The latest revelations on MPs’ expenses do more than make absolutely plain that the Tories are every bit as greedy as New Labour. (I am, incidentally, glad to see that after the hammering I gave them yesterday the Tory blogs have today given up their attempt to argue that Tory corruption is somehow less corrupt).
The details of Tory expenses have done a much more important job. They have stripped away any Cameron pretence that the Tories have changed, and have somehow become a party that represents ordinary British people.
Look at the details – upkeep of moats, repair of chandeliers, maintenance of country mansions, manure for the estate, taxpayer coiffured tennis lawns, taxpayer resealed private swimming pools. The Tories rail about abolishing the politics of class and envy, yet palinly their very existence is based upon the defence of the tiny class of the ultra-wealthy from which their political heart is drawn. The mist has lifted and the Tory party is starkly revealed before us in the harshest of lights, as a laager of the upper class.
New Labour may be the most squalid and self-serving of arrivistes. The horribly arrogant, bumptious and self-serving Hazel Blears is a flame haired beacon of semi educated populism, whose desire to please the masses is motivated solely by a primeval urge of personal acquisitiveness. On a one to one basis, the smugly wealthy Tories are actually nicer people to meet than New Labour. They don’t suffer from New Labour’s instinct of rigid authoritarianism to try to secure their rule and access to wealth.
But then they don’t need to.
The Tories have taken money off the taxpayer to maintain their inherited grandiosity with the same insouciance with which they used to take money from the serf. The expenses scandal, and the inability of the hoity-toity sneerers to restrain their own sense of God-given entitlement, has just given us an invaluable reminder of precisely who the Tories are.
They have been hung by their own chandeliers.