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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Monday, 18 January 2016

The taken for granted world of the freemarket elite

While driving  to Homebase yesterday I listened to Desert Island Discs. This week's guest was the bizarre Anthony Seldon now Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. His father was Arthur Seldon the free market polemicist and among other things Seldon junior waxed lyrical about the parties held at his parent's home attended by such personal friends as Margaret Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe. It's at this point that he let slip a rather revealing confession (you can listen for yourself from 13.55). The story he tells is that when he (Anthony Seldon) got married, Geoffrey Howe, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave him and his bride two wedding presents. He then says that when the Treasury heard of this they demanded one of them back. 

Unless I've entered a parallel universe the only way this makes sense is if the Chancellor of he Exchequer was using public money to buy gifts for his personal friends. Seldon treats it as an amusing story and the interview carried on without comment. It would seem that on the political right there were indeed no free lunches because they were being paid for by you and me. What is truly telling is the lack of shame, embarrassment or any indication that this was, in effect, a bit of graft.

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