Throwing mud

<Normal housekeeping on eye and hand pain>

Loathe though I am to spin in favour of David Cameron, here are some disconnected thoughts on the Ashcroft/Mail rumours:

  1. I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with your university self having put his willy in a dead animal’s head, if (as is highly unlikely) it happened. As acclaimed obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman writes, there is nothing about it that seems illegal, the act as described falling into neither bestiality nor necrophilia categories.
    It may be disgusting to many people, and in any case would probably not have been performed or orchestrated as a genuinely erotic act – but I’m basically happy for people to do whatever they want sexually (or mock-sexually) so long as they don’t hurt others or contravene others’ consent or involve minors. This did none of the above.
    (1.i) As such I do not think allegations of such should be the cause of a politician’s fall from grace, however much I dislike said politician.
  2. Recall, with some hint of sympathy, that a young and drunk boy might have been basically peer-pressured into such an act, with a bunch of braying fellows of similar social standing and wealth, many of whom had (presumably, or claimedly) already performed such an act. That sounds basically traumatic, however much fault lies with the young man for arriving at the situation.
  3. All of that notwithstanding, consider the hygiene implications, which are mind-boggling, and would, I imagine, add to the above horror.
  4. If it did happen, and a picture of it was taken, that is as much a violation on the young man as the invasive photographs taken of various Royals that I’ve previously criticised.
  5. The mere allusion that Cameron was a toff is not remotely new, and did nothing to stop him winning an election. As such, it’s unlikely to change much.
  6. The allegation that the prime minister knew that his key donor was a non-dom a year before it became public is arguably more damning.
  7. The drug stuff is basically meaningless.
  8. I massively doubt that this episode is an out-of-control Crosbyite ‘dead cat’, but it did not hurt the government entirely in that it obscured the news that a coroner explicitly ruled that a government ‘fit for work’ assessment caused a welfare claimant to take his own life, and that this will probably happen again without reform.
  9. Yes, many of the jokes on Twitter were glorious, many of the defences raised for the act, hilariously spurious.
  10. The newspaper in which the allegations were aired, the Daily Mail, remains a pretty objectionable publication that often publishes damaging stories I really don’t like. As such (and in keeping with 1.) I essentially disapprove, although this is mildly mitigated by the fact they’d have emerged in Ashcroft’s biography eventually.
  11. As a sidenote, the last 25 hours remind me strongly of the allegations against Lord McAlpinewhich were widely tweeted/retweeted and ruled to be libellous. Many online have not learned the lesson that a tweet is an act of publication that makes you liable, when you have zero means of proving the veracity of your potentially-libellous accusation. The next time someone is rumoured to have fucked up, don’t be hasty.

All of these could be mutable.

I have no particular intention to ever run for public office, having exhausted myself as Oxford University Croquet Club Secretary 2010-11, but am minded to make a list of all the disgusting/debauched/toffish/dangerous things I can remember doing as a student (which fortunately do not compare to the above allegations), lest I ever have a change of heart.

If you think Cameron makes a bad PM, make the case based on what he’s doing and what he intends to do, not what his 20 year old self possibly did.

I have no particular intention to ever run for public office, having exhausted myself as Oxford University Croquet Club Secretary 2010-11, but am minded to make a list of all the disgusting/debauched/toffish/dangerous things I can remember doing as a student (which fortunately do not compare to the above allegations), lest I ever have a change of heart.

If you think Cameron makes a bad PM, make the case based on what he’s doing and what he intends to do, not what his 20 year old self possibly did.

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