Today’s Daily Mail carries a story of a love affair which, apparently, has shocked David Cameron so much and got Downing Street panicking to the extent that they are worried about his political agenda being derailed.
From the story, which has no names or much in the way of detail, we can deduce that two middle aged people had an affair which is now over and which caused distress to others. No current cabinet ministers are involved and, from what I can gather, no Liberal Democrats either.
When you get down to it, it seems that the Mail has published a story based entirely on gossip, on what they have been told by their source which has not been verified independently. Presumably that’s why they can’t publish details for legal reasons, because they wouldn’t have anything to back it up if they were sued.
It’s hard to see how any relationship between two consenting grown-ups could have such the seismic political impact that the Mail suggests. So, it is surprising to see a Labour front bencher, Chris Bryant, suggest, hyperbolically, that it could sink Cameron:
@guidofawkes some know. No need. Will sink Cameron.
— Chris Bryant (@ChrisBryantMP) June 1, 2013
This was in response to a tweet from Guido Fawkes implying that the names of the couple are so shocking that he’s surprised Twitter hasn’t rumbled them yet.
Political opponents generally say that it’s a personal matter and get on with their business, so indulging in this sort of exchange is unbecoming to say the least.
The only political fallout I can see is that it might put Cameron’s silly marriage tax break on the back burner. That’s not something that worries me, or anyone else except some Tory backbenchers.
I am as guilty as anyone else in being curious as to the identity of the people involved but I wouldn’t claim that to be a good aspect of my character. It is, ultimately, absolutely none of our business. We should be more interested in how people are doing their jobs rather than the salacious aspects of their private lives.
I do wonder, though, how the story made its way to the Mail in the first place. The story mentions a “senior source.” Why would anyone connected to the Conservative Party, presumably close to Cameron, leak to the press something that they may not have found out on their own and which could have an impact on one of their initiatives? We know the Tories are divided, but are they really willing to go to those lengths to sabotage their own side? If that’s the case, it is 1995 all over again.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings