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It ain’t going to be pretty

I’m quite intrigued by the travails of Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office only since last June, currently embroiled in an alleged ‘he watched porn on his House of Common office computer back in 2008’ scandal, which of course – as we all know – he has continually and strenuously denied.

Depending upon where you choose to get your news (or ‘fake news’) from, on the one hand he has been caught ‘bang to rights’ watching porn at work – and indeed presumably the taxpayers’ expense – in his office and is therefore squirming on the end of this public embarrassment, plus also possibly some ‘improper behaviour’ towards a female whose name and status I cannot currently recall.

Alternatively – according to reports put out by his supporters within Tory Party circles – on the other hand, he has been the subject of a disgraceful, one-eyed, vindictive campaign of unwarranted character assassination conducted by revenge-seeking senior officers within the Metropolitan Police, most of it based upon evidence that was obtaining either illegally or immorally and should therefore be urgently investigated by the authorities.

In the meantime, of course, Mr Green has also been interviewed by a senior official within Number 10 Downing Street about all of this and therefore – in the time-honoured phrase – ‘some or all of this may be sub judice’ and therefore one should not pass comment upon any of it unless and until the investigation is concluded.

See here for some sort of update on how it all began to unfold way back when by Alan Travis, Home Affairs Editor of – THE GUARDIAN

From my viewpoint as the average man upon the Clapham omnibus the exact legal and moral niceties of the situation and circumstances don’t matter nearly as much as the basic thrusts (if you see what I mean).

In an era when it would be hard in the extreme to exaggerate the UK electorate’s degree of general cynicism regarding all those who exist within the Houses of Parliament – their self-interested motives, their dubious integrity, their expenses scandals – not to mention their relentless ‘holier than thou, do as we say, not as we do’ attitude towards the rest of us, it tends to boil down to this.

On the balance of probabilities, Damian Green has walked himself into something of a self-inflicted crisis. I’m not so much referring here to the allegation – and it is so far only an allegation – of improper behaviour towards a young woman, but to the ‘computer porn-watching’ issue.

I say that only because of perceptions – mine being that so far (it seems) nobody is denying that there was a large amount of porn either down-loaded and/or being watched on one or more computer in Mr Green’s office. Even those like MPs Crispin Blunt and (apparently as of overnight) also David Davies – sent out to bat in the media by Tory Party Central Office in defence of Mr Green – aren’t denying that.

Next, Mr Green has denied everything, though over time rather less strenuously (and rather more carefully) than when he first began doing it. At the outset, he appeared to say that nothing was ever found or proved. Then, when the police said it definitely was found, he reverted to “Well, nobody mentioned it to me at the time”.

To me, this smacks of an “How bad is it [the allegation or extent of allegations]? Okay, in this instance, what’s the least we can admit to? After all, there’s no point in pleading guilty to things we haven’t been accused of …” approach to public life.

Which is precisely the sort of thing that does not endear anyone in the public eye to the average man in the street. Especially when – if this happens – in stages, gradually more and more comes out and the person in question is continually on the back foot in a never-ending and ultimately doomed progressive quest to try to stem the tide by pleading guilty to something (anything) progressively that will stop the rot.

This one is going to run for a bit …



About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts