secretary David Blunkett had been involved with, then spurned by, "American socialite" Kimberly Quinn.

The result is a lesson in international, coff coff, affairs:

The Blunkett affair is a reminder that the political sex scandal, like rock and roll music, is an Anglo-Saxon art form that the Europeans have never mastered. Time and again, the elites of "Old Europe" have proven themselves utterly incapable of whipping themselves into a frenzy about their leaders' love lives.

In the French press, for example, Mrs. Jacques Chirac is occasionally quoted commenting wryly on her 72-year old husband's habitual (some say pathetic) infidelities. In America, such a revelation would go straight to page one. In Paris, Chirac's rivals and the French press corps choose not to choreograph the details of the president's private life into a melodrama of political morality. Some will see evidence that the French are cynical and lack values, others that Americans are arrogant and lack manners. Either way, you have the gist of the European-American political impasse—and you don't have to read Thomas Friedman to get it.

The good news in any of this?

"The furor over Blunkett "is unlikely to derail Blair's election campaign," said the Mirror, "but may add to a mood of public mistrust in government."

Whole thing here.