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Comment: Robert Maxwell, the Bletchley businessman

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  • by John Taylor – The Way We Were
 

COR, cheers gal. That’s some awesome wheeze, bunking off from the day job for a jolly in the jungle.

And all to enlighten us plebs about the importance of politics: O,’ our adulation knows all bounds, especially since the viewers didn’t seem to give a stuff.

And supposedly not for financial gain, since the taxpayer funded salary is to be donated to charity. So don’t fret poppet, of course you didn’t need to ask our permission. We understand.

And presumably the 40 grand fee was just for expenses. Indeed praise be on high, for by this noble sacrifice our eyes are now wide open and, yessir, it’s a loadsamoney Parliamentary/showbiz career for me.

In fact pursuing this stunt, regarding the former profession it should now be OK for nurses to skive off for a spell of high profile lap dancing at Stringfellows.

Not of course for the sizeable wedge to be earned – far in excess of the pittance on the wards – but purely to heighten public awareness of the NHS.

Good grief, it now seems that we have to treat MPs as the fools they seem to take us for.

And on the subject of fooling, who could forget another one time local MP, Robert Maxwell, who by raiding the pension fund of his employees consigned many to a retirement of penury.

Born in the Czech Republic in 1923, Jan Ludvik Hoch, as was his original name, was the son of Jewish parents.

But while many of his family would perish in the Holocaust, in 1940 he escaped to Britain and served in the British army, being awarded the Military Cross for bravery. After the war he settled in Britain and now as ‘Robert Maxwell’ was naturalized in 1946.

Acquiring a small publishing firm he expanded its fortunes and in 1951 changed the name to Pergamon Press.

Then some years later at Bletchley, on the site of the old gasworks, work began for the company on a new printing and bookbinding complex.

This would be known as the Buckingham Press, but in 1966 the premises came up for sale, after Maxwell announced it had not been possible to recruit skilled staff.

Somewhat ironic, for in the same decade he had bought Bletchley Printers, the staff of which on being moved into a factory in Tavistock Street would later all be made redundant.

Apart from business, Maxwell also had Parliamentary ambitions and standing for Labour was locally elected in 1964.

In fact it seems he had the endorsement of the party’s leader, for when Bletchley railwaymen had a brief conversation with Harold Wilson, whose train had stopped at the station, they were told that Bob Maxwell was ‘a very good man.’

Indeed Maxwell involved himself in many local matters and in 1970 was guest of honour at a social evening at Little Brickhill, held for members and friends from the reformed Brickhills’ Labour Party.

About 40 people attended and Maxwell accepted a bouquet of flowers on behalf of his wife, who was indisposed.

However, he was defeated by the Conservatives that year and concentrating on business in 1980 took over the British Printing Corporation, turning it into the Maxwell Communications Corporation.

In 1984 he then bought Mirror Group Newspapers. Yet he still retained local interests and in 1985 purchased the old Cigarette Components building in Bletchley, where the company of Oyex Stationery would store all the back issues of the Daily Mirror.

Due to mounting financial difficulties he floated Mirror Group Newspapers in 1991, the same year that he sold Pergamon Press, and in November he sensationally went missing from his yacht at sea.

The body was duly retrieved but the death remained a mystery, as did his alleged role as an agent of Israeli Intelligence, Mossad, a conundrum compounded by the great honour with which he was buried in Israel.

But back to more recent times and the antics of the jungle queen. And did I really read that by her own admission much of her blog is pure fiction? Well, say no more. If true, that’s all we need to know about politicians.

 

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