Friday, 19 October 2012

Thieving Gid...eon: Obsorne the Fare-dodger

So, rather than sit with the Plebs in Standard class, it emerges that Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Gideon Osborne, multi-millionaire (and  allegedly highly "tax efficient" with it) sneaked into First Class on the Wilmslow to London train earlier today - without paying the proper fare. Unfortunately for him, the ticket inspector refused to recognise the "natural order of things" and made him cough up £160 to stay seated in the First Class carriage after an argument with the Chancellor's aide, who argued that he should be allowed to sit there with just a standard ticket.

The Good Old Days...
But even more unfortunately, the whole event was witnesses by an ITN reporter, Rachel Townsend, who provided a blow by blow account of Osborne and his official's argument with the rail official about why he should not have to pay full fare. The farrago is now running the rounds on social media, complete with photo. (Twitter -  #classgate )

The current Tories are beyond belief and their behaviour is often far beyond even causing any surprise at all - their coarse disdain for the rules when it comes to themselves and their wealthy friends, while crushing down on the slightest transgression by the poor and vulnerable (and, indeed, by a combination of welfare cuts and black propaganda, turning the very fact of being poor and vulnerable into a transgression itself), is more than evident. They are without doubt smugly supreme in their self-proclaimed superiority over their social lessers, their view on the need to comply with the rules applying only to one half of society is redolent of the Georgian and Victorian hypocrisy that saw violence, corruption and promiscuity rife among the upper classes while public morality kept the lower classes in check by ostracizing and even imprisoning those who did not comply with the strictures of religion and social deference.

And so we have Gideon, hot on the heels of Andrew Mitchell, whose tirade of f-words and "pleb" taunts at police simply doing their job came from the man who was meant to ensure good order and appropriate behaviour among Tory MPs. It recalls too the Tory Cabinet Minister of the Thatcher era who wouldn't travel on the Underground because it was "full of ordinary people" - and Thatcher herself is rumoured to have only gone on a train once in her life; so to be fair Gideon is a positive man of the people by comparison.

These attitudes are de rigeur among our ruling class - a deeply ingrained sense of entitlement that sets them above the rules, above the norms of society. Little wonder so many Cabinet members were schooled at Eton and then reached political maturity (if that's the right word) under the rabid individualism of the Thatcher era, a trait barely reined in by New Labour under Blair - Peter Mandelson of course was intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich. Filthy and rich indeed, and in more ways than one.

All in it together? Of course not - some of us are riding it out on the comfy chairs in first class...

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