The time has come to fess up to my role in Horsegate. I have ridden a horse since 2010, and more than several times too. It would be a surprise if I hadn’t, you see, because I own one.
Well, two …er, three now I come to think of it, but that was an accident that last one. Yes, I know, inexcusable isn’t it? Also, I’ve ridden to hounds – but long, long ago. Just after the 2005 Hunting Act came in, actually. Not of course that any fox was involved, just a smelly old rag impregnated with urine. Oh, and no more than two dogs …
Did I mention my connection with the Metropolitan Police? Another lapse on my part. It’s all my farrier’s fault really. Until recently, he worked full time for the Met, and he used to shoe Raisa, the police horse that has caused poor Mr Cameron so much trouble with his increasingly defective memory (Cameron’s that is). A bit of a beast, apparently. No end of trouble to shoe, ever since that unfortunate stint with the Riot Squad which made her virtually unrideable. You couldn’t even clench a shoe-iron without the mare rearing uncontrollably.
No, let’s get a grip. I made that last bit up. Just like Mr Cameron’s advisers – starting with the late, unlamented Andy Coulson – who have constructed a tissue of half-truths and lies around Dave’s not-very-secret interest in horses, the company he kept with race-horse trainer Charlie Brooks and with Brooks’, er, wife, Rebekah.
Oh! What a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!
And for what purpose? Ex-plod horse Raisa, now sadly deceased, is of course Cameron’s worst political nightmare incarnate. What could more emblematically sum up the flame-haired Medusa, News International, Andy Coulson, phone-hacking, Rupert Murdoch, police corruption, political favouritism and poor personal judgement in just one word?
Yet, in a way, it’s worse than that. Never mind that Charlie Brooks took the near-useless nag on at personal cost and out of compassion, to save her from the knacker’s yard. To the uninitiated – that is to most of Cameron’s voters, urban dwellers who may never have encountered a real horse in their lives – it looks like yet more upper-class horse-trading.
The horse in this country is an inescapable symbol of poshness and privilege – despite the fact that most horse-owners (in my experience at any rate) appear to live in an economic twilight zone where they can barely afford to keep themselves, let alone what’s in the yard. And poshness is an unforgivable electoral sin about which Dave and his Lord Snooty pal George Osborne rightly have psephological nightmares.
Remember that undertaking Cameron made to hold a free vote on fox hunting in this parliament? No, he can’t either. Another example of his lamentable fading memory.