David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, has finally said something that I can admire.
When Mitt Romney, who ran the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, said during an NBC News interview yesterday that there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness for the London Olympics, Cameron replied, “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” By which he undoubtedly was referring to Salt Lake City and Utah, the venues of Romney’s Olympics, which have few of the challenges of hosting the games in London.
But otherwise, Cameron and Romney have much in common by being in thrall to big business and the right wing and demonstrating little understanding of what it’s like to live without massive amounts of money.
Several months ago, there was a big hoo-ha in the UK about a statement by a right-wing Member of Parliament, Nadine Dorries, about David Cameron and George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Although she’s a Conservative, as are Cameron and Osborne, she called them “Two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.”
Her full quote is: “Unfortunately, I think that not only are Cameron and Osborne two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk, but they are two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition, and and no passion to understand the lives of others and that’s the crime.”
–Prime Minister David Cameron frolicking as he contemplates the price of milk
If Nadine Dorries weren’t responsible for trying to cut funding to the National Health Service for women’s reproductive health, pushing abstinence (for girls, not boys), and being investigated for trying to bilk the government by claiming unjustifiable expenses as a Member of Parliament, I might find myself actually liking the woman.
But her comment about poshness couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time. The Conservative Party has just given their wealthy citizens a present of a decrease in the top tax rate from 50% to 45% at the same time that it’s trying to dismantle the National Health System which benefits mostly the poor and working class. (See any similarity to Romney here with his comments about
Romneycare, uh, Obamacare?)
America has their own posh and arrogant boys in the Republican Party, which is the closest equivalent to Britain’s Conservative Party. See what the Republican presidential candidate has to say about a myriad of subjects (list compiled by Daniel Kurtzman of About.com):
1. “Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.” —Mitt Romney to a heckler at the Iowa State Fair who suggested that taxes should be raised on corporations as part of balancing the budget (August 2011)
2. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” –Mitt Romney, using an unfortunate choice of words while advocating for consumer choice in health insurance plans (January 2012)
3. “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.” —Mitt Romney (January 2012)
4. “I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” –Mitt Romney, attempting to make a wager with Rick Perry during a Republican presidential debate to settle a disagreement about health care (December 2011)
5. “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” —Mitt Romney, speaking in 2011 to unemployed people in Florida. Romney’s net worth is over $200 million.
6. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip” –Mitt Romney, attempting to identify with the problems of average folk (January 2012)
7. “[My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs.” –Mitt Romney, campaigning for president in Michigan (February 2012)
8. “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.” —Mitt Romney, who earned $374,000 in speaking fees in one year according to his personal financial disclosure (January 2012)
9. “I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.” —Mitt Romney, after being asked whether he follows NASCAR racing (February 2012)
I’ll leave the final word to Ruth Whippman, writing in the Independent:
“Cameron and Osborne can’t help that they are posh, any more than anyone can help their social background. What they can help, is that they are creating a barrage of policies that poisonously favour the posh over everyone else. That, rather than where they went to school, is what we should be getting fired up about.”
So, David Cameron, while I like your telling Romney something he needs to know, please never forget that you and he share something: you’re both deeply privileged posh boys who don’t have a clue about what it’s like for the average person to simply get through the day.