Melanchthon: “Scandal: Rich people spending money!”
Melanchthon questions the Mail on Sunday's decision to splash this morning on the story of MPs enjoying themselves on New Year's Eve.
Prize for ridiculous article of the day goes to the Mail on Sunday. An appropriate title for the article might be “MPs use holiday season to... go on holiday!” Instead it had the title: “All in this together? Osborne is skiing, Zac Goldsmith is in £8k-a-week villa and Mr Speaker hosting a lavish party for MPs as Britain faces year of austerity”.
Let’s set aside the fact that the article tells us that the “lavish” New Year’s Eve party cost £22 per head. (Not sure I fancy attending many Mail-sponsored parties if that’s their concept of “lavish”!) Let’s ignore the point that we are told that Osborne’s hotel rooms were only £500 per night (hardly the £10,000 per night Emirates Palace Hotel, and that’s before we even get on to seven-star places). For the sake of the argument, let’s suppose that these really were as expensive as the headlines implied.
What is really being objected to by the Mail here? The objection is to rich people spending their own money. The Taxpayers’ Alliance foolishly allowed itself to be dragged in, declaring that the MPs’ conduct was “highly insensitive”. But "insensitive" would be Goldsmith giving a speech or a TV interview boasting about the Ferrari he just bought, or if Osborne had finished his last Commons statement by saying: "I don't know about you lot, but I'm off to Davos." The only thing being alleged to be insensitive in this stupid article is rich people spending money. Imagine that: being rich and actually spending money! The very thought!
MPs get paid. They spend the money they are paid and that they have from other sources by buying things. You and I spend some of our money going on holiday. Why shouldn’t MPs? I had champagne with my New Years’ celebration (which I can assure you summed to considerably more than £22 per head for the evening). Why shouldn’t MPs? Journalists querying MPs’ holiday or party arrangements to write sensational stories should be told to get lost and mind their own business.