Saturday, November 01, 2008


The interesting thing about "Corfugate" is the way it allowed us peasants a glimpse of the life-style enjoyed by the "Masters of the Universe" who rule over us. Here they are - the bankers, the press barons, the politicians, and assorted shady characters - cavorting together on luxury yachts, exchanging favours, gossip, and intimacies regardless of party affiliation (as benefits the members of a single ruling class). And all this is governed, apparently, by a strict code of omerta (which the callow Osborne was too dim to understand). Osborne, incidentally, clearly did - unless Rothschild is lying - solicit a contribution from Deripaska: that is what Rothschild says and Osborne is not sueing. (The Electoral Commission appears to be like many of these regulatory bodies: afraid to bark never mind bite). Now it transpires that Deripaska, who has financially benefited from decisions taken by Mandelson (who initially suffered from a convenient amnesia regarding when they first met), is refused entry to the US because he is suspected of being linked to organised crime. (It is beyond credulity that Mandelson and Osborne did not know this, if they did not, as Nye might have said, they are too stupid to hold government office). In the Guardian Martin Kettle for his part sees nothing wrong in having rich friends (now why would he say that?). But friends like this? Anyway, it depends what you mean by "friends". Aristotle thought true friendship only possible between equals (I'm afraid that's why he thought men and women couldn't be friends!). Now if I go for a drink with a mate and buy him a pint I expect him to buy me one back. Not so here, I think: Mandelson is aboard the yacht (which costs zillions to buy and still more zillions to run), he is quaffing Rothschild or Deripaska wine, eating their food (I don't think we're talking sausage rolls here), and generally "enjoying their hospitality". (Has Mandelson never heard the old adage: "There is no such thing as a free lunch"?). It's not that Mandelson can't do something in return, but he can't - unless he has a £80 million yacht hiddden away somewhere - exactly reciprocate. This is not a relationship between "friends"; this is the kind of relationship the wealthy have with a family retainer, trusted no doubt, but servile nonetheless. Another thing that strikes me is that all this fawning before the mega-rich, to which Mandelson appears to be addicted, betrays a lack of self-respect, a smallness of ambition, a lack of dignity. This man - Mandelson - was and is again now a Minister of the Crown; why should he feel the compulsive need to bow-and-scrape before such people?


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