I see your angry face as you try to shove past the reporters, the shade of puce normally reserved for a fingertip with an elastic band wound too tight around it. You’re absolutely fucking livid, aren’t you, Philip Green? There are journalists all over you like Tippex on a tax report and you’re sick of it. The entire country thought you were a pension-robbing odious scumbag and you spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to try and preserve that pristine reputation. Then Peter Hain opened his gob in parliament and put an end to all of it.
I don’t know what’s funnier – the colossal waste of money, or the fact you thought you had a reputation worth protecting in the first place. You essentially asked the courts to park a bus in front of a raging yellow bin fire. Did you really think we couldn’t see the smoke and smell the burning turds? You’re Philip Green, for Christ’s sake. Your name might be the colour of money but you’re everything that’s wrong with it, your face synonymous with unbridled greed and the delusions of grandeur that come with wealth. That you might also a bit gross, rude and racist is about as surprising as finding semen in a Travelodge. You’re the TV screen, Philip Green. No-one sane needed a blacklight to realise that you’re disgusting.
Naturally you’re going for the full redirect – that Peter Hain abused his parliamentary privilege and ignored the rule of law. Even if he has, isn’t it time we had a look at the ways NDAs are used to cover-up allegations of abuse? If you have nothing to apologise for they shouldn’t have been needed. Innocent men typically care more about their integrity than chucking money at a problem until it goes away, and you’ve been chucking like a woodchuck chucks if a woodchuck could chuck money to silence employees he sexually harassed and bullied. That your denial is carefully worded to cover ‘unlawful behaviour’ is pretty telling – gotta keep moving those goalposts, haven’t you?
Which is sort of the point. Why are those without the money and power expected to just laugh and shrug off the behaviour that demeans and embarrasses them? I’ve no doubt you consider your actions “just banter”, Philip Green, but the awkward laughter and inward cringes you’ve clearly taken as tacit acceptance of your antics is anything but. It’s the defence mechanism of a room full of people who have no power to call out the sentient boorish Toby jug at the head of the boardroom table for creeping them the fuck out. It’s the sort of unpleasant interaction that we’ve all experienced and that women have to live with every single day. That you’ve gone far enough that you’ve had to slap NDAs on people suggests you were a damn sight more inappropriate than most, and the fact there are five of the fucking things implies that you didn’t start learning any lessons after the first one.
But will you give a shit? There’s not a world in which you’ll ever take any responsibility for your own excesses, as obsessed as you are with the trappings of wealth and celebrity, a Fraud of Fraud Hall for the 21st Century. Any apology will be a desperate face-saving exercise just like last time, a desperate attempt to save your knighthood from the hot coals before you’re hauled over them by the court of public opinion.
I see you, Philip Green, clutching your stomach as you waddle into the alley. I see you consider the brickwork, looking around for witnesses, a sneaky little nighttime miscreant who’s had a few too many drinks and needs to relieve himself. I hear you unzip your flies, and I hear you grunt and strain.
Then I hear the metallic clatter, Philip Green, and I see the pound coins bouncing off the bricks, scattering over your shoes. I hear you sigh with relief, certain you’re fixing the problem, the strain in your guts easing as you empty the pockets of your bladder.
I see the figure approach and stand next to you, his face full of disgust. You’re oblivious, Philip Green, as he stretches out a hand and pushes. I see the wall collapse, crashing to the ground and kicking up dust, choking the crowd on the other side. I see them as they turn to look, horrified at what they see. I see you grimace, caught in the act, finally empathising with those BHS employees who were nearly left without a pot to piss in.
You thought you were being clever, Philip Green. But Peter Hain’s just walked up and pushed over the wall you were pissing your money up, and now everyone can see what little worth you actually have.
I see you, Philip Green. I fucking see you.