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 17 August 2015

Who ate all the pies?

Cruel, perhaps, but she's got to be living on something.

Hot on the heels of Ms Batmanghelidjh's assertion that she needs a personal chauffeur because she can't drive and public transport is impossible as she 'can't walk long distances' comes her latest claim:
"I'm a dire cook. I've never even turned on my oven."
It is, of course, possible that she was indulging in a spot of self-deprecating hyperbole for dramatic effect; if so, this is more than a little unwise at the moment, given the intense scrutiny currently directed towards her and Kids Company. On the other hand, if true, such assertions should surely call into question whether she actually has the practical skills and experience to help her 'clients' become productive members of society.

There is something odd about her repeated insistence that she does not do such everyday things as using an oven or taking a bus or tube, or her claim 'never' to have worn off-the-peg clothes; it rather suggests she considers such mundane matters to be somehow beneath her, fit only for lesser mortals.
"Even when I have surgery I refuse to wear the ugly hospital robes and I delight the operating theatre team with my avant-garde pyjamas."
It's clear she regards herself as entitled to special treatment and attention. I understand that she must be very busy at work - although not too busy to comb John Lewis and Selfridges for designer-label gifts - and might need some assistance, but, as more revelations emerge about Kids Company, she is starting to look like a one-woman job creation scheme.

First we have the chauffeur (receiving not only his salary but a contribution towards his children's private education), and his sister-in-law, recruited ‘not because she is a crony but she is an extraordinarily brilliant accountant’, which is presumably why the organisation is in such great financial shape.

Let's be charitable, though; perhaps the accountant's mind wasn't always entirely on the job since she, together with her niece, is apparently also responsible for sewing Ms Batmanghelidjh's elaborate outfits from random fabric pieces brought in by staff and children. Another staff member supplies the earrings and turbans, while two more work on her signature fingerless gloves (a clear sartorial indication that, whatever needs doing, she won't be getting her own hands dirty).

By my reckoning, that's six employees devoting at least part of their time to her personal service (to say nothing of the staff and children roaming the streets and picking a pocket or two finding ownerless pieces of fabric) along with the half-dozen or so personal assistants needed to do all the paperwork due to her dyslexia - although they may, like the multi-tasking accountant, be numbered among the seamstresses too.

And now, it seems, we need to add to the roster whoever it is who is providing her with food, since she is, by her own admission, almost certainly not self-catering. Whether she takes all her meals at Kids Company or subsists on daily takeaways at home, a pattern is emerging of someone unwilling - or too self-important - to take care of her own needs rather than imposing on others.

There's something very familiar, at least to a beekeeper, about a female who is waited on, groomed and fed by a coterie of dedicated workers. The hive exists primarily to maintain the Queen Bee as she produces the next generation; it's starting to look as if, substituting hugging for egg-laying, the ultimate purpose of Kids Company was much the same.


  1. Its all very well being the Queen Bee while you can keep producing the goods (ie laying eggs) but if you stop, the worker bees sting you to death. So Ms BatmanJellyBaby had better watch out, now she's failed in her task of bringing in the cash.

  2. A very good point, Sobers.

    If the workers do turn on her, she may be more than a little surprised, given that this is, in her words, "the mess that Westminster created."

    To continue the bee analogy further, sometimes queens 'malfunction' and, instead of producing worker offspring, lay large numbers of drones who perform no useful service to the hive (except possibly inseminating future queens):

    ‘Because we have been going for 19 years, some kids that we had in the early days are now older. [...]
    To give them a daily routine we get them to do things round the place so they are hanging round,’ she says.


  3. What is that song from "Oliver"? Pick a pocket or two?

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VogHwP0C5VY

      "Ah, you're staring at the.. er... pocket handkerchiefs, eh, my dear? We just hung 'em up ready for the wash, that's all."

  4. She's a fruitcake. A criminal one.

    1. She has anticipated your verdict; in her own words:

      "There is a discrepancy between the madness of my outfits and the rigour of my brain. Fools think I'm a fruitcake, the smart ones realise I'm just having a bit of fun!

  5. She's a fruitcake in the final wash.

  6. Rinse, spin cycle and all, JH.

    As you know, I am not a Christian but I believe the New Testament contains some excellent advice, not least among which is Matthew 6.2

    Therefore when you give your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.

    I'm sure CB has done much good in her time - although KC seems to me to be open house for opportunists - but I would respect her far more had she done so quietly and unobtrusively.


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