KEITH NEWBERY The ‘squeezed middle’ now on verge of rebellion

For the first time in my life (which has lasted 63 years thus far) I sense a genuine air of grievance, bordering on mutiny, among the British people.

There is a simmering sense of betrayal among ordinary folk, upon whose shoulders the catch-all soubriquet of ‘the silent majority’ has always rested fairly comfortably.

For generations they have gone about their law-abiding business, weathering all the squalls caused by the vicissitudes of politics and life in general.

They have brought up families, paid their taxes and provided the sort of bedrock upon which a nation can be safely built and sustained.

But their mood is changing and there’s a faint sniff of rebellion in the air.

There have been temporary spasms of public outrage before, of course, like the miners’ strike and the poll tax riots, both of which were deliberately orchestrated and stoked by political extremists.

This time it’s different.

This time there’s a resentment bordering on the sulphurous as the ‘squeezed middle’ (as they have become known) witness their standard of living being sabotaged and their future made uncertain by events and circumstances way beyond their control.

Many have seen their income frozen or lifted by negligible amounts – which actually equate to a pay cut as inflation continues to nudge beyond five per cent.

Their sense of injustice is compounded by the knowledge that those who have made a career out of benefit scrounging will be rewarded with increases equivalent to the rise in the cost of living.

They work for companies whose futures are being compromised by a lack of investment from banks which only managed to survive by courtesy of a vast injection of their taxes.

They seethe at the news of the shameless gluttons who run these institutions still making off with huge bonuses every year.

They bridle at some elderly folk forced to survive in almost Dickensian conditions, while the felons and the feckless lounge about in warm prisons with colour television and a guaranteed three meals a day.

David Cameron would do well to note the increasingly rancorous mood of these people – with whom he has absolutely nothing in common.

They are used to being taken for granted – but they draw the line at being taken for mugs.

* Just how deluded can a man get?

It was plain for all to see how foolish Dr Liam Fox had been in his jaunts and exploits with his ‘best friend’ Adam Werritty.

He now stands accused of pitiable self-delusion as well.

There we were thinking the collapse of his front-bench career was down to his arrogant disregard of the standards expected of those holding ministerial rank and above.

But no – it was the media’s fault, of course.

Apparently we worked ourselves up into a frenzy before pursuing him with ‘vindictiveness, even hatred.’

Nothing to do with the fact that he flouted the conventions of his office, put friendship before duty and ran the risk of compromising the security of the country he was being trusted to protect.