Thursday, March 02, 2006

There's still something about Tessa

I grew up in an Italian immigrant family. One of fringe benefits of that upbringing was that I was carted off to Italy for the summer holidays every year and learned to count my blessings.

One of the many blessings I learned to count on was the fact that I lived in a country that wasn’t bent.

All the way up, from bottom to top, the Italian system was as bent as a nine bob note. We would pack the car with family sized packs of tea and bottles of Johnny Walker to lubricate our relatives' dealings with doctors, council officials and bank managers – JW Red Label for more junior officials, Black Label for the more serious uomini.

Policemen would openly demand and take bribes. I remember us getting stuck at the border once and my dad had to buy off two customs officers who threatened to take our car apart unless we looked after them. The senior officer took two bottles of scotch and a carton of fags. The junior officer was happy with one of those special fifty pence pieces with the hands on, commemorating Britain’s entry into the Common Market. A nice touch I thought.

Italy was fucking bent.

So imagine my delight, thirty years later to learn that Italian officials are investigating a British Cabinet minister for financial and political corruption.

Italy, and Britain, have come a long way.

Enter stage left, Tessa Jowell, Minister for Culture

She and her husband have been accused of being part of a fiendishly complicated web of transactions that may or may not have been criminal.

The complicated web of transactions consists of

Media billionaire (and Italian Prime Minister) gives a bribe of $600,000 to the husband of the British minister responsible for the media

Fiendish, complex stuff indeed.

We know that the $600,000 was a bribe, given in exchange for not telling the truth in court, because Jowell’s husband wrote a note saying so. Being a smart cookie he did refer to ‘Mr B.’ rather than Silvio Berlusconi though.

We also know that the money was laundered by Jowell’s husband through a bogus mortgage on their house designed to avoid disclosure and paying tax

And, even though they share ownership of the house and live together, Jowell maintains that she knew nothing about the transaction, stating…

However, I fully accept my husband should have informed me and if he had, I would of course have reported it

The technical term for that statement is what is known as ‘lying through your fucking teeth you deceitful cow’

Jowell’s husband has played down the significance of his note and explained that it was only a ‘hypothetical scenario’ he was considering for tax declaration purposes.

Two thoughts come to mind

First, that means, at the very least he’s admitted to working on a lie to defraud the State of the tax on $600,000 – that would be about $240,000 by my reckoning. How much jail time should that be worth?

Secondly, if e was lying about having taken a bribe from the Italian Prime minister to not tell the truth in court what did he really do to earn the money? Presumably something even more criminal? Selling Rumanian orphans to pet food factories? What?

This all comes from someone described by the media as one of the finest corporate lawyers in Europe.


When I grumble about stories like this and cite them as examples of the interconnectedness, and crookedness, of the machine that’s taking over our lives people sometimes accuse me of being paranoid and falling prey to conspiracy theories.


Consider this current story. There are so many directions you could follow it off to. So many in fact, you run the risk of ruining the manifest purity of the corruption it reveals

  • Italian media billionaire to British Culture Minister via corrupted husband
  • Husband of former British Health Minister (now Culture Minister) to Head of Formula One – and huge slab of money given to Labour Party whilst campaigning to retain tobacco advertising at F1 events
  • Italian media billionaire (and Prime Minister) lending holiday accommodation and God knows what else to British Prime Minister

Of course it’s all interconnected.

Sure, this kind of graft has always gone on but these newer manifestations of deceit and greed in public office are different, not least in the fact that in the old days officials at least occasionally got the shaft if they were ever caught.

Not any more.

And it’s easy to forget that we’re currently being run by our supposed Left of Centre political party. The party of the working people.

and millions of misguided bastards are still voting for them.


One of my most significant personal awakenings occurred one day when reading a story about benefit scroungers, years ago. I had just been involved in some financial forensic work on a rather huge example of white-collar fraud. And it dawned on me, just like that, that whilst all the Muppets are reading their newspapers and fuming about a few benefit cheats the really big, fuck off fraudsters are happily getting away with millions on a daily basis.

People like Jowell’s husband.

Not a particularly stunning insight but it took me a while to get there and a few million of my fellow citizens still haven’t heard the penny drop and continue to allow the media to misdirect their attentions wholesale. Sure this stuff gets reported occasionally but what the media never does, as it once did, is join the dots together.

Anyway, Tessa you and your husband are as bent as fuck and I hope you and all your other lying thieving, cheating scumbag pals rot in Hell.

I have to have faith in Hell because you ain’t ever going to see the inside of a jail that’s for sure.


Anonymous said...

The Guardian says this....

"....He also now denies that the money was a payment from Mr Berlusconi, maintaining that it came from another Italian associate, Diego Attanasio.

Mr Attanasio has told prosecutors, in a statement seen by the Guardian, that he could not have made the payment as he was in jail at the time."

Stef said...