What a pity this competition is not open to members of the fairer sex. Marie Christine of Kent would make an ideal winner. Among the men, of course, we have an embarrassment of riches. Tony Blair, John Bercow, Russell Brand, Jonathan Ross, A.A. Gill, Charles Saatchi, I could go on until the next millennium. However agonising it was to pick the cad of all cads, do step forward Matthew Freud, a man I’m fortunate to say I have never met but have heard and read enough about to convince me he’s the one. In his never-ending quest for power, riches and fame, Freud has managed to reach the depths of narcissism, lubricity, arse-licking and bullying, always couched in a Uriah Heep manner towards those richer and more powerful. He’s the master of boot-licking upwards and kicking downwards. I only hope he wins and accepts his prize, as likely an event as yours truly marrying Jeremy Clarke.
I would choose Kevin Pietersen as my Cad of the Year. He is divinely attractive and a wonderful cricketer, particularly batsman, moving like a dancer round the field. Alas, cricket is a team game and Pietersen seems to think only of himself, stirring up trouble in the dressing room, to the appalling extent of texting the opposition on how to topple his own captain. Jolly caddish behaviour! In a romantic novel, however, he would be the ideal hero. He would meet a lovely girl who would say, ‘You’re so up yourself, Kevin, you’ll never get up me, unless you mend your ways!’ And he would mend them and would win her heart and win cricket matches for England again.
My cad of the year is Theresa May for allowing bearded and deranged jihadis to take over the country’s entire education system and also for stabbing her covertly sharpened kitten heels into the pristine, Presbyterian groin of our Education Secretary, Michael Gove. One can forgive her for being in league with al-Qa’eda, of course — a sort of ‘white widow’, all the more dangerous despite her lack of an explosive cummerbund — but not for succumbing to her deranged lust for power by slighting the sainted Gove. Cads come in all shapes and sizes and genders.
What on earth is it about Nigel? A chirpy man in a pinstriped suit who’s perennially cross about EU red tape is not supposed to be a womaniser who breaks hearts left, right and centre. And yet…
If you Google ‘Nigel Farage and affairs’ you get an impressive 360,000 results and if you enter ‘Nigel Farage and women’ you get 1.7 million results including the recent ‘Nigel Farage’s “mistress” took overdose after row with Ukip leader’s wife’. Farage denies having had an affair at all. But as well as lurid reports of a cat fight between the ‘mistress’ and Mrs Farage at an election-night party, there are allegations of a fling with -another woman in Malta, which he has also been forced to deny. Herman Van Rompuy eat your heart out.
It’s a hole in one for Rory McIlroy when it comes to ungallant behaviour. The golfer broke off his engagement to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki just days after wedding invitations were posted to guests. He was not ready for ‘all that marriage entails’. ‘There is never a good time to end a relationship,’ he said. There surely can’t be a worse time. His fiancée had reportedly already tried on her bridal dress. Oh the public humiliation! This sort of behaviour is what comes of having caddies. Golfers should be made to carry their own clubs.
Only the French can out-cad the English. Bounderish Albion succeeds in producing just that — bounders. But the French breed unadulterated cads. Bounders can feel remorse, regret even. Look at James Hewitt and his pathetic decline. We Brits often get our comeuppance — fair play will win out. But remorse and comeuppance are alien to my nomination. My Cad of All Time and Any Year is Georges Duroy, from Guy de Maupassant’s 1885 novel Bel Ami. Duroy makes Flashman look like Vince Cable.
Duroy’s corrupt and unscrupulous rise to power and wealth from impoverished former soldier to the most influential man in Paris is a guidebook to caddishness. After his best friend, the sickly writer Charles Forestier, gets him a job on an important newspaper, Duroy proposes marriage to Forestier’s wealthy wife Madeleine — while her husband lies on his deathbed a few feet away. No English cad would stoop — or rise — to that. Divorcing Madeleine and dropping Madame Walter, Duroy then threatens to elope with the Walters’ teenage daughter Suzanne. Sacré bleu! There is no cad as delicious as this.
My cad of the Year is Will Self, for the selfish reason that he is a bad winner. Not only did he whup me in a debate, but he then went on to record with prideful relish this victory in an inordinately long piece in the Guardian sledgehammering the harmless little nut that is Rod Liddle, in the course of which he also branded me a ‘professional sibling cum popinjay’. On the basis of this one article I conclude he is a swine. And a cad. And very possibly not a gentleman.
NOMINATIONS CLOSE ON MONDAY
Send your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org