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Sandwich man

April 11, 2016

I don’t think there is any smoking gun for David Cameron in the Panama papers from what we’ve seen so far.  He sold his shares before he became Prime Minister.  He moved into accommodation paid for by the taxpayer, so he rented out his own place.  He pays tax on the three to six grand he receives in interest. His dad left him money below the inheritance tax threshold, and the family planned for inheritance tax by making inheritance-tax-free gifts to each other, as allowed for in the legislation, so that their wealth could follow John Major’s ambition of cascading down the generations.  He has done nothing wrong.  Right?

I was once in a queue at a supermarket – twenty years ago now, it must be – in the “five items or fewer” stream, behind a bloke who, I couldn’t help noticing, had more than five items in his basket.  I had given him a Stern Look, but he was impervious, so I said “this is the five items queue…”

By this time he was unpacking his basket onto the conveyor belt and so had to try and charm both me and the assistant.  But he had enough to go around, broadcasting genial bonhomie as he declared, well, there are two sliced loaves and a packet of ham in here, and that’s just a sandwich really, so that makes it… six.  Oh, and tomatoes.  A ham and tomato sandwich.  So it’s only five items *really*.

But he was unpacking his basket quickly, and he had his wallet in his hand, and it would have taken longer to make a fuss and have him move to a different queue and start again, and the fact that he had blatantly queue-jumped and was trying to charm his way out of it, well, life’s too short.  Right?

Privilege at work.  Someone who goes to the supermarket once in a blue moon can’t believe that the petty rules about what goes in your basket can apply to them.  Most of our leaders have never had a proper job but they know what will motivate the unemployed.  Cameron might not have got through Eton on a paper round but he leads a political class who genuinely believe they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps so they are the exception to any rules.  He’s a man with two loaves, a packet of ham and a punnet of tomatoes telling you we’re all in it together and why are you persecuting him when he’s only eating his sandwich.

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