[A-List] UK state: political realignment

Keaney Michael Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Mon Sep 30 02:49:52 MDT 2002

Far from turning the A-list into a repository for prurient musings of the kind political "journalist" Andrew Rawnsley has made a speciality, I forward this only because of its significance as another example of the ideological state apparatus in full swing, killing two birds with one stone: distracting us from the far weightier issues of the day (causing political difficulty for Tony) whilst contributing to the steady deconstruction of whatever credibility the Conservative Party may yet retain. As the plaintive bleat of the Conservative Party "source" says, the timing is very interesting indeed.

Currie remembers Major's lack of shame at time of the affair
The Herald, 30 September 2002

TWO magazines were last considering taking John Major to court after the revelation that the former prime minister had a four-year affair with Edwina Currie.

The New Statesman, the left-wing weekly, was consulting lawyers with a view to returning to the courts nine years after Mr Major served it with a libel writ.

In 1993, the former Tory leader was falsely linked to Clare Latimer, a caterer, who provided food and drink for events at 11 Downing Street when he was chancellor.

Mr Major claimed the accusations of adultery amounted to a serious attack on his reputation. However, for four years during the 1980s Mr Major, then a whip, had had an affair with Ms Currie, who was a health minister.

Peter Whilby, the magazine's editor, said the action nearly closed the publication. He said that if it had been known at the time that Mr Major had committed adultery previously, then the outcome of the action might have been very different.

Lawyers for Scallywag, the now defunct satirical magazine, which was also served with a writ in 1993, said its publishers and the estate of the late editor have been considering what action to take.

Scallywag suffered significant losses in the settlement after Mr Major and Ms Latimer launched a libel action against the magazine, its printers and distributors. Its financial position never recovered and it folded.

Ms Latimer said she now felt she had been used by the ex-prime minister as "a decoy".

"He has changed my life forever," she said. "He ruined my life for five years. To him, it was a one-day wonder." Ms Latimer added that at one event when she broke down in tears Mr Major advised her to try to "earn as much money as you can" from it.

As stories about the Currie-Major affair overshadowed the start of the Labour party conference, Conservative high command was desperately trying to dismiss the revelations as irrelevant.

"It's a private matter and we have no comment to make about it," said a spokeswoman at Tory HQ. She added that the Conservative party learned a "long time ago" that Mr Major would not be attending next week's party conference in Bournemouth.

A spokesman for the Scottish Tories said only: "We have nothing to say. We are not going to go into it." Privately, however, Conservatives were more forthcoming. One senior Tory said: "The timing is intriguing and no doubt arranged to create as much damage as possible for the party."

Another added: "It happened years ago and was a private matter. If it had become public at the time, then it might have been a different matter."

He added: "My main concern is how much coverage the BBC gave it compared to what it did over Robin Cook's affair. It's totally double standards."

The protagonists were yesterday keeping a low profile abroad. Ms Currie was at her holiday home in the south of France while Mr Major is in America on a lecture tour, where a speech is said to earn him £36,000.

More information about the A-List mailing list