With crises mounting and a PM who has used up all of her political lives, Tory thoughts are turning to Amber Rudd
Even sex scandals, apparently so timeless, are products of their age. The Profumo affair had the Cold War as its backdrop: what made it so toxic was that Christine Keeler had been involved with both the secretary of state for war and a Soviet naval attaché. The furore over “sleaze” in the 1990s was a reaction to John Major’s “back to basics” campaign for traditional family values which left the Tories open to accusations of hypocrisy when ministers were caught in a string of compromising positions.
The current wave of sexual harassment allegations is of its time because it is about power as much as sex. Like the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, this is a popular revolt against an elite that has behaved for too long as if it is above the rules. It was no coincidence that Jane Merrick, the journalist who revealed at the weekend that she had been lunged at as a young reporter by Sir Michael Fallon, said she had decided to go public because — in an echo of the Leave campaign slogan — she wanted to “take back control”.