Already divided by three nationwide votes in just two years, Britons on Wednesday were forced to face a new and worrying source of rancour: what constitutes an act of naughtiness?
The existential question was sparked by Prime Minister Theresa May, who was asked on the election campaign trail on Tuesday if she could describe the naughtiest thing she had done.
“Gosh,” the 60-year-old vicar’s daughter said in surprise.
Further prodding caused her to admit: “I have to confess, when me and my friend, sort of, used to run through the fields of wheat. The farmers weren’t too pleased about that.”
May’s critics said her confession was either fake or lame, and highlighted her inability to connect with the public.
“Theresa May’s wheat field failed the naughtiness test -- can you do better?” The Guardian asked its readers.
On Twitter, May-phobes made, well, hay.
“Theresa May probably lost a lot of the gluten intolerant vote,” wrote @RorehFrasier.
A self-described “internationalist queer geek”, @MirrorOfMirrors, took to verse:
“Thin smile distorting her face/Knowing one day/She will flatten the weak/With no care nor love nor grace.”
“The Thatcher in the Rye,” quipped @Yunngtome, referring to May’s predecessor, Margaret Thatcher.
Inevitably, the public was sounded out to provide their verdict.
“How naughty is running through a wheatfield?” asked pollsters YouGov.
Only 13 percent thought it was “very naughty,” and 20 percent it was “quite naughty.”
Twenty-seven percent deemed it “not very naughty,” and 25 percent “not at all naughty.”
Fifteen percent, unsurprisingly, said they didn’t know.