Has Charles Saatchi utterly lost it? Perhaps in his failed ploy to dominate and humiliate his ex-wife he ought to, at some stage, have done two things : tried this act on someone weaker and tried his act on someone stupider. The overwhelming sense to have emerged from this week’s circus over at Isleworth Crown Court (the very name Isleworth could not be further at odds with the drama played out in its courtrooms) is that Our Nige is a stalwart and formidable opponent who may very well, dearest readers, haul Saatchi and his jiffy bags full of cash that he kept on top of the Smeg, off to the cleaners. Fact. No one could vanquish the fabulous elegance of that nude lipline, hovering delightfully between vanquished Queen and distressed matron. How could he have missed what the rest of the nation knows? How could the public’s likeability of her and admiration for her have passed so randomly through his mediocre line of vision? Does he even know how to create a lemon sponge? I very much doubt it. This isn’t about sex, or cake. It isn’t even about sexy cake. This is about using and exploiting the public to vilify your ex, and I’m sure that we all have ex’s lurking about in the grimy chapters of our history we would wish to do this to. But, by golly, we don’t all do it. This is mainly because we lack the power and the money to do so, and Saatchi’s somewhat bizarre obsession with focusing a trial that is about two Italian villainesses who have been holidaying in Maldives courtesy of his Coutts Gold Card onto his ex-wife is a perfect illustration of what happens when a control freak has power, has money and is determined to do the devil’s work with it.
Look, okay. so Nigella has said she has liked to toot from time to time. I mean, is this 1995? Is this really shocking? Yes, it’s a criminal act, but if everyone who ever tooted was immediately imprisoned half the people in the country (and all of the people on Fleet Street) would instantly disappear. I fail to see the relevance to knowing what Ms Lawson puts between her perfect nostrils in the larger scheme of things. What about the bitches who nabbed nearly £700,000 on Maldives holidays and snazzy jewellery? Nigella’s occasional drug use in the past goes no way to explaining why her Blakean Fish Pie continues to elude me. It doesn’t help me in my quest for a perfect Italian Christmas, which I shall prepare with perfect dark brown tresses whilst wearing a well-fitting bra under a scarlet cashmere button up cardigan. It doesn’t make me or her less of a domestic goddess and it certainly isn’t that interesting. Make no mistake : Saatchi has not simply misjudged his ex-wife’s tenacity and strength under fire. He has managed to misjudge the entire country’s view of her. Then we come to the third thing that Saatchi has underestimated, and I find it astonishing to believe that he has done so: the canny attitude the British people now have to their own press.
There was a time when we couldn’t see the strings being pulled. The idea of a media mogul pulling and twisting headlines to their own advantages was culturally more foreign to us a generation or two ago. But we have been cultivated into a sense of knowingness. We post-Leveson, Metro-reading purveyors of tittle and tattle have one eyebrow raised all the time these days. The newspaper business is at best, pretty dead, and at worst, a cacophony of self-mutilated loathings, crocodile tears, paid lackeys and those impressed on emotional manipulation of readers via a whole range of dastardly practices. We no longer read the news believing what we are imbibing is information. We read the news like anxious cats, ears cocked, eyes narrowed, knowing we are being pushed to feel a certain way. Saatchi, confusingly for someone so highly intelligent, is not articulate in this art of comprehending the canny reader. How gullible did he think the reading public were? This is a man who made his fortune by using and exploiting perception. Saatchi could take an idea and turn people on to it. You could go some way to argue that it was Saatchi & Saatchi that went some way to making jaded, knowing media slags of us all. This was, in its time, the largest advertising company in the entire world, the only thing larger than it being the size of the frames on Maurice Saatchi’s glasses. How could someone who had such technical ability to make people buy into the sentiments and values of his adverts misfire so spectacularly regarding people’s emotions when it comes to his ex-wife? It is alarming that a man of his experience has got it so wrong. Did he truly believe that we, like a classroom full of excited three year olds, would be distracted by the tinsel being waved at us by the clown in the corner: “No! Never mind the thieves who are actually on trail here for the robbery of £685,000 of luxury goods and to whom the focus of this criminal activity should be on. Focus on her! She had a spliff, THE COW.”
