Let’s begin this week with some Read the Room news, and the revelation that former Science Minister George Freeman was forced to quit Rishi Sunak’s government last November for financial reasons.

George revealed this week that his measly ministerial salary of £118,300 was not enough to cover the rise in his mortgage payments from £800 to £2,000 a month.

As he told subscribers to his must-read Substack account this week, ‘Government is a cruel mistress.’

Now. It may be that like myself you too have also found your mortgage payments go up over the last 18 months.

And it may be, too, that, like me, you have had to find a way to pay that increase on an income somewhat smaller than a ministerial salary.

It may also be that, like me again, you have not resigned from government twice in the last two years, thus being able to pocket a handy £15,840 to cushion the blow of returning to the backbenches (and taking up a lucrative second job or two).

George is absolutely correct to draw attention to the increase in mortgage costs over the last 18 months.

Research puts the accumulated total of these costs as an additional £19 billion that homeowners are paying out.

But perhaps George has forgotten which government’s economic policies were responsible for the mortgage rate hike, forcing him to leave the governmental job he so loved.

It’s true he wasn’t a minister himself during Liz Truss’ brief premiership, but neither was he shouting out warnings as to what her economic policies might lead to.

Indeed, George went on social media to describe Kwasi Kwarteng’s appointment as Chancellor as ‘one of the most exciting of all … KK is a political big beast who shares the PM’s convictions on growth and takes to HMT [Her Majesty’s Treasury] a ferocious intellect, business savvy and contempt for lazy Whitehall orthodoxy.’

Well thank goodness for all that ferocious intellect and business savvy: just imagine what might have happened to George’s mortgage payments if the economy hadn’t been in Kwasi’s safe pair of hands.

Thank goodness, too, that Kwasi was able to give that lazy Whitehall orthodoxy – all those civil service warnings about how his financial plans were going to wreck the economy – the contempt it deserved.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, a survey for debt charity StepChange revealed this week that 21 million people are struggling with bills and credit commitments, and that six million people have had to borrow money in the last twelve months to cope with the cost of living crisis.

Government is a cruel mistress, but to borrow from another more famous George, it is perhaps crueller for some rather than for others.