Pure Scandal?

Having decided to avoid making posts that were purely reactive to the latest froth in the climate debate, or engage with topical politics to any degree, this post will break those resolutions.

I want to post more measured and generalised thoughts on political action, human ethics and climate, as well as other aspects of physics and biology that impact our future options, rather than knee-jerk derision of the latest conspiratorial inanities of the climate deniarati however amusing that may be. Anyway Hot Whopper does that so well, along with Eli, that any further attempt would be redundant.

After falling into a deep contemplation of the epistemological differences between the present and future, there is a post in the pipeline which will be about our perspectives on the near future and recent past. Complete with animated illustrative graphics…

However I find a reason to make a post in complete contradiction to this concern with temporal sensitivities to focus on the instant and ephemeral..
The reason is the wonderful scandal that has engulfed a UK peer of the realm.


This is the paradigm of an old-school News-of-the-World Sunday Honey trap. There is no hint of financial corruption, this is not a politician trying to sell their insider influence for money to a lobby firm or business interest who are equally morally indicted by their willingness to pay a bribe.

This is one man’s personal misbehaviour. It does not even extend to homosexual or other socially deviant behaviour, but manages to include that great twentieth century trope of extreme decadence, the snorting of cocaine off a prostitute’s breast. Formerly the preserve of the extreme end of the rock-star excesses and later of the Hollywood actor, there is something reassuring that the UK can still produce a classic scandal in which a peer of the realm, with an official position to police standards in public officials, is caught emulating the Little Richard, Heavy metal cliche of snorting coke from breasts in a paid episode of sexual congress. There are too many jokes and ironies to delight in to forego the opportunity to comment, however ephemeral, trivial and unconnected to any substantive political issue this wonderfully nostalgic throwback to the days of Profumo and the fifties this topical froth of the week may be.

It seems unlikely that when Lord Sewel suggested that he wanted to be “led astray” by the prostitutes he was spending time with, he envisioned that would involve making unguardedly  candid remarks about his political colleagues. That his libido apparently survived in the face of a barrage of questions about his political experiences in such a context is a testament to… Something!
Perhaps this indicates a new method of getting straight and honest answers from politicians. Coke and prostitutes are more effective than Television interviews and journalistic questioning.

While his moral judgement is beyond dubious, and his actions are (allegedly?) illegal, as others have commented his political insight seems to be unaffected, possibly sharpened by the context in which the questions were put. His summary of the debacle of the Labour leadership contenders is apt and informative.
Corbyn = romantic idiot
Barnham = weathervane
Cooper =  weak
What’s-her-name = Blairite clone nonentity.

His other assessments, Cameron as “the most facile, superficial prime minister there’s ever been” and Boris as “public school upper class twit”  also hit the mark as does his retroactive view of Blair.

There is just one note in this otherwise paradigmatic example of the political sex scandal {no money involved!} That is a little off. A cheap note, perhaps because JS is a champagne socialist, or coke and sex-worker lefty, the five pound note and the £200 pound price of the hookers. This seems a little low end, when the mega-rich are caught indulging in the coke off a prostitutes breasts meme, then it is at least thousand dollars a night hookers and surely a twenty is the appropriate denomination to snort coke with. A fifty would be flash and vulgar, a ten seems a little utilitarian, but a fiver..!
It is rather like finding that when the actor from two and a half men was up to the most extreme of his excesses with drugs and pornstars, he was using a one dollar bill to perform that classic tabloid signifier of decadence.

On the face of it this seems to be a pure scandal. No hint of financial impropriety or coercion or damage to any other person. Only the most cynical would wonder what, or who in the establishment he might have been about to expose in his role as custodian of public behaviour that prompted them to get their retaliation in first.

I fully expect this post to become in retrospect an unnecessary indulgence in the most ephemeral and local of political froth. I hope to return to more substantive, or at least portentous posts on deeper issue in the near future.  But today, in part because it seems to be a paradigm of the old fashion political scandal, this was a temptation I could not resist.



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