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Wednesday 1 April 2015

Telegraph Wins Best April Fool

Yes, the month of April has begun, and with it the opening morning of wading through the murky stream of April Fool “jokes”, panning through the mud of tedious and repetitive boredom in the usually vain hope of finding a nugget of genuine and original humour. The bad news is that the mud-to-nugget ratio is as high as ever this year. But the good news is that the Telegraph had bucked the trend with its front page splash.
100 business chiefs: Labour threatens Britain’s recovery” announces the headline, followed by a list of names, some of which are rendered in a rather larger crimson type. These people, we are assured, control businesses which employ 500,000 in the UK. And they have, it has to be assumed, put their names to this declaration out of concern for their country. Or so it seems, until a little examination is made.

Who did the arranging? Well, reticence means that nobody is singled out by the Tel, but the name in the post-front-page-analysis frame is Stuart Rose, famous for his involvement with Marks and Spencer some years ago. Lord Rose, as he is styled on the Tel’s declaration of support for Young Dave and his jolly good chaps, is a Conservative peer. This is the most fortunate of coincidences.

Also in that larger type is the name of Anthony, now Lord, Bamford. He too has links to the Tories, not least because of donating money to them. He is also rumoured to be one of those behind the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, the Astroturf lobby group that works so tirelessly to demonise Government. Then there is Duncan Bannatyne, which reminds us that today is still April the first.

Then an anomaly enters: Philip Green has signed the declaration. But why should his name be rendered in smaller and less conspicuous type? Could it be that, once again, he is not only an unwavering Tory supporter, but also someone who resides in the tax haven of Monaco, and is, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, a bit flash with his cash? Is the Tel wanting readers to look elsewhere?

Maybe they would rather we look at names like Cameron Mackintosh, theatre impresario, knighted during the Major years, briefly endorsing New Labour before openly regretting it and denouncing the whole project in forthright terms, and supporting the Tories last time round. And also in that larger type is the name of motor racing supremo Ron Dennis. McLaren’s new production centre was opened by Cameron in 2011.

And in the six years prior to that, the Tories had benefited from £126,000 in donations from, er, Ron Dennis. It goes on: Joanna (Baroness) Shields is a Tory peer, Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse fame is one of the Chipping Norton set, and Malcolm Walker of Iceland blamed the horsemeat scandal on the public sector, a most convenient conclusion for free marketeers everywhere.

It’s got to be an April Fool. Or is it? They’re the best ones: where you can’t tell the difference between the piss-takes and the real thing.


rob said...

Did someone mention HSBC? Or weren't they advertising the fact?

Anyone heard a cuckoo yet?

Brian Higgy said...

Telegraph scoop. Shock/Horror! Extremely rich people support the Tories.

Shawlrat said...

If I was at Labour HQ , I'd be digging into these people's tax affairs and employment practices pronto.
Time to take the gloves off!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a complete list of the Torygrapfh's remaining loyal readers.

Alex said...

It's not that Philip Green. Philip Nevill Green, CEO of Carillion plc, enormous construction company. No idea if this one pays his taxes.

DBC said...

The latest Private Eye is reporting that the Telegraph refused to print a story about the rather dodgy tax affairs of the company that employs Samantha Cameron. So the reporter concerned decamped to the Guardian where her story made front page news.

Crispin Fisher said...

Carillion have a contract with Derbyshire county council to maintain the counties roads and to grit the roads in winter. They trousers lots of public money to perform the role but their record on gritting is abysmal because instead of using a shift system drivers work normal hours in winter on basic pay and then they are called out in the night once snow as settled or black ice has formed. Such delays in gritting have caused havoc on the roads and led to loads of school closure.
So bosses at Carillion are happy to pocket taxpayers money in return for providing a poor service but they seem to be reluctant to pay taxes themselves.