Once, in a time beyond political memory, charity was touted as part of the government’s big thing. Conservatism in its ethical moments takes warmth from the idea of the well-off writing cheques drawn against their sense of richesse oblige, and the not well-off selling jumble and raffling gin to aid the needy in lieu of the state; indeed, this is how the Conservative Party itself has long been run. Its Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, introduced just before the recess and hurried back to Parliament for its second reading yesterday, sets up a statutory register for lobbyists.
The Oxford Student recently ran – and later retracted – a story about a Bullingdon Club initiation ceremony which allegedly included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp. Whether or not the story’s true, it pales beside Baudelaire’s narrative prose poem ‘Let’s Beat Up the Poor’.