John Gibson: Queenie’s quest not so mean?

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Sixteen grand a year. It perhaps seems a pathetic pay packet to some – to many – but the Queen no less is dangling that carrot in her quest for a full-time gardener.

And the successful applicant will be calling a spade a spade at Buck Palace. You don’t need to have a posh accent but doubtless that will help.

It’s public knowledge that Philip, given a choice, does appreciate home-grown veg. If you fancy the job, note that it’s a 7.30am start and overtime is possible. The ad, with additional details, is on the royal website and, it should go without saying, accommodation is available. In a shed at the foot of the garden? Just make sure you scrape the shug off your boots at the door. If there’s one thing Her Majesty will not tolerate on her own patch, it’s glaur.

Warning word while we are turning over the subject – people who repeatedly refuse to look for work while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance should have their benefits suspended for up to three years. A think-tank with close links to the Tories says so.

People who keep refusing to search for a job would be handed cumulative sanctions on their benefits. Repeat offenders would have their benefits taken away for three years max, according to the Policy Exchange report. Suddenly that 16 grand a year seems good enough to eat?

Mary’s prayer

Is Mary Berry, a familiar face to viewers who take a certain delight in watching her mess about in her kitchen, becoming too big for her cupcake? She is twittering that she’d love Meryl Streep to play her if Hollywood, already tugging at her apron, gets round to making a biopic about her.

If she should live that long. Mary is 78. We should bear in mind that her mother lived to 105. Nothing if not philisophical, our Mary. She adds: “Many of my pals of my age are not in the best of health, so I’m very fortunate.’’ Yes, you are, my dear. Do keep the gas at a peep at least.