Rishi Sunak, the longest serving Prime Minister since Liz Truss. And Nadhim Zahawi, the soon-to-be former Tory party chairman.
They stand accused in the dock of public opinion. Their crime – paying their taxes. Lots and lots of taxes. In other words, being rich, rich enough to pay big tax bills, and in the case of Nadhim, being somewhat careless about doing so.
That is enough to make Brits feel uncomfortable at the best of times. But these are not the best of times, with many folk not earning enough to pay any tax at all as they grapple with mounting bills as inflation sends prices soaring.
A little while ago Sir Keir Starmer thought he might as well unveil a package of policies, as at some stage it’s what aspiring leaders of GB Ltd have to do to prove they have credibility. He needn’t have bothered, not that anybody remembers anything he said.
In the current climate Plan A from the traditional Labour playbook is more effective. Hold up the rich as being inherently immoral, unethical, and uncaring. You don’t have to say that, of course. You just highlight the fact that they have lots more dosh than any ordinary voter. So Sir Keir attacks Rishi Sunak for being weak, but the direct hit comes from attacking him for being rich, which is undeniable.
And whenever he mentions non-dom status, that is a sly attack on the Prime Minister’s wife.
It is the British way. Harry Enfield’s Loadsamoney has shown our attitude to rich people, unless they are a footballer or vacuous celebrity. Being wealthy in America is not such a crime, apparently. I’ve heard overt success is not despised there. You can park your gleaming Rolls-Royce and people admire it, rather than scratch it.
As it happens, Sir Keir is from the smart-suited brigade himself, and as he had a successful career as a lawyer is unlikely to be short of a bob or two.
That’s one reason why a lot of the new wave of Labour members who were inspired by Jeremy Corbyn have lacked enthusiasm for his successor.
Sir Keir is not of them. Instead they suspect he is of “them”.
That is a problem Labour will have to wrestle with if and when it takes the reins of government. However, such future matters can be put aside as the more pressing issue is to keep the wheels of the bandwagon – more like a blandwagon under Sir Keir – turning smoothly.
It is possible for Tory party leaders to survive and thrive when they have little or nothing in common with ordinary people, which more often than not is the case in any event? David Cameron had the Blairite touch. Boris Johnson was an entertainer, a sort of anti-politician who did not play the political game and was able to speak directly to the people, even when speaking Greek and Latin.
Rishi Sunak can’t help being rich, and to be honest so long as his tax affairs are legal and ethical, I don’t consider them to be my, or anybody else’s business, beyond diligent HMRC scrutiny.
There have been rumours from time to time that at some stage he and his wife might go back to America. I don’t rule it out. They would feel more at home there.
Step by step, bit by bit, Ukraine is becoming a de facto member of Nato. It is as if Ukraine is fighting the war against Putin so that Nato doesn’t have to.
This year we shall discover what difference 300,000 new recruits will make to the potency of the Russian army.
For months Nato has supplied artillery, anti-tank weaponry, ammunition, training, and invaluable intelligence. And now modern battle tanks.
What has not been supplied, at least so far as we know, is troops.
That would start with Nato sending “advisors” to Ukraine. It is the time honoured equation for escalating conflicts – A leads to B and B leads to C.
I am in the minority who don’t get worked up about Harry and Meghan, because I don’t see it as a royal story, but as a showbiz story.
I haven’t read the book, but could I suggest that the next step should be a husband and wife telly show, a sort of I Love Lucy for the 21st century?