What is it with culture secretary Maria Miller, whom I dub “Windy Miller” owing to her propensity for brain farts? She is fast running out of friends.
Given Miller’s level of professional competence, it is difficult to understand why prime minister David Cameron and his cabinet are intent on quashing any further public discussion of her parliamentary expenses claims, together with the cack-handed threat against journalists covering the story. There may be few women in senior government positions, but that never normally troubles the Conservative Party.
Does Miller have something on her male colleagues? Perhaps she knows where political bodies are buried, and is therefore confident in toughing out the scandal. Even if that were so, it does not strike me as the behaviour of a clever politician. Maybe we overestimate Windy Miller’s intelligence.
Part of Miller’s job as secretary of state for culture, media and sport is to oversee intellectual property rights in the media and cultural worlds. I am told that Miller recently expressed surprise on hearing that a freelance writer is paid for contributing chapters to academic books. Miller’s husband writes on occasion, she noted, but he does not receive a penny for his efforts, and would not dream of seeking remuneration. Filthy lucre, and all that.
Then again, the wife’s generous parliamentary expenses would surely obviate the need for income gained through creative pursuits.
Welcome to the Big Society.