There’s a debate raging at the moment – raging might be a bit strong – about which decade we’re heading back to.
At one point, the overarching narrative was that it was the 30s – economic crisis and ancient diseases coming back.
Some reckoned the 70s – again the economy, revitalised trade unions, low pay, inflation spiking and all that.
But it feels more like the 90s and for one simple reason: sleaze is back.
Sleaze with a capital S. Sleaze, dirt, filth. It never went away, of course. There are stories in Parliament, and there always have been, about nefarious deeds and seedy goings-on.
And now Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher has had to pack it in, resigning after some confirmed drinking and alleged groping. Thing is, it’s not the most horrifying sex story of the week, which was revealed by Private Eye.
This is a tale to disgrace the office of the Prime Minister. I won’t repeat the jaw-dropping details but they are not good. Think Clinton, think Lewinsky, then go and throw up in a bin.
Anyways, it’s interesting that sleaze with a capital S is back.
A more confident culture in Parliament for reporting the sort of horrors Pincher has been involved in has helped, as has a cultural shift where challenging behaviour is finally being, well, challenged. But also, there’s a real feeling in the place of pressure building up, of the lid coming off.
It’s hard to claim your opponents are chaotic when you’ve just had a bloke resign for drunken alleged groping, another for sexual comments and groping, plus one who packed it in for looking at tractor porn, or something.
Not a good look. Not a good look at all. And more pressure on the PM. I would say more embarrassment but that’s not a word that applies to him.
A Prime Minister, who, incidentally, had his best week in a while simply by not being in the country. Contrast the performance of this lot – and Labour at the moment not on sleaze grounds, just on the basics – with how good RMT’s Mick Lynch has been.
I have a vested interest here. My grandad was a train driver and my sympathies are fully with the strike.
It’s hard to argue with how good Mick has been, wherever you fall on the political spectrum.
In a quiet and reasoned fashion, he has schooled various interviewers and politicians while avoiding rising to any bait or walking into any traps.
He is also someone with a large amount of political conviction, and knowledge of his subject, fighting for his membership. Shouldn’t be unusual but it is. Sad really. Anyway, join a union.
It’s going to be important coming up. Teachers are gearing up to go out, doctors, posties, even the people who come and fit your broadband.
People have had enough of low pay while prices soar.
Summer of discontent, maybe an autumn of discontent as well. By winter, we’ll have come up with a new word.
Discontent won’t cover it.