It's like having Heather Mills McCartney on a piece of string
In return, we tolerate the slobbering, the barking, the unexpected deposits and the unexpected withdrawals – not, it’s not the wife this time - when £1,000-worth of that expensive sisal carpet gets unravelled.
I have a dog – a lurcher/Labrador cross, 10 months sold. He fulfils all of the above requirements without complaint and even allows me to share his kennel in times of matrimonial crisis. So how do I reward him? I have him castrated.
You see, he’s out of control. Come in through the front door and you’re assaulted by this demented blur of fur and claws. Put him on a lead and he turns into a Tasmanian Dervish, all yelping and frothing at the mouth. It’s a bit like having Heather Mills McCartney on a piece of string. And if he sees another dog seven fields away, he’s gone. I’ve had to go home and get the car to fetch him back.
So, in a bid to temper this over-exuberant behaviour, he’s for the chop. I popped into Harold Shipman & Sons, Veterinary Surgeons to the Gentry, while I was in town yesterday to book him in. And do you know what? When I returned home he was good as gold. No jumping up, no frothing at the mouth, no howling. He just sat there, giving me the accusatory eye.
He knows, doesn’t he? But how? It can’t be the smell because he’s never been to the surgery. But he just knows. And he knows I know he knows.
But the die is cast. By the time you read this, the deed will have been done. And I’ve got 14 years ahead of me living with the guilt of betraying my so-called best friend. Still, it might save me a few bob in expensive carpet.
WEE GORDIE Broon’s government of all the talents – the big tent theory – looks more like the Big Top with every passing day.
Such are the calamities enveloping his administration, you almost expect to see Charlie Caroli’s car drive into the ring with Alistair Darling at the wheel, only for the doors to fall off in a cloud of smoke while Ruth Kelly runs up and throws a bucket of tinsel into the audience.
If Alistair Darling was a badger - and let’s face it, with that eyebrow/hair combo he’s halfway there - he’d have been culled by now. He may well have been put out of his misery by the time you read this. Not because he’s to blame because the personal and financial details of 25 million people have been mislaid; that’s the fault of a spotty postal clerk in Tyne and Wear. No, I’d sack him because seven million families –many of them extremely prosperous – receive child benefit payments in the first place.
(Incidentally, I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the thieving postie stuck the discs he’d just “liberated” into his CD player.)
I happened to catch a bit of daytime TV on Wednesday when the story broke and the indignation was total. One after another, highly-paid presenters like Fiona Phillips, Philip Schofield and Fern Britton gave vent to their outrage that a Nigerian internet scammer might be looting their bank accounts as they spoke. But why are they getting £18 for their first child and £12 for the second every week out of the national purse when they patently don’t need it?
I always thought child benefit (a.k.a. family allowance) was intended to be a payment that protected wives from poverty inflicted by their drunken, wife-beating husbands who hogged the pay packet and spent it all on 22p-a-can supermarket lager and scratchcards. Somehow I don’t think Mr Fiona Phillips falls into that category (although who could blame him if he did?).
It’s truly scandalous that this money is being wasted like this. I bet Wee Gordie could find a use for it – buying Patricia Hewitt one of those squirting buttonhole flowers, perhaps?
OF COURSE, if we really want to talk about wasted money, how about the £7.5 billion a year paid out in incapacity benefits for such debilitating illnesses as “tiredness”, gout and acne?
I realise that it’s a convenient way for the government to keep the underclasses off the unemployment register, and seeing as they’ve no intention of ever working anyway that’s probably a justifiable step, but do they have to be quite so blatant in their bare-faced bribery?
The Department of Work and Pensions has a checklist of 480 possible complaints that people of working age have used to receive incapacity benefit, including almost 2,000 claimants recorded as suffering from obesity ( pocketing £4.4 million), another 1,100 with sleep disorders, and 50 with the skin disorder acne. So that’s fat, lazy and spotty – remind you of anyone? The average teenager, perhaps?
And guess where the most incapacity claimants in Britain are located? Wales, that’s where. The land of leeks, song and sick notes. And almost one in five of the nation’s slackers seems to be living in or near Merthyr Tydfil, where the principal industry appears to be swinging the lead.
A plan to twin the town with Liverpool can’t be far away.