This week #PigGate and the ongoing feud between David Cameron and Lord Ashcroft seemed to be, quite literally, the talk of town.
As far comedy goes, #PigGate is pretty much the golden ticket, hand delivered and presented on a plate. To add insult to injury, the alleged incident has strange similarities to an episode of the dark, speculative satire Black Mirror, written by Charlie Brooker.
It would probably be an understatement then to say that the media has had a field day, the PR team a raging headache. But at the end of it all, does #PigGate have a place in politics, or is it just another mudslinging tactic by a man who didn’t get the job he was promised?
Some will argue that #PigGate is of public interest, after all the alleged incident involves the Prime Minister himself, and in a less than flattering context. But in a YouGov poll it turned out that 62% of us didn’t care, 13% didn’t know whether it mattered, and only 25% of us did care. Obviously these statistics only represent the small sample of people asked, but it does suggest that for the majority of people, #PigGate is unimportant and potentially distracting.
So does this mean that as a mudslinging tactic Lord Ashcrofts’s allegations in Call Me Dave, have failed to do their task? They seem to have had little effect on public opinion… Well that entirely depends on what you believe the purpose of Ashcroft’s statements to be – it’s no secret that Cameron and Ashcroft are not on the best of terms, but the unofficial biography was released after the election and before the Tory party conference (you see Ashcroft is still a Tory party supporter). So was the purpose of this shock story publicity and maybe just a touch of revenge? Most likely, and in that respect it was entirely successful – the media has jumped on the story, and the book has been talked about widely as a consequence.
This aside however, it still seems rather childish. In most other professions, the same comments would not be tolerated without substantial evidence. When the stakes are as high as they are, why should politics be any different irrespective of one’s political persuasion?