I realise I will never be a top politician or a top BBC executive — I just don’t have the imagination or even the gall to be either.
I also don’t think big enough. You just have to look at their expenses claims to see how imaginative they are. And they never scrimp either when it comes to their own personal comfort.
Take Shaun Woodward, the already very wealthy Northern Ireland Secretary of State. He has often had to put up with jibes that he is the only Labour MP — he defected from the Tories — with his own butler.
Anyway, it seems he was invited to give a lecture in Trinity College. No nipping down on the Enterprise for him — although that would be expensive enough for most of us mere mortals.
He went along with a colleague. They took a chartered flight. The bill for flight and hotels was £9,624. I just hope he had something useful to say in his speech for that price.
Dublin, admittedly, is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Given the price of a pint there, the Irish could soon have the reputation as the most sober citizens in the EU.
Now, I don’t know what Mr Woodward and three colleagues who went on an official visit to meet the Irish Foreign Minister last October had to eat, drink or whatever, but the bill for the three came in at just over £11,000.
If you are going to spend the taxpayers’ money, sure you might as well spend a lot of it.
That seems to be the advice of BBC top executives also. The Board of Directors have spent £363,000 over the last five years. One executive spent almost £3,000 on flowers which she sent to 64 people for their contributions to drama, film and comedy.
One executive spent £2,875 on a meal. I don’t know for how many, but I must remember not to go to that restaurant. Same with the one where the same executive entertained Tessa Jowell, who was then Secretary of State for Culture. A meal for them cost £827.02. Bad taste some might say.
Dinners seem to be a particular love of BBC executives. One regularly charged more than £1,000 for meals and then there was an executive Christmas dinner that cost nearly £1,600. Not much wonder executives earn a fat cat label.
At the other end of the scale one executive claimed £60 for a biscuit jar bought as a wedding present — must remember never to invite her to any family nuptials — and she also bought a silver bangle with charm for around £95. Not much chance of it appearing on the Antiques Roadshow in future years.
But while the amounts are sometimes laughable and sometimes disgraceful, it is the range of purchases which are racked up against the taxpayers’ money which makes us mugs paying tax so angry.
Why should we be funding a high earning BBC executive’s wedding gifts or why should politicians be costing the same as Royalty to transport from one city to another?
If this was France the carpenters would be busy assembling a guillotine. Yet we simply acquiesce and allow our politicians and publicly-funded executives — not just in the BBC — spend as if there was no tomorrow.
If the BBC really wants to pay its top executive’s a fortune — and overpay its top stars — then it should go out and earn its money, just like every other broadcaster, instead of dipping into all of our pockets for the licence fee.
We pay the licence fee for quality television and radio, not to provide a gilded life for fat cat directors.