YOU may be able to choose your friends, but when it comes to family and the precise moment at which they will make you want to sink into the ground, there is often precious little choice.

Which makes it all the more baffling why Chancellor George Osborne's father chose last week as the moment to reveal his expensive tastes in print.

Sir Peter Osborne was interviewed in a magazine entitled How To Spend It, so any allegation that he was mugged by an unscrupulous journalist would seem somewhat disingenuous.

The 68-year-old confessed to using skincare products including a £39 a pot deluxe moisturiser, and bath oil which costs £35.

He has a penchant for Manchego cheese (£11 a pound), £200 bottles of vintage wine and Savile Row suits.

The tailor he frequents offers suits costing around £1,100 and shirts which would set you back £145 each.

Osborne senior would also love to buy a Picasso and is currently eyeing up a £19,000 Italian desk, according to the article.

He also mentioned buying a designer lamp which cost £470, though confessed that the "best things in life are priceless" - a drawing of Big Ben by his granddaughter being one of them.

Is Papa Osborne so clueless about politics that he would not have conceived of the embarrassment it would cause his son, just at the time he has been urging us all to tighten our belts for the good of the country?

Or is this a case of noblesse obliging itself whatever the lower orders think, because in the grand scheme of things provided there is enough Manchego cheese and fine wine to quaff at Casa Osborne, what could it possibly matter?

And how refreshing it is that all of this was lovingly revealed in that traditionally Tory organ, the Daily Mail, which can normally be relied upon to bang on about the bad behaviour of the underclass rather than the upper class. Its article even quoted ex-trade union official and MP John Mann.

The middle class worm, it seems, is turning.

ED MILIBAND was in Bedwas last week. Should have asked him about a new phone tariff.

AND finally...

HOW heartening it was to see that the BBC's Upstairs Downstairs has been axed because of falling ratings.

I am convinced that this, along with the equally hideous ITV programme Downton Abbey, are an establishment conspiracy to imbue us all with the sort of values the 1960s blew away.

Every scene screams at us that we should "know our place" in the order of things, making me want to re-enact certain revolutionary moments from Les Miserables, minus the tedious singing.

Anyone fancy joining me outside the Westgate Hotel?