Roundtable – Can David Cameron survive #piggate

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This week our contributors had a spirited debate about the motivations behind the allegations that the Prime Minister had carnal relations with a decapitated pig’s head and the possible effect it might have on his political career going forward. Of course, this is one of our less serious and more irreverent roundtables, but we just couldn’t resist. There will be memes.

What do you think about the image of Cameron porking a piggy? Let us know?

Siobhan Tolland – That’s if he lasts till Sunday of course.

Chris Napier – He will. Much of the MSM is refusing to cover the story, there is no corroboration and at the end of the day most people don’t give a fuck if a politician is a bit of a pervert – it’s almost expected.

Alan Stares – I’m going to take the unpopular route and say that while it’s immensely funny it was well in his past, it didn’t hurt anyone (assuming he didn’t get a live pig and kill it himself) and it doesn’t affect his job ability. Mhari Black got slated for things she had done in the past and a lot of folk (including me) defended her so the same rules must apply to old pork scratchings there. He’ll survive because let’s face it, there is no-one for them to answer to and the Daily Mail has already dragged out his dead son for an article about how nice he is.

Chris Napier – Also, the whole act of face fucking a dead pig – if it in fact happened – was part of an upper class club initiation, the purpose of which is so that anyone who breaks ranks can be dragged down with smears by their erstwhile buddies. As Cameron has NOT broken ranks, it’s unlikely that his buddies in the corridors of power, who run the newspapers etc. will be complicit in dragging him down this way. Hence, it will be brushed away and be nothing more than a snarky online joke in a week or two.

Let’s be honest, the cover up of the Westminster pedophile ring, the destruction of the welfare state and the decision to embark on military operations in a sovereign state targeting our own citizens without parliamentary discussion or approval are all better reasons to have a go at Cameron.

It’s also worth thinking that this all came out at the same time that a former general was advocating a military coup should Corbyn win in 2020 and decide to enact his anti-Trident, military-reducing policies. Even a negative story can be useful if it diverts from the true operation of the machine. With that in mind, we’re not talking about how really positive Corbyn is anymore, rather how cartoonishly bad Cameron is and that has never done him any harm before.

Paul Duguid – Agree with all you say here. And if you add the fact that Ashcroft “donated” millions pre 2010 on the premise of a post by Cameron the story makes more sense. The timing, on top of the coup, overshadows the deal with China for the nuclear plant in a part of England already subsiding, which we’ll pay over the odds for (this has already been agreed) he’s either taking one for the team or they’re looking to oust him early. My money would be on Boris… Osbourne is nowhere near clever enough!

Chris Napier – Word is that Boris isn’t nearly as close to the Tory succession as we all supposed before the election. Apparently his incompetence has been exposed at Westminster, when he could get away with it as Mayor. That means Osborne is almost a shoe in as the next leader. Of course, Gideon is in Cameron’s relatively Euro-friendly camp so he’s unlikely to want to rock the boat before the EU ref.

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Siobhan Tolland – I am not so sure actually. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not in terms of propaganda, because it is extremely effective. The image is now here in the public. The PR trying to make him look good but this story would never have been told if there weren’t other powers allowing it. This is a strategic maneuver to discredit him, and the question is who did this and why. If this was just Lord Ashcroft and the Daily Mail then it would have been silenced. Other powers are behind this. Chris, I thought about this as a way to silence other issues but for me that just does not make sense. There are a million other ways of moving public opinion away from these issues. Cameron shagging a pig is a poor strategic move that is extremely risky. The coup issue was being managed very well and it actually wasn’t that big a scandal media wise. And it is not as if the PR campaign against Corbyn was flailing. It was actually being quite effective. Unless there is a hidden story somewhere that is a million times more scandalous than this, then it simply does not work as a distraction story. This is much more than that. This is huge! That is came out and managed to get out it huge! This is the PM, petty revenge from someone doesn’t touch him unless it is allowed to. No, in my opinion, this is a strategic manoeuvre to get rid. Nothing else makes sense. This it way beyond what he did or didn’t do. And in terms of PR it is nowhere near anything of Mhairi Black’s past. It is also not about judgement of his actions, it is whether he can survive the sheer force of that image regardless of its truth.

Chris Napier – That’s a good case, although I still think that the biggest damage to Cameron is that his ability to go on about ‘British values’ when he’s widely perceived as having had public carnal relations with a deceased, beheaded pig is significantly compromised.

In any case, he did always say he was stepping down at some point during this parliament, so maybe this just brings that forward by a few years.

That thought leads me to think that maybe there is an element within the Tories that would prefer a less pro-Europe leader to be in place before the EU referendum takes place… or is that TOO tinfoil hat?

Siobhan Tolland – Have you read the Dug, it disna matter what they throw at us, we can just retort back, aye bit your leader shagged a pig! As for the Europe thing, hmm, certainly something up and we seem to have missed it along with the internal wranglings. Caught up in the internal wranglings of Labour no doubt. Can a man plagued with the image of shagging a pig really continue? I have these images of PMQ and everyone just trying to suppress laughs and someone just grunting out in the silence. Its too much….

