I wonder how many of my readers remember John Profumo? He was the Minister of Defence in the early sixties who had it off with Christine Keeler, who at the same time was having it off with a Russian agent, whose name I have forgotten for the moment.
When it all came out, Profumo took it on the chin, apologised to Parliament and resigned, devoting the rest of his life to charitable work – very much an honourable man.
Compare his case to the current furore surrounding Health Secretary Mathew Hancock, pictured yesterday in the Sun with his lips clamped to a very pretty parliamentary aide’s mouth while his hands firmly grasped her bum.
This is the bossy idiot who over the past fifteen months has made it his business to make us all miserable with an endless list of restrictions that include keeping two metres or ‘one metre plus’ -whatever that may mean – apart, wearing muzzles in public and not mixing with anyone we do not live with.
This turnip has appeared on our television screens on so many occasions and his lugubrious face seems specifically designed by nature for a downbeat message. Who can forget his injunction to ‘hug carefully and responsibly’ as lockdown eased? ‘(Before that, his regulations meant no one got within hugging distance of anyone.)
He would, he said, be hugging his parents outside: “I’m really looking forward to hugging you, Dad, but we’ll probably do it outside and keep the ventilation going: hands, face and space.”
What a load of old baloney! Hands, face and space weren’t quite what came to mind when looking at the pictures in The Sun of Hancock in a clinch – a real adolescent snog – with his adviser, Gina Coladangelo, an old university friend and PR boss.
I confess that I choked on my early morning tea when I saw that lot. What on earth is going on? I have compared the ineptitude of the Johnson administration to African governments before in these pages, but this was surely taking things to extremes.
When he came into power, Bunter Johnson fired all the big beasts of his party and surrounded himself with compliant ‘yes men’ who although they might not have much in the way of brain power or personality, would not disagree with him and with quite amazing insouciance, he tells us that now Hancock has apologised for his ‘indiscretion,’ the matter is closed.
Has this blustering buffoon no knowledge as to how ordinary folk feel? Of course he has not. He lives in a rarefied stratosphere that we ordinary mortals cannot aspire to so he blunders on without caring about anyone other than Bunter Johnson. He wants cretins like Hancock and Gavin Williamson around him because it provides cover for his own professional inadequacies.
Why else would he keep someone who he clearly – the emails were produced by Cummings – described repeatedly as f*#@ing useless as Health Secretary during a pandemic? Why else would he keep someone who constantly and demonstrably fails children and young people as education secretary at a time when schoolchildren so desperately deserve better?
The answer, alas, is that by remaining in place, guys like them serve as useful human shields. Johnson is only too happy to be surrounded by the erring and the compromised, because now he has shag cover too. His own indiscretions can be ignored while his minions continue to disgrace themselves
He himself is a serial adulterer – look out Carrie, you have created a vacancy – and a convicted liar on many occasions. He needs scapegoats around him and if he has to, he will sacrifice them too.
But this business with Hancock riles me considerably. It just does not seem right – it is not right dammit! We all make mistakes in our personal lives, but it’s very difficult if the minister telling people that they can’t visit their grandparents or go to sports days and watch their children is then found snogging his non-executive director in the office.
It is the sense of unfairness that makes it so bad. I am prepared to put up with ordinary wrong doing but I can’t abide double standards and arrant hypocrisy.
Last year when Prof Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist who helped shape the government’s response to coronavirus, quit his advisory role for breaking social distancing rules by having a woman visit him at his home, Hancock said he was right to resign and the police should investigate.
So why now, when he is caught in the same situation, does he not resign and submit himself to police investigation? He has broken the law and the fact that it is law promulgated under his name makes the matter far worse.
Last September this hapless turnip told people not to start romantic relationships because of the risk that it could spread Covid and on May 16, ten days after his clinch with Mrs Coladangelo, he said people should be ‘careful’ about the new freedom to hug – and suggested they should do so only outside with people who had been fully vaccinated.
What on earth has this edict done to the lives of young people who are no longer allowed to mingle with their peers and so cannot strike up relationships of their own? It truly beggars belief but we all followed the rules because we were told by our esteemed Health Secretary that it would keep more people alive.
I do not often agree with the Liberal Democrats but their health spokesman, Munira Wilson said: yesterday ‘Matt Hancock is a terrible Health Secretary and should have been sacked a long time ago for his failures. This latest episode of hypocrisy will break the trust with the British public. He was telling families not to hug loved ones, while doing whatever he liked in the workplace. Rules for them and rules for us is no way to run a country.’
This time I whole heartedly agree. These cretins must be made to realise that they are but ordinary people doing a job that is not really important – the world will keep turning without them – but makes them feel so.
Mystery surrounds the recruitment of Mrs Coladangelo, who apparently met Hancock while volunteering at the student radio station at Oxford University in the 1990s. She worked on his thankfully failed Tory leadership campaign in 2019 and was secretly taken on as an unpaid adviser at the Department of Health last year. Then she was made a non-executive director on a £15,000 contract. She works a maximum of fifteen days a year for that so one thousand pounds a day cannot be bad, even if she is already very wealthy. And that is taxpayer money dammit!
Are we not entitled to ask what qualifications she has for the job? I fear not. This is Bunter J’s corrupt government and as with Mugabe, Mnangagwa and other corrupt African despots, they will not allow scrutiny.
A Tory source told the media yesterday that Hancock and his Italian bird had become inseparable, adding: ‘They always appeared to be incredibly close. Her status was always slightly mysterious but she went everywhere with him. She was in every meeting.’
Why? He is supposed to be the big deal and surely does not need a PR lady for her husband’s sock shop to advise him or hold his hand.
Hancock was recently grilled about his conduct by senior figures from the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team for other nefarious activities but Bunter Johnson decided he would stand by him. The Prime Minister, who was sacked by Michael Howard for lying about an extramarital affair, was said to have been reluctant to hand the media a scalp.
Downing Street refused to comment yesterday on whether Mr Hancock had offered his resignation at any point. This horrible example of basic hypocrisy echoes the infamous lockdown-busting trip to Durham made by Dominic Cummings last year. That led to a public outcry but Bunter J stuck by his man, only to give way later to his tree hugging spouse – she was only his live in mistress then – and fire Cummings anyway.
I fear now that most thinking people in this country will be asking themselves why they should listen to advice on travel and social distancing when the Health Secretary is not even following his own rules. Most people will be questioning whether Matt Hancock has any position of authority. after this nonsense.
The man is a fool and although I won’t comment on the morality of his actions with this popsy, surely, he must have known that his sixty plus second snog would be recorded on government CCTV cameras?
If not, then how on earth can any of us trust a man with so little common sense.
I fear that this example of two-faced deceit and duplicity must not only result in Hancock being fired but has a good chance of bringing the entire government down. A disaster for the Tories perhaps but to my mind, a huge benefit to the country – and I have voted Conservative all my life.
Perhaps a new government will bring some sanity back to Britain before it descends into becoming a complete banana republic,
Oh for the days of John Profumo. He did wrong but he had a sense of honour and respected not only Parliament but the folk who elected him. Bunter Johnson and Hancock would do well to remember that – but I fear that is an unlikely.