Getting Piggy With It? David Cameron, The Pig and Sexual Politics in 2015

September 28, 2015 in General

Yes, it’s yet another post on the subject of David Cameron and his alleged encounter with deceased porcine oral pleasure while a member of the Piers Gaveston Society at Oxford University back in the eighties. What does this say about sexual politics in the western world today?

Let’s place this in context. The alleged events took place during the eighties while Cameron was a university student. One of the staple events conducted by members of the aforementioned organisation involves parties that include fetish ware and copious consumption of certain illicit substances. They are the subject of a book entitled Call Me Dave,  authored by former Tory funder Lord Michael Ashcroft, who is disgruntled at the modernist direction that the Cameron era Conservative Party has taken, and has decided to retaliate. The source is alleged to be a renegade backbench Tory MP, who also stated that he has pictorial evidence of the close encounter of the porcine kind, involving a certain appendage inserted in the mouth of the deceased porker.  So, what does this signify?

According to Wikipedia, zoophilia/bestiality has been illegal in what eventually became the United Kingdom since 1290. It is currently codified within Clause 69 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and attracts a six month sentence if the culprit is compliant and willing to acknowledge their offence. If the case proceeds to trial, that lengthens to two years.  However, the offence specifies that the offence consists of vaginal or anal penetration of the animal in question- which seems to omit oral sex with any such animal, which means that technically, the future Prime Minister would not be breaking any law if the event occurred today.  By comparison, New Zealand bans the same sexual act within Section 143 of the Crimes Act 1961. In our context, the act specified is penetration, without any clarification whether it is oral, anal or vaginal. The penalty is more severe too, as it is seven years imprisonment.  The clause itself is rather basic. Surely, if an act of zoophilia involves any question of cruelty to animals through behavioural trauma or physical harm, then why doesn’t that attract a more stringent penalty? It is well known that animal cruelty is a precursor to similar predatory sociopathic acts against humans.

In any case, the pig was dead at the time that the alleged act took place. However, this does not mean that it was “necrophilia” either, because Section 70 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 specified that this section only pertains to human remains, much as Section 150 of New Zealand’s Crimes Act 1961. Here, if carried out against a human corpse, it would attract a two year prison sentence.  However, in the New Zealand context, the latter is an extremely rare offence and as yet, there is no case law on the subject.  So therefore, technically, David Cameron would not be guilty of that offence either.

What about the calculus of scandal on such issues? Much depends on the gravity of the offence and extent of injury suffered by the aggrieved parties. Political scandals are viewed as grave if they involve rape, incest, pedophilia or other forms of child sexual abuse or other nonconsensual acts against humans. They may involve immediate parliamentary resignation and criminal trials as well as imprisonment.

While infidelity or visiting a sex worker are viewed as misdemeanours, they are usually not enough to constitute sacking offences within modern politics, although if an elected representative or Cabinet Minister, visiting a sex worker may be enough to insure their non-selection as party candidate at the next election or demotion down the parliamentary caucus.  Infidelity, divorce and remarriage won’t. Merely undertaking consensual non-vanilla sexual activity is of no interest to anyone, given that consensual adult sadomasochism is not against New Zealand law, although the same may not be true of “heavy duty” BDSM within the United Kingdom, following the “Operation Spanner” case of the nineties and the Jaggard, Laskey and Brown vs United Kingdom decision in the European Court of Human Rights in 1999.

By comparison, no known politician has been known to have interfered with human remains, and, as noted, if this alleged ‘offence’ occurred, it did not involve a live animal, nor was there any penetration of vagina or anus.  In any case, zoophilia involves less attribution of penalties than human sexual abuse, and only a two year prison sentence within the United Kingdom.  Whether zoosadism should be treated more severely is a moot point in this context.  However, any increased criminal penalties for zoosadism would presuppose a live animal entrapped within a non-consensual encounter with a human, although one imagines that killing an animal during sexual abuse would be caught within such charges. If the pig was already dead, however,  then there would be no aggrieved party to ‘abuse’.

