Column for Jewish News July 9 2021
It’s been a long old week. First, Health Secretary Matt Hancock (remember him?) was obliged to resign for…well, hypocrisy. It wasn’t so much a matter of having an affair – as certainly the prime minister would be the last one with any sort of moral authority on that issue – as his being the person who devised the “hands, face, space” regulations and was then demonstrably seen to be breaking them — with impunity.
No sooner had Hancock been banished into the outer darkness than news filtered through of the latest Westminster marriage to bite the dust, that of the Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is apparently “finalising his divorce” from his journalist wife, Sarah Vine.
Mrs Gove has an enviable platform in the Daily Mail, which she has used with unnerving frequency to attack politicians behaving badly. Colleagues with a closer ear than mine to House of Commons shenanigans maintain that it has been an open secret for months, if not years, that all was not well in Gove Towers. Hence the somewhat cruel mockery with which Sarah Vine’s plea for privacy was greeted, on the grounds that if you dish it out, you have to be prepared to take it.
I can’t say I’m keen on the gleeful denunciation bandwagon as it relates to the Goves. It must be awful to be in the public eye all the time, never to be able to take refuge into longed-for anonymity. The late reality “star”, Jade Goody, once said that she desperately wanted to be famous, without any regard for the consequences of fame.
Who would willingly, for example, be Monica Lewinsky, notorious the world over after her, er, brief encounters with US President Bill Clinton? Imagine paying the gas bill and having someone do a double or triple take when they read the signature. The boring minutiae of daily life don’t accord well with global fame.
There are people, however, for whom I would make an exception on the fame/game front. Right at the head of the queue is Jeremy Corbyn, someone I would be thrilled never to hear of ever again. Standing next to him is the repellent, frothing George Galloway, who managed to seduce a shocking 8,000 people into voting for him in the recent Batley and Spen by-election.
Galloway’s personal brand of toxicity has reached near radioactive levels. Yes, I would be deeply happy never to hear from him again; and add ex-Derby MP Chris Williamson, one-time ASLEF president Tosh McDonald, both of whom went to campaign for Galloway.
And while I’m at it, I’d like to dispense with news of MP John McDonnell and Unite union boss Len McCluskey.
There does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Rejoice, for example, at the news that the Jewish Voice for Labour’s Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi has been chucked off the executive of Chingford and Woodford Green Constituency Labour Party or that Momentum and all its Corbyn-loving friends appear to have been routed in Hendon Labour Party.
And, boy, hasn’t it gone deliciously quiet in Israel with the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu and his offensive son, Yair?
As Ko-Ko sings in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado: “I’ve got a little list/ Of society offenders who might well be underground/ And who never would be missed — they never would be missed”. Amen to that.