Politicians scramble to hide problematic book titles from Zoom backgrouds

There haven’t been nearly enough bookshelf scandals in this country, so we imagined what might have been…

Video conferencing, despite its security and privacy foibles, is currently the leaky lifeblood of British democracy.

It’s also giving the public a window into its elite’s digs. Some members of that elite opt for a relatable, domestic backdrop. Others go with ancestral portraits hung on Georgian oak panelling, and a particularly ridiculous subset accidentally includes a well-framed shot of its backyard Grecian temples. The mainstay of the genre, however, is a hastily curated bookshelf.

For some politicians, the intrusion of cameras into the home is an unwelcome encroachment upon an unpopular passion: Ayn Rand, David Ike, more Ayn Rand, or maybe sketches of Maggie Thatcher in a Union Jack bikini.

So, here are the shelf scandals we wish had happened – the embarrassing volumes and pictures, partially obscured by pot plants – that weren’t actually there, but feel about right.

Mark Gino Francois
Barely legal WWII fighter pilots
Several binders labelled ‘NDAs’
A stabby knife (for backs)
The Mogg
The Modern Gentleman’s Guide to Servant Discipline
Avoiding Political Scandal: and how to apologise convincingly when you don’t (in cellophane)
‘Slightly eugenicy stuff’
Liz Truss
Several hundred unsold copies of Britannia Unchained.
A lads mag but with mid-century debunked economists’ faces cut and pasted over models
Long Government Words for Adults
Sir Keir
Whatever Blair’s autobiography is called (that’s enough – ed).