3 OCTOBER 1992, Page 40

High life

Whiff of scandal Taki

The latest memoir about Teddy Ken- nedy, written by a former Kennedy aide with an unstable background, rings a bell. Seventeen years ago Teddy flew into Athens with his nephew Joe, now a con- gressman from Massachusetts, and rang me from the Grande Bretagne Hotel — where the boys were billeted — asking me to din- ner and an introduction or two. I took an American girlfriend I had at the time, and she brought a friend of hers for Teddy. After dinner in their suite I went on ahead with Joe to a night-club, while the senator stayed behind, saying he had to make a few calls to Washington. Well, you can guess the rest. Anita, his date, arrived late in my flat complaining that he had inhaled a bagful of poppers — amyl nitrate — and tried to seduce her, but after she protested he had let her go with- out a struggle. Given the fact that Anita was a serious and extremely nice girl, I was inclined to believe her, and still am. S° when the Kennedy machine began to demolish Richard Burke, the author of the opus, last week, pointing out that he had suffered a nervous breakdown and is filing for personal bankruptcy, I thought of Athens and what took place back in the Grande Bretagne. In his memoir Burke states categorically that Kennedy inhaled amyl nitrate and sniffed cocaine. While, dining with him in Athens I thought I had smelled poppers but I wasn't sure. Now the drug question is out in the open. My Amer- ican spies tell me the charges won't stick. It there ever was a Teflon senator, Teddy's

Mind you, I'm not one to talk, having had my own drug problems, but the poor little Greek boy is not running for office; the porcine Kennedy is. In fact, Ted Kennedy sitting in judgment on people like Judge Bork, or Thomas for that matter, is as ludicrous as the cowardly draft-dodger Bill Clinton running for President of the United States.

Needless to say, there's not a hell of a lot I can do about the latter. President Bush, a decent man, a gent and the youngest fight- er pilot in the US Navy during the second world war. is getting the blame for the rot- ten economy, which may or may not be right. What is for sure is the fact that the press and networks have all turned against him with a vengeance. His strong stance over Israel — a correct one, as is now obvi- ous __. turned traditional Republican pun- dits like William Safire against him. Ditto the neo-Cons. And, of course, the New York Times and Washington Post, both Jewish-owned and fanatically pro-Israel.

Given the fact that Prime Minister Rabin himself has advised the Israeli lobby in Washington to cool it, I find it incredible that Bush and Baker have been smeared as anti-Semites by the likes of the hysterical and ludicrous Abe Rosenthal, a man whose wife I feel very sorry for if he makes love as badly as he writes.

And speaking of feeling sorry, I was on my best behaviour last week, as her Serene Highness, the mother of my children, flew Into London for her birthday and the Goulandris wedding. This meant no finan- cial advising for the duration, but I man- aged to cope just fine. At my age I don't dispense as much financial advice as I used to, although it all depends whom I'm advis- ing. There is nothing like a young person asking for financial advice to get one feel- ing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And yet it can be ironic. At times I find myself giving financial advice and still paying for giving Oh well, it could be worse. I could look like Teddy Kennedy, or write like Abe Rosenthal. Having to pay for giving finan- cial advice is the least of my problems.

Jeffrey Bernard has broken his hip.