English cricketer Graham Onions had a debut of dreams yesterday. The 26 year old was player-of-the-day at Lords as he helped England take control of the first test vrs the West Indies at Lords. But I put it to you he didn’t have as much fun as Fleet St’s headline writers:”Onions slices open..” (The Times); “Cheers and Onions” (Telegraph) “Onions Reduces Windies to Tears” (Metro) etc etc etc. I guess we should be thankful that Phil Mustard and Alan Lamb were not playing yesterday too as the sports depts would have gone into meltdown.There’s nothing a journalist or commentator likes more than a name that gives them great scope for a pun. Many a schoolboy titter was to be heard when commentator Brian Johnston announced during a match in the 1976 “The bowler’s Holding, the batsmen’s Willey” fnnarrrr fnnarrrr. Then there was the time BBC’s John Arlott (above) pondered aloud on air on the surname of New Zealand all-rounder Bob Cunis. He mused “It’s a bit like his bowling—neither one thing nor the other”. Another one from Arlott in 1947 when South African Tuffy Mann clean bowled England’s George Mann at Lord’s, Arlott was moved to say, “Ah, here’s one more example of man’s inhumanity to man.” I wonder if the guy who wrote “Onions Bags a Wicket” for this morning’s Metro aspires to be the next Arlott? Dream on.
Anyway, back to onions: Mine are coming up just fine, thank you very much. I have plunged head-first into the exciting, giddy world of kitchen gardening this year and the row of spring onions are coming along very well indeed. As are , if you’re interested, the beetroot, the squashes, and the sweetcorn— though I’m worried about my garlic, and the tomatoes are off to a shaky start. The bay, sage , coriander, fennel, chillies and chives are well too, thanks for asking. Fact is, I’ve had so much success with my first season of seedlings that I’m already handing some of my babies out to friends and colleagues as I’ve run out of room in my little patch. The Incumbent has made room in her garden and has taken the overspill from my plot. How exciting is that?
I was thinking of putting in an exes claim for all the topsoil I’ve bought, and then there’s that new garden hose—that set me back 30 quid. I reckon if Hazel Blears (yes it’s her again) can re-furnish three houses on expenses, Prescott bought 3 mock tudor beams on taxpayer’s money (as Harry Hill said—why is it only Tudor homes we mock?) and a (male) tory MP can claim £2.22 for tampax (no idea) then I reckon my company’s shareholders can fork out a few quid to me for several sacks of John Innes No3 Compost and and a new shovel. Jack Straw, when asked why he claimed for full council tax on one of his houses when he was receiving a 50% discount on the property, said that accountancy wasn’t his strong suit. Well I have news for you, mate: nor is politics. In a week when a Norwegian has been chased out of the country cos he wasn’t good enough at his job to manage a game between 22 overpaid, over-rated, cheating show-ponies, how is it that our politicians are left to continue their chosen profession by swindling me and you out our taxes and feathering their own nests?
Their arrogance is staggering and, in the words of Deep Throat “it goes everywhere”. I’m not sure, but claiming to have your swimming pool heater mended, and putting through a chit for the services of a piano tuner doesn’t seem to be a correct use of an MPs expense account—yet that’s what two Tory MPs have claimed for. A piano tuner. Perhaps we should send Ballack and Drogba to the House of Commons register our displeasure—they know a thing or too about complaining. Imagine what you cold buy just with the taxes those two pay between them (they ARE paying tax, right?) More revelations are promised over the next few days but for those keeping score, Margaret Beckett‘s £1,480.84 shopping spree to Comet, when she was environment secretary, surely heads the Fantasy Cheeky Bastard League. She bought a new larder fridge, a freezer, a dishwasher, a dryer and a washing machine, and we reimbursed her. Still, as environment secretary she was probably doing her bit towards the study of CFC emissions. But I think my favourite claim was for an IKEA carrier bag: bought for 5p by a Scottish Labour MP. It writes itself, this stuff, you know.
My cleaner’s in today, I might start asking her for a receipt. Make it out for a nice round 40 quid, would you luv ?