Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Weasel Words in Bromsgrove

Today's Fun Quiz...

Word goes round the office that X is moving 'to accomodate her growing family'. Do you:

a) Ignore it - it only means they'll be sending round another bloody envelope?
b) Congratulate X on the impending arrival of a second child?
or
c) Assume it means that her free-loading 59-year-old brother wants his own room?

Well, exactly! What were the Fees Office to think when a woman who has already, in the best 'having it all' tradition, produced one child as an MP sends them this letter?

"The extended mortgage was taken out to pay for the building of an extra bedroom at our property, accommodating the needs of our growing family.
I trust this is all in order."
What she actually meant, of course, was, "The flat is big enough for us and our son but we want an extra £50,000 extension on expenses to accommodate my brother, who helps out with a spot of babysitting at weekends", but it's not obvious, is it?

The use of the stock phrase 'growing family', if not a deliberate attempt to mislead, is at the very least open to some ambiguity when applied to a woman of child-bearing age with an eight-year-old son. It hardly suggests that her home requires an extra room to house an adult relative of independent means.

After all, this is an 'honourable member' - if the fees office draw the not unreasonable conclusion that she is pregnant, they are hardly going to ask her for proof, are they? (That treatment is reserved for the rest of us proles, like the young woman recently refused NHS dental treatment despite abundant evidence of her condition - H/T Ambush Predator)

Whether she intended to mislead or not, the implication was there, particularly in her insistence that they would have to move to a bigger house if the extra money was not forthcoming, and could have influenced the decision of the Fees Office. This is the final straw in her already damaged credibility and has convinced me, at least, that she has to go.

Update: She has just announced she will step down. This has been touted as a blow against working mothers - but then how many working mothers expect the state to subsidise live-in childcare?

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