Plus, the QC, Metzer, isn’t that bright, really. This is a problem as Lawson is extremely clever. What was all that tripe yesterday about implying that Lawson’s background was in some way more “liberal and bohemian” than Saatchi’s? Is the implication here supposed to be that the liberals and bohemians basically have raw cocaine shoved up their nostrils from the age of 2, whereas the son’s of Iraqis who ended up in Finchley selling textiles (Saatchi Senior) does not? Indeed, Lawson’s riposte to this was perfect. When questioned whether she felt her background may have been at odds with Saatchi’s due to overtones of louche liberalism because she took cocaine with her mortally ill (now dead) husband, she replied “I feared my father might take exception to that” with all the patrician bounty that only a Tory Lord’s daughter could. I mean Metzer practically fed her the line, and, thereby, her victory on that point. Of all the people to throw that desperate line to, you select a Tory Peer’s daughter? Is Metzer a fool too? Are they all? Has the world gone utterly bonkers? So, my verdict on Saatchi is either 1) He still loves her, and is blinded by rejection, 2) He is as mad as a hatter or 3) both. In which case I’m not sure even Nigel Lawson is safe.
This brings us to other great unanswered question of this trial : Why, oh why, does Nigel Lawson not have a hoover? How difficult is it to fit one into his pied a terre? Why were these greedy guts bent on thievery being despatched in taxi cabs across Victoria with a hoover to clean the flat of a man who has jowls so big he could quite easily use them for storing a Dyson? And then coming back in taxis to Belgravia with damp washing and a grandiose selection of Lord Lawson’s smalls because he doesn’t own a tumble dryer? He used to run the Exchequer. Why can’t he operate a clothes horse? I bet he’s fucking got one now. I bet he never wants to let a cleaner in ever again after this lot. I bet he’s thinking he got lucky that those two girls didn’t run off with his special Margaret Thatcher 70th birthday at Chequers cufflinks. I bet he’s now checking the video cupboard to ensure his copy of “How to Stop the British Economy Dead in its Tracks in Five Easy Steps!” on VHS hasn’t been lifted by those two villainesses.
Still, back to Charles “No one is as Wise as Moi” Saatchi. You see, it’s a never-ending hell he has consigned himself to now. And the more he behaves in this way, the more those fence-sitters who can’t quite be arsed with Nigella, or those who didn’t quite like Nigella (and there are people who don’t like her. Not all of whom are Anti-Semites) have their milk of human kindness stimulated to such a point that they veer over to TeamNigella at 80 miles per hour. Saatchi, it can only be assumed, is on a one man mission to become his own worst enemy. As if his physical demeanour isn’t sinister enough, he is now revealed to be even more of a psycho than we previously thought. According to Lawson’s evidence today, he only allowed her to hold dinner parties once every two years and they had a 12 foot by 12 foot silver room in their Eaton Square home filled with only tea services and candlesticks. Tea services and candlesticks. This is Howard Hughes mad. This is “golly it’s so insane I can’t turn my eyes away from the court live feed” doo lally. She’ll not refer to it again, make another television show next year, turn to the camera and lovingly lick a spoon free of organic toffee, British male knees will be set a-trembling and the entire episode will melt away in the past(a). Apparently Saatchi didn’t like her to do the washing up, so she’d call the cleaner to come over and do it, which she would, if she wasn’t already in Cannes on a spending spree. It must have been to save her hands. Well, he needn’t have bothered. She’s responding with dignity and strength. She’s come out of this marriage with her hands, and he, it seems, is playing right into them.
Please return to The London Bluebird if you enjoyed this. This blog is updated every other Thursday, so we look forward to seeing you on 19th December for our final instalment of 2013! Thank you.