The leadership of the increasingly beleaguered Tory Party remains as it has been since the General Election earlier this year: Theresa May is still in 10 Downing Street, Spreadsheet Phil is next door, with Amber Rudd at the Home Office, and London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson identified by the initials FO. And there behind the scenes is deputy PM Damian Green.
That's right Sir, both hands where we can see them
Green, as I suggested last weekend, not only has all the revelations about his less than totally appropriate behaviour towards women, and the description on That Spreadsheet as “Ashley Madison - handsy at parties”, to contend with, there are further horrors coming on down the track as well. And on top of all that has come the news that Green’s workplace computer - in Parliament, paid for by We The People - really did have porn on it.
As the BBC has reported, “A former Scotland Yard detective has told BBC News he was "shocked" by the amount of pornography viewed on a computer seized from the Commons office of senior Tory MP Damian Green … Neil Lewis examined the device during a 2008 inquiry into government leaks and has not spoken publicly before … He said ‘thousands’ of thumbnail images of legal pornography were on it”. And there was more.
“Mr Lewis, who retired from the Metropolitan Police in 2014, said although ‘you can't put fingers on a keyboard’, a number of factors meant that he was sure it was Mr Green, the MP for Ashford, Kent, who was accessing the pornographic material … His analysis of the way the computer had been used left the former detective constable in ‘no doubt whatsoever’ … ‘The computer was in Mr Green's office, on his desk, logged in, his account, his name’”. And the retired cop’s conclusion?
“‘In between browsing pornography, he was sending emails from his account, his personal account, reading documents... it was ridiculous to suggest anybody else could have done it’ … Similar material had also been accessed on Mr Green's laptop, he claimed”. And, as Jon Stewart might have observed, two things here.
One, it has to be stressed that today’s revelations are, I am informed, totally unrelated to press investigations that have been going on for several days now. That means it is going to get worse - much worse - for Green, and for Theresa May’s Government, very soon. And two, it has to be restated that having those images on a workplace computer, and viewing them in work time, would be an instant dismissal offence in many workplaces up and down the country.
Yet Damian Green clings on, and, worse for the Tories, there are many in the party who are willing to go on record with their support for him. They need not bother: as I have already said, Green is finished. But now we have the added frisson felt by many who will have been exchanging emails with him at the time at the realisation that he was probably accompanying his attention to business with a quick Bell And Crank.
And so the old-tech combination of dirty book and hanky was consigned to the dustbin of history. By this much has the information revolution advanced our politics.