Monday, November 23, 2009

Shock revelation! Single man has sex! Sack him!

Okay, it’s not quite that simple, but it’s not far off either. South Australian Premier Mike Rann, before he was engaged to his current wife – and many years after his divorce from his first wife – had, it seems, a racy affair with a foxy blonde Parliament House waitress. Michelle Chantelois was married at the time.

About six weeks ago, her estranged husband hit Mike Rann in the head with a rolled-up magazine at an ALP fundraiser in Adelaide. Since then, gossip has been rife as to his motives. And today, an interview with Chantelois was published in New Idea, following an interview on Channel Seven’s Today Tonight last night. In the interviews, she goes into great detail about where and when they had sex, how many times, what he did and said to her. I won’t repeat it here because I wish I’d never read it. I just don’t need to know – and neither does anyone else.

Rann seems to have gone into Clintonesque lawyer mode. He has admitted a ‘friendship’ with Chantelois, yet has not said what that means. Interestingly, he has not outright denied a sexual relationship with her, though he has said that the television program contained false allegations. (Presumably, not the basic fact of the relationship.)

Richard Phillips, the cuckolded husband, is calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the matter. He said: ‘Based upon what's been said, it is my opinion that Mr Rann has taken advantage of my wife's youthful naivety and vulnerability during a very difficult time for our marriage and our family and has shown that he lacks the personal qualities and character to remain in the office of the Premier.’

I hope – and suspect – that we have learned from the American experience. Bill Clinton’s ‘bimbo eruptions’, most notably the one involving a blue dress, DNA testing and Kenneth Starr, didn’t kill his presidency, but wounded it badly. When his anointed successor, Al Gore, ran against a reformed alcoholic and failed businessman with far, far more money than sense, the public humiliation of the Clinton era contributed to his only just failing to win the vote.

Because they were was sick of listening to descriptions of the president’s penis and semen-stained dresses, Americans chose a man now known for mangling the English language, starting the most ill-conceived and ill-starred war since Vietnam, and widening the gap between rich and poor to an extent that triggered the next world depression, over a man who has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to fight climate change. (Which the man who beat him for the top job doesn’t even believe in, incidentally.)

Mike Rann’s sex life has no bearing whatsoever on his performance as Premier. And at any rate, having sex with a married woman while single himself – while not the best behaviour – is more a reflection on the person betraying their partner than on him.

‘I knew it was wrong but I was attracted to him,’ she has said. ‘I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because I have made my bed and I have to lie in it. But Mike Rann used me to stroke his own ego and pride and unlike me he has suffered no consequences … ‘I don’t think he should be premier, it’s time he took responsibility for his actions.’

Generally I would agree that it’s unfair that the woman has to bear the brunt of the misbehaviour of two people. But in this case, she has suffered the consequences because she’s the one who was married and thus had more to lose. That’s the way it goes, surely. She says she lost her administration job at an Adelaide high school over the incident. The SA Education Department says that had nothing to do with it – her contract wasn’t renewed, as many contract workers’ jobs aren’t. In a time of economic crisis – a crisis that has been particularly pronounced in SA – this sounds plausible.

And I find it interesting that a woman who has detailed her sex life in excruciating detail in exchange for a great deal of money from the media can talk about using someone to stroke their ego. It sounds like revenge for a relationship gone wrong to me.

Both the public and Rann himself can learn from Bill Clinton. The public should judge their politicians on their politics. And Rann should take note of the fact that Bill Clinton’s real trouble was his dissembling – the tricky definitions of what ‘sexual relations’ meant, for instance. If Rann admits the truth and moves on, hopefully the public will, too.


Barossa Observer said...

Actually, there is more to it than that. The most recent version of the job story is that she VOLUNTARILY RESIGNED last week; it was not even a case of her contract not being renewed.

Makes you wonder where Today Tonigh - sorry, Sunday Night - got their information. If it was her, it starts to call into question the veracity of the rest of her story, especially since the Premier has now categorically denied they ever had sex.

Ariel said...

Oh, you're kidding ...

Yes, I saw that he's completely denied the sex story now. Which does seem odd and risky behaviour if he is lying. All very odd, actually.

Weird that he admitted to having a 'flirty' relationship, though. He's either very honest or very slippery.

Barossa Observer said...

I've met him a couple of times at functions ... he IS a flirt.

My take on this is that she took the flirting way too much to heart, especially in light of his support for her relationship problems, took advantage of him having given her his private phone number and proceeded to text him mercilessly ... to the extent that he had to change his number (which she has admitted to). She felt spurned by him, her already disastrous marriage fell apart, her ex-husband imploded and now she blames Mike Rann for it all.

Hence the need to bear all, even to the detriment of the health and happiness of her own children (which is, incidentally, the most alarming aspect of this but which is the one being the least discussed)

Anonymous said...

I agree that the children are the real victims. I really think it unlikely that there has been enough research done into the facts before the story went to air - and it will be interesting to see the outcome of the case Rann is bringing against the media.

Ariel said...

Yes, agreed that it's the children who are faring worst out of this. I do still think so what if it was true, but it is starting to seem it isn't. Surely it would be crazy to lie if it was!

Barossa Observer, your take on it seems plausible.

I do think it very odd that she went public with all the intimate details of their affair so she wouldn't go to her grave having lived with these lies. What, so having not told the world about your sex life - having only told your family and intimates - is 'living with lies'. So, yeah, she's not the most credible person.

I don't know ...

Kath Lockett said...

I don't know either....

...except that it shouldn't affect his ability to do his day job.

yvonne said...

i belive michelle as i had a bad experince in london with a consulate called mark chay in london i went to get my daughter hes job was to help me get her home instead he used hes job to continusly have hes way with me and threaten if i told any one he would see to it to have us put in jail by planting drugs on us and being a long way home we could not say any thing to any one after 2 years of him taking all my money i told my daughter back home then every thing came out even the media told a story i was in the paper had to move as the story was not the same my daughter has since died i live with it every day but i was ver vounulible as i was in shocked as my daughter was very bad accident etc i am sick of hearing theze sleezy men use there proffesion to get there graterfercations and we are the ones they talk about that is not fair as they have money and top lawers to pay them to get off yet we have to find the money to get help sikoligy and a good lawyer keep going machelle i trully hope you win to get rid off this sleeze bag yvonne

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