The names Lloyd Gardner and Lord Paul of Marylebone probably don't resonate with many people but here are two individuals displaying the very best and the very worst of human nature. They are both in the news: in the case of Lloyd there is a wonderful example of selfless behaviour whilst the very rich Lord Paul has displayed greed bordering on obscenity.
So what are the two stories about? In the case of Lloyd we have a 22 year old waiter from the Devon town of Ottery St Mary. He was recently awarded £10,000 for his part in securing the conviction of a brutal rapist. This relates to one of the most horrific rape attacks I can recall hearing about in my two counties. It happened in Exeter in July 2006 when a woman was walking home from a nightclub. She was raped, stripped of her clothing and eventually found badly battered with a fractured skull. It is thought that she will never fully recover. Police had some CCTV footage of the area and had a lucky break when Lloyd recognised in the footage two Polish women with whom he had worked. He informed the police and that information was to lead them to Polish national Jakub Tomczak who was arrested, tried, convicted and given two life sentences. As stated above Lloyd received the very usable sum of £10,000.
We have then a young man, hardly rolling in money, and suddenly finding himself £10,000 richer. You would imagine that he would be grateful to keep this money. Nope. Lloyd reckoned that the victim was much more in need of this cash to help rebuild her life and donated it all to her. And remember he could of not told the police about the two women he recognised, a line some others might have taken. Again and again one hears of acts of total selflessness and Lloyd's case is a shining example of just this.
What then of Lord Paul that has so raised my ire. The 'Times Online' has the story today and you can read it here. In a nutshell Lord Paul, a deputy speaker of the House of Lords, personal friend of Gordon and Sarah Brown and generous donor to the Labour Party appears to have been on a good old fiddle with his expenses. The piece talks about questionable expense claims made between 2004 and 2006 when Paul was living in a London apartment block owned by he and his family. But his story to the House of Lords was that his main home at that time was a flat in an Oxfordshire hotel, owned by his own company. This meant, says the article, that he was able to claim more than £20,000 in expenses. Nice money if you can get it. It turns out that the flat has for years been the live-in quarters of the hotel manager. The present manager cannot recall spending a night in the flat or the hotel and her predecessor stated that he had lived in the flat for the whole period that Paul was describing it as his main home and moreover doesn't think that Paul stayed at the hotel during this time either.
I'm not going to repeat the last three paragraphs in the report, it's enough to want to make you throw up. The cheating of the system is just so blatant, even when caught out these men have no shame. I've said enough now, but you couldn't get a better contrast between generosity and greed.