The first two Laws are not Malcolm’s:
- When in a hole, stop digging.
- All the best Tory scandals involve sex; and all the best Labour ones involve money.
The first is, of course, Denis Healey’s famous Law of Holes. If only a lot of current MPs, faced with a TV news camera or a reporter’s dictaphone, had followed it, life of late would have been much duller (vide infra).
It should have a corollary:
- If you have nothing to say, say no more than that.
Which is why Malcolm has had nothing to offer on the great madness that is gripping Britain, and causing ripples of mirth around the English-speaking world (surely these revelations and the accompanying apologias do not readily translate).
Quite when and by whom the second Law was originally pronounced escapes Malcolm. It might well have been those dear lost days when the Daily Telegraph filled its pages (and escaped the Irish censors) with the titillating details of the Profumo affair and its sub-plots. Present events seem to disprove this Law’s application, unless (oh, please! please!) it transpires that some MP has been providing for his/her bit-on-the-side on “expenses”.
All that apart, we now come to:
Malcolm’s third Law of British politics:
- Nice Tories are not bright; and bright Tories are not nice.
The prime examples in the former category have to be Sir Peter Viggers, of duck-house fame, and Bill Wiggin.
Viggers has been a fixture in the Commons for 35 years. In all that time he rose to ministerial office, as a bag-carrier (the Industry port-folio for Northern Ireland) over just a few months in Thatcher’s last administration.
Bill Wiggin … well, what’s to say?
Paul Waugh in the London Evening Standard reckons:
Not for nothing is Bill Wiggin known among colleagues as “Bungalow Bill”* (he’s not got a lot upstairs, geddit?).
Wiggin’s main defence today seems to be that he blundered in signing the wrong form and declaring which was his ‘second home’. He had better be right, because David Cameron stuck his neck out today in suggesting it was “an honest mistake” (though he warned if it was shown to be anything else, Wiggin would be ‘out of the door’ like the others).
The Tory whip was out and about making his case on the Today prog, BBC News and Sky News. Yet for my money the most hilarious exchanges were on Sky.
Eamonn Holmes: “You don’t look like the sharpest tool in the box, do you?”
Wiggin: “Yes, I have to hold my hand up.”
Eamonn Holmes: “Not so much ‘bungalow bill’ as ‘bungling bill’?”
Wiggin: “Yes, Eamonn”.
FOOTNOTE: The nickname stems from another Bill Wiggin, a businessman who ‘squired’ (copyright, the Daily Mail) actress Joan Collins way back in the 80s. He was a bit thick.
Nice to see that Waugh remembered “Bungalow Bill” Wiggins (notice the plural form), celebrated by the Daily Mail as:
a handsome, charming, smiley man named Bill Wiggins. Joan took one look at him and went weak at the knees.
He took one look at her, recognised her instantly and said wickedly: “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name.” She giggled, and kept on giggling. By the end of the meal she was hooked.
To make their meeting even more perfect, she discovered that his friends called him “Bungalow” Bill because – so they joked – he had nothing much up top but a hell of a lot down below.
If we believe the leaked e-mails of Des Swayne (Cameron’s PPS), way back in July 2006, Wiggin was known among the Tory higher echelon as “Mince-head”.
But, as they said of the party-going mushroom, a fungi to be with.
And the Tory bright guys?
Not nice. Not cuddly.
As the Great British Public will come to realise, as those Tories recently thrown to the wolves already have done, about David Cameron. To think it was said (perhaps this should be the Fourth Law) that loyalty was the Tory Party’s secret weapon.