Alan Sugar: Hero or Villain?


We know 'e don't like bullshitters. And 'e don't like schmoozers and 'e don't like arse-lickers. So just one question, if we may, Lordsuralan: 'oo do you like?

He don't like Richard Desmond, that's for sure. Sugar and the Daily Star proprietor recently had a bust-up over the good Lord's decision to step down from his role at internet-TV service YouView. A quarrel that led the former Amstradmeister to chase the pornster around Northern & Shell, fists clenched, in what sounds like a rehearsal for Carry On Up the Boardroom, what with all the tits involved. (That's a reference to the Daily Star offices, not the protagonists, libel fans.)

Someone else 'e ain't too 'appy wiv of late: Stella English, the winner of The Apprentice in 2010. She 'ad an impressive rezz-ew-may, but claims she was "an overpaid lackey" in Lord Sugar's employ, a "glorified PA" who had almost no contact with the big man, whom she is now suing for constructive dismissal. "Lord Sugar has forgotten one of the first rules of business," she has said: "Never underestimate someone who's got nothing to lose." Of course, Ms English has forgotten the second rule of business: never underestimate Lordsurallan. And if it ain't a rule, it oughta be.

Yes, he might be gruff, he might be short (as in brusque – what were you thinking?), he might be a little too happy to remind us all of where he came from – but he's also the sort of bloke who'll raise his fists to Dirty Desmond (and which of us wouldn't get riled by him?), and the type of man who won't pay someone off just to avoid bad press – even if, as The Apprentice voiceover used to tell us, his empire is worth £800m.

Calling Ms English "deluded", he said her case was "tantamount to blackmail", adding: "I'm insulted that I'm … having to come here and humiliate myself in front of the national media." Humiliated? None of it. Arise, Lordsuralan, good on you for standing up for yourself, no matter what mud the tribunal case was bound to churn up.