Politicians can’t win the pasty eating prolier-than-thou game
Opinion digest: Pasty politics, government by the rich, home ownership and French sex scandals
NO ONE WINS THE PROLIER-THAN-THOU GAME
HARRY MOUNT ON THE CLASS POLITICS OF EATING
A class war still rages across the dining table, says Harry Mount in The Daily Telegraph. Most of the small-minded class signifiers, such as which direction to pass the port, are, thank God, dying out. What is growing more popular, though, "is the newer, equally unappetising game of prolier-than-thou" where frantic politicians compete to show they are men of the people. This week, they were all at it. Cameron got misty eyed about a pasty he claimed to have eaten at a train station in Leeds. Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves were eagerly stocking up on pastry goods at Greggs in Redditch. Yet both sides ended up losing this round of prolier-than-thou. "You’ll never get past the first round if your moves are so crashingly fake." People don’t really mind that different classes might eat different foods, but "they do mind if you try to cover up your natural behaviour".
WE'RE GOVERNED BY THE RICH
OWEN JONES ON CASH FOR CAMERON
We're governed by the political wing of the wealthy, says Owen Jones in The Independent. This isn’t socialist ideology, but mainstream opinion, as polls show two out of three voters think the Tories are "the party of the rich". That's partly because the majority of the Cabinet are privately-educated millionaires. But the 'Cash for Cameron' scandal has also exposed the internal mechanics of how Toryism provides political representation for the upper crust of society, as "the people who remain quietly behind the scenes" have been thrust into the spotlight. A political opportunity now presents itself to Labour. As Tory financiers and business people stage their "Very British Coup", Miliband could rediscover Labour's purpose – and "provide the same service for working people that the Tories do for our ever-wealthier elite".
PEOPLE CAN'T WAIT UNTIL 40 TO OWN A HOME
WILLIAM REES-MOGG ON BUILDING HOMES
We need to build more houses, says William Rees-Mogg in The Times. An increasing number of people will have to wait until they are 40 before they can buy a home big enough to start a family. This is largely because housing has been subjected "to 60 years of essentially socialist planning". The Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 was a nationalisation of development. Politicians have failed to see that the planning system which has a bias towards saying "no" is one of the negative bureaucracies that many voters have come most to resent. The individual housebuilder faces just as many obstacles as the big developer. Yet it is the individual site that can offer the first step on the ladder. The new planning rules will increase the availability of new houses by presuming in favour of new development. It’s a vital step forward in increasing the availability of starter homes. A whole generation cannot wait until they reach 40.
NO SEX PLEASE, UNLESS IT'S SEXY, WE'RE FRENCH
ANNE-ELISABETH MOUTET ON THE AFFAIRS OF DSK
We French don’t know how to enjoy a sex scandal, says Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in The Daily Telegraph. We just wish the whole Dominique Strauss-Kahn story – from hotel maids to call girls, pimps, politicians and "libertine parties" – would go away. What annoys the French most is that "this is not the sex that makes us, as a nation, look good". Jean-Paul Belmondo with Ursula Andress or Yves Montand with Marilyn Monroe are one thing. Panache conquers all. But an alleged ravisher of hotel cleaning ladies and Lille prostitutes? Not interested. We’re not happy about his defence either. In his refusal to take any responsibility for the outrage he has caused to national dignity "we recognise the dismay of one of the ruling class, suddenly realising his privileges have been revoked". It’s enough "to make us turn Madame Defarge on him".