The great economist and commentator J K Galbraith encountered many Conservatives during his lifetime, so he spoke from experience when he told “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness”. Anyone who saw the behaviour on display in the Commons yesterday will know that his assertion still holds true today.
Millionaire Celebrity, they said ...
Labour had forced a debate and a vote on the issue of providing free school meals for least well off children during the Autumn half-term and Christmas holidays. This followed the campaign kicked off by footballer Marcus Rashford - and had the backdrop of both the Scottish and Welsh Governments putting aside funds to make that provision.
The Tories could have been magnanimous: the amounts concerned were, after all, paltry when put alongside the whopping £12 billions which, to use the happy phrase of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, had been “spaffed up the wall” on a test and trace system that does not work properly, if at all.
But that would not have been consistent with the eternal Conservative search for that justification for selfishness. So it was that the HuffPost’s Paul Waugh noticed what looked like a line briefed out to back benchers. “At least 2 Tory MPs have now described [Marcus Rashford] as a ‘celebrity’. Keiran Mullan calls on ‘millionaire celebrities’ to do more to help voluntary sector. David Simmonds says Labour ‘currying favour with wealth and power and celebrity status’”. Would one of their colleagues like to make it three?
Consider it done. “Brendan Clarke-Smith: ‘I do not believe in nationalising children. We need to get back to the idea of taking responsibility. This means less celebrity virtue-signalling on Twitter by proxy’”. Enough. And two things here.
One, the use of phrases like “millionaire celebrities” is most unwise, considering who just used it three days ago: the clueless Candace Owens, who made those most unfortunate Hitler comments. Someone at CCHQ should have chosen more carefully.
And more significantly, Two, MPs in a Tory Party led by Bozo The Clown calling “millionaire celebrity” on someone else? Er, HELLO? What did they think made so many easily persuaded voters support their party? Did they miss all Johnson’s HIGNFY appearances? His years of dashing off dishonesty-riddled columns for the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph? His calling £250,000 a year “chicken feed”?
... who might they have had in mind?
As to “currying favour with wealth and power”, did Simmonds miss his own Chancellor of the Exchequer? And the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer? And the Leader of the House? And all the other millionaires littered across the Tory benches? And all the other millionaires littered across the Tory benches in the Lords? How did he miss them?
This grotesque projection only goes to show how Tory MPs are prepared to sink to any depths in order to waste time and demean the level of debate - just so that they can, once again, continue their search for a moral justification for selfishness.
This Christmas, kids across England will go hungry. While Tory MPs will not.
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Let's put it this way: I prefer virtue-signalling to vice-signalling any day of the week. Just as I prefer do-gooders to do-badders.
It takes a special kind of seedy, mean minded tory gobshite to deny children food. But that's what Britain voted for and that's what it's getting.
Wait until Brexit gets traction. You've seen nothing yet.
But but: we need that noney to pay the Serco dividends.
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