The Third Leader: Home truths

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The Independent Online

Yeah, right: London, legendary home of the sober-minded and short-memoried; scorner of sniggers, forgiver of sins, respecter of reserve and obeyer of wishes. So, welcome, Monica Lewinsky, to your studies at the London School of Economics; and the very best of British. You might have heard them all before, but if you think that will stop us, nice try, no cigar.

All very ungallant. After what she's been up against, Ms Lewinsky deserves better. But it's pointless to appeal to our better nature, as it's the second one that counts. No, what is needed is a diversion. And an appeal to pride.

For, in the matter of sex scandals, this country used to bow the knee to none. And what larks: a great roaring scarlet passing parade of all manner of politicians, guardsmen, hostesses and various support staff keeping the nation entertained and pomposity pricked.

But, recently, very slim prickings. David Blunkett, of course, but too much pathos there for the connoisseur. No, there's been nothing really significant since the great days of Major and Currie, Proctor, Merchant and Mellor, leaving America leading by a head. Ladies and Gentlemen of SW1: England expects!

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