Thursday, October 25, 2012


Far be it from me to defend a Tory but if British Chancellor of the Exchequer [Finance Minister] George Osborne is feeling put upon, he could do worse than spend a few days in Italy, where he might find himself rather popular or, at the very least, a phenomenon.

For those of you who don't know the story, Mr Osborne found himself at the centre of a media storm last week when he got on a British train and sat in a first class compartment whilst in possession of only a standard class ticket.  What actually happened after that is a little hazy as according to some reports he or an aide immediately offered to pay the difference whilst others claim that they only did so when challenged by a railway company employee.  What caused media glee was the fact that the Chancellor's aide reportedly said that he "couldn't possibly" travel in standard class.  Whether she actually said this, or said it in the superior way reported, is still in doubt but either way the twitter feeds went wild and an army of reporters greeted the hapless Mr Osborne at his London destination.

I thought the incident might lead to an interesting discussion with some advanced students and I guessed at what their reaction would be but not at the strength of it:  in Italy politicians take the concept of parliamentary privilege to what would be unimagined levels in Britain and deputati enjoy the highest salaries in Europe as well as ridiculously cheap lunches, subsidised haircuts and free rail and domestic air travel.  My students were open-mouthed at the idea that a member of parliament, particularly a minister, would pay for any part of a rail journey and declared that we are "lucky" to be governed by such self-effacing folk in Britain.

Come and see the students, George because they don't believe you're real. Don't let them down, now - make sure you pay for your own first-class flight to Rome....


Lee said...

Mr. Osborne should come down this way and teach our pollies a few tricks of the trade, too, I think!

Ours are a protected species...or they think they are!

But what I think is - the lot of them are extinct and we should start again with a new lot...on all sides the fence! ;)

Have a nice weekend, Pat.

Angus Dei said...

Oh yes the the son of a B...aronet
is real, and is the chancellor-unfortunately.

jams o donnell said...

It was all a bit silly the ticket thing.Osborne should have known damn well that a first class ticket is needed for a first class seat.

Gledwood said...

Oh he should be severely punished. Nobody would believe I wasn't fare-dodging, so why should they give him any benefit of the doubt at all especially as he is a Tory Bastard.

Also when a train is absolutely full to bursting yet 1st class is empty, I personally think that by the Laws of Natural Justice I deserve a seat in 1st. What do you think?

And PS are there any trains at all on Sicily and are Italian trains any good? I bet their high speed ones are faster than ours!(!)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. Couldn't agree more - for all our countries! Hi, Angus. Can't stand any of this lot in government, as you can imagine. Hi, jams. Yes, I'm sure he did. Hi, Gleds. Good points - totally agree.

Liz Hinds said...

I shall have to remember how lucky we are when next we vote then, welshcakes!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ha, Liz!


View My Stats