Why the bean-counters are now taking their revenge

In the wake of the scandal over MPs’ expenses, every hack from here to Wapping has been confessing to minor abuses of the company’s money (not the public’s money) in the past.

The old favourites like the deceased camel and the wellington boots with the string still attached have had a good airing. My own invention – reverse mileage – which first appeared in this column a few years ago, seems also to have passed into folklore, with several commentators and columnists claiming it as their own. But I’m obliged to the blog of George Dearsley, a hack of some distinction, for the opportunity to revisit the claim submitted by the legendary sportswriter Peter Batt after a telephone interview with a racehorse trainer.

Batt duly put in a receipt for a meal he’d had with his wife and two young kids on expenses. When quizzed as to why there were two ‘children’s portions’on the restaurant receipt, a straight-faced Peter said: ‘They were jockeys”.

Lovely stuff, and a splendid example of how we always managed to outwit the bean-counters. Until now, of course, when they’re exacting a most painful revenge.




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