Harry makes some good points:

If I were his lawyer, I would point out that using a government office for having sex with his secretary was far less ruinous for Britain than how he might otherwise have been using it. While Prescott was harmlessly fucking his secretary, the rest of the cabinet were probably hatching schemes to make us all line up and be fingerprinted. Put it this way: would you rather he was shafting his secretary, or the nation? We got off lightly.

I would go further: I would say that screwing his secretary is his main achievement since taking office, and one of the things that sets him apart from monomaniacs and cyborgs like Blair, Brown and Straw. Blair would no more fuck his secretary than he would read a novel. Why? Because hes a lunatic and a freak, with no more sense of proportion than a Saudi cleric. Brute that he is, Prescott is one of the few members of the establishment who is still recognisably earthling.

It’s worth reading in full. Of course Harry’s argument would also apply to many US politicians.

UPDATE: Jim Miller and Helen Szamuely make strong criticisms in the comments and they are right. I confess to being guilty in this post of doing what I have criticized other people for doing in their discussions of American politicians like Bill Clinton, and that is to brush off very serious abuses of power by framing the issue as being primarily about someone’s sexual peccadillos.


  1. minus the foreign policy, it would apply to most bosses.

    Ever wish you boss would just get laid and get off your back, preferably the latter would occur before the former, otherwise thats just. . . . ick.

  2. FWIW, big city political machines have traditionallly taken the opposite point of view. Under the first Daley, for example, it was understood that you could sell insurance to the city — but you better leave your secretary alone. And in my favorite political novel, “The Last Hurrah”, the corrupt mayor dumps a subordinate because he has been cheating on his wife.

    Given the importance of marriage, I am not certain that Daley, or Mayor “Skeffington” was wrong. (Though I certainly understand the preference for a boss who spends his time on other things than bothering the people who are actually doing the work.)

  3. Unfortunately, Prescott or his department are responsible for the insane and insanely expensive regionalization projects in the UK; the destruction of the last semblances of local democracy; the imposition of un-needed housing in the South-East and the destruction (at least planned destruction) of housing in the north; not to mention the imposition of wind turbines on various parts of the country without proper planning investigation or accountability. Not harmless by any stretch of the imagination. And while it is idiotic to have the Metropolitan Police, whose great achievement last year was to bring 18 per cent of the crime investigation to some kind of a satisfactory conclusion, wastingtime, money and manpower on investigating Prescott’s dalliance with his secretary, it is worth remembering that we are also talking of bullying of staff and sexual harassment of female staff. Anyone except a politician would be out on his ear for behaviour like that. Prescott remains in receipt of a huge salary and in possession of two grace-and-favour homes, not to mention other perks.

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