PERHAPS, in years to come, social chroniclers will come to define this stretch of UK political history as "The Dale Winton Years".

Mr Winton, now sadly departed, was the flamboyant presenter of Supermarket Sweep, one of the most subversive shows in Britain’s formidable daytime television canon. I loved it and I loved Dale. He was a warm and eager chiel who radiated genuine affection for the contestants. He had a wicked glint in his eye and something too that hinted at sadness

The format was simple and brutally insurgent. Each day, friend-and-family couplets would compete to race around a supermarket filling their trolleys with as many goods as possible within the allotted time of one minute. The trick was to identify those high-value comestibles that would, well … sort out your Heinz from your Home Brands.

I used to wonder if it could be a gentrified, Home Counties version of George Romero’s great shopping-mall apocalypse, Dawn of the Dead, which eviscerated (literally) American consumerism. I gained the impression, when Dale Winton flashed his vulpine grin, that maybe he thought so too.

It’s also becoming clearer by the day that the chisellers who gather to reap in Boris Johnson’s UK Cabinet are applying the Supermarket Sweep principle to their spells in high office. They too know that as soon as they access ministerial powers the clock begins to tick on their opportunity to grab all that they can before the voters next have a chance to remove them.

By then, hopefully, they’ll have made enough connections and granted a sufficiency of favours to ensure that their path back into civilisation will be eased with a few non execs and advising merchant banks how to move their money around the globe unimpeded.

Is it possible that there may be a Tory politician out there who isn’t seeking to use his position to enrich himself? This party, in these days, has succeeded in fulfilling the greatest dreams of avarice of every Tory who’s ever gone before. They’ve re-tuned the political consciousness of Middle England.

Once there was an assumption, even amongst the most cynical of us, that after overweening ambition and self-aggrandisement politicians still retained a desire deep within their beings to serve the public. Now, it seems the public and our public institutions exist merely to serve the acquisitive whims of High Conservatism.

Johnson and his senior capos now subscribe to the Richard Nixon doctrine of political infallibility: that nothing can be deemed to be wrong if it’s the President that’s doing it; that the incumbent is always acting in the best interests of the country. To get away with it requires an electorate to be so desensitised by a generation of corruption that they assume somewhere there must be a greater good. And that, from time to time, this may require short-cuts and a temporary suspensions of decency. In Britain and the US this often travels under cover of the phrase "in the interests of national security".

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You wonder if there comes a point when Tory politicians must surely pause and reflect on whether or not their attempts to exploit their parliamentary privileges begin to gnaw at their own sense of self. David Cameron and his family are already rich beyond the imaginations of the overwhelming majority of voters in this country. Did he not feel just a little tawdry and humiliated as he went from minister to minister; advisor to advisor, seeking favour for his billionaire clients? Perhaps his reported bonus of £20 million carried him well past the point where self-esteem ceases to be a consideration.

Was Health Secretary Matt Hancock so driven by a desire to wring every penny of financial leverage from his limited time in a great office of state that he didn’t consider his stake in a NHS-approved contractor to be immoral? Perhaps, having observed how ineffective Keir Starmer’s Labour opposition has been, they felt that the public were there for the taking without any consequences. After all; their friends and colleagues who helped themselves to multi-million PPE contracts seem not to have encountered any backlash in the polls.

Labour politicians in the Tony Blair era were slightly more circumspect in the process of capitalising on their time in office. Blair himself built a massive property portfolio while pimping himself out as a sort of international, travelling peace salesman. In office, Blair committed British troops to seven wars, all of which provided him with ample opportunity to make the connections in the Arab world that would provide a few extra zeroes in his pension. Since then his global consultancy providing peaceful solutions to stubborn conflicts has failed to reduce tension let alone avoid a war. Mr Blair’s relationship with peaceful outcomes is within the vegetarian/smoked sausage supper interface.

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In Scotland, an assortment of senior Labour figures after building careers and affluent lifestyles in the People sector duly progressed to the House of Lords. Their lordships and barons Glenscorrodale, Cumnock; Roulanish and Port Ellen (once known as plain old Jack McConnell, George Foulkes, Alistair Darling and George Robertson) might have made you think they stood for equality, social justice and an end to unearned privilege.

Yet, before you could say "I do hope the ermine has a bit of give around the shoulders" they were right into that House of Lords rapid and helping themselves to the discounted pate de fois gras and £323-a-day expenses. All of it, for all of them, had been one giant exercise in swindling a constituency who had trusted them; not always to get it right but at least to remain true to themselves and us.

And then you look at the SNP with their fake radicalism and their own careerist chancers, chiselling their own constituency and keeping it stupefied on the independence teat. And you make your calculations and you’re still forced to conclude that, despite their false virtue and disdain for working-class communities, an independent Scotland offers us an opportunity to aspire to something different.

And that we just need to ensure we lose all of them – the current SNP, Labour and the Tories – in building the Socialist state of our parents’ and grandparents’ post-war dreams.

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