The Telegraph, class enemy

“Chandalier”, “tennis court”, “wisteria”, “lawn”. How lovely to talk dirty in the age of anti-posh. The Telegraph has been pandering to the worst prejudices of the British public. It has been bashing the wholly uninteresting spending habits of our MPs.

There’s an obvious principle here and most commentators simply don’t get it. As Speaker Martin nearly said, MPs matter, and Parliament matter. Neither costs all that much in the grand scheme of things. Both would probably improve if we spent more on them.

Oh, and they’re middle class. The second homes we fund for them aren’t seventh floor flats in run-down deck access housing estates. Or they shouldn’t be. They should be really quite nice. And we should not be asking for transparency on this matter. It’s absurd to expose MPs to the indignity of the public poking about in their household bills.

I am much more worried that we are turning MPs into people who “serve” the public than that they are spendthrift. MPs aren’t social workers. They represent constituencies, are loyal to parties, and have to be true to themselves. They have to be quite flashy. Ambition helps. Egotism is all but crucial.

I don’t mind that the Daily Mail or The Daily Express don’t get this sort of thing and make money talking rot. But the rest of us really should be more sensible.

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Publication date

12 May 2009