Leading Article: Rich friends in hot places

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The Independent Online
Climb the greasy pole of politics, and your holidays suddenly change. Look at this year's getaways. The lower ranks carry on much as before. Ann Widdecombe is walking Wales. No surprise there, except that she is travelling by daylight. Harriet Harman plans cassoulets in the Dordogne. John Prescott will be taking a Short break.

But Tony and John are a different matter. For them the electronic gates of millionaire's villas in (respectively) Tuscany and the Riviera swing silently open. Which prompts an odd question: what is it about rich people that makes party leaders want to share their hols with them? And what is it about party leaders that makes them such good house-guests? It is a puzzle.

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