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

Monday, 28 May 2012

"appropriate" payments

We all know that house guests involve some inconvenience - clean sheets, all that hoovering, an extra pint of milk - but I have to admit I'm struggling to see exactly what an overnight guest in your home could do to warrant over £100 changing hands.
"In the early part of 2008, for a short period, Baroness Warsi stayed with me," said Mr Khan, who later became her special adviser.
"I confirm she made a financial payment on each occasion, which compensated for the inconvenience caused and additional costs incurred by me as a result of her being there."
Everyone concerned has gone to some trouble to point out this was not rent - since Mr Khan was himself living in the property rent-free, sub-letting would have been an entrepreneurial step too far - so it must indeed be compensation for the expense and inconvenience of having her to stay.

So what on earth did she do? Gorge on the contents of his fridge? Spill coffee on the goose-down duvet? Throw the television out of the window? Or perhaps she insisted on being served a lavish breakfast of larks' tongues and truffles washed down with Fijian spring water.

In any case, since it appears that the owner was also living in the property at the time (he claims to have given Lady Warsi regular lifts to and from work and taken her out for meals) why was it his top floor house guest Mr Khan who experienced the 'inconvenience' - so much so that he was compensated with 'appropriate' payments comparable to hotel rates?

Though I doubt she would appreciate the comparison, is this any different from claiming housing benefit when staying rent-free in someone else's council flat? According to the owner, Wafik Moustafa, neither the baroness nor Mr Khan offered any contribution to household bills or expenses.

If Dr Moustafa is a Muslim, he has demonstrated admirably the hospitality that many of that faith regard as a moral obligation - though his choice of beneficiaries may not have been entirely unconnected to a desire to advance his political career. Certainly Mr Khan and the baroness seem to have been happy to take advantage of the situation.

While the squeezed middle struggle on, funding their own expenses in an increasingly difficult climate, there appears to be a galloping sense of entitlement among those in a position to reap rather than sow; a supreme irony has placed them at both the very bottom and the very top of society.

If only there were some way to teach them the lesson once and for all: Just because you can claim, it doesn't mean you should!


  1. Perhaps she bathed in asses milk.

  2. So what on earth did she do? Eat the entire contents of his fridge? Spill coffee on the duvet?

    Certain unworthy things do flash through the mind. ;-)

  3. Actually, I rather like Demetrius' suggestion; shades of 'Carry on Cleo' ...