“We’ll make sure the ‘undeserving rich’ pay more in tax”.
Three guesses as to who this was, yesterday, proclaiming the ‘moral’ language of the Left? Ed Miliband? Caroline Lucas? Alex Salmond. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. It was none other than Michael Gove, that once fervent, pro Blair/Bush right winger and former Education Secretary, who tried but failed to take on ’the Blob’.
Now he too believes that being a Marxist is a prerequisite to being a modern – or good – Conservative. I can only suppose the Department for Education finally got him. Why on earth did he bother upsetting the teachers’ unions if he is so fundamentally attuned to their ideological stance?
For if Mr Gove thinks his fighting talk of the Conservatives becoming the new champions of the dispossessed will admit him to their ranks – or earn the Conservatives more public sector votes – I fear he is doomed to disappointment.
In a sentence, he has just handed many more businessmen’s and taxpayer’s votes to Ukip.
Who anyway, I would like to know, exactly are the deserving rich? Mr and Mrs Gove? I can’t be the only person wondering.
To be sure Sarah Vine (Mrs G) must slave away to earn her very deserving crust at The Daily Mail. It must take her all of two days a week – from the comfort and coffee of what I am sure is a very nice kitchen. Of course, there is no way I would dream of suggesting she got her very well paid column other than on her own merits – that being married to the Secretary of State for Education, then touted as a future leader of the Conservative Party, had anything to do with it at all. It would indeed be more than uncharitable to ask whether she got it on the back of her husband’s far more brilliant rags to riches achievements.
So how, I wonder, is the very clever Mr Gove to define these social outcasts? He’ll need to, if only to help George Osborne decide who is to be marked for the the taxman’s ‘undeserving’ red box – the doors government functionaries will be instructed to paint red ticks on – to ensure no escaping the meting out of modern Conservative social justice.
What about the Victorian template of the deserving and undeserving poor? In fact, what could be better to guide them, now I think of it.
You see for the Victorians the deserving poor were those who were poor through no fault of their own; so to must this logically be the case for the deserving rich! Brilliant. That gets most of the key members of the Cabinet off the hook (and several members of the Shadow Cabinet too). After all would it be fair to blame Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mr Clegg for having well off dads who advanced their sons’ interests? Their accident of birth is hardly their fault? Nor is the fact that they are healthy, accident free and have had their education and career handed to them on a plate. They did not ask to be born into these families.
Then, just like the undeserving (lazy, feckless and drunken) poor, the undeserving rich must, logically, be undeserving because of their personal attributes too – because their ambition, energy, enterprise, sobriety and frugality is their fault (just like the good Mr Gove’s was?). Oh dear. His wife may be let off the hook but it does not look like he’s going to fall on the ‘good’ right side.
Maybe though Osborne will dream up another way of discriminating between the two rich lists. After all, any mention of the undeserving poor as a model would bring down the wrath of the thought police on him. In today’s Tory revisionism, even the ‘Benefits Street’ claimant celebrities are ‘ victims’ of rotten, exploitative capitalism society – not of an ever expanding State. That’s what Conservatives who have learnt to think the right or the ‘good’ way must think. Its only the undeserving rich who can be publicly pilloried and targeted at will.
How Marx would laugh to hear that modernising Conservatives are the new champions of his exploited masses – that the political party once defined by economic and political freedom is now vying to be seen as the enemy of the rich. A revolution indeed and without a drop of blood spilled.