I realise this might be controversial and ‘inappropriate conduct’ to put in writing, but I have to come clean and admit that initially I found it somewhat refreshing to read that a Tory MP had been arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault at the weekend and accused of making ‘an unwanted advance’. Don’t get me wrong. Innocent until proven guilty. And I’m not getting in to the whole pre-trial (any trial) anonymity debate, either. Nor – nor – have I mentioned his sexuality, which is irrelevant (although he himself has stated, ‘In South Wales it was hard enough being a Tory, let alone gay,’ in various interviews). No … it’s just that sex scandals (and in this case only an alleged one) are back where they belong: with politicians, and specifically Tory politicians. Finally, we’ve gone Back to Basics! For those of you who can’t remember 1993, the Back to Basics campaign was an attempt to relaunch the government of Prime Minister John Major, but failed miserably thanks to the scandals (mainly extra-marital) that engulfed David Mellor, Tim Yeo and Steve Norris, among others … with poor John Major himself revealed to have had an affair with former Tory minister Edwina Currie (poor Edwina, too, I guess).
But the thing is this: I’d had enough of reading about the Gary Glitters of this sordid-seventies-celeb world and his Gang of wannabe-Jim’ll-Fix-It’s-a-Knockout-Jeux-Sans-Frontieres, the Operation Yewtree (why Yewtree?) investigations of Jimmy, Jim, Rolf, Dave Lee, Freddie, Stuart and Gary blah-blah-blah. You seventies TV and radio ‘stars’ have already soiled my innocent viewing memories – and I don’t want the same for my own kids.
In 20 or 30 years time, I don’t want to read that Ant & Dec have both been charged with alleged inappropriate conduct (and future tense ‘allegedness’, lawyers – it’s a joke) on some G-list celeb during an episode of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (perhaps also whilst forcing them to eat maggots). No, no. I want to read about Boris Johnson being accused of assaulting a Czech pole-vaulter in a bedsit in Stratford in late July 2012, and having an Olympic lovechild christened Hackney Wick. That would be normal. Keep the sex scandals where they belong: in politics.