As many of us woke up today to a gloomy Monday morning and the prospect of another dreary week at work, Twitter was there to provide us some fun and amusement. The serialisation of Lord Ashcroft’s unauthorised biography of David Cameron in the Daily Mail contained a number of allegations that most certainly would have raised some eyebrows. Of course, the one that has caught the public imagination has been the story of David Cameron’s alleged initiation ceremony to the prestigious Piers Gaveston Club, in which he apparently had to insert ‘a private part of his anatomy’ into the mouth of a dead pig.
Whilst this particular story has hogged our social media timelines, it is important for us not to be too rash in jumping to any conclusions. A number of Cameron’s contemporaries are recorded to have said that they do not recognise such allegations, whilst some have even questioned whether he ever was a member of the exclusive club. Whilst the entire episode has no doubt resulted in all of us to have a bit of chuckle at the expense of the Prime Minister, the reality is that as it stands, there is very little substance to this particular allegation.
Moreover, I feel the entire #piggate fiasco has actually detracted away from some of the more significant aspects of this story. Lord Ashcroft was an extremely important Tory party donor, who donated millions of pounds to help the party win marginal seats. However, the fact that Cameron was apparently aware of his non-domiciled tax status before Lord Ashcroft declared it and gave it up is pretty significant. So whilst the Prime Minister can avoid answering some of the more colourful allegations in Lord Ashcroft’s book, this is perhaps one that we all would like to hear about.
Moreover, the entire episode gives us an insight into some of the corruption that seems to be within Westminster. It is of course no secret that Lord Ashcroft and Mr Cameron have had a serious fall out, and Ashcroft himself says that his ‘beef’ with Cameron stems from the fact that he wasn’t given a role in the Coalition Government. So it seems that the very wealthy Lord Ashcroft was using his wealth as a means to buy power, only to turn on Cameron when he was snubbed, firstly by publishing the detailed constituency polling in the days prior to the recent election, followed by the publication of this biography. For all the exposés we have had of MPs opening the doors of power and influence in exchange for money, I believe this biography will serve little more than illustrate to the wider public how undemocratic our democracy really is.
And what of Jeremy Corbyn? Even someone like him who is so adamantly against personality politics would have sniggered at this story. However, after last week’s measured Prime Ministers Questions which ended in stalemate, Mr Corbyn has a very good opportunity to apply some pressure on the Prime Minister this week, especially on the topic of Non-Doms. However, wouldn’t it be a real treat if Jeremy Corbyn started off by asking a serious question on the state of pig farming in the UK?