In 1993, John Major, the British Prime Minister, stood up at the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool and announced his ‘back to basics’ campaign. It was meant to be a call for a return to ‘neighbourliness, decency and courtesy’ and a focus on education and the economy, but it became conflated in the media and popular imagination with social conservatism and family values.
Inevitably, there followed a string of tawdry sex scandals involving senior figures in the Conservative government before finally, long after Major’s political demise, we all unwillingly learnt about his own affair with Edwina Currie – an affair that had fizzled out long before he ever stepped onto that Blackpool stage.
Rank hypocrisy? I’m not sure. I’m of the old-fashioned opinion that what politicians do to improve public services is far more important than whether they have consensual affairs and I’m not certain Major ever launched the kind…
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