10 OCTOBER 1981, Page 30

High life



Athens Although it seems perverse, if not downright sacrilegious, to write about a neurotic rich woman while one of the bravest and noblest of men lies murdered in Cairo, such is the futility and irony of life that I find myself immune from shock (I do wonder at such times, however, what the All-Powerful One in the sky is trying to do). Ten months ago I was in New York when John Lennon was murdered by a soi disant admirer, and I witnessed the mass hysteria that followed his death. The fact that Lennon and his untalented wife had openly preached the benefits of drugs, as well as the benevolence of such Stalinist regimes as those of the Khmer Rouge and of North Vietnam, did not deter the millions who mourned him from elevating him to the kind of pantheon reserved for mythological kings and gods. Therefore, as we are living at a time when rock stars, movie actors and athletes are more revered than saints, I will not be surprised if President Sadat's death is soon overshadowed by the fact that Christina Onassis-Bolker-AndreadisKausoy is soon to give birth out of wedlock.

The father of the child is the son of a London-based Greek shipowner, and is ten years Christina's junior, as well as weighing rather less than she does. Will Christina be made an honest woman by her Greek, or will she follow the example of Anna Ford? This life-and-death issue will, I predict, cost no less than a rain forest or two in newsprint before it's resolved. In the meantime we shall all have to hold our breath, stiffen our upper lip, and wait.

Although I confess that I do read William Hickey in the Daily Express before turning over to find out what David Owen, Shirley Williams et al have been up to, I am not so sure that I should feel guilty about it. It is not the issues but the people who propagate them that make me yawn. I simply have no faith in politicians of the Centre and of the Left, and certainly very few Tories with a working-class background a-la-Heath. On the other hand, I do trust the aristocrat politician. And the reason is simple: envy, unlike the other deadly sins, does not provide gratification, but envy can seek gratification in attacking the privileged, the good, the healthy and the rich. Shirley Williams, who has had a better education than 99 per cent of the English population, knew the mileage she could get out of envy where education was concerned. And she went ahead and destroyed the English grammar school. I think a hell of a lot of people are as fed up with the humbug of our politicians as I am — so the attention given to Christina's baby, Jackie's and Warren's concupiscence, and Bianca's age, is excusable if not downright understandable.

About a year and a half ago I was approached by a serious and respected publisher and asked to write a book on the life of . . . Christina Onassis. I was offered an indecent amount of money for it too. When I asked him who on earth he thought would be interested in reading such a book he said that people today are looking inwards and do not like what they see, so they prefer to live vicariously, and read about the exploits of the super-rich like the Onassis women. After I declined, another writer was brought in and he is in the middle of her biography right now. Although I think very little of hoi polloi, I do feel sorry for them if they expect to live vicariously reading about Christina's life. Nevertheless, I am ready to offer a case of Dom Perignon to any loyal Spectator reader who finds the memoirs of any of those professional politicians who recently gathered at Brighton more honest — therefore interesting — than the biography of Sergei Kausov's ex . . .