The Telegraph Media Group, of which I am generally a fan, seems to have developed a mighty chip on its shoulder. I don't think this started with its campaign on MPs expenses but this seems to have been the catalyst to greater ridiculousness in some of its 'populist' reporting.
Yesterday's story 'exclusive' of a cabinet worth £70million is a classic example. The story was based on figures provided by Wealth-X, a consultancy "specialising in analysing the financial affairs of US politicians" which "based its figures on salaries as well as declared shares and properties".
The line issued from Downing Street dismissed these figures. My concern is not necessarily with their accuracy but by the way the relative wealth of the Cabinet is reported.
An all encompassing term "stake in..." was used which doesn't do justice to how various individuals made their money. It doesn't acknowledge that they might have started a business from scratch, taking risks along the way, to make money, pay taxes and employ people. This is true of Jeremy Hunt and his successful Hotcourses company as it is with Philip Hammond and his company.
Or what about those who worked hard in the City or law (as is the case for Francis Maude, Andrew Mitchell and Dominic Grieve) before entering parliament? Carving out careers in competitive industries and rightly being rewarded for their efforts. Then how about those who inherited their money? Those singled out were, inevitably, David Cameron and George Osborne. Both have benefited from the success of their parents who worked hard and built businesses for which they were rewarded.
Then there is the snippy, bitter, response from Labour's Gareth Thomas. I realise that Labour's current line to take is that the Government is "out of touch" but attacks like this will do nothing to attract the best and brightest in society to stand for Parliament.
Those who have done so should be applauded for giving up high income jobs to enter public service - surely that is the most any country can ask of a citizen? Sadly the chip on its shoulder the Telegraph has developed is becoming increasingly the norm in a country seemingly unwilling to celebrate success.