I've been reluctant to join in the debate surrounding Mark Oaten. We all have skeletons in our closets. We are all economical with the truth on occasion (if we are honest enough to admit that).
I don't blame politicians for being overly careful about what they say and for not wanting to disclose too much about their personal lives and past views. I accept that this dishonesty of politicians is the price we have to pay until the public's hysterical reaction to every indiscretion becomes more reasonable. This hysteria is stirred up by our disreputable press. Who in their life has not made a mistake? It is how we learn from our mistakes that is important.
But aside from the point of cheating on his wife, I do think the general point about the use of prostitutes is something that does need to be addressed.
Over 18% of men admit to considering using prostitutes and 10% admit they have already done so. There is a far larger percentage that finds little wrong in using prostitutes and a majority sexist culture that actively promotes a debasing view of women and homosexuals.
It is this culture that is at fault. Using prostitutes should be as reprehensible as drink driving. It destroys lives. Ninety five percent of female prostitutes in the UK use heroin or crack cocaine, increasingly it is women that are forced into the trade that make up the numbers. Pimps target those most at risk - those mid teens recently out of care or girls lured from abroad with promises of respectable jobs. Prostitution is not a nice way of making a living, very few are mentally strong enough to thrive in such a career.
For these reasons it is not the prostitutes who should be targeted, but the men who demand their services. Naming and shaming is one way of discouragement and this should be accompanied with more stringent punishments, maybe even imprisonment. The real criminals here are the kerb crawlers.