The Mail on Sunday is in fine form today, and, in the interests of balance, is not just having a pop at Labour but is raising the question of whether there is any truth in claims that people in Cameron's inner circle paid for a bit of S&M with a high class hooker. What I wonder is though is whether it will actually matter very much if she does (a) name people and (b) it is true. Sex scandals are great, we love them, but when they;re about people's actions almost 20 years ago, will they have (a) resonance in a wider way?
Of course, people will say, "remember Back to Basics?" but the whole point there was that the sex scandals when placed against the misinterpretation of Major's words, were able to be used to say "these people are hypocrites". No such juxtaposition exists today with policy that I can think of. Add into the mix that it far easier and plausible for an voter to go "politician a,b and c are fiddling expenses, ergo all politicians are fiddling expenses" than it is to go "politician a,b and c like to tied up and whipped, ergo all politicians like it a bit kinky", and again I wonder how important it is.
We should also take a look at the TV Schedules these days as well. Has anyone not noticed that documentaries on kinky sex practices have normalised what might have once been considered deviance? Channel 4 has had a number of shows in normal viewing hours normalised everything from butt plugs, to dildos, to gag and ball sex toys. It's not just TV either, Ann Summers shops exist across the country on high streets and in shopping centres. There are no blacked out windows anymore, people mill about in the places looking at all manner of orifice insertion devices.
If such thing were not considered OK then the shops wouldn't thrive, but they do, suggesting a current MP that had kinky tendencies would get a shrug and a "meh" from most people, perhaps with a little giggle of course. Is anyone really outraged that the Home Secretary's husband watched a porno? No. What they don't like is that they paid for it. Had he paid for it himself it wouldn't be half the story it was.
That doesn't mean of course I won't giggle if the names do come out. The real question is will it harm electoral chances, and lets be fair, the vast majority of those who wouldn't vote Tory won't care anyway, and those who would probably hate the Government sufficiently more to let it slide.
It is not 1997 anymore.