Tory MP Sir Alan Duncan tried to back down last night, attempting to justify his comment in the House of Commons that those of us who are not wealthy are “low achievers”. Sorry, Sir Alan. Too late. You knew what you were saying and we knew what you meant. You said what you truly believe and I suppose we should respect you for your honesty, or rather for saying what you really believe in, which is that privately educated, multimillionaires like you are the only high achievers in society.
My 39 years of of public service means nothing, nor does a lifetime of dealing with sometimes crippling mental illness, the self-publication of a book, father of two brilliant sons and now an employee of a charity which cares for some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in society. Or my partner, the mother of my sons, who has not only held down a responsible and vital job but also has been chair of governors at two different schools – again, what a miserable litany of failure. We’re “low achievers”, the lowest of the low.
Forget any meaningless retractions. This is the world of the wealthy ruling classes (I know I sound like someone from the SWP but bear with me) and their interpretation of what really counts in our country. Worst of all, he is right. Chasing the filthy lucre is, for so many people, all that matters; buying a better car, a bigger house, all better and bigger than anyone else’s, having more than the bloke next door and telling him that he isn’t as good as you.
Upset? Angry? You bet I am. Not just at the comments of Duncan, but because his world outlook is shared by the rest of the people who run and own this country too and quite a lot of ‘ordinary’ folk too.
Margaret Thatcher may be dead, but her pernicious, selfish, heartless greed-is-good attitude remains, implanted deeply into what can be a rotten society that still knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.