Daisy Waugh eavesdrops on the chattering classes
Thought I should give you a quick call. Just to say — hope you’re bearing up.
You’re sweet. I must say — telephone’s been awfully quiet. Times like this you certainly learn who your friends are…
How are you feeling? How’s Robert?
Chastened. Eating lots of humble pie.
Yes, I suppose.
He’s sent out a letter of apology to the constituents. The kids and I were hand delivering them over the weekend.
It’s the least we can do. God knows…
The trouble is, I suppose, when everyone’s doing it…You can sort of forget — how it might look to the outside world.
The kids are getting teased at school.
God. It’s not their fault!
People simply don’t understand.
Of course not.
What kills me — what kills Robert — I mean we’re all in this together — is the damage it’s doing to the country…To our democratic system. To everything we all value so much…
Yes. It’s —
Meanwhile, soldiers are being killed in Afghanistan. Or Iraq. You know. Serious things are happening. But — trust the press — if it’s trivial, they’ll be on to it —
I don’t think it’s completely trivial.
It’s a witchhunt, really…Can’t get at Jade Goody any more. Might as well get the MPs.
Because while they’re banging on about who bought what pet food on expenses…
Mmm — but it’s not just pet food, Laura…It’s the sort of not paying capital gains, or stamp tax, or any other kind of tax…And the claiming for mortgages that don’t exist…And — I don’t want to mention moats…
But — that’s my whole point! It’s hardly even a moat. Not by “moat” standards.
Meanwhile, as I said to Robert, and Robert said to me — our democracy is crumbling. The BNP is knocking at the door. And when push comes to shove — what’s it all about? Some silly member for somewhere putting in a receipt for Tampax when he shouldn’t…
Except it wasn’t just Tampax-
Of course. But people just don’t understand.
If you compare how much Robert gets paid, you know, to a GP or something. A bloody GP!
Before or after expenses?
People have no idea how hard these MPs work. No idea how dedicated these guys are to the public good.
Robert’s working ten-to-15 hours a day.
So he says.
Why the hell shouldn’t he be rewarded for it? Why the hell shouldn’t he claim a few things?
Yes but —
It’s one of the perks of the job. Deselection, my foot. Take away our expenses, chum — I said to Robert — we’ll deselect ourselves, thank you very much. Because without the perks —
What the bloody hell’s the point?