What is it with the very rich and famous? PETER FROST investigates why they want to be popular and tell us how to live our lives
When Jimmy Savile died he left £4.3 million and a large collection of tasteless but solid gold jewellery. You have to wonder why he didn’t just use the money to buy the kind of disgusting lifestyle we now know he enjoyed but do it quietly.
Savile, of course, by bribery, bullying and bluster, got away with rape, abuse and even necrophilia for over half a century — not just got away with it either, directly after his death the media and the Establishment sang his praises.
We now know Savile not only verbally and physically abused and raped countless young women and girls and even a few small boys. Many of his victims complained to hospital staff or the police only to be told that if they continued to complain they would be punished or even prosecuted.
Savile’s many connections and his many charitable acts — the weekly parties he gave for male police officers, journalists and broadcasting managers, along with the paedophile parties he arranged for the rich and powerful, meant that people turned a blind eye.
Rumours that he was both a paedophile and a necrophiliac were common, yet the tabloids and TV stations chose to put out only flattering items about him.
The Tories made him Sir Jimmy. Maggie Thatcher, who spent every New Year’s Eve with Savile, ignored official warnings about Savile’s dirty dealings and persuaded prime minister John Major to give him a knighthood.
Even the Vatican honoured this good Catholic boy — the pope made him a Papal Knight. But then the Vatican knows all about sexual abuse and paedophilia and how to cover it up.
Like so many of the rich and famous, Savile wanted more than money.
He wanted people to think he was a fine fellow whose philanthropy and charitable works benefited society in general.
More, like so many of the rich and famous, he thought his money and fame also gave him special wisdom, special insight.
Amazingly ministers, politicians and other thought he was right. They listened to his advice and gave him important jobs to do.
Why else would Tory junior minister of health Edwina Currie put Savile in charge of Britain’s best known secure mental hospital, Broadmoor?
We know what Savile got from Currie — a flat at Broadmoor and an endless supply of vulnerable victims he could rape, abuse, perhaps murder and even share with other perverts among his friends.
Savile took fellow paedophile Rolf Harris on a tour of Broadmoor and together they ogled as staff stripped naked and searched young women patients before bed.
Savile even got the keys to the mortuary where he could carry on with his disgusting necrophilia. Yes, we know exactly what Savile got from Currie and her Tory Cabinet.
The puzzle is what Currie, Major and the rest of the government and Establishment thought they were getting from the peroxide DJ.
It is amazing how so often over the years evil men have won respect, honour and position simply for coughing up some of their ill-gotten gains and how obscene wealth has been confused with wisdom and good political judgement.
Ester, how would you like me to come and work on the Childline swtchboard?
Back in 1985 my wife Ann and I lived in Croxley Green, Hertfordshire. Our son had just left school but Ann and I were still local school governors.
Our schools were asked to help with a film being made to warn children about inappropriate touching.
Amazingly the person employed to present the film, and actually demonstrate that inappropriate touching, was a jovial Australian songster called Rolf Harris.
We were asked about the film’s themes and approach and viewed the early rough cuts. Watching the film again online a few days ago — it was still being used in Australian schools until quite recently — made my skin crawl.
What was incredible was the arrogance and almost unbelievable hypocrisy of Harris, who was already well into his career as a sex pest, taking a large fee to add to his already burgeoning fortune for advising children how to avoid people like him.
Perhaps some of his earlier pronouncements should have alerted us to his real character.
His first 1950s hit, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, contained these racist lines about aborigines:
“Let me abos go loose, Lou/They’re of no further use, Lou”
Later Harris wouldn’t hesitate to give us the benefit of his wisdom on many things, including his notorious advice to aborigines to “get up off their arses and tidy up the streets.” Nasty ideas from a really nasty man.
Now Harris is in his prison cell and victims are suing for a share of his £11m fortune.
Poor old Charlie, waiting in the wings for his dear old mum to die and leave him her rather powerful job and exceedingly well-stuffed purse. It is a hard life making a living from selling over-priced biscuits and owning most of Cornwall.
Despite the best efforts of the secret services, we have learned that Charlie has tried to influence both government and opposition with his rather strange ideas on education, architecture, alternative medicine and God knows what else.
Who knows what other curious views are still squirrelled away in secret files?
We do know that information about Charles and other royals was censored from police documents about Savile.
Charlie and Savile were great mates and the prince wrote to Savile after one party thanking Jim and asking him to “give my love to your ladies in Scotland.”
Pictures taken at the event show scantily dressed waitresses, but I have no doubt they were simply underprivileged young people who Jim had fixed it to benefit from the Prince’s Trust.
Tony Blair has at least £13m in the bank. Add to that a London townhouse, a country estate and several other properties, his wealth probably totals £70m. Blair has earned a fortune since leaving office.
He advises dubious leaders, the likes of Nursultan Nazarbayev of oil-rich Kazakhstan as well as the leaders of Mongolia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and China and bankers JP Morgan on policy. Plus, of course, he has God on his side with his Faith Foundation.
Blair regularly charges a quarter of a million pounds a time for speeches or public appearances. Not a bad price for a man who can tell you how to take your country into a bloody war based on a lie.
At first glance, US billionaire David Koch appears to be spending some of his wealth sponsoring scientific research into climate change.
A closer look indicates that in fact all of the £40m he has spent has been quietly funnelled to climate change denial groups.
Far from philanthropy, this is just a rich oilman selfishly defending the polluting oil industry and his own company that has an especially poor and dirty environmental record.
Koch has also spent huge sums funding the right-wing fanatics of the US Tea Party movement.
…and some shady characters from the history books
Edward Colston may have died in 1721, but they are still arguing about him in the city of Bristol.
A statue honouring him as one of Bristol’s richest sons still stands in the city centre today and there is a Colston Hall and a Colston Street as well.
Yet the man the city honours was a key player in the obscene trade that was slavery.
Between 1672 and 1689, Colston traded 100,000 slaves from west Africa to the West Indies and the Americas, often via the port of Bristol.
Women and children as young as six as well as male slaves were branded with Colston’s company’s initials on their chests.
Thousands died on the overcrowded and unhygienic ships that Colston owned.
Griffith J Griffith
Welsh mining multimillionaire Griffith J Griffith moved to California in the 1870s.
His donation of thousands of acres to the City of Los Angeles became today’s Griffith Park.
He lied about his military career giving himself the rank of colonel. He preached teetotalism to the working class but was himself a secret drinker.
Indeed, in a drunken episode he shot and nearly killed his wife. An expensive legal team ensured he only spent two years in jail.
As recently as 1996 Los Angeles erected a statue to this dishonest man who shot his wife but, clearly much more important, was also very rich.
John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller was the richest man in the world, the founder and owner of Standard Oil when his thugs in their armoured car murdered striking miners and families in what became known as the Ludlow Massacre in 1914.
Being a murdering capitalist didn’t stop Rockefeller (left) assuaging his conscience by giving 10 per cent of his earnings to the hugely racist Baptist church.
It is reckoned that Rockefeller donated about a third of a billion pounds to various charities but he still, rather patronisingly, gave nickel and dime coins to both adults and children he met.
This feature appeared in the Morning Star 8 July 2014