Sunday, 10 May 2009

Not Waving, But Browning & A Kenyan Conviction

Aaaaaargh the news stories in the weekend papers are like injecting a breeze block of pain into the brain.
What a dirty rotten world we live in. First the bankers, I think it people are maddened by their proximity to money and can only think to pay themselves more and more and more money. They swallowdive into the ethical void where the quantity of transactions becomes more important than the quality.
No one blinks at the idea of enticing the dirt poor [with no savings, no prospects, no financial acumen, but a longing for a decent house] into 100% mortgages, where the game is to offload on an inevitably rotten debt to some other sucker as fast as possible.
They think nothing of hovering around a company that might be suffering setbacks to 'short sell' their shares. In fact, they nudge things along by spreading rumours to ensure the shares head towards the floor. They are only 'responding to the reality of the market' they say.

When a lion is slightly lamed by a thorn, it can recover completely in a day or two, but not with a pack of hyenas circling. If you have ever seen a hyena skull it is remarkably thick around the cranium,with vast jaws.......not unlike Mr Average Bankerman.
There is much I don't understand, but I suspect the reason ther
e is no clear overall explanation is because the bankers don't either. What I do understand is that there is no work and what work there is, the pay has been slashed. No book advances, little freelance work. Big trouble, long fall, hard landing. One busted businessman said to me. 'The thing is Liza, you're used to being poor; for me it's a nightmare.'
If I had my way, it would be off to the naughty step with the lot of them.

The thing about corruption is that it isn't a 'feeling'.
People don't sit there like Dr No rubbing their hands and laughing maniacally.
Bankers go home, satisfied with a good day's work. As they slip out of their Savile Row suits and into their power showers, the last thing on their mind is how they have affected a Wal-Mart shelf stacker in Tennessee, or a single mother in the uplands of Brent. Our ministers flounder about saying that something 'must be done' but do zip. And here's why....

They're all in the 1st class carriage of their own goddamn gravy train.
We are highly taxed and are given a mostly dismal return in services while our 'representatives' suck out 10s of 1,000s of pounds in endless crummy expenses. There are times, when I walk out of my house and see the road being mended, the streetlights on, a passing fire engine and I for a moment, I think my money does go on some social goodand yet the papers this weekend tell me that I have also been paying for MPs mole problems, ornamental gates, porn
films, hanging baskets, sparkly loo seats, babies' nappies, the PM's brother's cleaning lady, cat food, pool maintenance, piano tuning,
 pizza cutters and anything and everything else these people can snaffle.

Listening to the radio this morning, an eloquent Nigerian 
was putting the point that this was not a scandal confined to Britain, it ripples out into the wider world, especially to corrupt countries whose few anti-corruption campaigners look to us as an example of probity and whose greedy political elites use it to keep fingers pointing at us & away from their own embezzlements.

When Brown finally got to his longed for job, he trumpeted his steady hand on the tiller. But as chancellor, he presided over the banking insanity and tries to dodge the bullet by endlessly stressing the word 'international' when talking of the crisis, when it was him who flogged off our gold reserves and did nothing at all to save for bad times.
As the son of a preacher man did he not ever think about this?
It's biblical stuff.

His other boast was that compared to Blair's lack of political integrity, he was the man of deep with personal aides running smear campaigns of trumped up sexual allegations, who didn't even balk at using the depression suffered by rivals' wives as ammunition. It's time to say fucketybye.


And now, on to the trial of the Hon. Tom Cholmondeley in Kenya.....

