Steamrolling the poor
As my tailor will confirm, I've always swung to the right, and I make no boner about it. In the 1980s, I was proud to be considered one of Maggie's stormtroopers. (Although when I defected to New Labour I was seen as a dangerous lefty.)
I was already a leading light in the Young Conservatives when I first met David Cameron, and I marked him down as a dangerous lefty straight away. It was over 30 years ago at school and he had just been assigned to me as my fag. What do you mean, which school? Eton, obviously: Old Etonians refer to our school as "school" because there is only one school. Anyway, at the age of 14, young Cameron exhibited an indolent cheekiness that I had to thrash out of him. However, I can't deny that his irritating superciliousness has since served him well at the despatch box.
Furthermore, I give Cameron full marks (something he never got at school) for the bold start he's made in his crusade to roll back the state. I'm not denying there will be casualties. When one puts a steamroller into reverse, one may crush the odd slow-moving pedestrian - the halt, the lame, the blind, the differently abled, or people who don't speak English and so can't comprehend simple directions such as: "Get out of the bloody way, you stupid sod!" But when the government is trying to bring welfare spending under control, every little death helps.
Incidentally, I know whereof I speak. Once at Oxford I had to hijack an unattended steamroller to get home from a Bullingdon Club event, as the buses had stopped running and the taxis were boycotting us because one of the chaps had vomited over a cabbie once too often. My journey home was slow and uneventful, until near the end, when I really and truly did not notice the five tiny Japanese tourists crossing the road.
While I broadly support the spending review, there is one vicious cut that I fear I and my placemen, sorry, allies, will have to vote against in the Lords, for it strikes against the precious principle that an Englishman's home is his castle (whereas a Scot's home is his tenement - and Christ knows how the Welsh live). I refer, of course, to the proposal that housing benefit should be savagely capped.Today, financially dependent families are entitled to state-subsidised accommodation, even in central London. Under the new rules, they will virtually be deported to low-rent ghettos in such places as Luton and Hastings.
This is un-British and unacceptable. The hardship and heartbreak will be overwhelming. In my own case, I have nearly 300 large properties in central London. They generate an income of over a million pounds a month. How am I expected to make up the shortfall? I'm not Wayne Rooney! l
As told to Marks and Gran