Saturday, 30 October 2010


Revolutions have lousy timing. By the time they happen the need for them has passed. When the mob stormed the Bastille it contained nine people, eight of whom were having lunch with the Governor. The Germans rushed Lenin across Europe in a special train. The Czar was bringing in reforms at such a rate the Bolsheviks all but missed their cue. There had been several revolutions before theirs but they were squashed with the flick of a cosh.

This week, if I could have found a barricade, I would have leaped up it like an angry chamois. It began badly with the domination of radio and TV by Stephen Fry, the Pelvic Oracle. But you could have ironed trousers with the steam which came from my ears when I read of the latest con trick of the House of Windsor.

"How nice," we all thought, when the Chancellor announced that Her Gracious wanted to suffer with her subjects and so had agreed to freeze the royals' pay packets. It emerged later that in doing so the Royal Family have secured a lucrative deal that will earn them tens of millions of pounds from the massive expansion of offshore wind farms.

They will net up to £37.5 million extra income every year from the drive for green energy because the seabed within Britain’s territorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate. Prince Charles has banned these useless excretions from within sight of his country estate. Elsewhere the Family welcome them with Open Wallets.

They will pocket another £38 million a year from an offshore wind farm on Queen Caroline, Canada's 'Galapagos' island. Although the island houses one of that country's most important bird sanctuaries, the wind farm will use the old-style, three-bladed, prop-style designs; not only inefficient, but infamous bird and bat killers.


The fabulously wealthy Grosvenor Estates, which includes large swathes of London's Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as the new 43-acre Liverpool One development, is one of the creditors trying to bankrupt the lowly Portsmouth F.C. The Estates owns a shop in its Festival Place Shopping Centre in Basingstoke. Portsmouth is thought to be the guarantor for the tenant, a retailer who has fallen in to administration and therefore made the football club liable for the costs. So much for the beatiful game of the peasantry.
Ironic.The present Duke, as a child, told me his ambition was to be a professional footballer. He had a trial with Fulham F.C. Now he is one of Britain's richest men but he would have been a pauper except for one of his andestor's peasants, a forestry worker called Ridley who rose to found Grosvenor Estates. He was promoted by the second Duke, incidentally an active supporter of the Right Club, formed "to oppose and expose the activities of Organized Jewry", and of the Peace Aims Group that supported the idea of a negotiated peace settlement with Nazi Germany.
With Ridley's help, he developed Grosvenor Estates into a diversified property empire as it acquired much property in Australia and Annacis Island in British Columbia.
On the second Duke's death in 1953, the estate was clobbered for £20 million in death duties and the family sold Pimlico to meet the liability. The Inland Revenue is said to have created a whole department simply to deal with the matter.
Ridley created a twenty-part trust fund which dispersed the title and the ownership of Grosvenor Estates. The money and the title only came back together on the accession of the current Duke.
When he (the present duke) was a schoolboy I was asked by his father not to publicise his annual birthday party at Chester Zoo. I know how Portsmouth feel. When the fourth duke, a dotty eccentric who was obsessed with chickens, died, Cheshire Police were INSTRUCTED by the Estate to threaten me with arrest if I covered the funeral. The Oblige was well and truly nobbled.