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Louise Wilson – We’re now on day 2 and the Daily Mail has continued its attack on Cameron. I agree there is something strategic going on, because the paper has always been pretty pro-Cameron. Whether it is to push for his removal ahead of the EU referendum, or as punishment for the recent change in the “migrant crisis” narrative, or something else remains unclear. The paper seems set on destabilising him, though given he is not running for PM for a third time I do wonder why.

Or is could just be that the Daily Mail new this would sell papers, and given that he is to start down sometime between now and 2020, why not choose Dave as a victim. I also agree with previous comments that it’s unlikely to be particularly damaging – it’ll all be over in a couple of weeks.

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Roundtable – “How would you reform the House of Lords?”

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In light of David Cameron reinforcing the Lords ranks with a cadre of Conservative friendly new peers, this week’s roundtable sees our contributors tackle the question of reforming the UK Parliament’s much criticsed upper chamber.

As ever, we’re interested in your thoughts, so please make your feelings known in the comments.

“How would you reform the House of Lords?”

Disclaimer: Despite some of the language used, The Scots Perspective and it’s contributors are not seriously advocating arson or terrorism against the institution, building or members of the House of Lords. Such language is used to convey depth of feeling and for lyrical effect.

Alan Stares – Blow it up!

Abolish the whole process at least, there is zero need for it and put the money into the million other things that apparently we don’t have cash for. £300 a day could feed and clothe a lot of refugees without any hassle and that’s just one Lord’s daily payment. Besides, the old bastards look like they could miss a dinner or two and they don’t exactly ‘need’ the money for anything else bar maybe the monthly subscription to their child porn sites

The situation that it’s starting to be a bunch of old Tories and unionists is bad enough but the fact they can have influence over issues without any form of democratic election process and dress it all up as ‘tradition’ deserves a slap in itself.

Mark McNaught – Burn it to the ground, with the ermine in it.

Chris Napier – I would abolish the House of Lords at the first opportunity as it is an expensive, undemocratic anachronism which attaches Britain to its feudal past in a way that is unsupportable in the modern age.

Turn the building into a tourist attraction or even better, convert it into 650 one bedroom, en suite flats, akin to student accommodation to remove the need for MPs to have second homes at all…

That said, I believe that the concept of a second chamber to act as a restraining hand on the House of Commons is a good one, but such a chamber should be democratically elected and ideally not subject to party loyalties. As to how that would look, I think that’s worth an article in it’s own right…

In any case, I believe that a complete break with the feudal past that the Lords represents is necessary and the UK’s democracy would benefit from a fresh slate with an all-new second chamber.

Louise Wilson – At the risk of incurring the wrath of my Scots Perspective colleagues, I do not support the abolition of the House of Lords. Rather, I support radical reform.

My reason for this is because I believe that a democratic, properly functioning second chamber should exist. Looking at democracies around the world, many have a second chamber of some kind. And whilst there is much wrong with the House of Lords, its general principle to scrutinise government legislation is sound.

Our second chamber is rightly restricted in what it can do – it cannot stop any Bills regarding taxation, nor any piece of legislation that appeared in the elected government’s manifesto. It can only slow down the process of passage by one calendar year for all other legislation. Whilst it can make recommendations to the House of Commons, elected MPs have a right to ignore any veto from the Lords. And finally, though Lords can introduced their own pieces of legislation, these must also be agreed by the Commons. Essentially, the buck stops with those whom we elected, not those appointed.

These are the strengths of the Lords, but of course it would be remiss of me not to mention its weaknesses. As mentioned, Lords can bring forward their own bills and there are questions around the legitimacy of this given peers are not elected. Even if Commons can stop such items passing into law, there is a question of whether it is right that policy can stem from an unelected, undemocratic and unaccountable body.

Further, the sheer size and subsequent cost of keeping the Lords is not insignificant. The Lords is the largest second chamber in the world, and there really is no need for such a body to outnumber their elected colleagues. A part of this is because Lords are Lords for life (barring any scandal). Relatedly, at £300 per day for expenses, these peerages can cost us over £237,000 each day – not including the complimentary champagne nor the pay received by office holding Lords. Aside from it not being necessary to have so many peers, the cost of keeping them all is difficult to justify.

So, with all these things wrong with the House of Lords (and I’m sure there are more that I haven’t addressed), why do I not support complete abolition? Well, I don’t think starting from scratch is totally necessary. The restrictions on the peers are reasonable, and many of those that sit just now actually do a good job. Yes, I would like to see Lords elected and reduced in size – but this can be dealt with simple reform, rather than getting rid of the thing as a whole.

Siobhan Tolland – Scrap it and salt the earth, gentlemen! Abolish it now. Create a second chamber with elected people who are not of any political affiliation.

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