Adviser quits, Hague reveals Ffion miscarriages

William Hague issues highly personal remarks . . .

William Hague's adviser Christopher Myers has chosen to resign from the government after bizarre internet allegations about the nature of his relationship with the Foreign Secretary.

Hague has issued a dramatic statement this afternoon saying that "untrue" rumours have led Myers to go, because of pressure on his family after it was claimed that he had shared a hotel room with Hague during the general election campaign.

But in a further twist this afternoon, Hague made some highly personal remarks in his statement, revealing that he and his wife, Ffion, have suffered "multiple miscarriages" trying to start a family.

Mrs Hague is standing by her husband.

The internet rumour is being seen as a legitimate news story by some outlets because of Hague's past conservative political positions on homosexuality, including Section 28. Hague also came to the defence of the high-flying Conservative candidate Philippa Stroud, an adviser to Iain Duncan Smith, who founded a church that claimed to "cure" gay people.

At first, Westminster was taken aback that Hague had apparently decided to "give legs" to the story by issuing a statement via the Foreign Office yesterday denying the rumours and today allowing his adviser to resign. But his statement is being met with sympathy this afternoon.

However, Westminster observers were asking tonight why Myers has resigned if the allegations are "untrue".

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Why do the words “soup, swoop, loop de loop” come to mind every time I lift a spoon to my lips?

It’s all thanks to Barry and Anita.

A while ago I was lending a friend the keys to our house. We keep spare keys in a ceramic pot I was given years ago by someone who made it while on an art-school pottery course. “That’s er . . . quite challenging,” the friend said of the pot.

“Is it?” I replied. “I’d stopped noticing how ugly it is.”

“Then it’s a grunty,” she said.

“A what?” I asked.

“A grunty. It’s something you have in your house that’s hideous and useless but you’ve stopped noticing it completely, so it’s effectively invisible.”

I was much taken with this idea and realised that as well as “grunties” there are also “gruntyisms”: things you say or do, though the reason why you say or do them has long since been forgotten. For example, every time we drink soup my wife and I say the same thing, uttered in a strange monotone: we say, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop.” How we came to say “soup, swoop, loop de loop” came about like this.

For a married couple, the years between your mid-thirties and your late forties might be seen as the decade of the bad dinner party. You’re no longer looking for a partner, so the hormonal urge to visit crowded bars has receded, but you are still full of energy so you don’t want to stay in at night, either. Instead, you go to dinner parties attended by other couples you don’t necessarily like that much.

One such couple were called Barry and Anita. Every time we ate at their house Barry would make soup, and when serving it he would invariably say, “There we are: soup, swoop, loop de loop.” After the dinner party, as soon as we were in the minicab going home, me and Linda would start drunkenly talking about what an arse Barry was, saying to each other, in a high-pitched, mocking imitation of his voice: “Please do have some more of this delicious soup, swoop, loop de loop.” Then we’d collapse against each other laughing, convincing the Algerian or Bengali taxi driver once again of the impenetrability and corruption of Western society.

Pretty soon whenever we had soup at home, Linda and I would say to each other, “Soup, swoop, loop de loop,” at first still ridiculing Barry, but eventually we forgot why we were saying it and it became part of the private language every couple develop, employed long after we’d gratefully ceased having soupy dinners with Barry and Anita.

In the early Nineties we had an exchange student staying with us for a year, a Maori girl from the Cook Islands in the southern Pacific. When she returned home she took the expression “soup, swoop, loop de loop” with her and spread it among her extended family, until finally the phrase appeared in an anthropological dissertation: “ ‘Soup swoop, loop de loop.’ Shamanistic Incantations in Rarotongan Food Preparation Rituals” – University of Topeka, 2001. 

This article first appeared in the 21 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The English Revolt