Monday, 21 September 2015


So it has been alleged that David Cameron put his wang into the mouth of a dead pig while at university, as part of some elaborate hazing ritual to get into a dining club. A large number of people on social media - including basically everyone I know - have been delighted with this revelation. But why exactly..? Certainly my visceral response was to be amused more than anything, and I think that's the general tone everyone seems to have taken. Is this perfectly normal, or it is a bit weird of us? Is it all just Schadenfreude because we don't like him? Here are some thoughts oh yes.

Nobody seems to think Cameron fucking a pig is a resignation issue

I think this is pretty interesting and significant. I'm sure there is the odd person baying for his blood, but considering how often 'humourless lefties' etc do call for the scalps of rightwing politicians, it's notable that that's not really the vibe here. Should having fucked a dead pig in your youth be a resignation issue? I mean, I suppose it comes down to perception, really: it's presumably considerably less illegal than taking shitload of drugs, which by the same account DC has done, and nobody is bothered about that at all. But if the entire world thinks you're a sexually wayward oddball it surely intrinsically damages the standing of the country that you're nominally in charge of and COULD reach the point of being a resignation issue.

It's more about damaging Cameron, I think

He's a person that even many on the right don't care for (hence the Mail publishing the revelation), and given that things seem to have worked out so well for him, and he always seems extremely relaxed about what it is he does, then maybe it's the idea of his potential discomfort that has thrilled people here. Wipe that grin off his smug face etc. Basically, I think those laughing about it are also well aware that it's pretty petty (but petty can be fun, and funny).

It's probably a BIT political

I'm sure the left have gotten more excited about it than the right, despite the Mail being the origin, and on some level I'm sure their/our enthusiasm has been stoked by both the shrill press attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the tone of moralistic condensation that Cameron and his party practice (not to mention general left vs right baggage). But again, I don't think people are expecting him to be brought down by this, just have a irritating bit of baggage.

It IS funny

In an absurdist way, I think. I wouldn't exactly say there's a generosity of spirit in those laughing at DC, but I don't think there's any great nastiness. It's funny because it's a pointless, humiliating act. It puts him more in line with stock mad toff characters than, you know, Nixon. David Cameron is a posh guy with a funny looking face, it would be funny if he fucked a dead pig (just as it was funny when Rory Kinnear's PM fucked a live pig in Black Mirror). I think what's apparent to everybody is that whatever the truth, David Cameron is very unlikely to be a mentally ill person sexually attracted to the corpses of livestock, and he did this to gain initiation into some ghastly society that most of us wouldn't actually want to be in.

It definitely is true (sort of)

I mean it may well not be, but I think the fact that 1) people are quick to believe it 2) they don't think it really changes anything about Cameron's premiership suggests all it does is crystallize a certain idea of David Cameron as an amoral, detached toff (just as, on a pork tip, the bacon sandwich photo crystallized a certain idea of Miliband as a nerdy loser). Whether or not he actually did it is irrelevant in a way - it provides the perfect example of what people think he's like. To quote Stewart Lee: 'that story about David Cameron is not true; but what I feel it tells us about David Cameron…' I had been pondering how I'd take it if a major Labour figure had done the same – I suspect that rather than try and defend them I'd be considerably more horrified, not so much about the pig thing as the power thing, that they'd do something humiliating to enter an 'elite' club. But I also think it's almost an immutable law of humanity that unless the Labour politician was an ex-Tory who'd had some sort of 'conversion', then you just wouldn't come from that sort of world and then decide to enter a leftwing party, which sort of proves my point, maybe.

It'll probably blow over (mostly)

I'm sure we've already reached peak pig as there are only so many things you can say about it before you get bored. But he's probably stuck with this for a long time as a joke, and it probably will dent his credibility a little. I'd be surprised if the joke of calling him 'pig fucker' disappears in the next five, ten years.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Corbyn blimey!

As loyal readers of this blog will know, I voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election – indeed, I imagine my rambling blog before last devoted to my reasons for doing so probably single-handedly secured his landslide victory. But I feel strangely numb about his win, partly, I think, because it seemed like such a foregone conclusion, but maybe more so because I know how shitty the next five years are liable to be. I probably don’t need to spell out most of the reasons, though I suppose they come down to a) he might be crap b) he might be good but unable to withstand the ludicrous vitriol that will be heaped upon him.

But I suppose more so what it comes down to is this: whatever the realities and nuances of his history and politics and associates and his actual abilities as a big beast politician, Corbyn has become a sort of avatar/projection for the hopes and fears of hundreds of thousands of people who’ve despaired at the unfairness of the country and voted for somebody that more or less (or in our heads) believes what we believe. Not just in a basic decency way – I mean, I think on a personal level David Cameron is in fact probably a reasonably liberal guy (the people that decide his policy, not so much). Not in a ‘well I’m glad Tony Blair is is on our side because whatever his faults he’s a terrific politician’ way. But in a ‘I would like to see this country reformed quite drastically, in the following ways that this man is advocating’ type way.

So maybe it’s personal this time – if we’ve misplaced our faith in Corbyn, or if Corbyn turns out to not be unelectable, but impotent, then it’s essentially a rejection of us. People compare him to Michael Foot, and say his supporters are those who don’t remember Foot, and maybe they’re right, maybe there’s a whole generation that needs an object lesson in why a mildly socialist agenda will always be rejected by a cautious public. I suppose I’m afraid because every nasty attack launched on him – be it by tabloid or his own party – is an attack on what I believe, and if it fails it means maybe I will just have to shrug and accept that mild socialism is something this country was prepared to accept in the past – in the aftermath of the sort of conflict we’re unlikely to ever see again – but not in this age.

Or maybe it’s just that I don’t dare get my hopes up, to fantasise about this all turning out well.

I dunno. Whatever the case, as I said before, I can’t imagine having any regrets – the other three candidates were mediocrities, and I genuinely believe a Corbyn failure will simply mean stronger centrist candidates come forward next time.


Let’s see where this goes, eh?

(Update: so yeah, already, the whole brouhaha about a lack of female jobs in the upper echelons of the shadow cabinet is a bit like 'IS Corbyn the superman we prayed for?' etc. On some level it doesn't especially matter - it makes no difference to his policies and one imagines there are almost certainly high profile women who refused and he himself has admitted it was a more challenging than normal cabinet to come up with, but already it's a small chink in the armour for those prepared to build him up into a superman. I suppose maybe thinking about it again the real point of the entire above post is this – I don't believe politicians are ever supermen/women, and maybe I'd just like the Corbyn honeymoon to end so we adjust to how this is going to be on a more pragmatic level)