The Curmudgeon


Monday, March 14, 2016

Using Britain's Wrinkly Resources to the Full

One of last year's more farcical highlights is duly repeating itself as farce. Few will have forgotten Piggygate, in which Britain's Head Boy was subject to an embarrassing allegation from his owner, Lord Ashcroft, who felt intolerably slighted because he hadn't been handed the country on a silver platter by the summer of 2010. In the present case, the attack comes not from an irritated tax-dodger and sometime boss but from an embittered petty crook and sometime minion; and the element of farce is present in the ever-reliable shape of the sometime Minister for Climate Change Denial and Prole-flooding, Owen Paterson. The accuser is the former Conservative enabler David Laws, who was ejected from his expenses claim at the last election and is keeping the wolf from his door by serialising his doubtless Churchillian memoirs in that rampant organ of liberal democracy, the Rothermere Stürmer on Sunday.

The substance of the accusation is that Paterson wanted to use pensioners as cheap labour for less than the minimum wage, thus treating prospective Conservative voters with the contempt normally reserved for migrants, young people, northerners, and workers in the hated public sector. This Paterson denies, thereby placing the humble commentator in a similar position to Plebgate, which raised the distressing question of whether to disbelieve the unpleasant Conservative bully-boy Andrew Mitchell or the serially mendacious Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club. In fact, although Paterson's alleged scheme drew alleged stunned silence even from those Conservatives who were allegedly even more nasty and right-wing than David Laws, the alleged suggestion is not lacking in precedent. The New Labour clown Ivan Lewis, who is almost certainly Paterson's intellectual equal, once suggested using pensioners as teaching assistants, for which their pay would be a school dinner and the chance to get out of the house for a bit.


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