Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

I've always believed that corruption in government, banking and politics in the Western world was just an interesting device in movies or a twist in a John Grisham novel. However, in the past few months the scales have fallen from my (and many other people's) eyes, as the ghastly Madoff Ponzi-scheme scandal has been exposed.

Charged with the responsibility of protecting people's money, the Security and Exchange Commission ignored the justified warnings of Harry Markopolos and by its negligence allowed the heinous orgy of pocketing other people's money to continue unabated. I cheered when I saw the man now often labelled 'as evil as Hitler' carted off to jail. Although a 150-year sentence is of course ludicrous. I doubt Madoff will serve more than a few years before he dies (and I have heard that part of his willingness to give up is that he is dying). Then the buck will stop with him and not one of his dastardly accomplices will be brought to book, because if anyone believes he did it all by himself I'll be happy to host that dinner party for Taki and Elvis. Death in jail is not enough reparation for the hundreds and thousands who have suffered this wicked con.

A new commercial by fast-food chain Carl's Jr. on American TV seems pretty appalling in the face of the huge obesity epidemic attacking the US and the UK. A mellow voice drones, 'What does an American man want as a snack between his big meaty breakfast, his big meaty burger for lunch and his big meaty burger for dinner?' 'A big meat-filled burrito, of course!' Not only is this ad hugely irresponsible in countries that are struggling under rising healthcare costs due to self-perpetuated illness, but it's also putting the meat in all the wrong places.

'Oh, no! You're not going to Mexico!

You can't! It's so dangerous - the drug wars, the kidnapping, the police corruption. They're even shooting tourists at the airport!' So spake several friends of mine when hearing about our yearly pilgrimage to Acapulco. I pooh-poohed their fears, since I've been a regular visitor to the tropical paradise for many years.

There really is sunshine 300 days a year, so one is guaranteed gorgeous weather in the bitter winter months. Of course, one always has to be sensible: we had travelled with just a couple of beat-up suitcases, leaving the LV behind, in an effort not to draw attention. However, changing planes in Mexico City (which is always a nightmare), the security seemed particularly over the top this time. 'Open it, ' barked a security woman pointing to my wheelie. …

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