The figure of the Delamere heir has offered great dollops of class-riddled prurience to the press. Cholmondeley is a newspaper reporter's dream: like a character from fiction, he is a nob burdened with an absurdly pompous 
surname and at 6'5" five, with thin lips and cold blue eyes, looks like an Edwardian rake, who might just give someone in the lower orders a damned good hiding with a swagger stick.
Even the normally cool-headed Channel 4 News found it fit to mention where he had been to school, although it was unclear if the implication was that being an old Etonian made his trial all the more shocking, or mitigated his behaviour.
Tragically, instead of a swagger stick, Tom Cholmondeley was fond of carrying a gun and on Thursday, he was finally found guilty of the May 2006 manslaughter of Robert Njoya, an impoverished stonemason who was poaching game on Cholmondeley’s father’s huge Soysambu estate.
Njoya was killed by a rifle shot while hiding in a thicket; betrayed by the movment of his dogs. It makes for potent imagery when a rich man ends a poor man’s life, widows a wife; renders children fatherless for the sake of some small antelope, running wild.
It is not hard to sympathise with a small-time poacher. Njoya was not stealing the silverware; he was trying to feed his family.
The shooting was some sort of blood-drenched Groundhog Day for Cholmondeley. Almost exactly a year earlier, he had shot and killed Samson Ole Sasini, who he also thought was robbing him. Sasini turned out to be an undercover policeman in some cack-handed investigation into suspected illegal bush meat trading out of Soysambu.

There was a national outcry when the Attorney General dismissed the case having taken Cholmondeley’s word that he was fired upon first, without warning. The collapse of the case caused tensions along racial lines all across the country. And while fellow whites stayed quiet, in private they have expressed fury that Tom Cholmondeley single-handedly made life more dangerous for them all.

Tragically, it was probably nervousness about reprisals after the first killing that persuaded Cholmondeley to continue going around armed. Unless their livest
ock was under imminent attack from lion, carrying a gun was a rarity amongst other white farmers I knew.
After the second death, Cholmondeley was remanded in Nairobi’s Kamiti Jail with the trial proceeding at a glacial pace. Thanks to there being no stenographers in Kenyan courts, the judge took down every single word uttered in long hand. On occasion, the lawyers spoke so slowly as to render their arguments unintelligible.
[Njoya's widow and children at his grave]

Cholmondeley’s girlfriend, Sally Dudmesh, who I knew when I lived in Ken
ya found her love life turned into something like a plot line from Bedazzled. Even though they had only been together for a year, for the next three years of his imprisonment she acted as a dogged campaigner on Cholmondeley's behalf. At times, her loyalty was blind. In one mass mailing she wrote:
‘They say, "Every great man has been incarcerated" Mandela, Gandhi...'.
Far from bearing any comparison whatsoever to Gandhi or Mandela, the person whose fate it has far more echoes with, is in fact OJ Simpson.
When Simpson was on trial for the Vegas armed robbery of two collectibles dealers, Judge Jackie Glass ordered the jury to make their judgment solely on the evidence of the trial at hand. Repeated warnings were given against the temptation to right the wrongs of thirteen years earlier, when Simpson was found not guilty of the murder of his estranged wife Nicola and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Cholmondeley of course had no malice aforethought in either of the deaths on his land, but like OJ, he was the beneficiary of a shock decision. Due to the universal frustrations over these outcomes, both faced the risk of bias in their subsequent trials.
When the Njoya case finally came to trial, Cholmondeley’s lawyers, like Phil Spector’s, argued the ballistics angle and worked hard to cast doubt upon whether it was Cholmondeley who had in fact fired the fatal shot. In his turn, when Cholmondeley took the stand, he pointed the finger at Carl Tundo,[pictured right] the friend who had been with him when they had stumbled across Njoya. 
For anyone following proceedings, this chimed an odd note.
Would someone who had already got away with killing one man and now stood accused of another really take three years to say this?
Surely, a man innocent of any killing [and particularly one for whom it is the second time] would argue his case loudly and clearly from very outset.
Cholmondeley had stayed inexplicably quiet.

When he is sentenced next week, it could be for life, or, having already served three years on remand, he could be lucky and walk free. Either way, the manslaughter conviction is correct.

Now that our country has fallen so far from grace, Nigerians could look to their distant African neighbour for the occasional good example.