Former Prime Minister’s son, Mark Thatcher, has been arrested in South Africa today on suspicion of funding and providing logistical support to the perpetrators of the attempted coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. Can’t say I’m surprised, in fact the only surprise is that he hasn’t been thrown in the clink already on account of his past shady dealings.
Thatcher is a prime example of the failings of the honours system. When Margaret Thatcher stopped being PM, she was made a baroness and given a seat in House of Lords. Fair enough. Like her or loathe, she had done the job for a long, long time and deserved some recognition and of course the title dies with her.
The fishy part was the hereditary title bestowed on her husband, Denis. Apart from the fact that he had done little to earn it, other than drink gin, play golf and keep Maggie happy. It always struck me that it was simply a way of La Handbag ensuring that her children and her children’s children would benefit from a title.
And Mark has proved what a benefit it can. Having had his education handsomely paid for at Harrow, he still only managed to leave with just three O-levels, didn’t go to university and failed his accountancy exams three times. Not exactly the brightest bead in the magpie’s nest.
So how did he manage to achieve his questionable wealth? Through mum and dad’s contacts, the family name and now with a title to add to it. And that makes Mark Thatcher a living advert for the need to reform this country’s honours system.
And the picture? That, my friend, is the rather elegant thatcher shell.