Spare a thought for the royal family, gathering for a “joyful” Christmas at Sandringham with an extra mouth to feed in this time of austerity.
A loyal royalist blog, Duchess Kate, tells us that last year William and Kate did not forget their 27 members of staff.
“Last year, the couple hired The Queen’s Room at local restaurant chain Bumpkin in Notting Hill”. Apparently it was a “low-key affair”.
Despite the recession the same couldn’t be said for the royals’ own do at Sandringham.
The family will meet at one of the queen’s houses, her “private” house, Sandringham, which royalists boast has 90 bedrooms. There is a Christmas tree in each.
On Christmas Eve “The Master of the Household then gives each member a timetable and room plan, so they know where to be and when, during their stay”.
For them Christmas day requires at least five outfits.
Even among the family everything is done by stultifying hierarchy—from what time they turn up to when they open their presents.
On boxing day the whole bunch go off for a pheasant shoot.
Then its back to the family home, a new £4.85 million mansion in Berkshire.
Despite being one of the richest people in the world the queen has to watch the pennies.
She suspected that cops on duty in Buckingham palace were eating nuts out of her snack trays as they patrolled.
She marked the level in trays to prove the theft and sent out a memo telling them to keep their sticky fingers out.
We don’t usually feel a lot of sympathy for light fingered plod.
But the queen has a personal fortune of more than £350 million, not to mention the billions she is “looking after” for the nation.
Then there is the £7.9 million a year she gets from the public on the civil list.
You’d think she could spare some peanuts.
de Klerk's hyprocrisy
Former South African president FW de Klerk praised Margaret Thatcher last week. Apparently her opposition to sanctions helped stop an ANC victory in the 1980s, which “could have been achieved only after a devastating racial war”.
The delay was one reason why Nelson Mandela—who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with the hypocritical de Klerk—remained in prison for 27 years.
Council axes Christmas bonus for pensioners
Budget cuts have forced North Lanarkshire council to axe its £15 a head Christmas bonus for pensioners this year.
Pensioners who now can’t afford a decent Christmas dinner might want to try and wrangle a ticket for the councillors’ own do.
Somehow this publicly funded dinner has escaped the axe.
Trawling for luxury
If you’re stuck for a late Christmas present you might want to consider a super-trawler yacht.
It’s like a super yacht, but designed with “rugged, go anywhere capabilities” according to the Financial Times’ How to Spend It magazine.
We’re told these “sensibly sized, no-nonsense explorer yachts” are for people who want to go places rather than just hang around showing off their tans.
Now they’ve caught on you can get more “refined looking” models.
But they still have a chic suggestion of a boat someone might do some work on.
If you’re on a budget they’re available from a mere £3.5 million
Health emergency? Get your cheque book
WHat does health privatisation mean? In the US you have to pay to use an ambulance.
One New York supermarket received a bill for £480 addressed to “Unknown Asian”.
An ambulance had picked someone up at the shop and the company was determined to charge someone.
Are you suffering from ‘Affluenza’?
Wealthy Texan Ethan Couch, aged 16, killed four pedestrians while driving drunk.
He faced 20 years in prison.
But his lawyers argued that he had “affluenza”. The defence brought in a psychologist who explained that as the child of a wealthy family, “He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way. He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle”.
And the judge accepted his defence.
She ruled that Couch should have therapy and probation instead of prison.
The US prison system is barbaric and helps neither victim or perpetrator—but rarely has their been a more blatant example of how money buys you freedom.
Scotland Yard’s adventures in Romania
Generally if there are fewer cops on the streets it is better for everyone. But sending them to Romania to deter migrants is an odd way to get rid of them.
Scotland Yard is packing a team of cops off to Transylvania. They are to tell people how difficult it is living in Britain, and if they come it is hard to claim benefits.
Oh, and that they might be exploited by criminals if they are poor in London.
The one thing the locals are not being accused of is doing anything illegal.
How hard can an industrial tribunal be?
A third of people who win an industrial tribunal are paid nothing at all.
It is hard enough to win an industrial tribunal at the best of times.
New upfront fees of up to £1,200 to bring a complaint.
Among people who have won a claim, 35 percent are paid nothing.
Another 16 percent only receive part payment.
Many smaller companies change their name or transfer assets to get out of making payments.
It’s enough to make you go on strike.