Hugo's so wrong

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 April 2013

I imagine Hugo Swire is a really good bloke and that he's a right old laugh when he's doing his party tricks down the Exmouth Arms, but it's just that each time I hear him in the Journal I think he's wrong.

Take his eulogy to Thatcher, for example: “She restored pride to this country during the Falklands war.” There’s nothing to be proud about the slaughter of a thousand young boys, 600 of them being Argentine conscripts.

Ask almost any returning soldier from any war. Ask my brother out in Afghanistan. Pride in and from war is for Sun newspaper editorials, armchair generals, and for politicians to gain capital from. Nothing more.

“She enabled people to get on the property ladder for the first time by selling council houses.” And it bought her a fair few votes, but caused social havoc that is still unravelling to this day because no houses were built to replace them.

“She reformed the trade unions whose power had got out of control.” But then all power was centralised to an unsettling and extremely unhealthy degree.

“She transformed the City of London into the economic powerhouse it is today.” And subsequently legitimised greed, leading to massive disparities in wealth and near economic collapse that all of us outside the “economic powerhouse” now have to pay for.

And then in his column, Hugo defends the “bedroom tax”. There’s something deeply disturbing about an Old Etonian with properties in London and Sidmouth – one being funded not so long ago by the taxpayer to the tune of over £23,000 a year – lecturing on how many rooms a person should be allowed to have in their home. And did he not once claim almost £400 for a designer leather laptop bag? The mind boggles.

I just wish sometimes that Hugo would simply stick to performing his party tricks down the pub and leave politics to slightly more serious people with slightly better judgement.

John Serpico

(via email)

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