Friday, 16 November 2012

Martlets and tartlets

"I say Chester, look at that paintin' - Norfolk, come and see this paintin' - see those little birds painted in the four-leaf clovers? See the middle one?"

"Yes, Arundell. It's a swallow or martin, I'd say"

"But d'you see? The fellow's forgotten to paint its feet in. The damn thing's got no feet. Looks damn silly"

"I take your point. I'll have a word with the Peers' works superintendant and get some painted on."

Or that at least is how I imagine Herbert's portrait of Pugin that hangs in the Tea Room was defaced at some time in the past when feet were added to Pugin's family emblem, the mythological Martlet, famously footless in legend. Today, as Lords Hanningfield and Taylor and Baroness Uddin contemplate tucking into the full cream tea with House champagne (£16.75) in the Pugin Room, they might contemplate how easy it is for some people to regain their feet. 

Yes, Hanningfield and Taylor, those peers jailed for theft of £14,000 and £11,000 respectively last year, and Uddin, who was told to repay £125,349 or risk prosecution, are all back in the House of Lords and claiming expenses again, as the Indie reports today.

Rarely can offenders have been rehabilitated so rapidly, and rarely can they go from Prison Canteen to £300 a day attendance allowance plus travelling. Of course, they have to have the front to actually show their faces - and clearly these three have, demonstrating beyond doubt that avarice trumps honour amongst (some) life peers. 

6 comments:

Barnacle Bill said...

When Cast Iron gets around to thinking about the low turn out for his Police Commissioners he might like to reflect upon your post Raedwald.

Especially, if Lord Melton of Mowbray Pie gets elected in Humberside!

Conviction should have been accompanied with an automatic barring from public office for any of the troughers. Not letting the offspring of unmarried village idiots a second bite of the expenses pie.

Anonymous said...

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."
Orwell.

Not quite what the great man was thinking but apposite nonetheless.

Edward Spalton said...

Off topic but prompted by your vision of their Lordships' conversation.

Allegedly true (and if not, it ought to be)

The Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal and the heralds were all in their full uniforms for a state occasion.

Up the corridor comes an emergent African in billowing robes.

"Who's the feller in the fancy dress?" asks His Grace of Norfolk.

Demetrius said...

I am surprised only that those you mention have not been appointed to the Bench of Bishops as well.

Anonymous said...

An excellent piece and damn well written.

Maybe I'm naive but I always thought that prison automatically excluded one from public office. Am I wrong here?

Coney Island

G. Tingey said...

Anon
NO
For the excellent reason that imprisonment, in the pst (& recently as well) couild be made for political purposes, or as a display of official mean-ness & spite .....