Jon Snow’s righteous indignation

I never quite know whether Jon Snow is genuinely quaking with rage when he cranks up the aggression from time to time. Anyway, his outrage over MP’s allowances is hard to take.

Media people make decent money and sums which can surely outmatch those of MPs, allowances and all. Jon Snow once acknowledged as much, telling the Independent in 1994:

I don’t think anybody could do a proper job in news and current affairs if they weren’t politically driven. But I’d never enter politics as an MP – I couldn’t take the salary cut.

Ha ha.

Compare that with the tone of his recent (12 May 2009) Snowmail (a daily teaser for his news show):

Nothing summarises the condition of the Conservative party and its expenses claims more acutely than the simply sensational interview conducted on behalf of us all by the BBC’s Ms Patel. It’s on our website.

If the Tory party’s changed, it certainly appears to have left some extraordinary and resilient objects of the past in its wake and left room for plenty more in its midst.

Moats, swimming pool costs, drain repairs beneath tennis courts, helipads… Even a two quid bill for mouse poison.

And whilst the claims of serving cabinet ministers were scandalous enough, this stuff suggests a Britain still mired in the mid-19th century. One feels Trollope would have been at home with all this.

In terms of trying to dig out of it, David Cameron has made a brave effort to rein his miscreants in, leaving Gordon Brown looking pretty leaden-footed.

But Mr Cameron, whilst paying back the money he charged for having his wisteria cut off his chimney, still thinks the taxpayer owes it to him to give him almost £20,000 in expenses last year, mostly for the maintenance of a mortgage on his second home.

How many of his voters can boast such a mortgage? And how many can boast further that they get the taxpayer to pay towards it? Gary Gibbon is on the case, and we’ll be talking to a senior Tory backbencher live.

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Publication date

12 May 2009