From 'Randy Andy' To 'Calamity Andy'
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
So what has animated the British media the most about Wikileaks? Could it be the pressure exerted by the Saudis and Gulf States on the United States, who wanted the White House to authorise the bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities? Could it be the less than wholesome remarks attributed to US diplomats who cabled their opinions on David Cameron and Gordon Brown back home? Or could it be the shock claims that China is bent on pulling the rug from under North Korea? Of course not! The most column inches have been devoted to the imbecilic utterances of the third in line to the British throne, Prince Andrew – or to give him his correct name, Andrew Windsor. This chump – nicknamed ‘Air miles Andy’ for his jet setting ways - was given a sinecure to boost British business and trade, and as a consequence spends most of his life airborne. The taxpayer foots the bill for Andrew’s champagne lifestyle, although the same taxpayer would probably forgive him his gaffes if a full cost benefit analysis demonstrates that he is doing the job for which he is handsomely re-numerated. Here are some of Andrew’s thoughts, as brought to us by Wikileaks, and courtesy of the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian state-let that used to be part of the Soviet Union. He was, according to the US Ambassador “cocky” and “verging on rude”; most animated apparently when he began waxing about the “great game”, that historic waste of humanity and resources as European countries vied with Russia for dominance. Prince Andrew was sure that “this time we mean to win!” Really? How drole. ‘The game’, if it is that, is about to be won handsomely by Russia and Germany. For good measure we are informed that he was rude about the United State and suggested that dealing with corrupt business types in his host country reminded him of best practice in France. Not that he appeared to concerned about corruption in general, as he castigated those journalists who had successfully probed alleged bribes paid by British arms sales men to Saudi Arabia – better known as the Al Yamana scandal. Apart from a solitary Labour MP, no one has seen fit to criticise Andrew, or ask whether he is up to the job. Offending other trading nations of Britain one might have thought would make him distinctly unsuitable for the job. Nothing of course will happen. It never does. The taxpayer will continue forking out for a not particularly bright Prince to go around the World occasionally making a clot of himself. Plus ca change..