Late last night, the Daily Mail published an astounding excerpt of an unauthorized biography of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, alleging that he placed a “private part” of his body into the mouth of a dead pig’s head while at Oxford University.
He put his nob in a pig’s mouth. Popped his todger into the poor swine’s gob.
It’s crucial when dealing with such an important and weighty story to have all the facts, so please let this Brit guide you through the revolting tale of prime ministerial pig porkery.
What happened, allegedly?
Though you may have seen a lot of tweets referring to Cameron “fucking a pig,” that’s not entirely accurate. The Mail’s published excerpt of the book, co-authored by former Conservative party deputy chair Lord Ashcroft and journalist Isabel Oakeshott, actually alleges an act of porcine necrophilic oral:
A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig. His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.
Some months later, he repeated it a third time, providing a little more detail. The pig’s head, he claimed, had been resting on the lap of a Piers Gaveston society member while Cameron performed the act.
So, to clarify, the allegation is that a college-aged David Cameron (pictured in the Mail to aid your imagination) took out his pre-prime ministerial member and stuck it into the head of a pig as it lay, dead, locked in an eternal silent scream, in the lap of another young man at a Piers Gaveston society event.
And a “Piers Gaveston society” is what, exactly?
The University of Oxford, founded as early as 1096, is Britain’s oldest and most elite university. With that prestige, and with Britain’s intensely ridiculous aristocratic traditions, comes the existence of several secretive and exclusive societies—think Yale’s Skull and Bones but with perhaps more focus on getting totally sloshed. These groups pride themselves on frightfully naughty behavior: drinking, taking drugs, trashing pubs, and generally revelling in the excess and protection that extreme wealth and privilege provide. For example, the Mirror has reported that the Bullingdon Club, which Cameron definitely did join, requires members to burn a £50 note in front of a beggar, in a city with a homeless population that has increased thanks partly to the University’s monopoly on property.
And supposedly the Piers Gaveston society (or “Piers Gav”) is one of the most depraved of the lot. It’s named after some dead posh bloke from the 14th Century, though it was founded in 1977. According to the Guardian, members give themselves stupid nicknames like “Poker” or “Dispenser,” leaving the rest of us to imagine what an awfully interesting story there must be behind such a name. The Independent described the Piers Gav summer ball as involving a “live sex show”:
Guests—men wearing drag, women ‘hooker’ costumers – are bussed out to a secret location, often a country mansion, for an evening of bizarre rituals, drugs, pumping dancing music and sexual excess.
One year, party-goers were reportedly blindfolded and arrived at the venue to witness a live sex show, with drugs of all kinds alleged to have been freely available.
It’s also worth noting that the Guardian quotes a Piers Gav party attendee saying it “seemed like not-terribly-debauched public [in the UK that means private] schoolboys’ idea of debauchery.” There’s also no evidence Cameron was part of it, and the society’s founder has denied Cameron was a member.
Still, according to Ashcroft’s book, “there are a number of accounts of pigs’ heads at debauched parties in Cameron’s day.” Perhaps it was all just a cheeky but harmless literary homage to Lord of the Flies.
What’s the evidence for the claim?
The Mail’s excerpt says that a Member of Parliament “first made the allegation out of the blue at a business dinner in June 2014,” later repeating it twice more. The MP claimed to have seen photographic evidence of the event, giving the dimensions of the photo and the name of the person who possessed it — though, crucially, the photo’s owner has “failed to respond” to the authors’ requests.
And it could be tricky legally for the owner of Britain’s most important photo to come forward, if it exists. British obscenity law expert Myles Jackman noted at his blog that “whilst the act itself is legal”—yes, really—“possessing a photograph of it could be a criminal offense attracting up to two years imprisonment.” He also pointed out that a defence could be mounted on the grounds that the image is not “pornographic.” Either way, I’m confident we’re not going to have to deal with seeing this harrowing vision any time soon.
Have the Taiwanese animated this yet?
What if it’s not true (and it probably isn’t)? Why would Ashcroft allege this?
Some are speculating that Ashcroft’s book, including the piggy tale, is an act of revenge for his snub by Cameron in the last Conservative government. Ashcroft was offered a very junior post after being embroiled in a scandal over his “non-dom” or non-domiciled status, meaning he didn’t pay tax in the UK. Ashcroft was expecting something much more senior, as he was a top donor to the party. Ashcroft has said the book is “not about settling scores” with Cameron, but he’s certainly struck a resounding blow.
What has the reaction been?
Brits have reacted as they usually do: by taking the piss. British Twitter was on fire last night, and various media outlets have rounded up the best tweets from #PigGate, though in my opinion this is the only tweet you need. There’s a parody account, sure, but we don’t have to dignify that by linking to it— although it’s worth noting the account is followed by the Russian embassy in the UK, who recently trolled us all with a tweet about David Cameron’s response to Jeremy Corbyn being elected leader of the opposition party Labour. Great brand work, guys!
Many people immediately drew parallels with Charlie Brooker’s 2011 TV series Black Mirror, the first episode of which depicts a prime minister being forced to have sex with a pig on live TV to save the life of a British princess, who has been captured by terrorists. Brooker tweeted last night that he had never heard the allegations when he wrote the script.
Cameron’s office has not commented on the allegation, saying it would “not dignify” the book with a response—the whole book, apparently, allowing them to not-dignify other, more substantive claims about what Cameron knew of Ashcroft’s tax status in the book. A local Conservative party event at a “pig race” in Yorkshire has been cancelled today.
Perhaps best of all was the intrepidly wrong Louise Mensch, a former MP who cocks up on Twitter over and over again. This time, she cast a lonely figure in not just denying the pig-fuckery, but in defending it even if it did occur:
Let's be clear that the story is rubbish, number one. And number two if it isn't, to quote the anti-nowhere league, "So f****** what?"— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) September 20, 2015
So what, eh? So he fucked a dead pig in its face. Who among us, etc.
Why does this matter?
It actually doesn’t! Nothing matters. But it probably won’t even affect Cameron that much. The Telegraph’s James Kirkup argues that many voters will continue to believe it now even if it’s proven untrue, and that this doesn’t matter at all, because “there really aren’t any political consequences of a story that the Prime Minister did something rude to a dead pig. It won’t change anyone’s mind about him, though it may convince some that they were right in what they already thought.” Either way, if the evidence exists it’s already proved difficult to locate. Cameron will probably just have to put up with receiving several tweets a day calling him a pigfucker until he leaves office. And for those of us who were disappointed by the results of the May general election, who were dismayed to face another five years of welfare cuts and austerity and posh gits in charge, it’s nice to have something to laugh about.
[Image by Jim Cooke, photo via Getty.]
Libby Watson is a British writer who usually lives in Washington, D.C., temporarily exiled in Britain.