Pretty lures and old fools

IT’S happened to us all. There you are innocently going about your daily life when an attractive young prostitute comes over all charming, offering you drugs.One minute you are keeping your own counsel, and the next you are spilling more beans than a Heinz factory.

Only the other day I was sitting on my ledge feeling at a loss when just such a thing happened. Fortunately the wind got up and the cocaine was blown away. After that I gave the pretend prostitute cum undercover reporter a gentle push, and she tumbled off and disappeared into the clouds below.

I confess to feeling nothing much about Lord Sewel, who has resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Lords after being clandestinely filmed taking cocaine with sex workers. This is partly because until last night I had never heard of the man, not a whisper or a whistle, nothing. Now he is all over the papers for his scandalous behaviour. He has resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Lords, and I can tell you that we are petty cut up about this in our house.

Other politicians have leapt on this careering bandwagon and demanded further punishment. Well, I guess that’s what happens when you are filmed snorting cocaine through a rolled-up fiver while cavorting with sex workers (note to self: no, just no).

During the Sun on Sunday video, Lord Sewel says all sorts of rather splendidly incautious things, including the observation that David Cameron is “the most facile, superficial prime minister there has ever been” and that Boris Johnson is “a joke” and a “public school upper class twit”.

Gosh, don’t some people talk a surprising amount of sense when they are snorting cocaine in the company of pseudo-prostitutes.

In an attempt at balance, Lord Sewel is also heard to describe the Labour leadership contest as being in “a ****ing mess”.

These affairs are always puzzling to Man On Ledge. For starters, the victims are often not exactly top-flight candidates for exposure and ridicule. Why did Mr Murdoch’s newspaper chase after this particular man no one had heard of – and wouldn’t it be more of a scandal if you recognised the victim? The suspicion here is that a fairly soft target has been picked for a big-scale fuss. It’s not a fuss about nothing, but it is a fuss about someone most people don’t really care about.

The template is nearly always the same. A middle-aged or elderly man is flattered into doing something stupid and damning by attractive young women. That saying about there being no fool like an old fool springs to mind, I suppose. And these tawdry tales do so often display the capacity of old men to do foolish things.

Then there is the trickery involved, the pretty lure dangled before the selected fool. The victims have almost always been coerced in some way in what seems a grubby sort of journalism. Couldn’t undercover journalism be put to higher ends than this, to exposing real scandals and genuine lapses?

Anyway, in the name of sanity I shall regard with suspicion all prostitutes who inch onto my ledge with rolled-up £5 notes and a bag of white stuff, unless it’s sherbet of course.

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