Cultural porridge fusion
Hard on the heels of Riveria Ray's call-a-cab jailbreak, news of another felon who's absconded by simply walking out of an open jail.
And just like VAT-fraudster Riviera, Farah Damji is another fantastickal pantomime baddie who has no idea how to distinguish right from wrong:
"Convicted of fraudulently spending nearly £50,000 on luxury goods, using credit cards stolen from her nanny and a former employee at Another Generation, an Asian lifestyle magazine. She also impersonated David Blunkett's secretary, and two members of the Crown Prosecution Service, in a failed attempt to have the charges against her dropped....She had served a six-month jail sentence at New York's Rikers Island jail in 1995 for grand larceny and forgery."
To add a bit more zing, this mother of two even had well-publicised affairs with William Dalrymple and "a prominent executive at the Guardian". Unsurprisingly, her trial judge described her as "a thoroughly dishonest and manipulative woman".
So naturally they sent her to an open prison, Downview, where she could go on taking the piss. And guess what: she's now left.
Ah, you say, but at least open prisons are cheap. With cheap porridge, you've got to expect a few lumps.
But but but...Downview isn't cheap. In 2004-05 it cost £32,029 per place, which compares appallingly with £24,809 at the Scrubs, and is only a bit lower than no-shit Styal.
The Major points out that book-ahead Supersaver rooms at Travelodge cost as little as fifteen quid a night, equals £5,475 pa. Add in a fiver a day for food, call it £7,500 pa. Plus he reckons Mr Gomulka would cut us a very reasonable deal on an Albanian armed response unit, who would certainly give Riviera and Farah pause.
PS Indophile Dalrymple hilariously explained his thoughts on cross-cultural screwing to the Sunday Tribune: "ST: Are you, through the main theme of love affairs between British officers and native Indian girls, suggesting the feasibility of cross-cultural exchange and intermingling of eastern and western civilisations? WD: Yes...The White Mughals were not perfect. But these guys were attempting to build bridges. At a time when it is being said civilisations can fuse, it is important to show that they can." At least he's not just talk.