Most people will not have heard of Petronella Wyatt, except perhaps a few who remember that she had a four year affair with London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, which resulted in her getting pregnant and Bozza being fired from the opposition front bench by Michael Howard not for having the affair, but for lying to him about it.
But it will not come as a surprise to know that Ms Wyatt is a Tory, her being the daughter of Woodrow Wyatt, who had been a Labour MP but later became an admirer of Margaret Thatcher and a behind the scenes fixer for Rupert Murdoch, leaving behind three volumes of diaries so unreliable that Tory historian Robert Blake concluded that Wyatt was a “notorious liar”.
So Petronella knows all about dishonesty, which has served her well in her journalistic career, notably in exaggerating the number of times her mother has been knocked down by cyclists, which actually caused the Mail On Sunday to publish a correction. And today has brought another suspect slice of her commentary, this time in the Maily Telegraph, about her brief encounter with Oxford University.
“I was bullied out of Oxford for being a Tory” she whines, telling tearfully how she abandoned her studies after going up to Worcester College in 1986. She was a Tory, and worst of all, her father was close to Mrs T. So not only her fellow students, but also some of the staff, gave her a hard time, just because she wasn’t a trendy lefty, resulting in her returning to London after only a few weeks.
Sadly for the credibility of this story, it is not possible to read it without the bullshit detector sounding regularly. Why this should be is not hard to fathom: rather a lot of Tories managed to survive their 1980s encounter with Oxford, not least Ms Wyatt’s former lover Bozza, along with Young Dave and his present next door neighbour Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet.
But what about the women who went up to Oxford? Well, there are plenty of those who managed not to get frightened off, too, not least one Louise Daphne Bagshawe, the same one who married Peter Mensch and precipitated the Corby by-election. And Harriet Baldwin, who sits for West Worcestershire, went up to Oxford in 1978 and managed to complete her studies.
Jane Ellison, who represents Battersea, also survived Oxford. And Ms Mensch joined the Tory Party aged 14: hers was not a case of being of the left when young, only to turn right later. Plenty of younger Tory women also survived their encounter with the dreaming spires, and combined with Petronella Wyatt’s previous form for being economical with the factual analysis, leaves only one conclusion.
This is another slice of bunk written to order. No change there, then.