Sir John Major is the rancid fish paste filling in the Thatcher-Blair historical sandwich, chiefly remembered (when indeed he is remembered at all) for personifying the phrase "epic fail," presiding as he did over the most spectacularly self-destructing government the UK has ever seen (1990-97). Oh yes.
Srsly, it went on for so long that it stopped being funny and every time you thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. Toward the end, Britfags turned on the TV news each day and watched through their fingers, ready to cringe all over again as Major's administration staggered, tripped and crawled toward its overdue demise in the Tory Party's worst electoral defeat since 1832.
So why rake up all this boring old shit?
Well, David Cameron's government has decided to bring Major out of mothballed irrelevance and make him their symbol, beacon and spiritual figurehead.
Born in Brixton, London, to a mother who was a failed music-hall artist and a father who was a former circus clown and garden gnome manufacturer, John Major failed to become a ticket inspector on London buses.
He therefore entered politics and became a Conservative councilor for an inner-London borough. Oh yes. He then got elected as a Member of Parliament, then promoted to Thatcher's cabinet (where he was shuffled between posts so he wasn't in any of them long enough to do lasting damage, although he did his best) and — when the Tory party finally threw the vinegar-titted Hell-witch on the bonfire — he got elected party leader because his opponents split the anti-Thatcherite party vote and therefore became Prime Minister.
Family man Major
Major's major mistake as PM was to launch a moral crusade called "Back to Basics", trying to revive a sort of daydream version of 1950s family values. Since being sexually incontinent and compulsively adulterous is a Tory party entry-level qualification, this meant that his government was immediately involved in an endless succession of lurid and hilarious sex-scandals with MPs caught with their pants down left, right and center. The result was that Major looked like both a hypocrite and incompetent.
No, wait, he was both a hypocrite and an incompetent, as what we weren't told at the time was...
HE HAD BEEN SHAGGING EDWINA CURRIE!
Possibly the most mirth-inducing event in recent British politics has been the revelation that John "Family Values" Major — a man so one-dimensional that he disappeared entirely when viewed side-on — had been putting his horrid little stump of a willy up the vagoo of Thatcher's former Health Minister. This only came out in 2002 when Currie published her diaries, if we had known about it at the time things might have been very different indeed. As it is, Britain was convulsed with lulz for weeks. Expect this story to follow Major (and therefore Cameron) around like a bad smell for the foreseeable future.
It's worse even than that because while PM, Major successfully sued Scallywag magazine (run by the late Simon Regan, a maverick demigod among gutter journalists) over an allegation that Major was knobbing Downing Street caterer Claire Latimer. He wasn't, but since the case hinged on the damage to Major's honorable reputation done by the suggestion of adultery, he might well have lost his lawsuit on a technicality had his cock-in-Currie capers been disclosed at the time.
In a press statement, Major said that he was "ashamed" by the affair and that his wife had forgiven him. Currie responded by saying that "he wasn't ashamed of it at the time and he wanted it to continue." Which makes it even funnier.
It wasn't all shagging, you know. His party also found time to accept backhanders from Mohamed al-Fayed in return for Parliamentary questions, sell arms to Iraq (despite a formal agreement not to arm either side in the Iran-Iraq war), accept party donations from Slobodan Milosevic (and then try to stay out of the Balkans conflict) and cream the profits off arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Probably other stuff too, but that's the highlights.
- Tried to influence the USA's 1992 presidential election by leaking dirt about Clinton's Oxford days to President Bush Snr's campaign ... and got caught doing so, and then had to endure five looong years of being snubbed by President Clinton.
- Wasted £££billions on "Black Wednesday", when Sterling got kicked out of Europe, things getting so bad that he drafted his letter of resignation to the Queen. As the pound went down the shitter, Major's chancellor Norman Lamont actually sang "Je ne regrette rien" in the bath. Oh yes.
- Launched "The Cones Hotline", which as the name suggests was meant to be a telephone line for pissed-off drivers to report unnecessary roadworks. Cue teenagers up and down the country ringing up and asking for a Mr Whippy with a flake and monkey's blood. 17,000 calls were made, five resulted in cones being removed.
- Was the subject of such plotting among Tory MPs that he was forced to resign as leader and stand as a candidate for re-election in a sudden-death play-off he referred to as "Back me or sack me". He won ... by three votes.
The Classless Society
Major often spoke of his vision of Britain as a classless society, and this is the aspect of his Government that old Etonian and millionaire Dave wants to resurrect, in order to capture the "blue-collar" vote.
What Dave seems to have forgotten (among many other things) is that even at the time, the Tory party looked at Major and said a collective "WTF?", since 90 per cent of them are related to the Queen and 95 per cent are millionaires, and that the Tory party is religiously pro-Monarchy and thus deeply in thrall to Britain as a society in which class is very very important indeed.
And of course, Major took his own ideas so seriously that after being kicked out on his arse by Tory B Liar he accepted a Knighthood of the Order of the Garter and a Companionship of Honour from the Queen and you can't get much more classless than that, can you?
| John Major
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