Young Dave and his jolly good chaps have enjoyed a less than totally ecstatic welcome for their removal of child benefit from the better-off, with the PM even getting skewered on the subject during his Sunday morning appearance on The Andy Marr Show (tm). And the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, hasn’t been much help either.
How many kids? Cripes, I've lost count!
Happily, there is someone out there who will play cheerleader for the move – and, in all probability, will want to see some payback for it later – and ride to Cameron’s rescue. Yes, London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has used his Maily Telegraph column (and generator of £250k a year’s worth of “chicken feed”) to sing the praises of the ending of this universal benefit.
In fact, so effusive has Bozza been, the piece should have been categorised as a Party Political Broadcast, even though it was characteristically rambling and light on those pesky things called facts. Child benefit, he tells, was an “absurd system whereby low-income people paid in their taxes for richer families to receive this Mussolini-like reward for procreation”.
Very good, Bozza, but higher-income families paid in more (this is what we mean by “progressive taxation”). Never mind, though, do go on. “It must be getting on for 20 years since the first cheques started to arrive in my wife’s bank account”. Christ on a bike, he doesn’t even bother to check facts for his own family. It is 20 years this year since Bozza split from his first wife, then married his current one.
This was most timely, as later that year the first of their four children arrived, although this did not deter Bozza from embarking on his later “Inverted pyramid of piffle” affair with Petronella Wyatt, who became pregnant but had an abortion. There have been other affairs, so one can only speculate as to the extent of the child benefit payments made to the extended Bozza dynasty.
I kid you not: check out the case of Helen Macintyre and daughter Stephanie, who, it is asserted, is Bozza’s child. And he had Anna Fazackerley on the go at the same time as he was enjoying late night taxi rides around St John’s Wood with Ms Wyatt. Yes, Bozza is an interesting choice when it comes to talking child benefit, and his grasp of facts is as flexible as ever on other matters, too.
For the total amount of child benefits he claims to have been paid to his family – just over £47,500 – Bozza reckons “We could have laid down a cellarful of Chateau Lafite”. Must be a very small cellar chez Bozza – just one case (12 bottles) of a decent vintage, such as 2000 or 2005, will set you back £10,000 for starters. But what the heck, that’s not the point – he’s spoken up for Young Dave.
It will be interesting to know the nature of the payback that has been promised.