Saturday, 30 July 2011

Prince Andrew Retires

Sits Vac: English prince, Andrew Windsor, is retiring from his role as UK trade ambassador. Some of his family have been criticised as work-shy inadequates, shameless spongers on the public purse, but not Andrew. Finally though, after a punishing career with Britain's interests at its heart, he's hanging up his Frequent Flyer platinum card.

Only Britain would appoint a man who's never worked in a business, much less run one, as an international trade envoy. But at least no-one could accuse Andrew of staying office-bound. In 2006 he travelled from Windsor to an event seventeen miles away by helicopter, which cost around £6,000. Andrew's overseas travel tab for the previous year was £355,942, a reduction compared with his usual bill perhaps because he'd just been censured by the National Audit Office.

It's difficult to judge the worth of Andrew's career in monetary terms because unlike all other salesmen since the dawn of time, he never had any financial targets to meet. So did he make a contribution in some less tangible way, batting for British business behind the scenes, smoothing the way for an export revolution?

Well, not really. A glance at Andrew's port-stained resumé reveals he'd have been fired ages ago if it weren't for mater. WikiLeaks tells us American diplomats thought him "cocky" and "arrogant", a view supported by our own Simon Wilson, former Deputy Head of Mission in Bahrain. Wilson said: "He was mainly memorable for a childish obsession with doing exactly the opposite of what had been agreed in pre-visit meetings with his staff." Others have described him as "a little difficult to warm to", "not too bright", "a guileless buffoon", and "an embarrassment to the country."

Andrew particularly enjoyed his business trips to the Middle East, and got on well with repressive rulers of corrupt regimes; he numbered among his favourite overseas contacts Saif Gaddafi and Azerbaijan's dictator, Ilham Aliyez. He also grew chummy with billionaire convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, sometimes taking Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie along to meet his friend. But now he believes it's time to put his feet up, have a well-earned rest.

As to who might step up to fill Andrew's shoes and thereby safeguard the future of British exports, it's easy: look no further than The Apprentice.

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