Let’s assume that it’s true – that what an anonymous MP told Lord Ashcroft about the young Cameron and a pig is actually true. For what a brilliant blow it would be against the New Prudes, against those booze-dodging, speech-policing, lad-hating media moralists and Twitterbores.
I don’t know why Cameron’s PR people are going into meltdown. If the story’s false they should say so. But if it’s true they should put lipstick on this pig: release the alleged photo of the alleged incident, tweet it for bants, and watch Dave’s popularity among yoof soar.
Needless to say, Lord Ashcroft’s claim that Cameron once put ‘a private part of his anatomy’ into a dead pig’s mouth — as part of some inebriated initiation ceremony into a posh dining club at Oxford — has caused much pearl-clutching among people who have clearly never been blotto. The Daily Mail describes it as a ‘disgusting ritual’. Other easily alarmed hacks have accused Cameron of ‘carrying out an obscene act on a dead pig’, as if it were something sexual, when it very clearly wasn’t.
Calm down, dears. Drunk young men put their bits in all sorts of places. Why? Because they’re drunk and young and men. It’s what they do. I remember a boozed-up night in which a friend of mine put his into the exhaust pipe of a car. On another occasion a friend slapped his schlong on to an electric fence. Much merriment ensued — for us, not him. Was it big and clever? Nope. But then, we weren’t big or clever people — we were young and dumb. It’s genuinely heartening to know the PM was once young and dumb too.
On Twitter, the memes are coming thick and fast. There have been pics of Cameron next to a weeping Peppa Pig. A mash-up of that scene from Fifty Shades of Grey — ‘My desires are unconventional’ — next to a PR pic of Cameron holding a pig has caused much chortling over cornflakes among the easily tickled Twitterati.
These oh-so-decent people are agog that a university student enjoyed drunken larks — which might reveal more about their own unworldliness than about Cameron’s alleged perversions. Don’t be fooled: behind the Twitterati’s mickey-taking there lurks moralism. Some are demanding to know why the media are still going mad about Jeremy Corbyn when we have a PM who PUT HIS MANHOOD IN A PIG’S MOUTH. All are implying that Dave is a deviant, some strange super-toff, far, far removed from ordinary people who never misbehave.
Please. The truly cut-off people here are the tut-tutters over Cameron’s alleged antics. We’re living under a Revenge of the Prudes. Having struggled to get a hearing in the pretty liberal 1970s, 80s and 90s, the finger-wagging brigade has made a vengeful comeback in this fearful young millennium. They’ve had a makeover, though: they’re no longer old, with blue rinses and sensible skirts; they’re young, feministic, media-savvy, fancying themselves as ‘progressive’ even as they rail louder than Mary Whitehouse ever did against Page 3, laddish banter, the booze culture, and everything else that rattles their sensibilities.
And lads on campus, Cameron’s pig-defiling heirs, bear the brunt of the new prudishness. Their clubs are being closed down. Their parties are being banned. Their favourite pop music is banned. If they chat up a girl they’re accused of exercising their ‘sexual entitlement’, and if they wave their willies around they’ll probably be arrested for promoting ‘rape culture’. The NUS has declared war on ‘lad culture’. From Teddy Boys in the Fifties to ‘football hooligans’ in the Seventies to uni lads today — the war on young blokes is ceaseless, and illiberal, and depressing.
Well, now they have a potential new hero in Dave, King of the Lads. If only he would fess up to his pig thing (if it’s true) and take ownership of it. In 2015, it often feels like the world is ruled by the unworldly, by over-spun politicians, a moralistic media class, and fun-allergic student bureaucrats. Pig-gate gives me hope — hope that behind Cameron’s too glossy veneer there might just lurk a real man. Maybe even a bloke.