The desire of the Daily Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor to trash the reputation of Corporal Clegg and his motley platoon knows no bounds, and is certainly not going to be silenced by the failure of his readers in Eastleigh to obey his orders. So it should surprise nobody to see Dacre ordering Dominic Sandbrook over the top in an attempt to pin the label of “sex scandal” on the Lib Dems.
Who says my f***ing pundits are crap, c***?!?
“From Lloyd George to Jeremy Thorpe, there's something in Liberal DNA that breeds sex scandals” he asserts proudly, as if the Liberal party and its Lib Dem successors were the only ones that indulged in such activity. Maybe readers haven’t heard of John Profumo, that Harold Macmillan’s wife cheated on him, or that Arthur Balfour was widely believed to be a closet homosexual.
Yes, being gay is A Very Bad Thing, according to Sandbrook. Otherwise he wouldn’t have mentioned Jeremy Thorpe’s fling with Norman Scott. And being fond of the odd bevy is also A Very Bad Thing, as Charles Kennedy also gets castigated. I’m sure other parties don’t do any of that. Except for Peter Morrison, former Tory MP for Chester who was both a lush and fond of under-age males.
But no, it’s sex scandals that Sandbrook wants us to focus on, but not those involving “Shagger” Mellor, “Shagger” Major (and Edwina Bloody Currie), “Shagger” Yeo, and Alan Clark. And don’t get me started on their Labour opponents. Nor, I suspect, does Sandbrook want anyone to dwell on the mildly inconvenient fact that Winshton spent much of World War 2 pissed.
Labour, of course, also had their thirsty faction: George Brown was even found in the gutter one night after indulging rather more than usual, and Harold Wilson’s brandy consumption raised concern with those in 10 Downing Street. But Sandbrook also touches on other scandals that are held to be the preserve of Liberals and Lib Dems, these being money scandals.
Where do we start? Reggie Maudling, Tim Smith, Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken all feature for the Tories. T Dan Smith chipped in for Labour. Then there is the roll of shame following the revelations over Parliamentary expenses recently, which was not confined to one party. And all this righteous guff from someone working for the paper prepared to open its chequebook the widest.
Maybe there is, though, a weakness that really is the sole preserve of the Lib Dems. How about that speeding points business? Yes, that must be the clincher: Chris Huhne set all this business in train. But once more, the Tories were there first. Or perhaps nobody nowadays has heard of Gerald Nabarro?
And don’t ask about what I once heard about the driving habits of one former north of England Labour MP. Shove off, Sandbrook, and get yerself a proper job.