Tuesday, 30 November 2010

"All of this sounds exactly like France"

For some reason, the British government employs 'Prince' Andrew as a trade representative, presumably because he has no actual skills and they'd rather he was out of the country for long periods.

One of the fascinating Wikileaks documents is an account of a lunch held in Kyrgyzstan. We've had a lively debate about it in class: should an individual's privacy be disturbed? In this case, yes: Mr. Windsor is a government representative, and what he says is disturbing: repeatedly attacking Britain's (rather pathetic) anti-corruption investigators and the journalists who pursued British Aerospace's bribery until Tony Blair cancelled the investigation.

Having exhausted the topic of Kyrgyzstan, he turned to the general issue of promoting British economic interests abroad. He railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the “idiocy” of almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia.  

His mother’s subjects seated around the table roared their approval. He then went on to “these (expletive) journalists, especially from the National Guardian, who poke their noses everywhere” and (presumably) make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped. He then capped this off with a zinger: castigating “our stupid (sic) British and American governments which plan at best for ten years whereas people in this part of the world plan for centuries.” There were calls of “hear, hear” in the private brunch hall. Unfortunately for the assembled British subjects, their cherished Prince was now late to the Prime Minister’s. He regretfully tore himself away from them and they from him. On the way out, one of them confided to the Ambassador: “What a wonderful representative for the British people! We could not be prouder of our royal family!”

Andrew's perspective is exactly that of a Tory golf-club bore: nothing should get in the way of corporations making a fast buck, journalists are liberal scum, corruption's just an occupational hazard. To top it off, his saloon-bar sense of humour is encapsulated by the repeated claim that every instance of corruption 'sounds exactly like France'.

How his guests roared with laughter.

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