Anorak News | Guinea Foul

Guinea Foul

by | 26th, August 2004

‘FOR the thousands of holidaymakers stuck in airports, train stations and their cars as they try to get away for the Bank Holiday weekend, the Independent has a tale to while away a few hours.

‘Mark, Mark, Mark, In, In, In!’

This ‘implausible thriller’ involves Margaret Thatcher’s charmless son Mark, a pile of money, an alleged plot to overthrow the head of an oil-rich African state…and guns.

And it begins with Mark Thatcher being arrested and charged in his South African home over his part in an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

After being released from jail, where he was robbed of his shoes, jacket and mobile phone (all later returned), ‘3 O-levels Mark’ defended his honour.

‘I have no involvement in an alleged coup in Equatorial Guinea and I reject any suggestion to the contrary,’ says he.

Someone as arrogant as Thatcher would most likely expect his words to be taken on face value and the matter to rest there.

But South Africa’s elite police squad, the Scorpions, frown on tales of mercenaries and fomenting political unrest and claim to have ‘credible evidence, and information that he [Thatcher] was involved in the attempted coup’.

And so began what the Times calls ‘Sir Mark’s awful day’, a day when the man who inherited his baronetcy when his father died and has amassed a reputed £60m fortune was arrested at home…in his pyjamas.

Police sources say Thatcher behaved nervously, but no more so than anyone having his house searched for seven hours by thick-necked South African police would have.

And that he was not handcuffed when those same police took him to the station.

A different character to the chinless, law-abiding Thatcher might have even tried to overpower the cops and seized control of the vehicle.

But this is Mark Thatcher, the man whose claims to fame include getting lost on the Paris-Dakar rally in 1982 – he could have end up anywhere, perhaps even in Equatorial Guinea.

But if this story is not enough – and for us and the papers, which salivate over it for many pages, it’s almost too much – the Times places a cherry up Thatcher’s cooking goose.

Know that: ‘Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare also faces being drawn into the legal aftermath if the High Court in London finds that he was involved.’

Whether he was or wasn’t, what’s the betting that Archer will rewrite this sensational summer blockbuster in his own style, with Thatcher as the motor racing champion-turned oil magnate and Archer as the popular, fearless and athletic African king…’

Posted: 26th, August 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink