Andy McSmith's Diary: If the poor like being fat, do the rich like talking drivel?


The reason poor, badly educated people are fat is because they like being fat, according to the latest declaration of prejudice to plop from the brain of Gordon Gillick, the Ukip member of Cambridgeshire County Council.

He contributed his thoughts on the undeserving poor during a debate on whether the council should focus its reduced resources on the most socially deprived parts of the county. “The people we describe as obese, thick, badly educated, whichever way you like to phrase it... they enjoy being 25 stone, they’re not discontent, they’re just a burden on the state,” the Cambridge News reports him saying.

He then appeared to contradict himself by blaming unemployment on competition from East European migrants living in their cars or “14 to a house”.

Last November, the elderly councillor provoked a flood of complaints after he asked three children from foster homes what it felt like to be “takers”. His wife, Victoria, was briefly famous in the 1980s for her campaign to prevent doctors prescribing contraceptives to under-16s without parental consent.

Meet Mystic Tred

How distressing to learn that people have been saying that the Tory MP David Tredinnick is mad, though I suppose it was some comfort to him that – as he pointed out to MPs just before the Commons broke up for the summer – people used to say the same of the late Tony Benn.

Benn believed in socialism. Tredinnick believes in astrology. He told the Commons: “Those who look at the map of the sky for the day that they were born and receive some guidance will find out a lot about themselves, and it will make their life easier.”

Peerless indolence

A written question from Lord Ashcroft has elicited the information that 54 peers who were members of the House of Lords in May 2010 have not been seen in the building since, 34 of whom are still alive. Some are very old, some – such as the EU High Representative Cathy Ashton – have jobs which have kept them away.

The absence of Lord Black of Crossharbour until May 2012 was unavoidable, on account of his being banged up, though there has been nothing to stop him resuming his seat since.

Some just do not seem to be interested, such the Earl of Snowdon, who owes his place in the Lords to the fact that for a time he was married to the Queen’s sister, Margaret. The last time he contributed to a debate was in April 2000.

Renationalise Sodor rail!

A mother, writing on the Guardian website, has stirred up some controversy by suggesting that for various political reasons Thomas the Tank Engine is unsuitable viewing for children. Oddly, she missed the obvious socialist message underlying the series. The privately-owned railway on the Isle of Sodor is owned by Sir Topham Hatt. Its safety record is abominable: barely an episode does by without some life-endangering accident. Need I spell out the obvious conclusion?

Jeger bombed out

Frank Dobson told an instructive story as he announced his intention to retire after 35 years as a London Labour MP.

His predecessor, Lena Jeger, was out canvassing in the 1950s. High up in a tower block, she delivered the standard left-wing line on German rearmament. The woman to whom this was addressed asked: “Did you come up in the lift? Stinks of piss don’t it?” Ms Jeger agreed that it did, and had to admit that she could not stop people urinating in the lift. “Well”, said the voter “if you can’t stop them pissing in our lift, how can you expect me to believe you can stop the German’s rearming?”

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