Last week, I was accused of being "Tory scum", as well as being a "rabid socialist", on social media. It shows the rather scary tribalism we have in our political system, so I thought it time to set the record straight.
The "rabid socialist" comments came on the back of tweeting that I thought the Philpott case taught us nothing about the benefits system, just about a very nasty man, and that little inference can be drawn from it. There are nasty people on benefits, in work, and who are billionaires – to create policy due to these anomalies is a mistake.
The "Tory scum" comment came because I was defending on Facebook the fact I’d done my TV show about savers, arguing they were real people too. There’d been accusations that telling people about cash Isas meant "you’re helping the rich get richer and should be helping the poor".
I’m not a card-carrying member of any political party. I do hold views (as anyone who’s ever watched me will realise), but in my job role I aim (not always successfully), to steer clear of polemic party loyalty. I agree with various things each party say, and only wish we could have a pick and mix approach.
Over the last year both Wendy, MSE’s campaigns officer, and I have met and worked with Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MPs (I’ve never been approached by Plaid or SNP) when requested to try to help on consumer issues and policies. Where appropriate, we’ve helped them to get in touch with consumers.
Even better, occasionally you get to work cross-party, such as the brilliant All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education, with people such as Justin Tomlinson (Tory) and Nic Dakin (Labour). It shows they can actually work together and do some good without letting party walls get in the way.