Rowan Pelling: A spectator's view of Tory totty in full party swing

Share
Related Topics

It was a Labour MP who first apprised me of the political maxim "Vote Socialist, shag Tory". So I was not surprised to learn of the alleged tendresse that exists between Kimberly Fortier, irrepressible publisher of the right-wing
Spectator, and our rather more granite-faced Home Secretary.

It was a Labour MP who first apprised me of the political maxim "Vote Socialist, shag Tory". So I was not surprised to learn of the alleged tendresse that exists between Kimberly Fortier, irrepressible publisher of the right-wing Spectator, and our rather more granite-faced Home Secretary.

What's a man to do when he wants to escape the angry clamour of the hatchet-haired Blair babes as they campaign for more ladies' lavs in the corridors of power? Who can blame a chap if he seeks solace on the cashmere-covered pillows of the Tory heartland, where girls are born and bred at the Labrador's teat? And there's no happier hunting ground for Tory totty than the annual summer parties of the Spectator magazine.

I should have heeded the signs at last year's bash when I came across Fortier chatting animatedly to Blunkett in a small antechamber. But I was nervous about the fact that the Erotic Review had once published an article describing how Blunkett had purchased midnight blue undies from my deputy editor, Annie Blinkhorn, in the days when she ran a branch of La Senza near Victoria station. The piece dwelt cheekily on the fact that he had stroked every garment to test the quality of the fabric.

Blunkett duly collared me and said he'd done no such thing ("Brownie's honour," says Blinkie, and I know who I believe), but the ticking off was delivered in such a half-hearted, cheery manner that it seemed the iron man had turned to butter. I now know that true blue love had melted his heart.

Spectator parties have long been typified by the free flow of champagne, pheromones and the embarrassingly suggestive proximity to your fellow being that resembles rush hour on a packed Tube train. (The open gallery spaces and cheap wine of Statesman parties are just not as conducive to the same display of low morals and carnal appetites.)

Guests are funnelled through the magazine's cramped premises in Bloomsbury thigh-to-thigh with Michael Howard or Norman Tebbit; and on one truly alarming occasion I found myself teetering on the brink of a deep blue, pitiless void as I squeezed past Thatcher's cantilevered bosom. The shock of such surreal experiences drives guests to drink and to ever wilder flirtation until they're found under a journalist in the bushes at the end of the garden.

Never has there been such a party for being introduced to "my researcher", "my assistant" or, on one memorable occasion, "my lovely young mistress". Nor do any functions match it for the frequent post-party invitations to Le Caprice or The Ivy, or to sample the charms of a discreet hotel.

Compare and contrast with the New Labour bash where a girlfriend was asked by a prominent politico, "Are you a man?" Followed by, "Fancy a curry? But remember you're paying." And a male friend recalls the days, not long gone, when Labour Party girlfriends wouldn't let him have penetrative sex on the grounds that it was "oppressive and patronising" (though with chat-up lines as just mentioned, it probably was). The uncomplicated promiscuity of the Tory pack at full bray can seem like bliss after such joyless negotiations.

The candid lechery of the right can also prove politically expedient. The predominantly Conservative land-owning classes, and those who aspire to their ranks, have long been comfortable with the brand of sexual hypocrisy that goes, "Do as I say, not as I do" - a mantra that can then effortlessly be extended to every area of policy. Labour MPs are hidebound by prolonged bouts of soul-searching, and are further impeded by the puritanical zeal of their leader.

Meanwhile, for many a Tory, "family values" means treating your spouse as considerately as your lover. Traditional right-wing nurture means unnatural closeting in boarding schools, pony clubs and young farmers' associations, which in turn fosters leanings towards recondite practices. For this reason Tory sex scandals have long been more outré than Labour ones.

From Profumo to Piers Merchant to Mellor, the youth and beauty of the girls involved have always demonstrated kinks worthy of de Sade's chronicling.

In truth, most of us could happily end our days without ever brushing skin with a political libido. But if you had to. At gunpoint. Then let's be honest: wouldn't you rather embrace Boris than Tony, Sandra than Cherie?

And if it's a knees-up you're after, my own personal maxim is "Vote whatever, party Tory".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel