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Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch were once the two biggest power brokers in British politics. T he dinner dances hosted by Robert and Betty Maxwell at their Italianate mansion in Oxford, Headington Hill Hall, were reckoned, even by hardened partygoers, to be in a class of their own. Labour party grandees would rub shoulders with captains of industry, leading scientists with newspapers editors.
Garlanded with medals, beaming his wolfish smile and with Betty by his side, Maxwell made his entrance to a fanfare of herald trumpeters. To be honest, I was frightened of his company. He had that ability to make you feel completely small and inadequate, and that just scrambled my head. And although they sucked up to him and enjoyed his hospitality, you could see them raising their eyebrows at the same time.
InMaxwell appeared to be the king of all he surveyed. From Headington Hill Hall, he gazed out over a publishing empire that stretched all the way from Oxford to Osaka. A mouthpiece through which he could proclaim his opinions to the world. But there was rather more to it than that. Owning the Mirror meant that Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch were now the two biggest power brokers in British politics.
However much he may have extolled Maxwell in public, in private Kinnock was a lot less effusive.
Shortly after Maxwell bought the Mirror, Kinnock and his wife Glenys invited the Maxwells to an informal supper in their local Italian trattoria. By coincidence, the TV playwright, Dennis Potter happened to be in the same restaurant. The two men had first met in when Maxwell tried to interest Murdoch in a company marketing encyclopedias.
But before the deal could be ed, Murdoch learned that the encyclopedias were not all they seemed to be. In fact they were bankrupt stock that the publishers had offloaded — free — on to Maxwell. Here, though, he turned out to be quite wrong. On four occasions during the s and 70s, Maxwell tried to buy a Fleet Street newspaper. Each time Murdoch got the better of him. For Maxwell, this turned into a kind of running sore.
The more Murdoch thwarted him, the more determined he was to get his revenge. For his part, Murdoch insists he never regarded Maxwell as anything more than an irritant, albeit one he could never quite manage to shake off. Constantly, the two men would be mentioned in the same breath; to make matters worse, they even shared the same initials.
It was all bullshit. Whatever we did, he wanted to do it too … He was a total buffoon really. In time, his attitude towards his arch-rival would topple from jealousy into full-blown paranoia. After he had bought the Mirror, Maxwell summoned members of the Labour frontbench to lunch at Maxwell House, as he had named his headquarters on Holborn Circus. However much they may have detested him, they had no choice but to go. Roy Hattersley, then deputy leader of the party, remembers being shown into the dining room with his political adviser, Dave Hill. Shortly after the meal started, Maxwell told the butler to leave the room and close the door.
In his increasingly desperate quest to prove that he held his own in the same arena as Murdoch, Maxwell set in train a course of events that would lead to his physical and mental disintegration, his downfall and ultimately his death. He was like at Hamleys; he had to have his toy right away. When he was in the UK, Maxwell continued to throw his — ever-increasing — weight around with characteristic abandon. If Kinnock and Hattersley knew they had to try to keep him onside, Glenys Kinnock saw no reason to follow their example.
Discovering that she had been placed next to Maxwell at the banquet he Fuck buddy near Crook pa threw at the Labour party conference, she sneaked in early and changed the name cards around. But the Maxwell who showed up at the Labour conference in October was a changed man from the Maxwell of old — sickly, despondent and mired in debt.
How I had to understand that if these people destroyed him, they would also destroy the Labour party. He was really ranting. He kept saying that it was vitally important that Neil Kinnock understood that. I remember there was a very narrow balustrade on the balcony and I had this feeling that Maxwell sort-of wanted Fuck buddy near Crook pa tip over.
It even half crossed my mind that I was going to have to reach out and grab him. The same evening there was a large party at the hotel hosted by Maxwell. Campbell invited a friend of his to come along — a man who happened to have bipolar disorder. A month later, Robert Maxwell was dead, having disappeared off the back of his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine — named after his favourite child — in circumstances that have never been fully explained.
Again the tributes could hardly have been more fulsome. But within three weeks the tide had turned more dramatically than anyone could have predicted. Just four days later, the Maxwell empire collapsed. Likewise, speculation over his death shows no of abating. But one man at least has no doubt what happened. Biography books. Maxwell on his yacht in Photograph: Rick Maiman. John Preston.
Mon 22 Feb Fall by John Preston review — the truth about Robert Maxwell. Reuse this content.Fuck buddy near Crook pa
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