After my one-handed applause for the Budget, on reflection awarded on the basis that it could have been somewhat worse, comes the news that "cash for access" is back on the scene. I now have a new theory that David Cameron is not the bastardised offspring of a one-night stand between Thatcher and Blair but a hybrid between the two most ineffectual Tory leaders of the last half-century (excluding, for the sake of argument and circumstance Alec Douglas-Home), to wit Ted Heath and John Major.
Quite apart from the revolting idea that people might actually want to pay to spend a privileged evening in the Hamster's cage, probably sharing regurgitated pellets, in order to influence the fecklessness of the contemporary Tory Party, the rank hypocrisy that this exposes is unsurprising. What is more surprising is that Murdoch allowed one of his allegedly less-putrid organs, the "Sunday Times", to run the story. The warning shot that this fires is fascinating, as it denotes the latest stage of Murdoch's counter-attack against his former benefactors - of which more later.
I do hope that the Liberals disclose how many people have paid for cash for access with them, although it won't waste much printer ink.
Cameron's hubris is breathtaking, given that he leads a government of which no one component actually "won" an election on a skewed electoral system designed to produce just that. It has taken a day's worth of intense media scrutiny even to get him to cough up the list of people who he has entertrained, on the spurious grounds that a taxpayer-funded and maintained flat is his private accommodation and he can therefore give hospitality to whoever he likes - while at the same time attacking Labour and the trade unions for publicly-disclosed linkages.
It does raise the suspicion that there are others who are also enjoying the treat of his company who he does not want the wider world to know about - and we all know how much more interesting John Major's tenure became once he left office and people started publishing their memoirs.
This is all entirely consistent with the veneration of "entrepreneurs" and "wealth creators", who can bankroll the Tories and whose interests are entirely aligned with an atavistic urge to keep the proles in order. These people are special because they have money and an antipathy to both social justice and mobility. Therefore their movements, their tax affairs and their connections with the Government are not to be the subject of common tittle-tattle and scrutiny. Unless, of course, they want it to be.
Murdoch is clearly so displeased that Cameron has hung some of the Chipping Norton cronies out to dry that he has turned on his own creatures. I suspect that the motivation to disclose that the Tories have still not learned from the 1990s (and even from Lloyd George's blatant selling of peerages) may be the harbinger of more dirt that has been accumulated over the last five years - and this should prove entertaining.
However, even I would't place bets on the Hamiltons replacing the odious Steve Hilton. But stranger things have happened and this is the Conservative Party, after all.