One attribute shared by many of those vying to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, and thereby Prime Minister, is that they are utterly devoid of trustworthiness. One look at Dominic “cash-flow problem” Raab, Sajid Javid, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) and Matt “press stooge” Hancock is all you need.
The impression of serial villainy is inescapable. In the case of one allegedly leading candidate, it has extended to a vomit-inducing confession before the Daily Mail’s deputy editor Simon Walters. Michael “Oiky” Gove has clearly had words with Mrs Gove, otherwise known as Sarah “Vain” Vine, who has in turn bent the ear of Geordie Greig in a way that she might not have managed with the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
This has resulted in the front page splash “GOVE: MY COCAINE CONFESSION … Leading PM contender: ‘I took drug on several social occasions. I deeply regret it”. And although the Mail has the exclusive, the story has also made the front page of the Murdoch Sun (wonder who tipped them off, eh, Mike?) which tells readers “Top Tory Bombshell … GOVE: I TOOK COKE … Wannabe PM confesses … Used drug ‘several times’”.
And while some readers may see this as an honest confession, many will smell the rank whiff of bullshit. Because Gove is full of it. He is only confessing because of two impending events: one is the Tory leadership contest, and the other is the certainty that his past use of cocaine was gong to be exposed in a manner over which he had no control.
As the Guardian has noted, “The environment secretary’s declaration comes ahead of the publication of a book about him by the journalist Owen Bennett titled Michael Gove: A Man in a Hurry. According to the book, he admitted to having used cocaine to his advisers during the 2016 Tory leadership contest … An inside source reportedly said Gove replied: ‘Yes, cocaine,’ when he was asked if he had ever taken drugs”.
The article adds “The former news editor at the Times was never asked the question publicly after May beat him in the second ballot of the race … ‘Gove was instructed not to give that answer in public, and told to fall back on the words David Cameron had used when he was running for leader, namely that politicians are entitled to a private life before entering politics,’ the book claimed”. So he intended to bluff his way out of it.
All that Gove’s confession tells us is that the Tory leadership contest is going to be a very dirty contest indeed. It is totally unconvincing: we know that those who work at the Murdoch titles include significant numbers of Charlie’s pals, and it is widely suspected that many MPs, and indeed Tory MPs, are habitual cocaine users. The idea that “Oiky” suddenly stopped using the stuff is not even slightly credible.
Did he suddenly change his social circle completely, avoiding at a stroke all those gatherings where things went better with Coke? And if he took it regularly when a “Young journalist”, why the pretence that he now “deeply regrets” it all?
And to think our free and fearless press got so worked up over Pa Broon allegedly smashing his Nokia. But then, Gove is one of their own. Can you smell hypocrisy?
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