Of politicians and pigs: David Cameron was a braying, spoilt teenager - who knew?

Editorial
Tuesday 22 September 2015 10:45
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It would be hard to imagine a more distasteful story about a prime minister and a farmyard animal than the one circulating about David Cameron and a dead pig. Thanks, it seems, to the apparent indiscretion of some of his former fellow students and current fellow Tory politicians, we now know more than we might like about alleged initiation ceremonies during his time at Oxford. Even if there is no basis to these rumours, it’s not the sort of thing that makes for a jolly anecdote when entertaining, say, the President of Botswana.

Whatever the facts of this bizarre allegation, we already knew that Mr Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson were rich, spoiled, braying brats while undergraduates. We have long known that their life experiences are far removed from the British people, and that they have little instinctive understanding of the plight of the poor.

“Pig-Gate” has little to do with politics; the Bullingdon Club, to which all three belonged, has little more. Did smashing up a restaurant lead inexorably to the national living wage? Did humiliating members of the public less wealthy than them (as some members are alleged to have done) determine policy on affordable housing in London two decades hence?

It is inevitable that such gossip, no matter how inconsequential, tends to rise to the surface when someone reaches high office. What is a little odd is that it has taken so long for the allegations of bacon-flavoured misdemeanours to make it to the front page of a newspaper. They are, however, remarkable.

At a stage in his Oxford degree course when, at an equivalent moment in theirs, Harold Wilson was swotting, Margaret Roberts was making earnest speeches to the university Conservative Association and Tony Blair was pretending to be Mick Jagger, it is suggested that Mr Cameron was out of his own head – and into that of a dead pig. It is an image that, unfortunately, true or not, sticks in the mind.

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