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A source close to Westminster, who would prefer to remain anonymous, recently told me of a filthy rumour flying round concerning Parliament’s vote to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood. Choosing his words very carefully, he revealed the real reason behind returning Sir Phil to the common fold was because that’s where common muck belongs. Don’t blame the messenger. Of course, as a desperate hack trying to worm my way into the rotting hulk of the corporate media, I couldn’t possibly give credit to a rumour like that. And it’s not my fault shit stinks. Not that I want to add to the calumny, but according to my source, who refused to give his name, calculating cynics reckon that by taking away his title and making him plain old Phil Green ‘Fingers’, MPs are sending the subliminal message he’s no longer fit to hobnob with the finest. So it’s fine and dandy for him hang out with the hoi polloi, then? If that is the case, then there’s only one answer. As most High Street retail outlets will confirm in very small print: “It is company policy not to accept the return of soiled or damaged goods.”
While some say he earned the appellation ‘Fingers’ from his success with daffodils, others say it comes from getting nabbed with his fingers in the till. Whatever, Fingers will recognise the cover-all, get-out clause from his own unfortunate experiences in the retail trade. Unfortunate for the retail trade, that is. Anyway, the public humiliation of having his title stripped should give the multi-millionaire plenty of food for thought while whittling away his days, cruising around the Med, aboard his luxury £100m superyacht. Was it really worth it, Fingers?
In tribute to the nation’s eccentric sense of humour, Great Britain has a long history of ennobling its most rumbustious of rapscallions. Extortionists, defrauders, cheats, liars, philanderers and mass murderers, all line the walls of Westminster’s Hall of Infamy.
These timeworn traditions should not be broken by a bunch of mean-spirited sourpusses castigating Fingers just because they missed the gravy-train to Monaco. Not to worry, my friends, there’ll be another one along in a minute.
Talking of nobles named Green, have only six years flown by since ‘Stainless’ Steve Green placed his moist red lips on the blue-veined hand of the monarch to metamorphose from creepy-crawly into Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint? As I’m sure I’d have said at the time – had a mucksheet paid me enough – it was a long-overdue reward for his sterling work aiding Mexicans navigate punitive currency regulations designed to prevent them spending their hard-earned lolly on all the gold-plated Ferraris they so richly deserve. Under his lordship’s stewardship, as Group Chairman of the international banking corporation, HSBC Holdings plc, cash-strapped Mexican drug barons were able to launder millions of dollars without fear of prejudicial government intervention. In a sensitive demonstration of solidarity and good faith to one of its most loyal customers, the bank mainly restricted that side of its financial services to the Sinaloa Cartel.
Always ready to blow someone else’s trumpet, when the price is right, I wish someone had slipped me a brown envelope stuffed with untraceable currency to say his gift to persecuted bands of Mexican pharmaceutical entrepeneurs wasn’t Lord Green’s only act of selfless charity. Like many socially-aware global bankers, the British Conservative politician – he served his country as Minister of State for Trade and Investment – is noted for his Christian works. In his other job as an ordained priest, Rev. Green knows only too well how hard spreading God’s word can be if you only have jumble sales, bingo nights and Christmas raffles to rely on for wad. In 2005 the financial monthly Bloomberg Markets reported that HSBC had extended a helping hand to a struggling band of religiously-inspired missionaries popularly known as the Taliban. And he wasn’t in it for the money. Baron Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint, or plain ‘Stainless’ Steve (Estabanico ‘el Inoxidable’), as he is known in the barrios of Durango, Sonora and Chihuahua – he gained the nomenclature for his ability to slip out of any pile of fan shit shining – managed to get by on a measly 25 million a year while heading the global banking group. Shed no tears, as he had his clergyman’s stipend to fall back on in a crisis. And then there was the 300 quid a day attendance allowance from the House of Lords. Nothing to be sniffed at, as they joke in Westminster toilets before having a toot.
Too demonstrate my journalistic flexibility with integrity, whenever there’s a nifty fifty or two to be had, I might add that there are plenty of other good barons and knights who have come pretty close to equalling, if not surpassing, the records of the Greens. Lord Ashcroft, known as ‘the billionaire philanthropist’ in some very tight circles, won his title for becoming one of Britain’s most successful tax-exiles. By carefully weighing up the percentage of gains he could accrue through domiciling in Belize for tax reasons, against the losses he would incur by swelling the coffers the Tory Party campaign fund through donations, he realised he would still be in pocket by a significant margin. The gesture was worth every penny. The rewards of donating were substantial. Not only did he win the sympathetic ear of a government that truly appreciates the value of recruiting influential billionaires as friends but, by wrested huge amounts of cash from the grasping claws of the public purse, which would have only been squandered by a welfare state determined to chuck piles of wonga at wasters and scroungers, he could put it in the hands of someone who knew what to do with it. ‘Slippy Mickey’ Ashcroft, as he was known before being rewarded for bankrolling the spiv party in 2000, served as Treasurer for the Conservative Party from 1998 to 2001. He was appointed the party’s Deputy Chairman in 2005. As Lord Oakshott once quipped:
“Democracy is in danger if Lord Ashcroft has been pouring millions into Conservative campaigns through an offshore pipeline from a Caribbean tax haven.”
Paying warm homage to Slippy the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow told the nation’s parliament in 2009:
“Ashcroft is an extremely powerful man. His net worth may well be equal to Belize’s entire GDP. He is nobody to cross.”
The homage has led to cruel insinuations suggesting dual-nationality Lord Ashcroft virtually runs the Caribbean nation as his personal fiefdom. Well, if it’s true he must have a lot on his plate. According to a report issued in May this year by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Belize consistently ranks among the top ten in the world for its homicides. With an average of around 40 killings per 100,000 residents for a country with a population of only 335,000 it’s a reputation well-deserved. Nevertheless, after topping the charts with an all-time record in 2012, with murders at 145 per 100,000, things are starting to look up for the dream haven for drug smugglers. Adding to the plus side, Huffington Post reports that Belize has no organised crime; disorganised crime being more consumer-friendly, I expect. At least there won’t be any major drug barons competing for the title of top baron in Belize. It must be very reassuring for Belizeans to know that Lord Ashcroft is the founder and Chairman of Crimestoppers in the UK.
Apart from all that wonderful work, Baron Ashcroft is also known for his valuable contribution to the world of literature. Never too busy to have a pop at anything for a bob or two, in his latest masterpiece, his lordship paints a true-life story inspired by a poignant snapshot of a lone political leader seeking love down at the farmyard. Published under the modest pen name, Michael Ashcroft, Call me Dave is a sensitive portrayal of former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his deep passion for pigs. A passion that led to a very close attachment to one particular pig following its unfortunate demise. Rather unfairly, Mr Cameron has ignored this tribute to his leadership of the nation.
I expect we’ll be seeing his smarmy chops guzzling at the House of Lords trough once all the fuss over that whopping Brexit blunder has died down. Not the pig’s smarmy chops, his chops were somebody’s lunch long since.
Hm, if this catches the eye of the bloke in charge of dispensing cash at one of the big news outlets, it might be worth doing a bit more research into the House of Cads to get some flowing my way.
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