8 Nov 2013 at 22:11
Steve Wright used to have a character on his Radio 1 afternoon show called Mr Angry. Each time he rang into the programme he would end his call with the words “I’m so angry, I could throw the phone down!” And that’s what he then did. I feel like that right now. Why? Because Jeremy Hunt has had the temerity to sell his company, HOT COURSES, for £17 million! £17 million I ask you! It’s a scandal! Except of course, it’s not.
For those in the bizarre world of leftish journalism, no, it won’t “be an embarrassment to the government.” And if it is (and let’s face it, you never quite know with this lot) it damn well ought not to be. Profit is not, and never ought to have become, a dirty word in this country. Those like Jeremy Hunt who start businesses often risk everything – their life savings, their houses. Sometimes risks work, sometimes they don’t. You never hear anything about the man or woman who risks everything to start a company which then goes on to fail, leaving them destitute.
No, what we hear is criticism of people like Jeremy Hunt who have gone on to make successes of their companies, created hundreds of jobs, paid millions in NI and corporation tax and then sell up. It’s a bloody outrage. But not if you’re an idiot who writes for the Huffington Post. Here goes…
Jeremy Hunt has already received several million pounds in dividends since he set up the firm.
Written as if that’s some sort of scandal. No, that’s how the free market works, you idiot. If you’re a shareholder, you get a dividend each year. Still, profit is an alien concept to the Huffington Post, I suppose. Let’s carry on…
This windfall, greater than the £15 million originally estimated, would leave him with a greater fortune than the prime minister, chancellor and defence secretary combined. This may be politically awkward for the coalition as Labour leader Ed Miliband has sought to depict the Tories as “out of touch”. News of Hunt’s potential £17m windfall comes in the same week as a GP challenged the Health Secretary to work for free.
Oh FFS. Each week Jeremy Hunt does a shift in a different hospital. He does it to little fanfare but he does it because he reckons he learns more from those few hours than the rest of the week. But why shouldn’t he be paid just like any other cabinet minister? I despair.
To my utter shock, I now see the HuffPo piece is written by Asa Bennett, a former intern at Total Politics. I suppose he must be pandering to the HuffPo audience.
Interestingly, though, I can’t see any mention of the story on the BBC website and The Guardian, to their credit, cover it fairly factually. But people on Twitter have been in full flow all day. In any other country we’d be congratulating Jeremy Hunt for being a successful entrepreneur. But here we have too much of the tall poppy syndrome.
Andy Grice of The Independent, who should know better, described it as a “windfall”. The use of that word implies it wasn’t earned and that he isn’t really entitled to it. A lottery win is a windfall. The proceeds of the sale of a company is not. Grice goes on…
The disclosure of the business deal revived the debate over whether Mr Cameron’s “cabinet of millionaires” is out of touch with ordinary people struggling during Britain’s “cost of living crisis.”
Almost as if it had been personally written by Ed Miliband. He then goes on to quote a Labour MP I have never of called Graham Morris.
What most people want is a government that is representative of the people they are elected to serve. What we have is a cabinet of millionaires having no experience or empathy with the daily struggles of ordinary families in Britain.
Yes, like Philip Hammond, who, like Jeremy Hunt made his money by creating companies, providing employment to hundreds of people and running a profitable business. What a crime. I could go on. Actually, I will. Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison says…
How can a man of such wealth possibly understand the problems of ordinary people or the value that we place on our public services?
We could equally ask a union baron who earns a good six figure sum the same question. I doubt whether he works a shift in a hospital like Jeremy Hunt does each week.
In my view Jeremy Hunt is just the sort of person we should be encouraging to get into politics. When I first met him back in 2003 he had just been selected for Surrey NW. He was not a political animal really, and I don’t think he had been a Tory Party member for long. We were both candidates in marginal seats and would speak on the phone off and on. He retains a sort of political innocence which isn’t obvious in many other politicians and that is to his credit. But there must be days when he wakes up and wonders why he ever went down the political path.
All I can say is that today has reaffirmed that we are a very envious country which delights in slagging off those who are successful. Successful people make the profits which pay the taxes which pay for the welfare state. What a pity some on the left don’t seem to understand that. What idiots they are.
Finally, here is a piece from Sky News which hosted a discussion between my former LBC colleague James Max and someone from Left Unity called Simon Hardy. It illustrates the debate perfectly.