Mark Harper is coming dead last in the race to lead Britain’s Conservative Party if the bookies are to be believed. They don’t conduct a poll, just take bets, but it’s what we’ve got by way of a measurement. So to lift his chances, he held a press conference, and somehow or other his campaign released his speech in advance. It began, “Now this isn’t going to be that scripted.”
So that went well.
Maybe what happened next was an attempt to recover and maybe it wasn’t, but either way he invited journalists to ask any question they wanted, promising he’d answer it. It may have really been an unscripted moment.
My best guess is that he hoped they’d ask about his drug use so he could say he’d never touched the stuff. Why? Because his fellow leadership candidate Michael Gove had recently been outed as having used cocaine before enforcing assorted anti-drug regimes on other people, including prison inmates and teachers. And once Gove was outed, all the other leadership candidates felt the need to out themselves. If you missed all that, you can catch up with it here and here.
Unfortunately, Harper had already outed himself as never having done any drugs, so the question was boring.
Never bore a group of journalists.
I can’t quite reassemble the order of what happened next from the articles I’ve read and it doesn’t really matter, although it would help me write a coherent sentence or two. Let’s just say it involved journalists, electronic messages, and an attempt to come up with the most absurd possible question. One nominee was, “How many gallons of sewage will the Thames Tideway tunnel be able to handle every nine days?” Others were who would win in a fight between an ostrich and and emu and what the value of pi is to the nearest seven decimal places.
My favorite is, “Would he rather fight 1,000 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?”
Eventually, someone asked out loud who would win if a lion fought a bear.
He did answer, as promised. I don’t remember which he picked. I doubt anyone much cares.
And that, my friends, is British politics in a nutshell. With the emphasis on nut.
I know I’ve broken my pattern of posting weekly, but (talk about drugs) I just can’t leave some of this stuff alone. And you need to know about it. You know you do.