The Bollinger bolshevik on £145k a year

Transport Workers union (RMT) boss Bob Crow lives off a fat salary in a council flat intended for the poor. That's when he's not dining in Mayfair or cruising in the Caribbean.

Bob Crow revels in his image as a "man of the people"; in reality he's no more a man of the people than I am. There may be a sign saying "Working class" on the door of his office near Euston, and a bust of Lenin inside, but this is a man with a taste for high living. Comrade Crow' is the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT), which has been plotting the latest round of tube strikes strikes that cost London's economy around £50m a day. By repeatedly holding the capital to ransom, he's done very well for Tube drivers, who now earn £40,000 a year. He hasn't done badly for himself either, as Paul Bracchi points out in the Daily Mail. In 2002, when Crow took charge of the RMT, his basic pay was less than £60,000. Now this "communist-stroke-socialist" (as he calls himself) has a salary of £97,747 and an overall package worth at least £145,000 a year.

Small wonder then, says Bracchi, that he can afford to patronise exclusive restaurants like Scott's in Mayfair. He and four left-wing colleagues were spotted there last week: they "quaffed bubbly' from crystal glasses and knocked back bottles of Morgassi Superiore 2009 Piedmont at £39 a time". The bill for the lunch, to celebrate Mr Crow's 50th birthday, was £650. He likes expensive holidays, too. In January, after his union had set up two train strikes in Britain, he headed to Barbados for a cruise. Meanwhile, he still lives in social housing in Woodford Green at an estimated rent of £150 a week. He's quite unrepentant about this. "Bob Crow makes no apology for living at the heart of his local community," says an RMT spokesman.

But why not? Why does he feel entitled to go on living in a house intended for the poor when there are five million people on council waiting lists in Britain? It is scandalous, says Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times, that "council housing is often occupied by the well-off, paying hugely subsidised low rents at the expense of the poor". Crow is not the only offender. Frank Dobson, that veteran Labour politician of impeccable left-wing credentials, refuses to give up his central London council flat. Between them, Marrin reckons, Dobson and his lecturer wife bring in at least £100,000 a year. Should he really be paying £160-odd a week to the council for a flat that would fetch a market rent of about £1,000?

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The "greedy shamelessness of Labour politicians" is a mystery, says Marrin. Think of the Blairs, "clawing their way into the ranks of the super-rich", or Arthur Scargill, thrown out of his union after a dispute over the £250,000 he was claiming for renting a second home in London post-retirement. Behind them are all those "countless Bollinger bolsheviks" who "while denouncing the privileges of the posh are themselves to be seen at the best addresses and the best seats at the opera, accepting peerages after decades of sneering at lords and ladies and generally displaying a shameless indifference to the poor that is particularly breathtaking in people who claim to be champions of the people".

Tabloid money "I'm not some spoilt brat who shops all the time"

Once Greece crashes out of the euro, Portugal will be next, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "But the biggest domino is Spain, the fourth largest eurozone state, contributing more than one-tenth of its economic input... We have just learned that Spain's local authorities have stored up tens of billions of secret debt. Now alarmed international investors are looking behind official claims that bloated property prices have slipped only 14%." City experts say it's closer to 50%-70%. If this is confirmed, "investors will flee like scalded cats and Spain's future as a eurozone member is on the block. So indeed is the eurozone itself."

"Formula One racing boss Bernie Ecclestone has splashed out on a starter home for his 22-year-old daughter, Petra," says Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror. "It is £91m-worth of fake French chateau with sweeping views of Los Angeles, five acres of land including parking for 100 cars, a bowling alley, beauty salon, its own doll museum and a marble staircase knocked off from Gone With The Wind. But Petra says what she wants now is for people to take her seriously and not think that she's like some spoilt brat who shops all the time'. As if the thought had ever crossed our minds!"

Most of us understand the moral case for foreign aid, says Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror. "I mean foreign aid that saves lives like the £815m that is going to vaccinate children in the developing world from tetanus, measles and pneumonia." But if there is a moral case for foreign aid, "why is there not a moral case for helping the poor, the disabled and the dying in our own country"? It is "not just charity that should start at home. It is morality too."