A Pig and a Prime Minister

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Unless you’ve been in a remote location or having some kind of self-imposed media blackout for the past 24 hours you’ve probably heard about the allegations made by Lord Ashcroft about David Cameron’s university days, which primarily involve drugs, a pig’s head and a desire for intimacy. The response of Facebook has certainly been less encompassing than Twitter, where pork puns, bacon banter and gammon GIFs galore have become the news gift that keeps on giving.

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As predictably as government critics are to make hay over such a story, Conservatives have been quick to deny or downplay the rumours. The official channels to Downing Street have decided not to comment at the time of writing – but David Cameron is bound to face some kind of ridicule during Wednesday’s parliamentary Question Time.

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It will be likely that it will be passed of by the sympathetic press and supporters as ‘just a bit of Jack-the-lad behaviour’ in his more youthful days, unless Cameron takes legal action over the comments of course – but whether or not he committed the act isn’t even the most important part anymore.

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The notion that interests me is that people – quite large in number having seen some of the messages and jokes that have been tweeted – think that it is likely to be true. This says as much about modern politicians as it does about the Prime Minister. More alarmingly – what does it say to the rest of the world? Does such an action or implication of having performed such an act weaken the national leader on the international stage?

Can an alleged pig fucker seriously negotiate on trade agreements and international diplomacy?

The story is entirely plausible because this government has form: there were allegations that Chancellor George Osborne partied more than once with cocaine and prostitutes. The Conservative government is a ‘who’s who’ of public school and Oxbridge education – and this is the kind of thing that us plebs can assume happens in passing when the extremely wealthy choose to play. Given that Iain Duncan Smith, one of the few government ministers not born into wealth, felt the need to create a CV with some dubious claims – tells its own story about social mobility and the desperation to get to to the top table –  along with MPs expenses previously ranging from the whimsical to the lavish – compound the feeling that a large chunk of the political class live in an entirely different sphere to those who they are representing, where normal rules – and laws – don’t apply.

Its a wider theme –  when Joe Public see footballers salaries go intergalactic and hear the tittle-tattle of footballers’ sordid exploits even those that don’t harm the well-being of others – like when some are using money in place of toilet roll and others merely having their own bling shower it really normalises ostentation and fetishises poverty contempt.

If senior figures in politics and the media are still scratching their head as to why Jeremy Corbyn attracted so many Labour votes in the recent leadership contest – perhaps they’d do well to stop and wonder what people think their politicians are capable of, and just how much the public believe they’re listening.

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