David Cameron has said Nelson Mandela is his personal hero. But he didn’t always feel that way.
He even accepted a free all-expenses paid “fact-finding mission” to apartheid South Africa while Mandela was still in prison on Robben Island.
This was 1989, by which time the apartheid regime was internationally hated and on the verge of collapse.
But that didn’t stop Cameron from taking the shilling of a pro-apartheid lobby firm to “see for himself”.
Cameron’s old boss Alistair Cooke later played down the trip’s racist agenda, saying the “jolly” was a “just a little treat, a perk of the job”.
But millions of black South Africans were having a far from jolly time.
There was strict secrecy at the Tory summer ball last week.
David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson laughed it up with vintage champagne—and fat cat chums who’d paid more than £1,000 each for the privilege of joining them. The flowers alone cost tens of thousands.
Rich guests bid for grouse shoots and Thatcher tributes to raise money for the Tory election campaign.
But the star of the show was a bronze bust of David Cameron—snapped up for £90,000.
“Security was very tight and everyone was told to keep their phones away and take no pictures,” said one guest.
“They knew exactly what it would look like if details of the bash got out.”
It must have been a busy week for Johnson, who also spoke at a London Pride gala dinner a few days later.
But if he was hoping to boost his gay liberation credentials, he ruined it with an offensive joke—sharing his “delight” that “as of this autumn any young man will be able to take his chum up the Arsenal... and marry him.”
As angry guests walked out, Boris could only manage the bizarre comeback of calling them “French cowards”.
Bosses always warn workers in Britain not to be outdone by their industrious counterparts in China. Maybe they’re onto something.
Factory workers barricaded boss Chip Starnes in his Beijing office last month.
They slept in shifts inside the factory while guarding Starnes—but didn’t let him get a wink of sleep. They only let him out when he coughed up their unpaid wages.
Tory councillors in Tower Hamlets, east London, whipped up a petition against plans to build a centre for Muslims on park land.
It won the support of some vile racists (and the local Green Party).
But it doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. The centre is to be open to everyone—and built on a waste plot of tarmac next to the park.
Workers at the castle that doubled as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films found a week’s wages vanished as if by magic last week.
Princes William and Harry were among the guests at Old Etonian property magnate Thomas van Strabenzee’s wedding to Lady Melissa Percy at her family’s ancestral Alnwick Castle.
Lady Percy’s parents—a duke and duchess richer than the queen—said the marriage should give locals cause for celebration.
But 100 guides, minstrels and broomstick instructors lost their hours for one of the busiest weeks of the year. On their “zero hour” contracts, that means no pay.
Europe’s most lucrative tourist attraction was closed on Wednesday of last week.
Some 300 workers walked out of the Eiffel Tower over low pay and “awful” conditions.
It didn’t take long for George Osborne’s spending review plans to start falling apart.
He’s reliably kept up the New Labour tradition of distracting from bad news by talking about broadband.
But within 24 hours he was backtracking from his £150 million plans for 22 “superconnected cities”.
It turned out BT and Virgin Media were worried it would hurt their monopolies.
Osborne’s Lib Dem sidekick Danny Alexander reckons he can turn a quick £10 billion selling student loans that may never be paid back.
There’s just one problem. The loans have been on sale for five years.
And if Gordon Brown couldn’t find anyone fool enough to take it on during a boom, Alexander’s going to have a tough time in the slump of the century.
There are all kinds of rumours but one thing’s for sure.
It’ll only come off with a big bribe to the bankers—that we’ll be expected to pay back with cuts a few years down the line.
One London cop was caught standing around with his gun on display, with his BMW patrol illegally parked on nearby yellow lines last week.
But don’t worry—he had an urgent reason to stop.The hungry officer just couldn’t resist joining the queue for a pork bun at Borough Market.
BONUS OF THE WEEK
£1.5M—Bosses’ Olympic windfall
Remember when striking London bus drivers were called “greedy” when they demanded more pay for working the Olympics?
But London Transport bosses had no problem with giving themselves a £1.5 million games bonus
The gold medal for greed went to Sir Peter Hendy, on a total of £650,000
£2million—One scrounger is doing well this week—the queen got a 5 percent pay rise
£100K—to do up two fancy loos in the House of Lords. The throne room is used by peers and VIPs, and needs new oak panelling