“They only answered little liar . . . ”

Does it matter whether or not the First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office watched pornography on his office PC?

In truth, probably not. It was a long time ago, he was not then a minister of the crown, it was not (by all accounts) extreme or illegal pornography,  and it is not unknown for men of a certain age to do just that, at work and at home.

But what now matters is whether he is telling the truth.

The Guardian leader on Friday puts it very clearly,

In the end, though, the outcome of the Green affair seems likely to come down, and should, to an even more basic principle – which of Mr Green and his accusers is telling the truth? – and to an even more important judgment: which of them should be believed?

What has struck me most is the silence: from the Prime Minister; from the Home Secretary (ultimately responsible for the Met); from the Commissioner of the Met.

Certainly there have been a lot of loud noises off – David Davis threatening, according to his friends, that he will resign if Mr Green has to go; Andrew Mitchell, himself no stranger to rows with the Met, calling on Cressida Dick “to stand up, as Britain’s most senior police officer, and make clear that this sort of freelancing by rogue officers is completely unacceptable and that she will stamp it out on her watch?”

And those keeping their counsel may properly argue that as the claims are being investigated by the Cabinet Office, speculation at this stage is unwise. Plus Theresa May has been overseas (but Mr Green is perhaps her closest political ally); Amber Rudd may not want to rock any boat (quite yet); Cressida Dick is not responsible for the former police officers who have leaked the details (but this goes to the heart of the public’s confidence in the Met).

So what about the silence?

Pure speculation of course, but consider the following,

If Mr Green goes, how long will Theresa May stay? How long can she stay? Particularly if she offers him imprudent support.

If Theresa May goes, will Amber Rudd run for leader of the Conservative party, notwithstanding the precariousness of her majority at Hastings and Rye at the last election? Might be worth a quick trip to William Hill.

What does Cressida Dick know? She will have been fully briefed on the events in 2008, which led to Mr Green’s Parliamentary Office being searched and his computers seized. And she was, in any event, a deputy assistant commissioner at the time, in charge of specialist operations.

Brexit one way or another looms over all of this. If Mrs May goes, will the grown up faction in the Government, which includes Amber Rudd, take back control?

Politicians are not always truthful – for all sorts of reasons.

 

Becoming modesty

The eldest is now back in the UK, after Berlin and Milan, and living in Hackney. Just around the corner, it seems, from one of the mad mullahs, so lots of police activity. The day before yesterday she managed to lock herself in the bathroom. It took 20 minutes and the Fire Brigade to release her: they were as surprised as we were to learn that the bathroom door had a deadlock. It makes you wonder about the previous tenants. Anyway, no harm done and at least she had her dressing gown with her (her mother’s first thought).

Yesterday evening her front door bell rang. There was one of the boys in blue. They were making house to house enquiries about three “parked” cars. Not, as the eldest immediately thought, to caution her for wasting the Fire Brigade’s time! I doubt that Red Watch complained.

A better class of riot

Whingeing about the dire state of the economy with a good friend, who is the chairman of a major UK accountancy group, he told me of a recent dinner he and his wife had attended somewhere in the West Country. The property developer sat next to his wife told her, in all seriousness, that he had just bought an estate in the Welsh Marches, to which he was imminently retiring, because he expected social breakdown and riots on the streets of London by Christmas. . . and didn’t think the Metropolitan Police were up to stopping them.

Perhaps that explains what Devon & Cornwall Constabulary were doing in Waitrose car park in Okehampton in the middle of last week, kitted out in full riot gear, and role playing in and among the public. Nonetheless, if you are going to practice how to control food rioting, Waitrose seems an unlikely venue.