The rise of the sugar daddy

More and more British students are turning to 'sugar daddies' to pay their tuition fees.


The so-called "sugar daddy" phenomenon is taking off, according toNewsnight.A newish website that pairs sugar daddies with potential girlfriends already has 240,000 British girls on its books.Freya, a young woman filmed in silhouette, thought people should be more relaxed about the rise of middle-class prostitution, which she cheerfully admitted is what the sugar daddy business actually is: "This is an upper-class, middle-class manifestation of it there is demand for high-class escorts."

Even more startling, writes India Knight in The Sunday Times, was an admission from Freya's mother, Mary, who said languidly: "I think all children are born with certain assets. One of hers is that she is beautiful and has sexual allure, and that gives her erotic capital. Why shouldn't she use it? It's a supplement to getting on in life."

Posh girls often have a "robustly jolly and uncomplicated attitude to sex", says Knight, and "I don't have as much of a problem with voluntary prostitution as I'm always told I should have". But prostitution is, or should be, a "desperate, last-ditch" measure.

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"That a young woman might not fully understand this is one thing, but for her mother not to get it either is really quite odd. The whole point about erotic capital, should you be fortunate enough to possess it, is to eke it out wisely not to use it up before you're 21." So if you're one of the 240,000 women who have signed up to the new agency (and it's only one of several such agencies), Knight's advice is: get a job waitressing and "bide your time".

An austerity of the imagination

If this is the age of austerity, there was no sign of it at Glastonbury this week, or indeed at Wimbledon, where the strawberries were "flying out of their punnets like nobody's business", as Michael Henderson put it in The Daily Telegraph. Even the anti-austerity march two weeks ago "was filled with Annabelles and Tobys. Weybridge must have been awfully quiet."

There is poverty, says Henderson, "though not quite so much as the bleeding hearts would have us believe. Manchester is not Athens, nor is Newcastle Naples." And while it is true that the north has less brass, people still have the latest phones, "jet off to Magaluf and turn out their pockets on Friday nights like drunken sailors".

The kind of poverty we really suffer from is of the imagination (in the way we spend our money). "The British consume," says the social commentator Anthony Daniels. "They don't discriminate." Many Italians and Spaniards may have an inferior standard of living to us, writes Henderson. "But they may also enjoy a higher quality of life."

l Shortly before the election, Labour MP Frank Field bet £50 at odds of 5/1 on a big win by David Cameron. He spent his £250 winnings on treating his 20-strong campaign team to a four-course meal. How appalling to "bet on us losing", fumed a friend of Ed Miliband's. I doubt if Field's campaign team agree. And what a nice way to spend your winnings.

Tabloid money: Prezza declares solidarity with Taylor Swift

"Anyone who thinks privatisation is the work of the devil should pay a visit to the O2 in London," says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. "When it was called The Dome and run by the government, there was a faith zone and a lot of ethnically sound dancers whizzing about on ribbons of fair trade silk, but no actual visitors at all. Probably because there was no car parking space. Today it's in private hands, so there are lots of car parking spaces, the foyer is filled with excellent restaurants and it's rammed every night with thousands of happy, beaming customers."

"I think Taylor Swift is a fantastic role model for young people," says John Prescott in the Sunday Mirror. "She built her own career, has bags of talent and is a self-made millionaire. But Taylor still took on the mighty Apple to ensure less successful artists were paid for use of their music. By withholding her album, Taylor effectively went on strike for her colleagues and Apple backed down. When she's finished with music, we could do with her in politics!"

"A senior Labour figure says the party could be dead within two years," says Tony Parsons in The Sun. "But surely Labour is already dead? At a leadership shindig in Stevenage, Herts Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall were all heckled because they refused to declare that Tory plans to reduce the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 were the work of Satan These cretins know nothing of the working class. Giving anyone £23,000 a year to do nothing is still spectacularly generous. My father worked six days a week from the time he left school at 14 to when he died at the age of 62 although he did get a few years off to fight in World War II. And my dad never earned £23,000 a year in his life."