Miles Kington: Noblesse oblige - just don't tell Jack Dromey

Having problems getting and keeping a title? Today's advice column is just for you!
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The Independent Online

Q. My name is Edward Carr-Bootle. I recently lent a large sum of money to the Labour Party on the understanding that my wife, Lavinia, should become Lady Lavinia. I have now been told that this is not possible, and that I must accept a title as well. I don't want a title. It's only her that wants a title. I refuse to accept a title as a matter of principle, being a man of the people, even if I am married to an ambitious, upwardly mobile woman who is desperate to enter society at any level. I don't mind what she gets up to, but I am anxious to retain my roots. Can we not be known as Mr and Lady Lavinia Carr-Bootle?

A. No.

Q. I recently acquired a title (Lord L'Oréal) in return for a loan to the Labour Party of £500,000. They have recently repaid the loan and now say that they want the title back. It was never made clear to me that the title was only a loan as well. Do I really have to give the title back? I have come to enjoy the little perks that go with possessing a title, such as running up huge bills, getting tables in restaurants and hobnobbing with Melvyn Bragg. I would be distressed to go back to the old humdrum days as a plain Mister. Is there no way I can keep the title?

A. No.

Q. My name is Frank Chattle and through no fault of my own I have become a millionaire in the London Olympics Futures business. (Briefly, this involved buying up huge swathes of property in the areas where they would be likely to put the swimming pools and cycle tracks if they got the Games for London, so that I could then sell out at a huge profit. This I have now done, but there is a lot of risk involved in this. For instance, I know a bloke who did the same thing in Paris, gambling on the fact that France would get the Games, and he is now lumbered with a lot of run-down property, I can tell you, hence the recent riots, whereas I am sitting pretty.) Where was I? Oh, yes - anyway, I feel a bit guilty about making such an enormous profit out of the London bid, so I have donated a million quid to the Labour party, and now they are trying to insist that I take a title for my pains. Well, blimey, I don't want a title! I don't want to be Lord Velodrome or whatever. For one thing, it might alert the tax people to my little schemes. For another, I like being plain Frank Chattle. Is there any way I can avoid being titled?

A. No.

Q. My father, Lord Wansdyke, recently died, and being his eldest son I inherited the title and became Lord Wansdyke. Three days after I took on the title, I received a bill from the Parliamentary Labour Party for £1m. At first I thought it was for death duties, but I now think that they assume I bought the title. Doesn't the Labour Party know there are still other ways of acquiring a title apart from a cash purchase?

A. No.

Q. Every time you get a scandal these days, it turns out that somebody involved is married to someone in the government. David Mills, who is said to have taken money from Berlusconi, was married to Tessa Jowell. Jack Dromey, the man who blew the whistle on the titles-for-loans scam, is married to Harriet Harman. So, was Berlusconi after an English peerage, then? Alternatively, wouldn't it be easier to make him Lord Dromey and shut him up?

A. No.

Q. I can't help noticing that you advice service is remarkably monosyllabic and unhelpful. Why aren't you giving people a proper advice service? Incidentally, I enclose a cheque for £250,000 to help cover your expenses in this venture.

A. Now you're talking! Under separate cover I am enclosing a small unwanted knighthood, and also a signed copy of my best-selling booklet: "How To Turn Your Title Into Hard Cash And Go Straight To the Top Of The Queue".

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