Spectator Editor and former Tory Shadow Minister for the Arts, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson MP (pictured above with unnamed friends), provided the Oz blogosphere with some light entertainment recently with a juicy sex scandal, in the finest traditions of British politics.
Now, in a bipartisan gesture, Home Secretary David Plunkett’s in trouble, over the ramifications of his affair with, wait for it, the publisher of the Spectator (working there is obviously more fun than reading the magazine…).
Writing in The Age, Peter Fry speculates that the return of the sleaze that mired the dying days of John Major’s government is a sign that Tony Blair’s New Labour is on its last legs. More important than the titillating aspects of the revelations about Blunkett, he argues, are the questions raised over the perception that ministers are happy to dish out favours to select citizens. One result of the Australian election was that a raft of commentators proclaimed that the great Aussie voter was disinterested in questions of accountability. Does the media coverage of these seemingly sordid and saucy shenanigans in the UK show that the Westminster system is actually in a healthier state in its home country than Downunder where the rule of “private lives are off limits” seems pretty much entrenched?
ELSEWHERE: The New York Times explains why British sex scandals get more coverage, even though politicians in other countries possibly also have sex occasionally.