In the early seventies Canadian magnate Roy Thomson's family fortune was vastly enhanced by a speculative co-investment with Armand Hammer in the North Sea. At the time British Energy Minister Tony Benn insisted on Scottish bidders. Thomson owning a Scottish newspaper was considered to suffice in desperate resort. When the bankers forming the consortium for Thomson sent a fax regarding their fee, a typo led to read that it should be increased as they had "played a bugger role."

Benn had previously, under the first Wilson government, been involved in the state sponsored restructuring of British industry. This helped facilitate, among other things, the liquidation of several assets into the hands of Jim Slater who's shell Slater Walker was one of the first raiders in Britain. When Slater Walker collapsed in the secondary banking crisis of 1975, Slater declared that "cash was now the best investment". The Bank of England was forced to bailout out the shell and acquire Slater Walker's banking book.

By the late seventies, having written several cheap options for the taxpayer's account, Benn had a change of heart. He turned to promote pipe smoking syndicalism as the way forward.

Armand Hammer later cameo-ed on the Cosby show. Benn had tea and biscuits with Saddam on Channel 4 news.

All were wise men.


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