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Sunday, September 27, 2020

JANET STREET-PORTER on Sasha Swire’s claims about David Cameron

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According to posh diarist (and Tory MP’s wife) Sasha Swire, going for a walk with a Prime Minister is fraught with hidden dangers. I’d hardly thought of David Cameron as a pest in the Harvey Weinstein mould but – according to her recent memoirs – Sasha saw an unexpected side to the Tory leader when on holiday in Cornwall.

Married to Hugo Swire, one of Cameron’s best friends, Sasha – unbeknown to any of those privileged enough to be members of the PM’s ‘inner circle’- kept a cheeky diary recounting years of drunken dinners, silly jokes, petty squabbles and warring wives.

It’s hardly a detailed analysis of the pros and cons of Brexit, more a frothy souffle revealing what Waitrose canapes were consumed, how appalling the official government catering is and which political wife was forced to step up and make the fish pie at short notice.

Nevertheless, it’s always entertaining to read about toffs falling out, even if it turns out they have the same low-brow taste in jokes as the rest of us.

Sasha Swire, pictured with Tory MP husband Hugo, has made a series of claims about former Prime Minister David Cameron

Sasha Swire, pictured with Tory MP husband Hugo, has made a series of claims about former Prime Minister David Cameron

It seems that Sasha didn’t bother to tell her husband – he would have surely tried to stop her project as it must mean that formerly ‘close’ pals like Michael Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, George Osborne and his ex wife Frances, now regard the Swires as pariahs.

In her book, Sasha paints a picture of Cameron as a lazy schoolboy, obsessed with getting drunk, making jokes about sex and (when they were on a six mile tramp in Cornwall along with his bodyguard, telling her not to walk ahead of him because her perfume was so potent there was evey possibility he might ‘grab her and push her in the bushes and give her one’.)

A shockingly sexist outburst from an old Etonian not tuned in to modern etiquette, or a harmless joke?

The way Sasha tells it, it’s ‘probably lewdness….but I’m so starved of masculine interest at my age it made me smile’.

That revelation tells us a lot more about Sasha than Dave. Does she have a sense of humour, or has she acquired a thick veneer of political correctness in line with the current craze for ‘cancelling’ anyone deemed unacceptable?

In the real world, most men (and women) I know still drink too much, make unacceptable jokes and loaf looking slightly overweight on a summer break – it’s the British way of life.

In Cornwall for a summer break, Dave behaves the same as any middle-aged man with a bit of dosh.

In short, he’s using his holiday to try and recapture his youth, attempting to cling to the hopeless dream that even though he’s well past 40, he is still virile, and that any women within 100 yards are lucky he’s not leaping on them.

David and Samantha Cameron, pictured together, 'adore each other', according to JANET STREET-PORTER

David and Samantha Cameron, pictured together, ‘adore each other’, according to JANET STREET-PORTER

Dave might be getting chubby but he’s passionate about bodysurfing, and is pretty expert. He likes exercise, in between the boozing, eating and making feeble jokes. The more I read Sasha’ so called revealtions about David Cameron, the more ‘normal’ he sounds and the more our social chronicler Mrs Swire seems petty and unnecessarily judgemental.

She moans that her husband and Dave talk a lot about sex, but adds ‘if a woman came on to them their eyes would probably pop out of their head. Blood would rush to their face….and they would run for the nearest shelter- probably under their wives’ skirts’. Possibly, but the same is true of 90% of British men, not just those from the landed gentry.

Having met David Cameron several times I can attest that he is charming, chatty and very good company. He and Samantha adore each other, but I did gain a glimpse of how irritating she might find it to be married to a bloke who’s a tad naïve about women and their bodies.

A few years ago, at a party given by the Russian media baron Evgeny Lebedev, the glamour model and TV presenter Katie Price (and former Loose Women) pitched up wearing skin tight black leather trousers, topped off with a jewelled bra barely containing her twin assets, over which she had popped a totally transparent chiffon shirt, undone to the waist. Her outfit was accessorised with incredibly high heels, making her easily the tallest (and most eye-catching) person in the room.

I was talking to Cameron when Katie loomed up – her top half arriving well in advance – and was forced to introduce them. Not that Dave minded. His eyes were trying (and failing) to stop looking at Katie’s breasts. To be fair, she had every right to engage the Prime Minister in conversation. She has campaigned for years about the lack of special schools in her area, resulting in her son Harvey having to travel miles evey day.

But the conversation went on and on….and I sidled up to Samantha and asked ‘shall I do something?’ She nodded. By now, Dave was bright red and slightly sweaty – as I steered Katie off to meet someone else.

In that relationship, Samantha is the sophisticated, one, but isn’t that true of most marriages to middle-class men? They might be used to throwing their weight around at work, revel in all sorts of machinations and power grabbing to further their careers, but when they encounter a set of 40DD’s they can’t form a coherent sentence.

For all his alleged faults, I’d rather spend a month on holiday with David Cameron (though not his pals the Goves or the Swires) than a day in a tent with adulterer and panto performer Boris Johnson.

I'd rather spend a month on holiday with David Cameron (though not his pals the Goves or the Swires) than a day in a tent with adulterer and panto performer Boris Johnson, writes JANET STREET-PORTER

I’d rather spend a month on holiday with David Cameron (though not his pals the Goves or the Swires) than a day in a tent with adulterer and panto performer Boris Johnson, writes JANET STREET-PORTER

David Cameron was not a particularly brilliant Prime Minister. He messed up Brexit and he dithered at fatal moments. Together with George Osborne he instituted swingeing cuts to local government which crippled social services on which the poorest people in society depend. On a more trivial note, he posed for some silly photoshoots to promote his ‘big society’. But at the end of the day, he demonstrated his love for his disabled son Ivan in a way that brought tears to our eyes.

Boris is wedded to making the news by becoming the subject of the day, posing in silly outfits and making preposterous announcements with grandiose promises he (and we all know) will never be delivered.

David Cameron was humble, he was flawed but he was a real human being.

Now we’ve got an egomaniac at the helm, a man who is running out steam and does not much else going for him except a hot fiancee, a cute dog and a baby who may or not be cute but so far we’ve only ever seen the back of his head.

So come back, Dave, all is forgiven. Just be more careful about who you count as friends. 

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