I have never met an Old Etonian I didn’t like. (Admittedly, I have never knowingly met a member of the Bullingdon Club.) I shared a student house with one, who is now one of my friends on the thing Facebook of which the young people speak. I am even rooting for Ed on Last Man Standing.
But there are OEs and OEs, just as there are no doubt old Saint Paul’s boys and old Saint Paul’s boys.
Tomorrow, David Cameron and George Osborne will denounce a rise in the income tax threshold, or a reduction in VAT, or something like that. The Shadow Cabinet is known to be riven between the independently wealthy (Cameron, Osborne, that crowd) and those jumped-up oiks who have to “work” for their six, seven and eight figures per annum in the City (now a theme park maintained at public expense, but of that another time).
When the Bullingdon Boys ask about taxpayers’ money, then Brown and Darling should have no compunction is shouting back, “What’s it to you? You have colleagues who take out in bailouts so that they don’t ever become so poor that they might have to pay in. But you, Dave and Gideon, have no relationship whatever to the taxation system. So mind your own business.”
And if VAT is lowered, then the rest of us should be shouting about how it cannot be lowered any further, because the EU won’t allow it to be. There will certainly be no such shouting from the party that, as required by its own Maastricht Treaty, imposed VAT on fuel and on domestic power, and which went into the 1997 Election determined that Chancellor Ken Clarke (who would also have taken us into the Euro – thank Gordon Brown for keeping us out) would impose that Eurotax on food, too.