Let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first. Once you see this, there's no way of unseeing it, I'm afraid:
You can blame Army of Dave for that, and there's no way it's going to leave your brain now. No. There's Data / Cameron / Michael Schumacher bearing down on you, heaving and sweating away without a single hair out of place, inseminating you with his Tory seed. That thought's in your mind, and you can't get rid of it. And for that I'm very sorry*.
In a way, the flurry of excitement that will attach itself to this "SamCam is up the duff innit?!" story, like so many beetles boring into the gently decaying corpse of a recently run-over badger, is a symptom of what we and our media have become. Mrs Cameron herself was the subject even today of a photoshoot which was described on one website I saw, without an atom of tongue-in-cheekiness, as 'saucy'. Yes, like a 1970s postcard or Barbara Windsor rebuffing Sid James's amorously squawky Cockney overtures. Elsewhere most of Fleet St's finest went for the slightly less Wimpy-Burger-before-watching-Game-for-a-Laugh description of 'racy', which isn't much better.
Saucy. Saucy. Bleurgh. Where do we go from there? Saucy and racy pictures of politicians' wives? How did we get there, come to think of it? What made us focus on these things? Is it just an extension of news about dicks - the idea that because DaveCam has put his thingy into SamCam and it all worked and everything, that he's somehow more virile, and more interesting, because his dick works properly and all of that? Is it something to do with our obsession with celebrities' significant others - from footballers' wives and WAGs to politicians' wives and wags? (And yes, I'm afraid the significant other in question is usually female.) Or is it just something to do with the pointless flim-flammery and banality that passes for news nowadays?
The whole business of dragging up poltiticians' partners is fairly pointless anyway, as Justin pointed out a while ago:
The media of course lap all this up like dogs going at a pavement pizza. Two women who appear to be reasonably intelligent and successful women in their own rights are reduced to clothes horses entered into a semi-naughty catfight. When the inevitable backlash kicks off after the election and one of these women’s life is made a misery by press intrusion and vilification their husbands won’t have a leg to stand on, them having signed of on the strategy in the first place.
Still, all this gives the rest of us a pointer towards what we should do when we’re facing life’s little challenges. Things not going well at work? When called into the bosses office all you need say is, ‘Yes, what I’m doing is shit and you don’t like me but have you heard what my Mrs has to say about me? I think you may very well change your mind.’
Who gives a shit what SamCam wears, or how Sarah Brown is Labour's 'secret weapon'? Did anyone ever really actually vote on the basis of Norma Major or Denis Thatcher? Really? Do we really give a shit? Sometimes you look back at confirmed bachelor Ted Heath, and his lack of a significant other, and how he still managed to lead the country; and you wonder if maybe we've actually gone backwards rather than forwards. Would a single man - let alone a single woman - be allowed to lead a party in this country, or become Prime Minister? Wouldn't they just end up being crucified by the press? Or by us? Is it us who wouldn't stand it? Is it us who are driving the prim pearl-clutching of our favourite newspapers, or is it they who are driving us?
I don't know, but it's all faintly wearying. Politics has become so personalised now, more than ever before. It wasn't as if Cherie Blair didn't gleefully give us almost all the details about fucking Tony and getting pregnant in order to flog a few books, or that Tony boasted about his 'three times a night'' antics in the Sun as the last election drifted into view. Never mind that war, and all the death and suffering! He's fucked a woman, you know! - "Oh, has he really? Well I really must change my mind about his policies altogether!"
It's tempting to think that anyone who says "Has this won the Tories the election?" should be killed, or at the very least left in the gutter in excruciating pain. But maybe they're right, and what if they are? Maybe no-one does give a shit about whether ex-ministers claimed they could get you a word in with someone important for a few sovs. Maybe no-one cares about how school or hospital or whatever is going to be affected by the election. Maybe we don't care at all. Maybe we just want politics to be like football, with WAGs to make us coo and boo, and 'racy' pictures, and gossiping like twats about babies because we're not bloody grown-up enough to give a shit about how this whole democratic business might make things better or worse. What if the media don't dictate - what if they just reflect? What a sorry, sorry nation we are if they do.
* I'm not.