Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ed Miliband and Ben Bradshaw: “Daddy did a bottom burp!”

The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw was on Any Questions this week echoing Ed Miliband’s demand to know how many Cabinet members will benefit from the 5% cut to the top rate of tax. When I heard it, head dropped in despair. Partly it was because Bradshaw sounded so like a five year-old up past his bedtime gleefully yelling “Johnny is a poo-poo face!” of "Daddy did a bottom burp!" It’s just so childish!

And wee Georgie Osborne has been trying – pathetically - to get on the front foot against these piddling attacks by suggesting we follow the American system of all candidates for high office publishing their tax returns.


Is there a single sensible person in this country who actually wants to study cabinet ministers’ tax returns? We’ve been through the MPs expenses scandal, which revealed that the three main parties had their share of grasping bottom-feeders determined to screw every penny they could out of a system that positively invited them to fill their boots. Apart from that, all it demonstrated was three things we already knew: our political class had developed a sense of infinite entitlement; it had entirely lost sight of the fact that it’s our money they’re wasting; and that – as Ken Livingstone has just reminded us - there’s nothing quite as revolting as left-wing hypocrisy.

Cabinet ministers are on a pretty good screw, certainly - but most them aren't multimillionaires, so many of the changes announced in any Budget will affect their finances, just as they do ours. The suggestion that those changes have been introduced by Chancellors of the Exchequer in order to directly financially benefit themselves and their colleagues is so bloody silly – so insulting to the intelligence of this country’s voters – that any MP levelling the charge should be suspended from Parliament until he or she has apologised for behaving like an infant. Why not start with Miliband and Bradshaw? 

Out here, in the adult world, a more pressing worry is that any cabinet minister would hold off introducing a measure (which they believe would be good for the country) because they or their mates or their nearest and dearest might be accused of benefitting from it.

Infinitely more serious are those disastrous policies which are introduced in order to benefit a particular political party rather than wider society. For instance, Labour’s baneful, cynical, conscienceless immigration policies represented the greatest act of gerrymandering in British history – after all, they opened the floodgates to incomers they assumed would vote Labour in return - just as the hundreds of billions of pounds spent by Gordon Brown creating public sector jobs and inflating the salaries available to those sucking on the public teat represents the greatest act of electoral bribery in our history.
It’s just a pity we don’t seem to have laws which would allow the various politicians  responsible for these outrageous acts to be tried in a court of law and imprisoned for a very long time.

I really don’t mind – in fact, I enjoy – a bit of political knockabout of the ad hominem variety: it seems legitimate, for instance, to point out that Ed Miliband is an incompetent nincompoop, hopelessly out of his depth and in hoc to the unions , or that Nick Clegg sold his principles down the river in exchange for a taste of power, or that Cameron should be ashamed of himself for so foolishly and publicly inserting his tongue as far up Rupert Murdoch’s fundament as it would reach. These charges go to the heart of these politicians' suitability for high office by addressing issues of judgment, competence and honesty.

Deliberately attributing motives to people which you, and everyone else with half a brain, know to be wholly false and unjustified, is the sort of political attack which has no legitimacy whatsoever. It represents a wicked abuse of our democratic system. (James Delingpole has written about the Left's habitual misattribution of motives here.)

Before Ben Bradshaw became an MP, he was a guest on a programme I was producing. He seemed a nice, eager, bouncy sort of chap – one of those fresh-faced enthusiasts whose energy tends to make those who come into contact with them feel exhausted and jaundiced. I admired his decision to become the first candidate from any major party to be quite open about his homosexuality (just as I admire him for refusing to hop on the current “gay marriage” bandwagon). But, as a former BBC radio reporter, he should know only too well that attributing false motives to opponents is a tawdry political tactic beloved of extremists and charlatans of all stripes – and that any mainstream politician indulging in it should be bloody ashamed of themselves for dragging our politics further into disrepute.

I apologise for returning to this subject so soon (I mentioned it here, in my recent Ken Livingstone post) - but it genuinely disgusts me.

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