The prime minister bemoans what he observes among the poor as a sense of entitlement. In reality, it’s something most of us have but, in the mythology of government, it is at its most acute among workshy, dysfunctional people on benefits. Irritable Duncan Syndrome, the workhouses and pensions secretary, believes the link between labour and income has been severed in their minds by a dependency on the state, leaving them unappreciative of the respectable life of powerless exploitation available to them through the jobs market.
By turns, we on the left keenly observe the overweening hubris and self-assuredness of him and the other born‑to‑rule hoorays poncing about in Downing Street. There is no greater culture of entitlement to be witnessed. Well might we muse upon the entitlement of a chancellor who, upon his father’s passing, will be titled.
And we, for our part, believe unflinchingly in our right to stroll safely through well-paved streets, with as many state-educated children as we choose to produce, on our way to a free world music festival in our freshly-landscaped municipal park.
In our defence, we believe it should be an opportunity for all. We don’t believe in exclusive rights. Perhaps the strongest and most deluded sense of entitlement is the belief among the rich that they or their forebears acquired their wealth by hard graft and natural justice. Most deluded of all are the arrivistes, who believe their earnings are something they’ve actually earned.
It’s not work that makes you rich. It’s money.
Jeremy Hardy is a comedian and writer who regularly appears on BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.