Friday, March 14, 2008

The John Lewis List: A Life More Ordinary

I can't get too worked up about MPs expenses. Their pay is poor and their status low. There are too many of them, of course, and, because of the way our party system works, they are expected to act as pathetically obedient lobby fodder. It's not much of a job and only a few members - Frank Field being the glowing example -  seem to be able to rise above it all. Tripling their pay might help, it might also attract a better quality of candidate. That said, one stares at the list of second home allowances with sickly fascination. The sideboard and the rugs, the food mixer and the coffee maker, the nest of tables. It is simply outrageous they haven't included a hostess trolley and hardboard panelling to conceal any remaining period features. For this is a home circa 1962 when Barry Bucknell and Fanny Craddock were on TV, prawn cocktail and goulash were on the menu, people set fire to their liqueurs and Ikea was just a distant dream. Happy days.

14 comments:

  1. Ha, ha, yes, and a taste of the orient was a Vesta chow mein - basically, army field rations in a colourful box. A much larger pay-packet might also attract the worst kind of motives.

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  2. Vesta! What happened to that? Chicken a la King?

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  3. Are the BBC correct, that this is a yearly allowance. Surely the vast majority on this list are once in a life-time buys.
    What is a workstation when it is at home, for if it's a PC, one would not get much for £150.

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  4. A workstation is a hardboard chopping bench made by Barry Bucknell for Fanny Craddock

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  5. Vesta also made 'paella' and 'beef curry with rice' - and probably still do. I wouldn't be surprised if they got a nod from Delia in her new, barking mad series...

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  6. That would go nicely on the hostess trolley.

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  7. A friend once gave me half a Vesta beef risotto. Our mutual friend the Viking, departing to Germany, dumped all his unwanted junk on my friend: water pistols, gas masks, comics, plastic knives etc. His demeanour suggested these were great trophies when in fact it was a load of junk. Amidst this hoard of crap was half a Vesta beef risotto - 'serves one' - the Viking had eaten half and then kept the other half of the sachet for years, till finally he realised it would be foolish to take it to Germany, and so generously bestowed it on my friend; who then bestowed it on me.

    My words: "Wow. Half of a Vesta beef risotto. It's what i always wanted."

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  8. Oh, a butchers block ?, really.
    It's not some Westminster code for something important ?.
    Do they not have something latching them to the Whips office, calling them to a Vote.

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  9. I remember watching Ms Craddock make vast cakes decorated with cream - was their a creaming bag on the list? Or a device for getting the stones out of olives - essential I would have thought...

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  10. Did Barry Bucknell make Fanny Craddock? If he did he used some pretty blunt tools. Poor Johnny!

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  11. Is it true that the Cradock's tv career ended when, having been reduced to showing how to make beens on toast and ginger-bread persons on Children's Television, Johnny signed of by beaming into the camera and saying in his plummy tones:
    "Well, Goodbye everybody - and I hope all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny's"?

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  12. It was either doughnuts or dumplings, Pete

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  13. You good folks south of Carter Bar don`t know what you are missing.
    We have a far, far higher standard of expenses operative up here, all working out of the chapel of rest at the bottom of the Royal Mile.
    My local god knows what it represents, or what the hell it is, local member of somethingorother has allegedly been charging the taxpayer for umbrellas.
    This particular it bears a striking resemblance to Magda Goebbels
    This it is about the same amount of use to us as Magda was to German child welfare.
    Mind you, on second thoughts, its not exactly like Magda, she was intelligent and articulate.
    10/10 Bryan for the reference to Frank Field.

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  14. Working Class HeroMarch 14, 2008 4:53 pm

    As one of those lead-swinging robbers identified in the Budget as cheating Hard Working Families™ out of £80 per week in Incapacity Benefit, I find I can become suprisingly worked up about this issue. I do, after all, still pay tax.

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