Friday, 21 March 2008

Spring Clean

Spring is officially here. You can tell from the way the daffodils are bobbing wildly in the unforgiving gale-force winds and battering rain. I think we'll perhaps have this year's Easter Egg hunt indoors, to prevent the eggs, or indeed the toddler, from ending up on a yellow brick road somewhere over the rainbow, desperately wondering if they're in Cheshire any more. Not that I'd encourage my toddler or anyone else to eat eggs that are capable of wondering anything, to be fair.

Spring is, dreadful weather aside, a time for new starts, so I think it's time to dust off the cobwebs from this blog, and start writing it again.

A nice new look to set the tone, brighter and more spring-like, is in order I think.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

She's got a ticket to ride...the gravy train

If a personification of the notion of being one's own worst enemy exists, it must surely take the form of Heather Mills.

She's £25 million richer after yesterday's High Court ruling on her divorce from Sir Paul McCartney, but apparently she still hasn't grasped the concept of less being more when it comes to hysterical outbursts and relentless self-promotion. Can't buy me class, as her soon to be former husband may well have sung in his heyday. Her 11-minute rant outside the High Court yesterday made for the kind of car crash television you feel compelled to watch despite the teeth-clenching embarrassment it evokes, on a par with her disastrous GMTV interview last autumn. Her recently revamped website boasts video clips of "Heather's friends" Richard Branson and Hillary Clinton talking about how utterly lovely and wonderful she is in the most effusive terms. Maybe it's a peculiarly British trait, but (to this Brit, anyway) there is a feeling of acute distaste on viewing these clips at such shameless self-promotion.

Heather Mills seems to have a relationship with the truth that is matched in distance only by her detachment from reality. Mr Justice Bennett, the judge in the McCartney divorce, referred to her evidence as "inconsistent, inaccurate" and "less than candid" in the High Court ruling that Ms Mills sought to keep private. "Less than candid"? Almost sounds like a rather polite way of saying "she lied", doesn't it?

The full ruling makes hilarious reading. Ms Mills' greed is pretty astonishing, and the sums she claimed she 'needed' from the divorce settlement are mind-boggling to the ordinary person. Almost half a million pounds a year for holidays, for example. Half a million pounds?! To be fair though, that sum does include the essentials such as private and helicopter flights of £185,000. Evidently Ms Mills' concern for all things charitable doesn't extend to environmental causes and worrying about her carbon footprint.

Unsurprisingly, the judge found her demands excessive and awarded her much less than the 125 million pounds she was seeking. However, she still leaves the marriage, which lasted just under 4 years, with just under £25 million.

Can that amount be fair, considering that McCartney's wealth was almost all amassed far before the unfortunate day he met his second wife? As Heather Mills said herself outside court, "everyone knows he was worth £800 [million] 15 years ago". Rather an own goal, one would think, since that statement clearly rules out any contribution to that wealth on her part. Sadly, the main casualty of this ruling must surely be the institute of marriage itself; it is hardly a recommendation for men (or women) of any wealth to enter into marriage, knowing that after such a short time their spouse, now estranged, may walk away with millions. Sir Paul can afford it, certainly. But is that the point?