Political steak-out

Steaks are at a cut-price at a time when food bills are on the rise

ANDREW J. LINN

The British police are investigating possible breaches of lockdown rules at 10 Downing Street, which all seems over the top for a non-criminal offence.

How does it play elsewhere? Can we imagine the US authorities checking up on the regular Friday happy hours (5pm to 7pm) at the White House? Buckingham Palace had a private dining room where ladies-in-waiting and senior courtiers had exclusive access, but to proletise the whole royal thing, it was voted out of existence. Currently all members of staff from private secretaries to footmen and housemaids queue up together in the canteen. The free bar has also been abolished.

At the Vatican things work differently. There is a cafeteria and occasionally the Pope drops by. Recently he was seen eating his lunch of pasta, cod and grilled tomatoes, chatting away happily to his table companions. But while everyone else pays, the cashiers don't have the nerve to ask His Holiness to put his hand in his cassock.

Spain's Moncloa Palace is in crisis. The cafeterias are closed because ex-employees are demanding back-wages from the concession holder, so everything is on short-term contract.

As staff canteens go, EU MPs in Brussels get the best deal for quality and price. Steak frites in the Council's Justus Lipsius canteen cost €8, and an entrecôte is €11.50.

UK MPs cannot complain either: cut-price steak dinners and discounted drinks in the House of Commons cafeteria at a time when food prices are on the rise. Chargrilled rib-eye steak and chips at the exclusive Adjournment restaurant cost £11.26.