Thursday, 4 November 2010
King of the swingers
If I mention the word ‘orgy’ what comes to mind? Writhing bodies, perhaps, acres of unprepossessing flesh performing the absurd dance of desire? Not for me, because orgy immediately suggests fruit - grapes, vines and laurel wreaths. Clearly this arises from modern depictions of Roman frolics, where sex, such as it is, comes served with grapes!
Still, there is a residue of exoticism, fruit and all. This was a pastime for the decadent Romans, to be found in the hedonistic courts of Caligula and Elagabalus. But my illusions have been shattered. For the orgy has been brought to us in a modern form by socialists and Marxists, as joyless and as unerotic as is possible to conceive, accompanied not by grapes but by haggis!
I don’t suppose too many people down here have heard of Tommy Sheridan, the one-time leader and Member of the Scottish Parliament for a group called the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), a movement that wanted to turn Alba (the Gaelic word for Scotland) into Albania. Anyone who advocates the virtues of some form of proportional representation for Westminster elections could do no better than have a look at Scotland, where it allowed the aforementioned SSP to send six members to the devolved parliament in the election of 2003. It might have sent more but for one thing: Sheridan emerged, according to some, wearing the tawdry tartan toga of a modern Caesar. Some, unkind observers, of course, might very well say he’s far less the people’s tribune more the king of the swingers.
Oh, there is a story here, a story that’s come to me from contacts in Scotland. Sheridan and his wife are currently on trial in Glasgow on a charge of perjury, arising from a successful case he pursued several years ago against News International, publishers of the News of the World, the yellowiest of the yellow British press, who alleged in a series of articles that he liked a spot of extramarital sex in swingers clubs in Sheffield and Manchester. Then every one of his fellow MSPs testified against him; now every one of his former party colleagues is testifying against him. It seems to be a kind of pantomime trial, with Sheridan conducting his own defence, along the lines of “You are lying”. “Oh, no, I’m not”. Oh, yes, you are!” and so on.
I don’t want to dwell on the shabby detail of the Haggis Caesar’s alleged exploits. Let me just say that sex has never looked less appealing. One female witness described the venue for a nine-body gathering (a spare on hand?) as ‘mingin’, a good Scottish word which seems to mean smelly, grotty and in questionable taste all at the same time! Yuck, is the one world that leaps to my mind.
The SSP is no more, well, that is to say it is no longer represented in the benighted Scottish Parliament. The trial proceeds and the outcome is awaited. Perhaps Sheridan will make something of a political comeback. If so, it might be a reasonable political strategy to add bread and circuses to the party programme or, to give it a Scottish flavour, haggis and swinging. What a distraction that would be from a bleak economic outlook.