Sunday, September 02, 2007

High On The Hog


Condi said it was the biggest one she'd ever seen

Post hols I've only just caught up with the new tenant of My Lord Prezza's plush grace and favour pad in Admiralty Arch. It's His Most Excellent Grace The Baron Malloch Brown (above).

As you will know, Malloch Brown is the "internationalist" buffoon who, having presided over a deep pit of fraud and corruption at the UN, and having slagged off the Americans so much they threatened to stop funding it altogether, got enobled and appointed by Gordo to run the FO and promptly tried to give away Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

He's one of the most arrogant self-promoting bureaucrats you're ever likely to encounter. Here's a sample brag, complete with clanging name drops:

"From Colin Powell CLANG! to Condi Rice CLANG! all the way through to Richard Holbrooke CLANG! or Madeleine Albright CLANG! , across that massive swath of American foreign policy... I am their favourite multi-nationalist Brit. Over a dozen years or more I am the man who they have gone to.

...I was the one who was called. Condi Rice CLANG! came to Kofi Annan CLANG! and said, 'the only person we want to run this is Malloch Brown. It is too serious to have anyone else do it'

Breathtaking. Over the years, Tyler has of course encountered one or two people who've been lodged well up their own jacksies. But to be that crass screams full fathom five inadequacy- always concerning in one who thrusts himself forward to rule over us.

Anyway, that grace and favour apartment. The capital value is put at £2.5m, so at a rental yield of let's say 6% (modest), it's worth £150,000 pa. £150 grand a year we're shelling out to house him in opulence.

But of course, MB is used to living in other people's splendid accomodation. When he was at the UN in New York he lived in a grand house (with 4.8 acre garden) in swanky Westchester County, right next door to hedge fund multi-billionaire George Soros*.

Which was nice.

Especially since the house was owned by George, with whom MB reportedly had considerable dealings while at the UN, and who gave him a job when he left the UN. The house rental was $120,000 pa, which was said to be "fair market". But that accounted for virtually all of Malloch Brown's $125,000 pa salary, leaving little to feed his family.

Which was strange.

Malloch Brown.

I didn't vote for him.

You didn't vote for him.

I don't like his views, or respect his judgement, or rate his management ability. I don't want him running a big chunk of Britain's foreign policy.

And I certainly don't want to keep him in the manner to which he's become accustomed.

* Footnote 1- Just as a reminder, in 1992 Soros made an estimated $1.1bn out of us British taxpayers on the $10bn bet he laid against sterling staying in the ERM. In some ways it was money well spent because the bitter memory ensured sanity prevailed when we were later almost bounced into the Euro. But it's still $1.1bn of our money. Grr.

* Footnote 2- Hands up if you've read Soros' book The Alchemy of Finance. In it he explains how he really wanted to be a philosopher, and how he only became a multi-billionaire hedge fund manager as a poor second best when he realised he wasn't good enough at philosophy. So he spends the first half of the book expounding his elegant Theory of Reflexivity, and how it's the behaviour of participants feeding back into the financial markets that is the key driver and the key source of opportunity. It's heavy on philosophy, and on what we now call behavioural finance. Then, in Part 2, he attempts to demonstrate how the theory works in practice, by reporting a real time diary of all the trades he places. The trouble is, as soon as he starts trading, he tosses his elegant theory out the window and starts talking like the high rolling forex trader he really is- "Tuesday. I 'ad a right skinful last night. I reckon the Deutschemark's going up. I buy it BIG."

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