Diary: Hideaway ex-PM Misick feels the weight of 'persecution'


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The Independent Online

Michael Misick, the former prime minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands, is feeling persecuted.

The British authorities, who imposed direct rule on this British Overseas Territory in 2009 because of a corruption scandal, do not know where he is, but if they could find him, they would question him about the sale of Crown land during his time in office, which enriched a handful of developers and politicians in their pay but practically bankrupted the islands. So far, 13 people including four former government ministers have been charged with complicity in a multi-million pound fraud.

Early this week, the islands' Special Investigation and Prosecution team announced they have secured an international arrest warrant for Mr Misick. From his hideaway his press release accused the British government of "political persecution" against "me and my family, former cabinet ministers and their families and a select few developers who supported me and my Progressive National Party during my tenure as premier".

Another development this week is that the interim government appointed by the Foreign Office has applied to the High Court for permission to bulldoze the headquarters of the Progressive National Party, which Mr Misick once led. It is claimed that the party built its offices on stolen Crown land.

In this country, the most interesting question about the Turks and Caicos imbroglio is whether Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, was among those who made money from the boom generated during the Misick years. He denies it, and is suing The Independent over two articles published in 2009.

Too long a maiden?

Congratulations to the former deputy prime minister Baron Heseltine of Thenford on making his maiden speech this week, 11 years after entering the House of Lords. The nation still awaits a maiden speech from Baroness Falkender, previously known as Marcia Williams, Harold Wilson's secretary, ennobled in 1974.

General Sir George marshals support

George Entwhistle, who has been head of BBC Vision since last April, is the bookies' favourite to be the next Director General of the BBC. His obvious strength is his great loyalty to the Corporation, though a potential drawback is his shortage of knowledge of the world outside. He joined the BBC as a trainee journalist in 1989 and has never worked anywhere else.

But those who think that all BBC staffers are muesli-eating lefties will be reassured to know that when he was a producer on the Sunday lunchtime politics show On the Record years ago, George's expert knowledge and fascination with military matters earned him the nickname "'General Sir George Entwhistle". His colleague of that time, the reporter Michael Gove, enjoyed the joke as much as everyone else did.

Politics, but not quite as we know it

Too many elected politicians have too little experience of the world outside politics, but there is an outstanding exception on Whitby Town Council, in North Yorkshire. Simon Parkes, a Labour councillor who is thinking also of standing for Scarborough council, has had experiences that are not just outside politics, but outside reality as most of us know it.

As a six-month-old baby, he was visited by a tall green alien with stick-like hands, huge eyes, two holes for a nose, and dressed in a purple cloak. As an 11 year old, he was taken aboard a space craft by his alien "mother" who apologised, through him, to the whole human race for genetically altering us in the early stages of evolution to dumb us down.

The interview in which Councillor Parkes describes his unusual CV includes a claim that I, for one, find hard to believe. He also says that he has "often" met Tony Blair.