DAME Shirley Porter, the former Conservative leader of Westminster City Council, has handed over £12 million to settle the surcharge imposed on her following the "homes for votes" scandal of the 1980s, it was announced yesterday.A "homes for votes" scandal. It sounds rather shocking. So what exactly did Shirley do?
Surcharges were imposed on the Tesco heiress after it was found that she approved a policy to sell off council homes to potential Tory voters in marginal wards to boost the party’s election prospects.Aha, that's it: using taxpayer-financed council houses for the purpose of electoral gain.
But hang on a moment. Isn't that exactly what generations of Labour politicians have been doing by building all those council houses in the first place? In fact the construction of so many council estates in Glasgow has created a population that has come to believe that the state owes them everything: housing, jobs, education, health services, pensions and welfare. That in turn has made the city one of the poorest in the UK. The perpetrators of this mass pauperisation now dominate the Scottish Parliament. It's no wonder that they are totally unable to create an entrepreneurial culture.