From a Marxist standpoint, the ruling class is rotten as a class, not individuals.
It's not just a gruesome gang who got power. It's driven by economic forces.
In a society built on exploitation, the people at the top are the worst exploiters, regardless of their personal qualities.
A member of this class might be personally charming, civilised, kind to animals and children, but he will still screw you. Ken Clarke is a nice man who likes jazz, but he was also one of Thatcher's bullies, resurrected by David Cameron to punch prison officers and probation workers in the face.
So in theory the ruling class is wicked as a class, not individuals. But I will make an exception for Douglas Hogg, who seems to have been born bad. Hogg appears to have concentrated all that is wrong with our ruling class in one body - like a collective portrait of the Dorian Grays of Tory rule, he has grown the ugliest carbuncles and warts on his own face on their behalf.
Hogg is back in the news now with his attempt to enter the Lords. This is causing some ructions because of his reputation for abusing expenses.
But the sins of Hogg are deeper and darker than dodgy claims for cash. Specifically, Hogg was part of the campaign against Pat Finucane. A campaign that ended in murder.
Belfast solicitor Finucane was shot dead in front of his family by loyalist gunmen from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in 1989.
Finucane represented hunger striker Bobby Sands and other republicans. He certainly wasn't in the IRA, but did score important legal victories against some repressive measures used in Northern Ireland during the "Troubles."
Finucane's friends have long argued that the British state helped his murderers. Just before Christmas the official De Silva report confirmed some of their arguments, although the significant points were hidden beneath typical British inquiry waffle.
De Silva argued there was no "overarching conspiracy" by the British state to murder Finucane.
But many arms of the state were involved anyway. I suppose this is the British way. There's no need for a conspiracy - the Establishment knows who it wants to kill instinctively.
Finucane was murdered by the UDA - but double agents in the UDA working both for the British army's "Force Research Unit" and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) special branch were part of the assassination plot.
As much as 85 per cent of UDA intelligence came from the security services in the first place, as did the gun used to kill Finucane. The RUC knew about the plans to kill a "target" - actually Finucane - including which weapons would be used, but did nothing.
All this happened in the shadows. But Hogg, one of Thatcher's Home Office ministers, became the public face of the attacks on Finucane.
In 1989 Hogg stood up in the House of Commons and said: "I have to state as a fact, but with great regret, that there are in Northern Ireland a number of solicitors who are unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA."
Immediately some MPs knew Hogg's remarks could kill.
SDLP MP Seamus Mallon said: "There are lawyers walking the streets or driving on the roads of the north of Ireland who have become targets for assassins' bullets as a result of the statement that has been made tonight."
But Hogg stuck with it, saying: "I am advised as a minister that those are the facts. I believe them to be true and I state them as facts on advice that I have received."
The "advice" Hogg got was aimed at Finucane.
The De Silva report shows that Hogg had been briefed by the RUC - including its special branch - who told him of "solicitors who are effectively in the pockets of terrorists" causing trouble.
RUC documents show it prepared briefings for Hogg trying to link Finucane to the IRA. It wasn't just in Ireland. The Metropolitan Police special branch also briefed Hogg on the danger of "solicitors known to support the terrorist cause."
At Hogg's request the Home Office also prepared a note on "solicitors with terrorist connections" about Finucane. Instead of caring about the rule of law, Hogg wanted the security forces to smear lawyers with potentially deadly lies.
The UDA men who were already considering killing Finucane were very interested in Hogg's statement in the Commons. So British government double agents in the UDA helped kill Finucane after a government minister openly pointed the finger in his direction, thanks to secret briefings by the RUC.
De Silva says there are "grounds for believing that the minister's comments did increase the vulnerability of prominent solicitors in Northern Ireland who represented republican suspects."
I'd put it more strongly - his comments gave a big signal that the assassination was OK. De Silva says Hogg didn't know about the threat. But at best it seems Hogg didn't care.
De Silva says Hogg may have "albeit unwittingly" increased Finucane's vulnerability. He thinks a witless Hogg's stray comments put the murdered man in danger.
I think it is worse, but even on De Silva's judgment Hogg shouldn't have any role in public life, let alone a seat in the Lords.
As it happens, Hogg was eventually driven from public life. But not for his involvement in the campaign against Finucane that ended in murder. Instead, in 2009, he was forced to go after the revelation that Hogg had included the cleaning of the moat at his country estate, along with paying for a housekeeper and piano tuning, on his claim for MP's expenses. Hogg stood down from Parliament.
The be-moated classes still help rule over us. George Osborne made Hogg's wife Sarah a director of the Treasury - British economic policy is run by a woman with a state-subsidised moat.
But that isn't enough for Douglas. He also has a title, Viscount Hailsham. He got this because his grandad was given a title for being an anti-trade union Tory minister during the 1926 General Strike. He is now using the family title to try and get a seat in the House of Lords.
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