Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Two Purveyors of Tripe
Two people who said foolish things in the last few days: John Hutton MP(right), S of S for Business and Enterprise and Kelvin McKenzie, former editor of The Sun. Polly Toynbee, has a robust pop at the minister for saying:
"Rather than questioning whether huge salaries are morally justified, we should celebrate the fact that people can be enormously successful in this country. Rather than placing a cap on that success, we should be questioning why it is not available to more people. We must be enthusiastic - not pragmatic - about financial success ... Any progressive party worth its name must enthusiastically advocate empowering people to climb without limits [his emphasis], free from any barrier holding them back."
At a time when 80% of voters are voicing discontent at the growing gap between rich and poor, this crass statement indicates insensitivity and political ineptitude of the highest order. Especially when we read that those millionaires who commute to London for 90 days a year in order to avoid taxes will easily evade the new rule, which says their 90 days in future will now have to include travel(or rather, 'commuting' time) to London. Hutton seems to be as genuinely vacuous as his default expression suggests.
The second example of crassness should not surprise us left of centre types. I always secretly admired Kelvin McKenzie, outrageous, charismatic star of Chippendale and Orries's brilliant history of the organ he edited. I loved the story about him seeking (but failing) to headline an ambush by guerrillas in Sri Lanka with 'Tamilamowdown', but I forgot what a knee-jerk Littlejohn- type right-winger he is in reality.
Guesting on the Andrew Marr show last Sunday, he ridiculed the idea that people lived in poverty in the UK; it seemed he believed no-one had the right to do so in such a rich country as ours. The unspoken message was that poor people are poor because they are workshy dole scroungers. I'd love to see him try to live on unemployment benefit for a week and hear what he'd say at the end of it.
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