Unfortunately, I cannot link to the article that has annoyed me so much, because it exists only in issue 1272 of Private Eye.
The “New Boys and Girls” feature in Private Eye is a fairly regular column that shows up the poor quality of It refers to “new girl”, Margot James, the 53-year-old MP for Stourbridge. Her transgressions apparently include the following:
- She is good-looking, tall and blonde
- She is a lesbian in a long-term relationship with someone who has no interaction with the government
- She and her partner have a labrador
- She is a self-made millionaire, evidently without rent-seeking from the state or quangos
- Her oiky father made his money the hard way
- She is or was an ardent Thatcherite
- She had an actual working life outside politics before becoming an MP
- She had worked as a local councillor before becoming an MP
- She wasn’t initially parachuted into a safe seat and actually won her seat, trouncing a Labour incumbent with a massive majority
- The incumbent complained to the Electoral Commission but was rebuffed
- She served on the board of an NHS trust
Normally, by the time I am one paragraph away from the end of these articles, I am incandescent with rage. By the time I got to that point in this article, however, I was just wonder what the hell the problem was. Here we have a successful person who has moved on to politics, much the same way as they used to before the Blairite model of lobbying spivs and think-tank wonks came to dominate politics.
And then it all became clear:
Health would be the obvious government brief for James to cover, as she worked in this sector for so long and served on the board of NHS Parkside Trust; but friends say her other interests should not be overlooked. Companies House records show that she is still a director of her girlfriend’s video company, Violet Productions. With Jay Hunt having been a producer on such televisual delights as Hotter Sex and The Truth About Sex, perhaps she’ll find a berth in the culture department instead.
Well, pardon me, Private Eye, but really, is this something that people need to worry about? These videos sound like perfectly reasonable products aimed at making people experience a more fulfilled sexual life. Does this really deserve a sneering article of a third of a page? Is there genuinely not some other new wastrel in the Commons more deserving of comment and investigation?
The sneering, patronising denigration of people’s personal lives continues apace, with the Private Eye revealing itself to be no less self-righteous, sanctimonious or patronising than the Guardian or the Daily Mail. There is nothing wrong with Ms James being a lesbian, her partner being a television producer, sex aid videos or even outright pornography.
I think Mr Hislop is spending too much time being a celebrity. He needs to start editing his magazine again.
Editorial update: The incumbent defeated by Margot James writes to correct some basic facts, but I don’t believe they materially affect the gist of the (non-)story.
Just so you get it right. I did not make a complaint to the Electoral Commission. It was a constituent. I believe it was in connection with unreported donations. The commission was not able to collate the relevant financial information.
Also she was reported to the police (once again by a constituent) for ‘treating’ which involved taking a coachload of pensioners to her country home in the Cotswolds for lunch and for inviting prospective voters to free parties with refreshments in the constituency. The police investigated this but found the complaint was ‘out of time.’
I hope you will amend your piece accordingly.