LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
27 January 2018
Ignorance is Bliss

Oh dear, oh dear. Gosh!  Goodness me! Or more appropriately: WHAT THE
F***! Men groping not on the tube, in a lift, at the office, but at a posh annual all-
male charity do run by the secretive Presidents’ Club. Says it all doesn’t it?

You’ve heard all about it already, but a minute of repeated outrage can be
satisfying – I know…. Oddly enough, the FT revealed all with a brilliant expose
on the appalling, sordid behaviour and institutionalised sexism of business and
finance: the powerful of the city financiers, business bosses, politicians
enthusiastically displaying lascivious behaviour
at the black-tie event. Their
wives, partners, children must be so proud. Unbelievably the FT received
outraged letters complaining that the paper should be covering finances. Note to
idiots: they did.

As it turns out, this is not that ever tedious pathetic ‘boys will be boys’ excuse for
the misogynists’ ball, it wasn’t ‘men behaving badly’, it was absolutely appalling,
creepy, seedy, revolting behaviour of 360 men, who knew and noticed nothing at
the 33-year-old annual event. A ticket to the dinner costs £5,000.

The 130 ‘hostesses’ for-hire, a mere £150 a night I add, signed a five-page
gagging order, (gagging? – sorry but surely that was involved), instructed to
wear matching underwear - clearly a clue there - skimpy black outfits and the
mandatory stilettoes, had their phones taken off them, plied with wine before
being paraded…did you notice that? paraded. Now what does this imply? The
venue was patrolled to ensure the women ‘mixed’ with their guests. Toilets were
monitored; too long in the loo (hiding?) and they were escorted out of the toilets.
This is good: “We’ll provide a petting zoo of pretty girls to ogle.”

How many times can you say: WHAT THE F***!? Every time you read, hear
another detail. There is the report of at least one penis out and proud. Good god.
Clearly maturity does not come with age. The FT’s
Madison Marriage (who
normally covers accounting) told Newsnight: “I was groped several times….
hands up skirts, hands on bums, hands on hips, hands on stomachs, hands
going round your waist suddenly.” Lovely. And this lasted for six hours.
Evidently, some of the women on display were shaking in shock. It’s the FT’s
most-read online article ever.

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, only last week appointed Families and Children
minister who attended the event, was “shocked”. Oh really. Really? He’s gone
underground since he ‘left early’. Having been at this event in the past, “No. I am
here to tell you that I have never looked around at all those nearly naked women
in their matching nickers in the years I have attended. Not me. I love a charity
do, don’t you? But now I am told that I should say I will never attend an all-male
event again. I promise.” Surely he was listening when the MC excitedly called it
“the most un-pc event of the year”.  And what was Zahawi doing there exactly?
Surely discussing Tory family values. Always condescending, contemptuous,
supercilious; the man must go.

And what were among the auction items? A thrilling lunch with Boris and tea with
Mark Carney. Thrilling doesn’t cover it does it? But buying plastic surgery to
‘spice up your wife’ might. Eye-rolling here? Not nearly enough. Great Ormond
Street Hospital gave back the money from the event. Let’s see. Rich powerful
men write checks to charities to act out, act up, whatever. Surely they should
have kept the cash.


Now how can we not mention the Annie Leibowitz latest Vanity Fair cover shot?
Nearly naked, seductive actresses, draped, with men in black tie. Rather
reminiscent of the President’s Club do wouldn’t you say? Except for Oprah.
Hmm. And the women are even paid significantly less than the men in the photo.
Hmm. Assuming these are the very same women who appeared in glamorous
black at the Golden Globe Awards. Hmm.


And Theresa’s reaction to the Presidents’ Club groping scandal? After PMQs,
her office said she had been ‘uncomfortable’ on reading the FT’s damning
report. Right. Having a hand up your skimpy skirt, down your pants is
‘uncomfortable’, Theresa? By 10pm that had been replaced by a new quote:
“The Prime Minister is appalled by what has been reported. This shows there is
a long way to go to ensure all women are treated properly as equals.” And then:
she “thought that that sort of attitude of the objectification of women was
something that was in the past”. Now don’t you feel better? Theresa was
‘appalled’ and had no idea such things went on. Right. Rather like Zahawi. Right.

And Theresa in Davos? Desperate, weak, fawningly grovelingly submissively,
reverentially, obsequiously, sad, needy. Let’s review this yet again: there is NO
‘special relationship’! How many times do we have to say it!? None!
Sycophantically begging The Donald for attention – oh the body language - is
just excruciatingly embarrassing. Get up off your knees, Theresa, literally or
metaphorically, in anticipation of that toxic Frankenstein food on its way. And
don’t forget, The Don would have utterly enjoyed the charity do, wouldn’t he?
Prepare yourselves. The Donald is coming to town. Banners, masks, placards at
the ready.


Here’s the basic coverage of Davos so far: Trump is stepping up to his
plane…Trump is stepping in…Trump is sitting down…Trump’s plane is taking
off…Trump is flying in the air…Trump is still flying…Trump is still flying…oh
wait… we have a possible landing…we do…oh Trump has landed…Trump is
being helped up…Trump is walking off the plane…Trump is holding onto his
hair…Trump is…..



Bloody Cold-Blooded

If you ever need yet another reason to find Theresa strangely inhuman, she has
generously provided an example. At Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa was
asked if she was going to accept an invitation to meet with a former Labour
Cabinet Minister, Baroness Tessa Jowell, suffering with a terminal brain tumour,
to discuss improving cancer treatment. In the NHS. Tessa was diagnosed with
brain cancer in May 2017, and has called for patients to be allowed to opt for
innovative treatments in other countries.


