O'Sullivan once ran (unsuccessfully) for Parliament for the Conservative Party, and was a speechwriter in 10 Downing Street for Margaret Thatcher. Founder of the New Atlantic Initiative in 1996 in Prague, along with Maggie and the poet-politician Václav Havel, O'Sullivan is editor-at-large of the National Review.
O'Sullivan recounts with relish the death in 1994 of a Tory MP:
The parliamentary constituency of Eastleigh, on the southern English coast just opposite the Isle of Wight, is a collection of small towns and villages with such names as Butlocks End, Hamble-le-Rice, Burlesdon and Old Netley, and Hedge End – straight out of the television series Midsomer Murders. It might almost be a archetypal stretch of Old Tory England, which, indeed, it was – regularly returning Tory MPs with majorities ranging from 13,000 to 20,000 – until 1994, when, in a Midsomer-like plot twist, its Tory MP was discovered dead, lying on a kitchen table, wearing ladies’ stockings, with an orange in his mouth and an electric cord around his neck, having seemingly embarked on an experiment in auto-erotic asphyxiation and self-bondage that went wrong. The third-party Liberal Democrats won the seat in a by-election that year and have held it ever since.
Recently Cameron's Tories have been humbled by the by-election in that constituency, and O'Sullivan deftly reaches back all the way to 1994 to come up with his arresting opening paragraph.
|John O'Sullivan sans skewer|
During one party ... General Count Dietrich von Hulsen-Haeseler, the chief of the Reich's military cabinet, appeared in front of the Kaiser dressed in a pink ballet skirt and rose wreath. The general's ramrod back dipped low in a swanlike bow; then he whirled away in a graceful dance as the assembled officer corps sighed passionately in admiration. Hulsen-Haeseler circled the floor, returned to the imperial presence for his farewell bow, and then, to Wilhelm's horror, dropped dead of a heart attack. Rigor mortis had set in before his brother officers realized that it would be improper to bury him in the skirt. They had a terrible time stuffing the stiff corpse into a dress uniform. Still, everyone had to agree that he had "danced beautifully."
But let's go back to O'Sullivan, who isn''t finished.
He deals with the troubles facing David Cameron with his attempt to widen the appeal of the Conservatives by going left, and finally concludes with a deft twist of the knife:
That leaves the Prime Minister in a lonely place. Mr. Cameron never wears ladies’ stockings, uses an electric cord only to turn on the light, and believes that the sole purpose of oranges is as part of a healthy diet. That said, Cameronism increasingly resembles an experiment in auto-erotic asphyxiation and self-bondage.
I wonder if any of our MPs or Senators have mentioned oranges in their expense accounts?