A linear descendant of Mrs. Sylvia Liberty, Ethel is the sort of descendant who would make you wonder quite why you fought so hard and in fact gave your life for obtaining the vote and equal rights for women.
Ethel has been steeped in party politics and murky intrigue in the way an onion is steeped in vinegar. This has gone on for so long that she has forgotten she was elected to public office, on the Blackbury Municipal Council, 'pro bono publico' - for the public good. Rather like many other political aspirants who become local councillors and MP's, she has an inflated sense of her own importance, and is flattered to be invited to meet big corporation chief executives and highly-placed fixers. She comes to value these people far more than those who voted her into the perks of office, and never stops to wonder WHY she is valuable to them. Even when she is selling them the public cemetery for fivepence.
Her attitude to her constituents becomes a patronising one of "I know best!", and her effort is spent representing not the people who elected her to office, but the big corporations who find her a useful tool. Her job has become one of railroading public opposition to the sidings, and stamping on any expressed dissent from mere uninformed voters: a grotesque parody of democracy.
The original reference for selling a public cemetery for fivepence lies with the actions of the conservative-run Westminster council in the 1980's. The leader of the council was one Lady Shirley Porter, a Tory who did her job so well and wisely that she was arraigned for corruption and surcharged (fined) £36 million pounds. Rather than pay this, she fled to Israel, a country with which Britain appears to have no extradition arrangements.