Not for nothing is former Government chief whip and now Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson known to many of his colleagues as “Private Pike”, or even just “Stupid Boy”. He likes to give the impression that he’s in the Francis Urquart league when it comes to scheming and plotting, only for it all to unravel and show that he’s full value for his well-deserved nickname. The latest example of his prowess has underscored this.
Look, I'm in the papers, Uncle Arthur
Yesterday’s Daily Mail includes a teaser at the top of the front page with Williamson and his wife flashing gleaming smiles to the camera, accompanied by the headline “May’s rising star: how office romance nearly destroyed our marriage … Defence Secretary’s candid admission”. For a Tory minister, that kind of sympathetic publicity looks too good to be true - because, as so often, it is too good to be true.
Heartwarming ... dead cat
The Mail’s article was all Williamson could have asked for: “New Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confessed last night to a fling that at one time threatened to end his marriage. The rising Tory star, touted as a possible next party leader, admitted that the brief office romance with a former colleague was ‘a dreadful mistake’ but said his wife Joanne had forgiven him”. Dead cat deployed, turd duly polished, job done.
Russia scare ... dead cat
It wasn’t the only dead cat the Defence Secretary has been chucking on the table. Yesterday’s Telegraph claimed “Russia is ready to kill us by the thousands”, referring to disruption of the UK’s energy supply, but his claim is total crap. As the Guardian pointed out, “Experts said the lights were unlikely to go out if the electricity interconnectors, which supply about 5% of UK power, were somehow cut off … Even if all four power lines were disrupted simultaneously, it is unlikely supplies to homes would be affected”.
The Tory reality ...
And it was the Guardian that held the key to Williamson’s Mail confessional: “The Mail interview was published a few hours after Williamson’s lawyers refused to answer a series of questions from the Guardian about his departure from the fireplace firm Elgin & Hall, where he was the managing director in 2004”. There was more.
... so back to dead cats ...
“Informed sources said events came to a head in the summer of 2004, when the woman told her direct line manager about her working relationship with Williamson … A meeting was held to discuss the issue with senior executives from Aga, it is claimed. Days later, former staff claim, Williamson left the company and the group with no explanation. Aga declined to comment”. As did Williamson. Instead, he ran to the Mail for cover.
... because this is the name of the game
All this - note that the Tel has got round to the story, brushing if off by picturing the happy couple with the cursory headline “Old office affair rears its head for Williamson” - has not only detracted from the Tories’ internal war over Brexit and much more, it has, as the front page of today’s i shows, helped this dangerous clown to move a step closer to getting his hands on the keys to 10 Downing Street, a prospect that should terrify us all.
The truth is that Gavin Williamson is no more morally upstanding than Sir Michael Fondle and Damian Grope. His nickname of “Stupid Boy” is well deserved, and he should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. Full stop, end of story.
Sadly, our free and fearless press is too partisan and blind to the dangers in promoting this nonentity that they will probably give him a free pass. And that’s not good enough.