Justice Denied – Jan 23, 2013
The media has lauded Lord McAlpine’s recent memoirs, something about being Thatcher’s bagman, as being “controversial, biting, and very revealing”. It was, according to various breathless accounts in the newspapers, “sweeping through parliament like wildfire”. It fact, it is merely bitchy and it completely whitewashes the real truth about Tory finances when he was their fundraiser – and Thatcher’s favourite Boy Scout. It is bitchy because McAlpine is a bitch.
It is only remarkable in what it does not reveal. One minute he is pouring scorn on Michael Heseltine, then claiming him as a friend. He refers to the fact that his wife nursed Heseltine at their opulent Venice home when Michael had his heart attack. What he does not reveal is that at the time of his demise, Heseltine was on the job with his titled long-time mistress who had to be hustled onto the next plane as Mrs Heseltine rushed from London. They must have passed mid-air. According to other pundits, Heseltine had gone out there to find out where the “missing millions” had gone from Tory party funds. Apparently they had one “hell of a row.
He bitchily has a go at Major for asking him to approach the dubious Greek shipping tycoon, John Latsis, who immediately signed a banking order for half a million pounds. He fails to mention that Thatcher had already stung the maverick millionaire for similar sums. And that he had fixed it.
A book like this had a golden opportunity to explain the “Missing Millions” once and for all. According to a wide- ranging investigation by Business Age, recently re- launched, the magazine alleged that at least £150 million were completely unaccounted for during the Thatcher years.
This is an allegation, which is widely accepted throughout parliament and led directly to the Nolan Report which heavily recommend that all parties should reveal the identities of their sponsors and the amount of their donations. Despite this wise suggestion, applauded by John Major himself, Tory Party finances are still a “bag of worms” (Guardian).
During her long and boring tenure in office, Margaret Thatcher, and her family, became very rich indeed. McAlpine himself lost millions (At least £120m) in an abortive scheme in Australia to build a sort of rich man’s Disneyland.
All McAlpine had to do to sort out the widespread rumours was use this opportunity to explain exactly where the money went to.
Major, by the way, immediately announced that he never took part in any fund raising and let the CCO work entirely autonomously. This is claptrap. The Prime Minister, any Tory Prime Minister, is the de facto “chairman” of the CCO. It is entirely his tool. It is accountable to no one else, not even accountants, for they are not required under present law to present their accounts for any kind of proper perusal.
On charges that he is a paedophile there is not a word, except a mention by Lynn Barber in the Observer Review in which she had asked him why he had not sued us. He refused to comment, except to say that if she repeated the allegation, he would sue the Observer.
He dismisses, in the book and in subsequent interviews, the cabinet meeting in which Margaret Thatcher and the rest of her government considered the consequences to the Tory party if senior police investigations into the paedophile activities resulted in a prosecution. Thatcher herself decided he would have to go, and if he went quietly, they would say no more about the matter unless there was an arrest. It was that close.
When he slid away, breathlessly relieved at the close shave, to go abroad in voluntary exile for “tax reasons,” the Tories were £10 m in debt. Yet he claimed he had raised £150 m for them. It literally doesn’t add up.