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Petty crime and British pigs... - By Rebecca Wicks

I’ve just seen the front page of 7 Days. A sniper in the Springs killing innocent cats? What is happening to our quiet suburban neighborhoods, Dubai? Last night in fact, whilst standing on the 4th floor balcony of a friend’s apartment in the marina, a water balloon shot past us from above and splattered on the pavement below like a machine gun had just been fired!

“Kids” the security guards, muttered when we went downstairs. “We can’t do anything about it - their parents never answer the door when we knock. Last week they almost hit two Emirates who were sitting on a bench below them.” Apparently they’re throwing these things from heights above the 20th floor – you could call them ticking time bombs. It’s only a matter of aim and being in the wrong place at the wrong time before someone innocent loses an eyeball. Beware, marina residents!

Of course, take a look at the national papers today and things aren’t looking too good where petty crime is concerned in Britain, either. And for once, it’s not kids with knives and nine year olds with shotguns causing the trouble. It’s grown adults. And it’s not grown adults who’ve been made redundant, going about town with a vendetta against the employed and a whiskey bottle, either. It’s the government.

In case you haven’t heard, more than 20 MPs have returned nearly £130,000 in allowances, after they went a little bit crazy filing expense forms for the upkeep of their own houses, mortgage repayments and other unbelievable stuff to support their superfluous lifestyles. Tory deputy chairman John Maples even claimed his private members club in London was his main home. Hmmm. Whatever kind of club you like to spend your evenings in your business but, um... whatever you say John.

Labour MP Elliott Morley claimed £800 a month for a mortgage he had already paid off, pocketing a whopping total of £16,000, whilst another Tory, Stephen Crabb, stated a room in a flat rented by another MP was his main home, after claiming £9,300 in stamp duty on a lovely new house in Wales.

Douglas Hogg, the Tory “grandee”, allegedly claimed more than £2,000 for cleaning his moat, (his MOAT!!) Bet he feels like a bit of a tool. Why would you bother cleaning a moat anyway? Especially in Britain, where it rains all the time and you probably can’t even swim in it. If one of our leaders in Dubai built a moat, it would be filled with chlorine and inflatable chairs and we would all be invited over for pool parties as long as we looked up occasionally and commented favourably about the giant pink castle in the middle of it. We wouldn’t even mind donating to the cleaning crew if we accidentally spilled our cocktails in the water. Well why not… we don’t pay taxes anyway.

I digress… after naughty Hogg (rather a fitting name?) resisted the demand to face a scrutiny panel, a humiliated David Cameron jumped in, shouting:

"Any Conservative who does not comply faces having the party whip withdrawn!”

Consider yourselves whipped, boys.

At least we, in Dubai can trust our leaders. OK fair enough, they’re building massive houses for themselves and flitting about in private planes, but they’re not using our money to do it. In fact, far from it. They’re not even using our money to build the things we do need, like the Metro, like more shopping malls, like Universal Studios (ssssh, yes we DO need these things). Well, sure we’re all contributing in other ways, like housing charges and Salik and the like, but it’s not enough to fund an MPs moat cleaning or to clear a rich-kid’s mortgage. Thankfully.

To many in Britain, the excuses are more insulting than the deed itself; some MPs, whose faces have been masked with huge snouts on some newspapers as the ‘pig to trough’ jokes have circulated, have even said they didn’t’ realize that they were claiming expenses. The cheek of it! Money and I have never been on the best of terms and I’m closer to Pizza Hut than I am to parliament, but even I know that if I fill in a claims form, I’m more or less asking for my money back, please.

So… even if crime rates in Dubai soar to the levels of water balloon attacks and kitty cat sniping, I’m sorry to say Britain but you’re not doing much to win me back. As it stands, I’m laughing at you from afar with the rest of us who were lucky enough to escape. It’s such a shame. I wish with all my heart that I could feel as patriotic as the American’s, or as faithful as the Lebanese I know, who state Beirut as the greatest city on earth. But all I can think at times like this, is thank god I get to call somewhere else my home.

Posted: 14 May 2009

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