Monday, September 21, 2015

Piggery-pokery

It's extremely hard not to start this with a cliche of some variety. Hell hath no fury like a billionaire tax exile scorned? That apocryphal LBJ story about pretty much exactly this?
The race was close and Johnson was getting worried.  Finally he told his campaign manager to start a massive rumor campaign about his opponent’s life-long habit of enjoying carnal knowledge of his own barnyard sows.
“Christ, we can’t get a way calling him a pig-fucker,” the campaign manager protested.  “Nobody’s going to believe a thing like that.”
“I know,” Johnson replied.  “But let’s make the sonofabitch deny it.”
Whatever. Lord Ashcroft has made the claim in his book, and it's all anyone will talk about for the next few days. The damage has basically been done now (what does anyone remember about Catherine the Great after all?), but this strikes me as an astonishingly shitty piece of work by Ashcroft. Look at how the story is stood up:
A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig.
So, an unnamed source claims David Cameron was initiated at the Piers Gaveston and stuck his penis in a dead pig's mouth. Crikey. That's kind of an extraordinary claim. What was it that Carl Sagan said about extraordinary claims? I didn't even think Cameron was a member of the Piers Gav, but I'm sure our unidentified informant knows better - after all he was there. Wasn't he?
The source — himself an MP — first made the allegation out of the blue at a business dinner in June 2014. Lowering his voice, he claimed to have seen photographic evidence of this disgusting ritual.
Oh. He wasn't there. So in fact we have a single anonymous second hand source who claims to have seen a photograph of David Cameron sticking his cock in a pig's head.  So what's the evidence - can we see the photo?
The MP also gave us the dimensions of the alleged photograph, and provided the name of the individual who he claims has it in his keeping. The owner, however, has failed to respond to our approaches.
No, we can't see the photo - and nor did Ashcroft before running with the story. So we have a single anonymous second hand source who claims to have seen a photograph of David Cameron sticking his cock in a pig's head but doesn't have any corroborating evidence to back up his word. Right. The word of an MP.
MPs and peers are the worst gossips of all. In 15 years in Westminster I would be told increasingly lurid tales about their rivals’ secrets. The MP who was too friendly with her pet pooch? The peer who dressed as a schoolgirl? None of them were provable and none of them were printed. Most were simply lies.
 As Ian Kirby says in that piece:
It is in the book because Lord Ashcroft has made the (probably correct) assumption that the Prime Minister has more on his plate than to sue him for libel over an unprovable allegation from 30 years ago.
If this story is at all representative of the book as a whole, it's an illustration of the point that out-and-out hatchet jobs are usually rubbish.

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