Reading Political Hack's piece about Caroline Spelman's misuse of taxpayers money, I fell to wondering why she felt she had to abuse her position. Because she's not poor. According to the News of the World, she's worth £1.5million. So why the desire to filch money from the public purse?
The NOTW article is interesting in other ways too. They point out that 19 of 29 of the Conservative shadow cabinet are millionaires - as they put it, if they get elected "Britain could be on the way to its wealthiest government since the mid-19th century—when the aristocracy relinquished power", 150 years ago. Wow - that's going way back to before the franchise was widened to male householders with a certain amount of savings.
For those interested, here's the list:
Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords - £10 Million
Phillip Hammond, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury - £9 million
George Osborne, shadow chancellor - £4.3 million
Jeremy Hunt, Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media & Sport - £4.1 million
David Cameron, Conservative party leader - £3.2 Million
Dominic Grieve, shadow Home Secretary - £3.1 Million
Francis Maude, Shadow Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster - £3 Million
William Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary - £2.2 MIllion
Alan Duncan, Shadow Secretary for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform - £2.1 Million
Andrew Mitchell, Shadow Secretary for International Development - £2 Million
David Willetts - £1.9 million
Theresa May - £1.7 million
Oliver Letwin - £1.5 million
Caroline Spelman - £1.5 million
Owen Paterson - £1.5 million
Cheryl Gillan - £1.4 million
Liam Fox - £1 million
Grant Shapps - £1 million
Michael Gove - £1 million
Not exactly "people like us" or "people in touch with ordinary folk", are they? No wonder one of the few concrete policies the Conservatives have is to cut inheritance tax.
Look out for other policies that will specifically help millionaires and ignore everyone else. The last time we had such a concentration of interests in the early 19th century, we got such horrors as the New Poor Act, which massively expanded brutal workhouses, and which the Times criticised at the time as a "disgrace [to] the statute-book."