The offence in question has now dwindled down to a mere ethical failing. However, it was probably a one-off if it ever took place, and it occurred under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol during a period of relative immaturity. Indeed, the pigs head has been the subject of much ribald political commentary and pointed satire aimed at Mr Cameron,  who has denied that it ever took place. Indeed, Ashcroft’s animus appears to have specifically recognised that the bizarre isolated sexual act described within his book is less significant than another allegation- future prime ministerial cocaine consumption. No-one is demanding that Mr Cameron resign over an isolated past event, given that we all do things we regret during adolescence and the years immediately thereafter, especially if one is involved in higher education, with its almost obligatory binge drinking interludes amongst students.  Nor should he, if that event ever occurred.

It may well be an artefact of economic inequality, but there is a particular offender profile when it comes to specific cases of habitual zoophilia offenders. The individuals are rural and have experienced behavioural, cognitive and developmental difficulties that have been inadequately treated and their paraphilia is exacerbated by substance abuse, namely alcohol and/or cannabis and/or polydrug consumption. The victim animals are usually livestock, such as cows, sheep, chickens..and yes, pigs.  Zoophilia tends not to be an urban or metropolitan paraphilia, because urban animals are better protected by animal welfare agencies.  Habitual zoophilia involves psychopathology, not temporary cognitive impairment under the influence.  Even if the event did occur, and Ashcroft may well prove to be an unreliable narrator of an imaginary non-event, all that Cameron is likely to endure is mockery and mild derision.

Would mitigated treatment of Cameron if culpable eventually lead to the decriminalisation of zoophilia? Hardly. According to Wikipedia, only Finland, Roumania, Brazil, Thailand and Cambodia have taken that step. By contrast, legislative momentum seems to be moving in the opposite direction, possibly due to the international influence of the animal rights movement. Belgium (2007), France (2004), Denmark (2015), Germany (2013), the Netherlands (2010) , Poland (1997) and Sweden (2014) have all criminalised zoophilia since the turn of the century.  Within the United States, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming have no anti-zoophilia laws. New Jersey is about to legislate against it.

To be sure, Cameron has denied that anything salacious happened during his time at Oxford University and has argued that Lord Ashcroft is motivated by pique after not securing a prominent Cabinet role within the Cameron administration after it first won office in 2010.  He and close personal friends have denounced the ‘hatchet job’ as nonsense and untruth. Ashcroft has acknowledged that the absence of a significant Cabinet position is a cause of his current umbrage against Cameron, but also states that Cameron reneged on a promise. Meanwhile, Piers Gaveston Society head Valentine Guiness stated that to his knowledge, Cameron had never been a member of the organisation. Meanwhile, Tory Party Whips are now intent on ferreting out the Tory MP who leaked this misinformation to the general public. Mark Reid, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster denies that he had any responsibility.

The leftist Independent noted that frankly, the alleged Piers Gaveston Society events pale into insignificance beside Cameron’s participation in the cruel antics of the Bullingdon Club at the same university, which is infamous for restaurant destruction and burning fifty pound notes in front of homeless people.  And the #piggate scandal, as it has been labelled, has distracted public attention from the real misdeeds of the Cameron administration- increasing child poverty, tax credit cuts, maintenance grant cuts for impoverished university students, tuition fee rises, a bedroom tax against the disabled and eliminating the housing benefit altogether for late adolescents (18-21).

 

Recommended:

Sexual Offences Act UK 2003: Section 69: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/69

Section 143 of the Crimes Act 1961: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM329260.html

Andrea Beetz and Anthony Podberczek (ed) Bestiality and Zoophilia: Sexual Relations With Animals: West Lafayette: Purdue University Press: 2005.

Frank Ascione (ed) The International Handbook of Animal Abuse and Cruelty: West Lafayette: Purdue University Press: 2005.

Jens Rydstrom: Sinners and Citizens: Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden: 1880-1950: Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 2003.

Anil Aggarwal (eds) Forensic and Medico-Legal Aspects of Sex Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices: Boca Raton: CRC: 2009.

Ben Riley-Smith: “David Cameron says pig allegations are driven by revenge” Stuff.co.nz: 28.09.2105: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/74270027/david-cameron-says-pig-allegations-driven-by-revenge

“Lurid claims in new David Cameron biography” Stuff.co.nz: 21.09.2015: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/72249661/lurid-claims-in-new-david-cameron-biography

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