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

Sunday 18 December 2011

"Is it 'cos I is a lay-dee?"

Bless her, just when you thought all was done and dusted and the fat lady was taking a deep breath, Baroness Uddin surfaces again - it's like Fatal Attraction but with ermine.

Despite the best efforts of the Lords to shake her off, at least until she paid back the £125,000 she pocketed in dodgy expense claims, legal advice had it that a permanent exclusion would 'infringe her right as a peer to be called to the house by the Queen at the start of a new parliament'.

Worming her way back in thanks to this technicality would enable her to claim the full attendance allowance and - oh, the irony! - use it to pay back the money she owes. As an illustration of the difference between the law and justice, that would take some beating.

Thwarted on that front, their Lordships are now, according to the Sunday Times, proposing to suspend peers who fail to repay until the end of the current parliament and repeat the vote at the start of each subsequent parliament until the sum is repaid in full.

This raises the prospect of a vote specifically to exclude the Baroness, thereby opening a whole new can of worms. It is hardly to be expected that a professional Asian woman - in the sense of one who has made gainful employment out of the description - will sit back and allow that one to go ahead.

I suspect that left-leaning discrimination lawyers are even now beating a path to the door of her subsidised London flat, pleading to be allowed to take up a case in which a charge of institutional racism and/or sexism could be argued to trump the mere bagatelle of a missing £125,000.

We have, of course, celebrated the Baroness in song elsewhere, but this seems as good a time as any for a nostalgic and appropriate reprise of another expenses ditty:

The People's flag was deepest red,
But now its guiding lights are dead;
Their principles and lofty aims
Demolished by expenses claims.
New Labour came to rule the roost
And give their private funds a boost
And with a supercilious sneer,
To plant their skull and crossbones here.

While we worked hard to pay our tax,
These parasites upon our backs
Indulged themselves in luxury
At the expense of you and me.
They've tried to water down the rules,
And play us for a bunch of fools;
It's time to shout it loud and clear,
No more expenses scroungers here!


  1. Talking of fat ladies

    in other news to make the blood boil
    Margaret Moran 'not fit to stand trial', court told

    I'm sure she'll make a recovery as remarkable as Ernest Saunders should she get off.

  2. Now now, Cat! Surely you aren't suggesting that a former member of HM Governement is being ecenomical with the truth?

    Since the facts are not in dispute, I don't see why she has to stand trial in the first place; surely an internal enquiry and audit could clear up much of the question and decide how much she ought to pay back - or is she trying to hang onto the lot?

    It's good to hear from you, BTW; hope all's going well with the job.

  3. Apparently Blair has been in the Cayman Islands to give a talk on behalf of KPMG, his accountants. I wonder if over drinks they all chatted about property?


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