Entertainment Television

Thursday 5 December 2019

Declan Lynch: 'Conduct unbecoming' by the prince and the politician

  • Exposure (ITV)
Prince Andrew. Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
Prince Andrew. Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

It felt like some kind of a theme, a new TV genre indeed, in which members of the British upper classes are seen in a very bad light - and at the end of it they're still out there, doing whatever they're doing, after the kind of exposure which would have broken any man from the lower orders.

The ITV show was actually called Exposure, and it featured Jennifer Arcuri talking about the relationship she had with Boris Johnson, the nature of which the campaigning prime minister is unable or unwilling to acknowledge in a full and frank manner at this point in time - and probably at any other point in time too.

So Boris is a cad, though this has already been 'priced in' to the public perception of the man. "I've been nothing but loyal, faithful, supportive, and a true confidante of yours…" Arcuri said. "And I don't understand why you've blocked me and ignored me as if I was some fleeting one-night stand."

She was being a tad ambitious here, expecting the prime minister to acknowledge her existence at this difficult time, as he struggles even to acknowledge the number of children he has, at any time.

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And there was a classic Boris moment in the telling of this sad affair, when Arcuri described how she had called him, only for the phone to be handed to someone else, who allegedly began to speak in a language which sounded very much like Chinese.

It seems to work like this at the moment in British society - Johnson is a terrible, terrible person, yet by a strange kind of voodoo, he and other members of his degenerate ruling class have so demoralised the nation at large, there are too few people who care any more that such a terrible, terrible person is prime minister.

It's a neat trick - though of course when I say he's a terrible person I am only reporting the views of normal people. Because among his own kind, Boris is a great fellow, routinely described as "the most brilliant of his generation" by men who are only including in that "generation" about eight chaps they shared rooms with at Eton and Oxford.

And while the smallness of his world has worked to Johnson's advantage, it hasn't really done any favours to Prince Andrew. Sure, it has given him a life of unearned ease, of unearned everything really, wandering around the VIP enclosures pretending to be "working". But during his interview with Emily Maitlis for Prince Andrew and the Epstein Scandal, it was clear that here was a man who had been told all his life by others of his generation how brilliant he is - a "generation" again in this case being the more limited version of the word, encompassing various rum coves in his dining club and maybe a few dukes.

But if you've heard nothing but false praise coming at you since you were born, you'd probably fancy yourself - as Andrew clearly did - to take on Emily Maitlis for an hour and to emerge victorious as the urbane fellow you think you are.

Like Johnson, he is a chillingly mediocre man, yet Boris at least was exposed by someone else, whereas Andrew exposed himself, and probably still thinks that he came across quite well. He certainly came across quite well to Johnson, who blathered something about all the prince had done for British industry, ignoring the "conduct unbecoming" which was the main takeaway for everyone else.

And Johnson is a famously pathological liar, so even a man as inherently ludicrous as the prince may not have taken much comfort from that endorsement.

Yet for both of them there is still a kind of freedom unknown to the majority, the freedom they grant themselves to be the disgraceful men that they are.

Even after their respective exposures, they are both still world leaders, in their way. And this says many things about the world, but mainly this: the game is rigged.

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