Thursday 8 October 2020

Unless you are good at guessing, it is not much use being a detective


We are all reading an Agatha Christie novel but this one is happening here and now. There are lots of clues and some of us who are good at mystery novels have already figured out who did it.

I have absolutely no knowledge or inside information. I don’t know anyone of consequence in S. I have no sources. This is pure speculation. It might be false. So, treat the following as a thought experiment, a mere conjecture before we all assemble in the library to discover the truth.

There is a land called S that has been part of a country called U for more than 3-- years.

There is a party that has wanted to separate from U, but until 20-- it had very little support in S and its cause looked to be hopeless.

There is a man called A who was by far the best politician of his generation. He is charismatic. Because of his actions, speeches and ideas alone the S party became more popular than it thought possible. It won an election in S.

Here was a party that for as long as anyone could remember was part of the others. It was a party of eccentrics. Odd looking gentlemen in tweeds would vote for it and rant about another country called E. But now it had a majority.

A was his party. Without him it was nothing. The others S party politicians were all nobodies. All except one. There was one called N. A saw her potential and guided her.

Like all tragic heroes in Shakespeare A had a flaw. In his case there were four of them. He liked to gamble. He liked to drink. He liked to bully. He liked the lassies.

The S party in 20-- was still tiny. Everyone knew everyone else. Everyone knew about A’s flaws. But everyone also knew that they needed A.

In 20-- there was an incident at E airport. A misbehaved. Something happened. We don’t know exactly what happened. A might have groped someone or some other sort of sexual misconduct might have happened.

But an important S party politician A2 knew about what happened in 20-- at the airport.

It is reasonable to assume that all S party politicians knew, but no one else did. The incident at the airport was successfully hushed up.

How many more such incidents were hushed up?

The S party’s big moment had arrived. The battle that it had been fighting since 19-- had culminated in an I in 20--.

A was not merely crucial to the campaign. He was the campaign. Without him Y would have no chance.

But A was misbehaving in B house. He was accused of bullying. He was accused of having affairs with young members of staff. At some point the   women were advised not to work alone with A. Everyone who worked in B house knew everything about this. But no one talked, because it would damage the chances of I.

N worked in B house too. She knew the women who worked with A. She talked with them. They told her what was happening. N made every effort to keep what she was told secret. She realised that A had flaws, but she also knew that she needed him. The Y vote would be doomed if a scandal involving the leader of the Y campaign was exposed.

So, N knew about the allegations against A but thought it more important to protect the Y campaign than to protect women. This is the dark secret at the heart of S politics.

The Y campaign lost but the S party grew in strength. A resigned but later regretted his resignation.

N succeeded A but feared his power and influence in the S party. A had achieved more than N. because he had taken the S party from nothing to almost winning. N had merely built on A’s success.

A was happy in E in his favourite W until 20-- when he lost his seat to the T. It was at this point that N began to fear him.

N’s fear was completely baseless. A was finished. But perhaps N’s insecurity made her try to get rid of a threat that didn’t in fact exist.

N or friends of N went back to the women who she had hushed up and encouraged them to complain again about A’s behaviour.

N botched the attack on A and A was able to sue the S Government and win.

N’s husband P encouraged others to try to influence the P to be more vigorous in its investigations against A. Perhaps the P were influenced by P perhaps not.

A was accused of sexual assault and attempted rape by 1-- women but was acquitted.

A said there was a political conspiracy against him. There was.

We don’t know what happened in privacy between A and various women. All we know is that there were accusations and A was acquitted.

But if N knew in 20-- during the I campaign and did her best to suppress the accusations because of political expediency, but then tried to resurrect them again out of political expediency when A lost an election, what would this tell us about N’s morality? It would tell us that her supposed concern about “Me Too”, feminism and sexual assault was a fraud. It would tell us that she cared not one little bit about these things but only for I.

The scandal at the heart of S politics is that N knew everything about the accusations against A but did her best to hide them when they would have damaged the Y campaign. She then attempted to use them to destroy A but failed. We were not in the jury room, so we don’t know their reasoning.  Perhaps some of the jury members were loyal to A or supported I, perhaps the trial was hurried, perhaps A really did nothing much, or indeed nothing at all, or perhaps the jury believed that there was indeed a political conspiracy against him. The defence were right to emphasise this.

N knew about P texting about the P.  N and P knew everything about A. N has not so much mislead about forgetting a  meeting that happened a few days earlier as she has mislead about what she knew a few years earlier. The attempts to not know, forget and obstruct have themselves become the greatest pieces of evidence. For they show that there is indeed something that is hidden and that N & P wish to hide it.

They are now trying to stop the truth about a political conspiracy from reaching the library because that would be the end of the novel. All would be revealed. Exeunt N and P and perhaps the S party and along with it I.

I have no idea if any of this is true. It is mere speculation. It may be that I entirely misjudge based on insufficient knowledge. But I think not, "unless you are good at guessing, it is not much use being a detective."

This is what happened. All we are waiting for now is for the suspects to gather in the library. The gong assembling the guests for dinner has already been struck.