The fracturing of a clique. Any teenager knows what that means. Sitting alone at the lunch table. A few exclamation-marks littered tweets. Taylor Swift writes about it beautifully in Bad Blood, which should practically be mandatory listening for any teenager dealing with a broken friendship group.
And this week, David Cameron's certainly been dealing with the fracturing of a clique. With two of his most senior colleagues- Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Mayor of London Boris Johnson-both openly voicing their decision to support a campaign to leave the EU, the Prime Minister finds himself fighting his campaign for Britain to remain without two of the most well-known Conservative MPs, and being urged by his Cabinet to sack Michael Gove for his opposition.
Worthy of a Taylor Swift song, indeed.
You can almost picture it. David looking sadly at Boris's text message, sent twelve minutes before he announced his decision, remembering those Eton days of cricket and the Oxford days of dressing for Bullingdon dinners. Michael sitting alone in Portcullis House, miserably wondering how it's come to this. Maybe Taylor Swift could set her next music video there, with Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg forming a backing chorus.
It's not the first time Cameron's come into conflict with either of them. Michael Gove, who's been Cameron's close friend and confidant for years, was demoted from Education Secretary to Chief Whip in 2014 (one can only imagine how awkward dinner parties were for the Camerons/Goves after that.) And ever since it became clear that they had been through Eton and Oxford together, jokes-some purely jest, some with an undercurrent of sincerity-have followed about schoolboy rivalry between Boris Johnson and David Cameron carrying over into their political careers. Boris being touted as a potential successor to Cameron as a leader of the Conservative Party has only helped to bolster the rumours.
Cameron and Gove have always been known to be close friends and confidants-indeed, Mr.Gove's wife, columnist Sarah Vine (who is godmother to David Cameron's youngest daughter, Florence) has revealed that Cameron was left shocked and hurt by Gove's decision to oppose his pledge to remain in the EU. Despite rumours of rivalry, Mr. Cameron and Boris's-occasionally comical, as is all too common when the Mayor of London's involved-appearances together have also suggested a rather amusing camaraderie. From clips of Cameron and Gove chatting away on a train to him playing an entertaining tennis match with Boris, they almost seemed like an advertisement for hanging out with your colleagues.
Not so much now. Ironically, the split of opinion between Cameron and Gove seems to be the one that, as Vine hopes in her column, could ultimately survive the difference of opinion. And indeed, David Cameron seems to have refrained from personal attacks on Michael Gove. Perhaps, one of the sadder, more wistful Taylor songs would suit their falling-out. Sad Beautiful Tragic, perhaps? Back To December?
Boris, meanwhile, seems-as ever-to be provoking stronger opinion. From heckling in Parliament to "tuck his shirt in" as he stood up to question Cameron on his EU deal to the Prime Minister's not-so-subtle remark that people rarely instigated divorce proceedings to get married, it seems his split with the Prime Minister might be a little more fiery, with rumours about his leadership ambitions not particularly helping matters. They could do with something a little more vehement-some classic Taylor. Perhaps David sitting in his office, blasting I Knew You Were Trouble, as he pictures Boris' blond-tousled head, nodding along as he launches into some loquacious Latin-tinged statement. Perhaps Better Than Revenge could play over videos over their contrasting speeches to their various crowds of supporters. And in the event that Britain votes to leave the EU, perhaps Boris could cycle along, singing We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, while planning out his move to Downing Street. While Cameron delivers an angsty rendition of the same song, accompanied by disappointed campaigners from both the government and the Opposition (or as Cameron amusingly referred to them, his "new friends" as he outlined the details of his deal on Monday.)
As amusing as it may be to imagine Jess Phillips and Ed Miliband joining Cameron in dancing down the stairs of Downing Street performing karaoke, a la Love Actually, there is a genuine sense of disruption in these disagreements. It's interesting to observe, in the party that has often been accused of elitism and cronyism-sometimes all too easily seen as a bunch of ex public-school chums-divisions appearing this sharply. Whether this will leave a permanent dent in the party's inter-relationships remains to be seen.
Either way, this referendum promises drama-drama which may prove both surprising and intriguing to watch. Cue up the Taylor Swift. This is going to get interesting.