Nowhere People by Barbara Nadel

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Here’s a tip for a new and exciting crime fiction series of the future. Publishers are always on the lookout for the next ‘big thing’, well maybe this is it.

There’s been a lot of publicity here in the UK lately about the so called ‘Super Rich’. These are a group of people who are so wealthy they don’t actually belong anywhere. They don’t have homes, in the accepted sense, because having a home would mean paying tax to whatever country the home is in. Minted even beyond Robbie Williams’ wildest dreams, they drift around the world on a sea of cash and privilege, having no real base or allegiances to anything or anyone except themselves. Over here they and their ilk have become the elephant in the room. While our government close down libraries and cut organisations that provide services to the sick and the needy the Super Rich are allowed to slip in out of their tax loopholes at will.

Our politicians don’t want to talk about them. But then so many of them are millionaires, that’s not surprising. We however, the great unwashed, do want to talk about them more and more. Just little snippets like the fact that a famous industrialist’s secretary actually pays more tax than her billionaire boss. I expect I probably pay more tax than he does which is a bit much when you consider that he’s swanning around in Saville Row suits while I’m still wearing the same overcoat I’ve had for the last ten years. Even trying to content myself with the notion that he probably couldn’t fit into any of his clothes from ten years ago, doesn’t help. Nowhere people take and do not give and in a time of recession (or whatever the government chooses to call it this week) is unacceptable.

That said, of course, nothing will change this. All sorts of specious arguments will be advanced about how much ‘worth’ these people bring to our shores, all the myriad jobs they go about creating, blah, blah, blah. Our (in)glorious leaders will continue to shove Champagne and caviar down their fat necks in company with these people and the good ship UK will continue on its way with its usual compliment of lumpen proletariat and over-privileged arse-holes. These people are quite untouchable, shielded as they are by legions of sycophantic wannabes who just want to wait about for a few crumbs from their tables. Pitiful. Pitiful. Pitiful.

But that said, you do have to laugh, mainly because it’s all you can do. The state may be able to do a lot of things to curb and shape our behaviour, but they can’t prevent us from poking fun. I think that a new crime fiction series set in the world of the stateless super rich would be hilarious. How’s this?

Oligarch Pyotr Ripoff’s mother is found dead with the Koh-I-Noor diamond stuck in her throat. There are some signs of a struggle but the old woman managed to hang on to that diamond even in death. The age of the corpse is impossible to ascertain because old Ma Ripoff at her demise, consisted mainly of body-parts obtained from so many different sources she was more like a patchwork quilt than a human being. But because no police force in the world can be made to take this crime on, enter the Premier League Avenger, super hero crime fighter and massive fan of ‘Police’ sunglasses. Pausing only to restyle his hair, play half a game of football for the Ulan Bator Mega Yaks (at a cost of $250,000 a day), retire with a hamstring injury and then shag all blonde women in Torquay, the Avenger sets to work. After carefully placing the Koh-I-Noor on the anorexic finger of his wife (or was it her thigh?) he sets off to interview the suspects.

The Avenger knows that Prince Irrelevant is due to marry Miss Sloan very soon and so he might have wanted to snaffle the diamond in order to sell it so that he could pay off his wine merchant. Then there’s Mr Banker. Such a measly bonus (just a paltry £1,000,000) this year and so many people to entertain! The cabinet minister, the Rt Hon Millicent ‘Iron Knickers’ Tankdriver could also be in the frame too. She hated old Ma Ripoff, in fact she hated and hates all foreigners. And finally there’s little Brainless Pink, glamour model, serial marrier, celebrity chef and icon. Insisting on only having her nails done at a place in Beverly Hills that costs the equivalent of a whole years salary for a hospital cleaner, is eating away at her fortune. That diamond, had she managed to get hold of it, would have bought her a hell of a lot of quality nail technician time. But who actually did kill the old woman and who cares anyway? Certainly not Pyotr who is very happy to have inherited the jewel himself. Also he won’t have to pay for any more of his mother’s pesky plastic surgery now! Everybody’s happy. Prince Irrelevant and Miss Sloan marry while the Rt Hon Tankdriver looks on all misty eyed. Mr Banker and the Avenger get very, very drunk together, rub a pearl and lark spittle masque over their faces (for health and beauty) and then have sex and possibly marry, Brainless Pink.

All of the above of course, happens while the rest of us hunt about in skips for furniture while performing the odd amputation of one or more of our own gangrenous limbs. Hello, good evening and welcome to the new Middle Ages, era of warring nations, massive privilege for the few and the Black Death!

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