12 February 2007

Another country

In the face of constant speculation about juvenile drug taking, David Cameron, Conservative Party leader and prospective Prime Minister, has taken a firm stand on an important matter of principle. He admitted he had done things in his past he "should not have done", but insisted politicians were entitled to a "private past". As he spent the weekend feebly denying what is almost a matter of public record, his intentions were obvious: "I don't care if you know I took cannabis, but please don't remember that I went to Eton."

This "Private Past" is less a matter of principle than the pragmatism of a political grasper. Since he can make absolutely no political capital out of an upbringing of wealth and privilege, expediency is elevated to a badge of honour. Had "Dave" grown up on a council estate in Hackney, we'd have never have heard the end of it. What he actually means is the Conservative Party should be entitled to a "private past", lest we should think that nice George Osbourne is somehow connected to the same party that brought you Norman Lamont.

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