The Telegraph today highlights new stories emerging from the Government regarding high profile ministers profitting from second, third, or fourth homes at the tax payers expense, though it is clear no parliamentary rules have been broken.
The new stories emerging are all too reminiscient of Animal Farm, the classic political allegory on communism by George Orwell. In terms of justice and morality, the Cabinet ministers problem isn't the fact that they are claiming vast sums in expenses at the taxpayers expense - the problem is that the same ministers are so moralistic towards those who are affected by their policies.
Alistair Darling, as Secretary of State for Social Security and now as Chancellor of the Exchequer has been strident in cutting benefits for the long term sick, unemployed and those on incapacity benefit in general. Talking with a friend of mine on incapacity benefit who suffers a mental health condition, these benefits have been cut by as much as thirty pounds a month, at a time when living costs in terms of heating, water, electricity and food are going up.
Now, you may think state benefits a good thing. You may think them a necessary evil, you may think them a bad thing. However, Darling and the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, both promote frugality and fiscal rigour to us while benefitting greatly from the expenses that MPs can claim on additional homes, renting them out to tenants and making as fast a buck as they can.
The PM, and his Cabinet colleagues are using their parliamentary privileges as much as they humanly can, profitting off homes bought at the cost of the public purse. The same people then preach a strict, draconian policy to people on benefits, the unemployed, the long-term sick, incapacitated, more or less employing the rather puritan, Victorian language which blames the poor for their situation and makes it clear that if people want state support, that really, they should work for it.
Well, it is high time that those who do struggle week in week out, to pay the bills, to put food on the table for themselves and their children, who find themselves getting into debt in the face of rising costs of living, and all those who pay into the public coffers and have to listen to this Cabinet's constant moralising on work and benefits, to say to these ministers, "Practice what you preach!"