I spent much of yesterday in the Grevvitren, watching as the former leaders of two of Albia's leading banks, Banc Rojjal da Dipfryde (BRD) and Wuultowhn Bancar da Dipfryde (WBDD) were grilled by BGs. Much to my disappointment, the grilling turned out to be figurative rather than actual. I had expected a hot iron or two, or at least a cattle prod, but none were in sight. Instead one was left with the undignified vision of assorted politicians trying to get in a good soundbite for the telly and assorted bankers making sincere apologies while keeping (a) their fingers crossed behind their backs and (b) the vast sums they have creamed off over the past few years safely locked away in offshore trusts.
In the end I was so appalled (and, admittedly, in need of a swift restorative) that I quit the chamber and headed for the nearest bar in quest of the latest gossip with regard to the expense claims by Home Minister Jerki Kleevij. As you may or may not be aware, Ms Kleevij has apparently been claiming that her prime residence is a small hutch belonging to her (deceased) pet rabbit, Flopsi, entitling her under the rules of the Grevvitren to claim tens of thousands of pounds of expenses for her constituency residence, Dunznoopin. Many, particularly we journalists (who have had our own expenses cracked down on in much the same way Stalin cracked down on kulaks, only with slightly more malice), have attacked Ms Kleevij's behaviour. Strangely, however, not a single voice has been raised against her from inside the Parliament. It is a useful rule of thumb in Albian politics that when absolutely no-one wishes to lower themselves by picking up and throwing a stone at an opponent, there must be a vast number of owner-occupied glass houses (possibly registered in the name of a relative) in the vicinity.
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