There really shouldn’t be any more galling moment in merely one day than a man being berated about his pseudo-public salary by a BBC hack who doesn’t reveal his secret public salary. James Naughtie’s shameless badgering of Stephen – getting us out of the hole – Hester for having presumed to take a bonus for solving rather than creating a problem was noxious enough. That Hester, who came across well, diffidently asked Naughtie whether he’d like to frame the pay ‘debate’ in relation to his own, vast salary, solely derived from the idiot public, was just more proof of his sincerity and honesty. If how much people are paid, especially from public funds, is supposedly the issue of the hour, how on earth do BBC hacks get away without having to declare what they gouge out of the public purse? From entry level spies to Archbishops, we know every publicly financed or state-sanctioned salary in Britain, save for those bunged to the likes of Naughtie. Yet there was something even more gross and stomach churning than Naughtie’s absolute caste indifference to Hester’s question. And it was served up by our dear friend the Prime Minister when he mouthed the following at PMQs:
Before I list my engagements, I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in paying tribute to Her Majesty the Queen in this historic week marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. Her Majesty’s 60 years of remarkable leadership and dedicated public service are an inspiration to us all and something that the whole country and the whole Commonwealth can be immensely proud of.
Cameron followed this up by twitting the Labour MP whose lead question afforded him the opportunity for this earnest loyalty. For it was Andy Slaughter’s misfortune to ask after Dave’s day, and Slaughter employs a toerag. Which leads us to the greater – and in the constipated Commons, utterly unvoiced – mystery of what sort of man our True Blue leader is? After all, he chose to employ someone just that little bit worse than a gobby tweeter: he decided it was meet and right to give an awful lot of first the party’s, then the taxpayer’s money to one Andy Coulson. Mr Coulson, some of you may remember, was not a very nice man to the royal family. Indeed, when it came to serving his master’s republican prejudices, Andy gave Rupert some of the finest monarchy-attacking front pages he can ever have hoped for. All of this was known to Cameron when he employed Coulson: it was all there in black and white and red on the front and inside pages of both the Screws and The Sun. But because when it came down to it, when this great Tory, this lover of the Crown, had to make a choice between the Queen, and those who spent half a lifetime attacking and undermining Her, possibly even more substantially than a solitary researcher’s tweet, Dave didn’t really find that so very difficult a choice to make at all.
At last week’s PMQs, the Prime Minister raved about Ed Miliband’s purported hypocrisy. This week, yet again, David Cameron showed that whatever the leader of the opposition can do, he can do ten times better. In a reign that’s seen PMs as bad as Harold Wilson and John Major, can She ever have had a Prime Minister who’s succoured those who have hurt Her most more?