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LONDON — Intrepid Simon Lincoln Reader this week included a couple people of my acquaintances in the diary he so generously shares with us. Peter Hain, of whom I’m a great fan. And Malusi Gigaba, erm, not. Ever since the world was exposed to a picture of a younger, long-haired version of Hain being dragged off a rugby field by Bobbies, the anti-apartheid icon has occupied himself fighting the bad guys. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise us to hear it was he who has exposed the mystery businessman accused of being Britain’s Harvey Weinstein. The hapless Zuptoid Gigaba, however, did the foot shooting all by himself. – Alec Hogg
By Simon Lincoln Reader*
So it was Philip Green. There were only 2, at most 3, horses in that heat really.
The controversial billionaire hasn’t taken kindly to Peter Hain’s announcement in the House of Lords, using his parliamentary privilege to unshackle the injunction bought by Green against The Telegraph barring them from publishing his name in relation to claims of sexual harassment. Green might look a bit funny – but he’s not to be trifled with. I suspect he’ll take this skirmish to the gutter – where he’s at his most comfortable and formidable. Nobody enjoys having their tanning interrupted on their $150m superyacht like that.
My friend Sven Hughes’ podcast series, The Truth Trade, is well worth a listen. Before he became a successful entrepreneur, Sven was a psy-ops commander for the UK forces in Afghanistan.
His first guest for the series was Lord Tim Bell, of Bell Pottinger. Sven pressed him on the subject of the Gupta contract but the old boy, now in poor health, wasn’t giving an inch and continued his persistent rejection of claims that his old company was cheerfully nudging South Africa into a race war on behalf of that most repulsive family. Once again grovelling evades South Africa.
Call me ambitious, but I believe the nature of the campaign and its consequences warranted an apology from no less than Theresa May herself (zero chance, I accept). Bell was synonymous with the Conservative Party and it was this successful relationship that propelled his ascent into political stardom. So in today’s theory that a man must account and/or apologise for indiscretions and associations 20 years after they’ve occurred… does this not apply to an institution too?
Last year a fixer in Westminster (I call him Creepy Rudy because most of his work appears to involve the Liberal Democrats) arranged a meeting for me with a peer who was eager to hear exactly what Bell Pottinger got up to. It was a Friday evening in the city when I walked into a Russian steakhouse and observed that the Lord was already stinko. I sat down and railed against James Henderson. Then I railed against Victoria Geoghegan and her father Chris. I even railed against the little tech nerd thing they bought in to build all those fake social media profiles. But he just shrugged and slurred incoherently, something about ‘the highest bidder’.
Some time later he was featured in a BBC interview, this time compus, protesting Russian spying: ‘Espionage and subterfuge, I tell you, are in their DNA!’
On Sunday night, the most dramatic consequence to date in the legacy of Operation Carwash in Brazil. But squeals that Jair Bonsonaro’s election confirms we are indeed riding new waves of fascism are oversimplifications; what happened in Brazil is, simply put, the result of treating the electorate like blithering idiots, feeding them highly contentious rubbish about the benefits of socialism as a mask to the gorging of the political elite. Patience to entertain self-righteous indignation by those sympathetic to ‘progressive’ movements is now exhausted: unless right-on governments refrain from cronyism and from accusing opponents of being Nazis, unless their supporting twitchforks stop trolling opposition views and unless willingness emerges to genuinely consider the great events of our time – e.g the collapse of banks in 2008 and the political responses – as some of the foundations of our present circumstances, expect more of the same.
It will be described as being yet another Gupta curse, but Malusi Gigaba’s decision to keep a video – a video that features Malusi being intimate with Malusi – on his phone, is yet another incident featuring shocking judgment on the part of a South African cabinet minister.
Malusi has always pursued attention, from the days I saw him loitering at Kilimanjaro nightclub in Melrose Arch, to his brushes with departmental credit cards in the mid 2000s. Until the recording, it was his obsession with suits, in the manner of a Congolese sapeur, that was most inappropriate, on account of how inconsiderate it was. You have a man who looks like he works in a Hugo Boss shop, then you have David Mahlobo (who knows how to interfere with a phone or two). Photographed together, the latter must have felt completely inadequate; he could never wear a 3 piece suit – they don’t make them in tennis-court size anymore, not even in West Virginia.
- Simon Lincoln Reader lives in London.
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.