Now how do you suppose Theresa responded? She said that all MPs were
“saddened” to hear of Tessa’s brain cancer, but “encouraged by the positive
approach she is taking…We do want to make sure the best treatments are being
provided and we will consider investing in anything that improves that. We’ve
accepted 96 recommendations in the NHS Cancer Strategy, of course we do
need constantly to look at this. My Right Hon Friend the Health Secretary will be
happy to meet with the Hon Lady and Baroness Jowell.” Oh must we use that
cliché, ice water in her veins? The woman is devoid of any recognisable human
traits.



Party On

Now we can properly do ‘boys will be boys’. They literally were. Apparently, they
acted like 15-year-old boys at Mikey’s (Gove) daughter’s 15th birthday party.
His wife, Sarah Vine wrote in her Daily Mail (notice here) column that the boys
“came from a very prestigious private London day school.”

The la-d
i-da Vine said: “I descended into the pit, fighting my way through a
mass of naked limbs.” Really, Sarah? No. Really? Are you sure you didn’t read
that in a chick lit novel? Lest we miss “provocative” dancing with “a mass of
writhing thrusting extremities, as boys plied girls with drink and cigarettes.”
Gosh! She even “found one very dodgy-looking cigarette.” Police were called by
neighbours. OK. How much repulsion do you feel? And I don’t mean the party.



Found Money

Just when you wanted to know how three top Tories were covertly filmed
discussing being paid for telling tycoons from China how to make money out of
Britain leaving the EU, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme postponed their
three-month investigation Monday night. Hmmm. Now why would they do that?
Not the three Tories, but Channel 4? We know the three top Tories are denying
all knowledge. Right. Ch4 had promised to reveal “how former Cabinet ministers
are offering themselves to companies as Brexit advisers”. [note irony here: Ch4
showed the pulled programme Sunday at 7pm. Here’s the ironic bit – it replaced
Posh Pawn - and you can watch it On Demand. Perfect.]


All three – ex-Health Secretary, Andre Lansley, former Chief Whip Andrew
Mitchell and ex-Trade Secretary Peter Lilley – deny any wrongdoing. Hmm. Now
we can wonder what their collective version of ‘wrongdoing’ is exactly.
According to Lilley, ‘wrongdoing’ was actually ‘rightdoing’. He actually said it
was “a tawdry attempt at entrapment” and he had suspected from the outset, and
that he now planned to report Channel 4 to regulator Ofcom. I can hear you
laughing. Lansley had a spokesman say: “At no time did he offer privileged
access or insider information.” Mitchell said he had feared Parliament was being
targeted by Chinese agents. Now hysterically laughing.


Once you’ve regained your composure, here are a few facts, although surely
you don’t need to be convinced in any way: the three Tories met in London’s
Mayfair with “Fei Liu”, who claimed to be a company chief and a representative
of Chinese millionaires. Good so far. The trio were offered an “attractive
package” – what are we assuming here? - as well as a trip to Hong Kong in
return for attending meetings by the woman, who was actually a reporter. Very
good so far.


Channel 4 said it was “continuing to work” on the film. Well, we will see won’t we?



Cash in Hand

If you want to undo all that mindfulness you’ve been practicing, continue reading
- or skip if you dare.


Deep breath: Oxfam finds the eight multi-billionaires in the world have a
combined fortune of $426billion, £351billion. The eight richest people on the
planet are worth more than half the planet’s population, some 3.6billion people,
have a combined wealth of $409billion, £337billion. Surely you knew that, but
regardless of how many times you heard or read it, it never ceases to be really,
really annoying.


Here’s the list: Bill Gates £62bn…Amancio Ortega £55bn (note: he owns Zara
and what does Zara do in the UK? Adds an extra two-thirds on to the same items
sold in Spain. Not shopping there)…Warren Buffet £50bn…Carlos Slim Helv
£45bn…Jeff Bezos £37bn…Mark Zuckerberg £36bn…Larry Ellison
£36bn…Michael Bloomberg £33bn. Uh oh. Increased blood pressure here.

Oxfam’s GB Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, reminded us: “Companies are
structured to dodge taxes, drive down workers’ wages and squeeze producers
instead of fairly contributing to an economy that benefits everyone.” And they do.

In Britain? Dr Wanda Wyporska of the Equality Trust, said: “Since the financial
crash of 2008 the richest 100 families in Britain have seen their combined
wealth increase on average by £364,052 per week, while median household
income has increased by just £10 per week. Per week! Since 2010, there has
been an average increase in wealth of £653million each. OK. Close your eyes,
take a deep breath…ah. Oh dear. Not working is it?


As for the business and political elite on the planet, they are meeting at the
World Economic Forum in Davos with the key theme of responsive and
responsible leadership. Seriously. You really couldn’t make it up.



Taking a Dim View

A sandwich short of a picnic? Not the sharpest knife in the box? Not the
brightest bulb on the tree? Oh. Princess Eugenie’s fiancé, Jack Brooksbank?
According to granny; his. She acknowledged he was “charming” but thick,
dumb, dim. Lovely.


She told the
MailOnline: “He’s a charming boy and all that but not the most
intelligent and I would never have thought this would happen.” Well, she had
seven years to imagine it while the two in love were together. All right: she’s 91.
Still, if she can give an unnecessary interview…possibly it’s genetic. Look for
that invite in the post, Gran.


Uh oh. The happy couple may not be quite as happy now that their nuptials have
been nixed for September. Why? Well, evidently Harry and MM will need all the
attention on them as they may have a grand tour, I mean, planned tour (charity
with loads of press coverage perhaps). We know only the ‘inner circle’ will be
considered the super-royal brand. And we know what that means. Yawn. Oh is
that MM doing the royal wave – again? The queen of coy….
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