Old Tory Hits The Buffers

February 19, 2010

If you want to see how the culture of class is alive and exceedingly well in good ol’ Blighty in the 21st century, listen to the expansive views of Sir Nicholas Winterton, a senior Conservative MP for Macclesfield. He was complaining about the unfairness of parliamentarians being prevented from claiming the cost of first-class rail travel. This must be in the light of the MP’s expenses scandal that dominated the news for most of 2009. Now they’ve been caught with their hands in the till, they have to be seen to be more responsible with our money and some of them don’t like it. Not at all.

This was reported in many papers, but the snippets I’m placing here come from The Times. He said that passengers with cheap train tickets are “a totally different type of people” to MPs. He also said that those in standard areas have “a different outlook on life” compared with first-class passengers. His privacy was more likely to be infringed with people looking over his shoulder or being distracted by noisy children. My privacy is infringed every time I get on the number 25 cattle truck, also known as the bendy bus and find myself toe to toe and arse to crotch with people I would go nowhere near under different circumstances, so I’m feeling your pain, Sir Nicholas. Really I am. This next section is delicious. I’ve taken it from The Times verbatim:

“They may be reading a book, but I doubt whether they’re undertaking serious work or study, reading reports or amending reports that MPs do when they travel,” said the Tory MP, 70.

By contrast, Sir Nicholas explained how he often had “useful discussions with the business people” he met in first-class.

Oh dear.

The Conservatives are quick to distance themselves from him, saying the comments are the out of touch views from a soon to retire backbencher. They’re not the views of “Call me Dave” Cameron or the party. Perhaps that’s true, but they’d better get hold of an industrial strength scraper as that shit on the bottom of their shoe will be hard to get off.



  1. My claim to fame is that I actually sat next to Nicholas Winterton once at a business lunch.

    He was a very charming polite chap and a bit of a character with lots of interesting anecdotes.

    To be honest I always take what I read in the press with a large pinch of salt nowadays. You quite often find a couple of months after a headline story is printed a full retraction/apology on page 96…..

    I don’t agree with what he said (if he said it) but I think we do need some colourful characters in parliament like Nic Winterton and even Dennis the Beast of Bolsover Skinner. Not just a load of plastic arse licking follow the party line robots (I’m thinking Harriet Harpie, Milliband, etc)


    • Hello, Glen. Thanks for your comments. It’s good to have another side to this and you couldn’t have done better than to actually meet him. I know that the press can be overblown in their reporting, but as he was interviewed on live radio, we’ll have to take at least some of what he said as true.

      I agree with you about the quality of our ministers. I’d completely forgotten about Dennis Skinner and Kenneth Clarke’s love of Jazz puts him up in my estimation (slightly). The blandness of our politicians makes for much frustration whether they are interviewed, or feature in such programmes as Question Time. Where’s the personality? Where’s the independence of thought, which should enable you to speak out on a policy you don’t agree with without being perceived as against the party as a whole? I don’t know what to do this election in terms of who to vote for as I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with all of them. It may not be too late to add to the bottom of the voting paper ‘none of the above.’ It’ll increase voter turnout and give a clear message that they must do better.

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