Alistair Darling is the real “Marie Antoinette” – by Edward Leigh MP

portrait-edwardleigh2I am glad to see that our old friends at the Daily Mirror are avid readers of this blog. Something I said the other day about the Chancellor’s taking 2.5 per cent off VAT seems to have upset them rather. 


As usual – as you can see from reading what I actually said on the blog  –


  • – they have caricatured me by taking a quote out of context:

“How will it help the poor to give them a few pence more off consumer items they don’t need?”

Perhaps I should have phrased it “consumer items they still won’t be able to afford even with the small reduction in VAT“.

Either way, I expect I would still have met with the wrath of that leftie redtop. My comment was in fact not particularly original, as many others from all sides of the political spectrum have made the same point. But their report was so biased it was comically absurd.

What of course they didn’t quote from my blog was this:

“If tax cuts are needed now, thresholds should have been raised to take people out of paying tax altogether and encourage them back into work, to spend their money as they have to.”

Far from attacking the poor as “squandering tax breaks on luxury goods”, as the Mirror claimed, I was doing the opposite by speaking up for the most helpful tax break of all – complete freedom from income tax.

The Mirror claim Labour has termed me “the Tories’ Marie Antoinette”.  If one accepts the implied caricature of a much-maligned lady who suffered in her day rather more than just verbal brickbats at the hands of the contemporary French version of Mirror journalists, the real “Marie Antoinette” of the moment is Alistair Darling. He encourages people who are already massively in the red to get themselves yet further into debt.

Not “let them eat cake” but “let them bend plastic”.

Ironically, one of the causes of the French Revolution was the fact that Louis XVI’s government had run up massive debts. Let us hope that Alistair Darling is treated more gently than was poor Marie Antoinette by the people who sooner or later find that his policies have brought them to penury.

Finally, in defence of the guillotined queen, historians agree that she never said “let them eat cake”. She, too, was a victim of left-wing propaganda! Cornerstone has decided, however, not to adopt her as our patron due to a lingering doubt about her judgement in the notorious ‘Affair of the Necklace’ – a financial and sexual scandal in which again, historians tend to agree she was relatively blameless.


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