Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 21 January 2016

Plus: A party co-host worries that her hospitality will go unnoticed

Q. We have two granddaughters working hard and happily at university. It is our pleasure to give them some cash at regular intervals for books, rooms, foreign travel and, we hope, a lively social life. But we have just learned that they have each come under the influence of a new political leader, to whose party and cause they are making serious donations of cash. While appreciating their right to do what they want with our gifts, it is far from our wish to support a man whose political views we reject. Should we take the obvious sanctions?
— Name and address withheld

A. I consulted a member of my panel of experts with your vexed query. My advisor is a pillar of probity and wisdom and professionally involved in money management. He says: ‘You should treat this one with a straight bat. If the grandparents reduce their funding and the girls realise why, they will embrace their rebellious political affiliations all the more. I think the grandparents ought to talk to the girls and say that, whatever happens, they are going to continue handing over cash but the girls should know that if they give money to Corbyn, or whoever else the undesirable is, it will not be what they wish. This moral blackmail should be enough.’ I concur with his opinion.

Q. I am staying in a large rented house with my American cousin who is well-off and extremely generous. We are co-hosting a small drinks party and I want to make it clear to the guests that I am paying half, otherwise they will assume that yet again she is footing the bill. How do I do this without appearing vulgar?
— E.S., Key West, Florida

A. Americans adore giving speeches so why not brief one of your confidants to address the company.

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