15 FEBRUARY 1986, Page 30

High life

Oil spoil


New York The only time (and I mean it) I can watch American television is when I'm flat on my back suffering from a severe case of flu. Everyone who is anyone seems to have caught the bug here, but typically, mine was diagnosed as the Russian type rather than the normal 1986 Philippine virus that has been making the rounds. Which means that I had a high tempera- ture (still do in fact), aches and pains, and as much desire to work as the Sultan of Brunei. Speaking of the Sultan, I wonder what the latest drop in oil prices has done to his purse strings? What I do know, and fearlessly predict on these august pages, is that Mexico and possibly Brazil will de- fault, just as surely as there will be com- mercial breaks in American television programmes, but the language they will use (they and the American bankers who got us into this mess) will say that they are doing nothing of the kind. Who will pay for it? Easy — the American taxpayers.

There is nothing that enrages me more than the Shylock types that went out when the hook-nosed sons of the desert were squeezing us where it hurt, and issued loans to countries who they knew had the integrity of Sandinistas, and the business acumen of, say, Taki. The Federal Reserve is supposed to cover all bank failures in the US, but even the Fed is hardly a bottom- less well, and if the major banks whose assets are less than the billions they're owed by the oily ones, go bust, this place will resemble what used to be known to us playboys BC (Before Castro) as a Cuban whorehouse on a Sunday morning.

Needless to say, I think what the British Government is doing is absolutely right. It is not caving in to Arab pressure, a pressure, incidentally, I believe is aimed at their own Opec members who've been cheating like mad, and not at perfidious Albion. Black gold has now claimed far more victims than the real McCoy, and I cannot help but look back when the olive republic of Grease thought it had dis- covered oil back in the early Seventies.

The Colonels — who are still rotting in jail, but whose days many. Greeks among those who have not taken a sociology diploma and have no contact with the media, think of as halcyon — had just given up power (yes, given up) and the greedy pots had taken over. One of them came to see my old man and predicted that in no time we'd all be swimming in the stuff, and a little cash in his hand right then and they would ensure a lot of cash in daddy's pocket later.

The old boy may have foolish and profligate sons, but he himself is no fool. 'The worst thing that could happen to a poor Middle-Eastern country like Greece is to find oil. It will all be stolen by those in power, and worse, it will give the people great expectations,' was the way the Greek Dickens put it. And he turned out to be right. There was a bit of oil, almost as much as the company that Sebastian Taylor conceived and a few fools like myself financed, had come up with, but not enough for serious stealing. Which seems to be exactly what has happened to Brazil and other countries like Venezuela and Mexico in the past. Serious stealing, that is.

I say thank God Mexico was ardently socialist, and a great American-hater. Im- agine what the poofters of the Left would be saying now if those Mexican bandits had been pro-Yankee and for free enterprise? Imagine what Yoko Ono would be doing if the hundreds of thousands who are now losing their jobs every day in Texas were not, well, Texans, and too proud to beg? Imagine what all those hairy types would be up to if most of the oil workers without jobs were women?

Personally, I don't wish to imagine such unpleasant matters, therefore back I go, lidless and zombie-like, groping in the dark for my channel selector and more televi- sion culture.