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Donkin's World: Feeding The birds? It's Criminal. Stick To Banking

Richard Donkin tells of a lady fined 75 for feeding birds - and contrasts her fate to that of bankers who fed millions of pounds to the birds.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Do you remember that haunting song in the Mary Poppins film, the one with the old lady sitting on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral? How did the lyrics go? Yes, I remember: "Feed the birds, twopence a bag."

There she sat, birds fluttering around her head with the "saints and apostles" smiling down on her. But not in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire.

Heckmondwike has its own elderly bird-feeding lady, 70-year-old retired mill-worker, Michelina Roy. But her bird feeding costs slightly more than twopence a bag - a 75 fine in fact.

Two council wardens (why do these people always work in twos?) approached her as she tossed bread crumbs and bits of crumpet to the pigeons and handed her an on-the-spot penalty ticket for littering.

Poor Mrs Roy. She has missed her way in life. What she should have done is to have joined the Royal Bank of Scotland and worked her way up to the executive suite where she could have scattered billions of pounds to the birds, then retired on a 703,000 a year pension. But Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss of RBS, makes sure he keeps his own encounters with birds strictly legal. He doesn't feed them, but shoots them instead. It means that his "bag" will cost slightly more than twopence, but he can afford it.

Perhaps the leaders of Kirklees Council, whose officers imposed the fine, would rather Mrs Roy invested the money she spends on bird food in RBS, or should we refer to it these days as the Dawes, Tomes, Mousely, Grubbs Fidelity Feduciary Bank.

Why should she do this? The song lyrics make it quite plain: "You'll achieve that sense of conquest as your affluence expands in the hands of the directors who invest as propriety demands."


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