Few stories have caught the imagination of the general public quite as much as the allegations made by Lord Ashcroft in an upcoming book that the Prime Minister might’ve once performed a sexual act involving a pigs head during an initiation ritual at university.
The story has spawned countless hashtags (#baeofpigs being a personal favourite), memes and a hastily put together but nonetheless artful Cassetteboy mashup. Numerous people have noted the similarity that the allegations have with the controversial Black Mirror episode.
Charlie Brooker, the series creator and apparently unwitting Nostradamus, tweeted, “S***. Turns out Black Mirror is a documentary series”. When there is satire written about you that pre-dates a scandal by three years, you know you must be doing something wrong.
Labour have kept silent on the subject, although it has been noted that press officers have been handing Percy Pig sweets out to journalists. It’s possible that such sweets were the only ones they had in the office, but it does seem a cheap shot which compromises the integrity of those involved. Labour Leader (and vegetarian) Jeremy Corbyn has been quoted as saying “I don’t do personal attacks” and indeed that does appear to be the official response. The Percy Pig debacle, however, comes across as a ham-fisted jibe that takes away from legitimate criticism of Tory policies. Referencing #piggate is just as petty as the countless smears spread by the right-wing media against Corbyn: “he probably hasn’t porked a pig, but I bet he does it wearing a red gimp mask to the tune of the Internationale” or something to that effect.
As much as we, the general public, want it to be true, whether or not the act occurred is irrelevant. I was disgusted by David Cameron well before I was presented with an uncomfortable mental image of necrophiliac bestiality given to me by Lord Ashcroft. It makes more sense for Labour and for us to keep our heads about us while pigs and politicians alike are losing theirs and look at the “real” news.
The government’s austerity measures have disproportionally affected the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. Over the next five years, more people will be plunged into poverty. More than 80 suicides have already been directly linked to welfare cuts to disability and mental health services.
Cameron’s government has doubled the national debt, continues to appease bankers with tax breaks while daring to claim that his party represents “hard-working people”.
Leaping on the trial by Twitter (or trotter) bandwagon takes away from the fact that there are more pressing issues to discuss. Handing out Percy Pigs is inappropriate, no matter how sweetly they taste of schadenfreude. A Bullingdon oik getting his comeuppance will always be satisfying but to crudely paraphrase George Orwell, it’s hard at this point to tell who are the pigs and who are the men.