Virtue is its own reward, the saying goes. But not as far as everyone’s concerned.
The bonus culture has now spread to mum and toddler groups.
‘If Stephen Hester of RBS was offered a million pounds in shares as a bonus, the least I expect for bearing our kids is an eternity ring,’ says well-heeled mum.
Meanwhile down-at-heel mum jiggles teething twins on her hips.
‘I’d be happy with some ear defenders,’ she says.
We all turn over in our minds what constitutes a decent dividend in the domestic sector. A diamond for every stretch mark? A carat of gold for every child reared sans ASBO?
The following week, well-heeled mum offers to hand out teas. This gesture, we realise, is an opportunity to blind us with a knuckleful of Swarovski jewels.
‘Twenty sapphires, five for each child,’ she says.
We do the maths.
‘But you’ve only got three children.’
‘Ah, I made him include the kid he’d have to have with his next wife if I divorced him on the grounds of stinginess.’
We’re impressed. The next week however, her Burberry gloves cannot hide the absence of her ring.
‘I blame those anti-capitalists outside St Paul’s. They may have packed up now, but the damage is done,’ she says with misty eyes.
‘Lloyds are reclaiming bonuses and I feel very let down by Stephen Hester’s turnaround.’
‘Where’s your ring?’ we ask.
‘In the pawn shop. Paying for the new boiler.’
Well-heeled mum then breaks into unguarded sobbing. The mums speculate. If the tide continues to turn against capitalism, what further lunacy awaits? Footballers on meagre five-figure salaries? Empty second homes in Bosham being let out to locals?
Down-at-heel mum arrives late looking unusually buoyant. She’s not been seen for a fortnight. She peels off her coat to reveal a brand new double D chest, announcing: ‘After two kids and a divorce they’re a bonus to myself. And not even bailiffs can take them back.’