The second point is prurience, or the sadistic pleasure our press has in raking over the sex lives of anyone in the public eye. Just because you're famous and/or powerful doesn't mean the rest of the world has a right to know what those people get up to in private. Leaving aside public interest for a moment, it's worth noting this is a forced outing. Using someone's hitherto hidden sexuality as a weapon is pretty shitty behaviour, and for what reason? The only justification for such a thing is where a public figure is persecuting LGBT people or sermonising on sexual morality while hypocritically indulging their heart's desire privately. You can criticise Keith Vaz for the many political positions he's taken over the years, but fanning the flames of homophobic bigotry isn't one of them. Indeed, in 2013 he supported equal marriage when it was put to the House. It wouldn't matter if it was a one-off, but these revelations turn up the day after Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain was forced to come out after threats of tabloid exposure. Again, mayhaps there was justification if he curdled fire and brimstone against "the gays" from his pulpit, but he did nothing of the sort. I both cases it's the joy of exposing someone's sex life to public scrutiny on the flimsy pretext of shifting a few more papers.
Yet, is there a genuine public interest case here beyond snigger-snigger tittle tattle? You might argue there's a conflict of interest. After all, as chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee overseeing laws on prostitution and drugs, being caught on tape soliciting and discussing controlled substances can't be portrayed any other way. And yet the practices of our mighty democracy are riddled with conflicts of interest that never attract as much interest. Conservative members, who just so happen to have holdings in private health, voting for the transformation of the NHS into taxpayer-bankrolled market. Or members from all sides with one, two, many tenants to their name voting down minimum standards for private rented accommodation. Keith Vaz's position on liberalising prostitution and having a softer line on drugs may or may not be related to his peccadilloes, but his is hardly the most egregious example of public and private life coming into tension with one another. There is, just about, a public interest, but the fact heavy media rotation has focused on it so much when other issues of greater import don't warrant that interest is yet another pointer at our rotten politics.