BHS crashed into a cliff by its owner: unacceptable capitalism?

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SIR PHILIP GREEN: Should he have been awarded a knighthood?

WITH now multiple inquiries ordered into the collapse of BHS (involving 11,000 jobs and a £571m pension fund deficit) questions are being asked why regulators didn’t intervene earlier when the company paid more than £400m in dividends under its former owner, Sir Philip Green, or when it was controversially sold for £1 to a group of little-known investors.

Well, who’s really to blame here? Supporters of Sir Philip say he built his business empire and employed thousands of people for years. Sure, he did it to enrich himself, but so what? His money provides a living for those who run his businesses, build his yachts, staff his properties, organise his life and his extravagant parties.

Detractors say how can someone already extraordinarily rich want so much money – not counting a third luxury yacht – and leave the fate of his workers to the Pension Protection Fund? How does someone like that want to be regarded?  Frankly, he probably doesn’t give a fig about his employees’ pensions or BHS shareholders.

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But for such an immodest, ebullient man, potential loss of his knighthood might well change his mind. Which raises the question whether he should have been awarded one in the first place. A knight of the realm should surely maintain the highest standards of behaviour. Hardly a role model then, but sadly perhaps few of his peers are either.  Charlton Heston wasn’t a modest man either.

A former Arts Council chairman recalled the time he met the actor. After chatting about different categories of film, Heston was asked how he would define the ‘epic’ genre. “Anything starring me between 1956 and 1966,” he replied. That’s the spirit – start small, think big. Today Stow, tomorrow the Wold!

And finally, news that those other two loveable rogues, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, are planning to join forces in a campaign against Brexit to reinforce President Obama’s message. That’s it, then. These two getting together in the UK to tell Brits not to leave. No Chance. Bill and Tony, we stay, YOU leave!

Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.79) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca charity.

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