Mar 08 2011

Has Philip Stephens been reading Treasure Islands?

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

No indication that he has actually done so, but he might as well have. His latest superb piece in the FT is a sign that the penny is, finally, dropping in Britain. Take an eyeful of these quotes from his article:

“What’s puzzling is that anyone has been shocked by the web woven between the British political and financial establishment and the Libyan tyrant and his family. David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, once called Britain a global hub, neatly positioned at the intersection of all the investment, trade and people sloshing around the world. I prefer global laundry.”


London has long been a thriving centre for the washing of foreign riches and reputations – a place for autocrats and oligarchs to deposit their cash and scrub up their images. As long, of course, as they can afford the sizeable fees.

I don’t always agree with what Philip Stephens writes but today I find myself agreeing with him, again and again, as I read through this article. I don’t suppose the FT’d like me to quote too liberally from this article, but if I may lift one more para:

“Britain has another weapon. It comes in the form of draconian libel laws and, this goes without saying, a battery of lawyers ready to ensure that the protection of the courts is put at the disposal of anyone with sufficient riches to pay their exorbitant fees. The media has been muzzled.”

Exactly, exactly, as I said in Treasure Islands, in the Griffin chapter (UK edition.) The penny is dropping. Britain is one gigantic, dirty laundry for the world’s money.

one comment

Demetrius 3th March, 2011 1.44 pm

You might like this one from 2009:

It refers to Iceland on Thames.

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