Having made such a pig’s ear of being British prime minister it is rather strange for critics to say David Cameron is now unfit for the job because of an (alleged) youthful dalliance with a dead pig.
As startlingly bizarre as the revelation in a hostile biography of what Mr Cameron got up to at Oxford is, you cannot base your assessment of politicians on what they did at university decades earlier.
Former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft is still smarting so much from being snubbed by Cameron for the top government job he believed he deserved in 2010 that the incredible wealthy peer has co-penned a book which has drawn global attention for claiming that in order to join snooty Oxford club Piers Gaveston, Mr Cameron inserted a “private part of his body” into a severed pig’s head which was resting on the lap of a friend at the time.
The claims were greeted by a mixture of mass hilarity tingled with a feeling of intense creepiness, but it is hardly the resigning issue some claim because university life does not provide an education in how the under graduate will turn out when they get to rule over us.
Was Brian Cowen a disastrous taoiseach because he famously had a few puffs of weed at UCD? No, he was a terrible taoiseach because he allowed himself to become engulfed by the dire economic events he helped create as the finance minister who let the boom explode.
And this weird initiation thing seems to be a bit of a theme with posh frat boy types as George W Bush was dogged by talk of his time at Yale’s Skull and Bones “secret society” where members have to do things in front of each other involving an open coffin and an act of self-love in order to be accepted — allegedly.
These claims surfaced in his election campaign in 2000 and drew comment, but what really mattered about Bush’s past was that long after college he was convicted of drink driving — a fact he failed to share with voters until it was uncovered just before the election.
Bush then effectively hid behind his teenage twin daughters saying he did not come clean with the American public because it would embarrass them, not because he was suppressing a dirty little secret.
The college antics had no bearing on his fitness for the presidency, the reluctance to tell the truth about a DUI certainly did.
Barack Obama tells us of his use of hard drugs like cocaine as a young man in his first memoir Dreams From My Father, it was a breakthrough revelation as voters took his assurance that the dabbling was never serious and judged him on matters of more substance.
The most ridiculous comment on PigGate came from faded miserablist Morrissey, who demanded Mr Cameron’s resignation if the allegations were true, saying: “No, boys won’t be boys — not when it’s sexual perversion and also involves a vulnerable victim of slaughter, a feeling being who lost his or her life and then was used for a prank. Where have we seen other people in power misusing and sexually abusing corpses? A prime minister is supposed to protect the most vulnerable.” When you have the likes of Morrissey trying to trash talk you into standing down and comparing Cameron’s alleged relations with a severed pig’s head to necrophilia, things have really gone a bit far.
And while Mr Cameron is clearly not terribly keen on allowing more immigrants into Britain, he has never said anything as overtly racist as Morrissey’s’s 2010 description of the Chinese as a “sub-species” because of the way they treat animals.
Mr Cameron can be blamed for many things: delaying the British recovery by more than two years due to a hardline agenda of economic cutbacks; throwing a bone to his rabid Euro-hating right-wing in the form of an in-out EU referendum which may well now end in an accidental exit for Britain even though the prime minister is dead against such an outcome, bombing Gaddafi out of power without a reconstruction plan for Libya which means it is now not just a failed state, but a breeding ground for Islamic State as well, to name just three, but PigGate is not the reason to push him from power.
Mr Cameron’s lack of judgment regarding a dead pig while a teenager is one thing, appointing a man like Andy Coulson, who later went to jail over phone-hacking, as his press secretary despite all advice not to touch the guy, is another.
But the thing that has really left Mr Cameron humiliated, and a world-wide laughing stock, was his decision to royally piss off a vengeful billionaire like Lord Ashcroft.
True or false, this is one game of piggy in the middle that will haunt Cameron to his grave.
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