I’m not one for the honours system as a rule but it particularly sticks in the craw that Philip Green, the robber baron of Arcadia, is still a knight. The honour was bestowed on him by, of all people, Tony Blair, who was busy falling over himself to prove that Labour weren’t a threat to business and made a nauseatingly fulsome speech as he did so.
People are lining up to condemn Green, those on the right aware that he’s exposing the fault lines of capitalism and keen to single him out as a ‘bad apple’. Even the Spectator doesn’t like him: the linked article states, before fading out into the inevitable paywall, that he ‘gives capitalism a bad name’. Some might argue that it already had one, but you can see their point; sailing off on a £100m yacht while refusing to pay the pensions of staff made redundant from a company you bought for a quid – well, it’s not a good look, is it? And now thousands of staff are facing redundancy unless the Arcadia shops can find a buyer. Will he help them out? I know times are tough and he’s down to his last few billion but you’d think he could find a couple of quid down the back of the sofa. I know I shouldn’t judge by appearances but Philip Green (I refuse to call him Sir) looks like a hired thug in a suit; a dodgy dealer who’s made the big time and now hobnobs with the rich and famous. Nor is he keen to be interviewed: Phil was recently tracked down in Monaco by this Guardian journalist who tried to put some questions to him; he responded with aggression and threats. Hey, maybe he should run for US President?
Last time he ran away from his obligations there was a petition to strip him of his knighthood; he caved, suggesting that titles are in the end more important to him than money. After all, a title means you’re in, you’re part of the establishment.
It’s an honour he does not deserve.
Gosh, I’m in a righteous mood this morning. Maybe it’s the frost…