The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: I publish my letters for all to see the truth

Related Topics
AFTER the gruelling ordeal of my 'trial by media' last week, followed by my resignation as Vice-Chairman of the Honesty Helpline, I have decided to confound the devilish ways of the dread Paxman by reprinting my entire correspondence with that wily little reptile, Mr Mustapha al Satian.

My decision to publish these letters has been, I will admit, intensely painful, but I have no doubt that, looked at from the right angle, they will establish my innocence of all charges of malpractice. They will show how my business with Mr al Satian was based solely on friendship, or, to put it another way, how my friendship with al Satian was based solely on business.

December 17, 1986, Biddle and Bobbs Food Halls: Dear Mr al Satian, Christmas shopping for this year finished at last - and most of next year's shopping too] And all thanks to Biddle and Bobbs] Receipt enclosed] Prompt reimbursement would be appreciated] Yours ever, W Arnold.

PS As a first-class season ticket-holder with British Rail, I will of course be using my influence with the PM to ensure that the proposed Channel Tunnel Rail-link emerges not at Victoria or King's Cross but in Knightsbridge, bang opposite Biddle and Bobbs - by far the most sensible choice for all concerned.

July 25, 1987, The Hotel al Satian, Rome: Dear Mustapha, Bedroom excellent, service faultless, receipt enclosed. By the by, you might notice that today's bill includes luncheon for four. Though I ate by myself, my meal proved so delicious that I ordered three more to be sent to my country address in Berkshire for consumption at a later date - a terrific compliment to you and your superlative chef] Incidentally, as a cardholder of the Marylebone District Library, I will have no hesitation in using my contacts in Government to make doubly certain that the proposed extension to the M4 will be diverted straight through South Kensington to the front door of Biddle and Bobbs. Yours, WA.

PS Room service of full afternoon tea with champagne has just arrived - all well up to scratch as per u, particularly the extra eclairs.

December 19, 1990, Luxury Resort al Satian sur Mer, Marbella. My dear Mustapha, Having a lovely time. 'Wish you were here' (an old English expression, not meant to be taken literally).

Thank you for your letter. You ask why the Channel Tunnel Rail-link seems to have emerged at Victoria rather than opposite Biddle and Bobbs in Knightsbridge. Fair question, and one which I look forward to answering in due course.

Where shall we meet? May I suggest the Presidential suite at your excellent hotel in Manhattan? It is so wonderfully well-equipped for the busy traveller. A stay of two or three weeks would suit me down to the ground, and I'm sure I could fit you in for a good few mins. Would you be so kind as to arrange it for me? With many thanks, Your old friend, Wallace Arnold.

PS I have every hope that the new PM will look warmly on our plans to convert the little used Westminster Hall into a prestige development of the central London arm of Biddle and Bobbs, specialising in fabrics and soft furnishings - but I plan to give him a month or two to 'settle in' before 'locking him into it'. W.

May 2, 1993, Smith Square. Dear Mustapha, But I thought we were friends] I never promised that al Satian Holdings would be the natural choice to develop Hyde Park as Britain's foremost Grand Prix circuit, with full catering facilities overseen by Biddle and Bobbs - I merely mentioned that if the Park were to be so developed, I could see no reason why Biddle and Bobbs couldn't handle the ice lolly franchise. Yours sincerely, Wallace.

PS You wrongly assert that I have accepted 'hospitality' from you in the past. Not so. I have paid absolutely all my bills in full at each of your commercial outlets, save those you chose, for whatever reason, to pay yourself.

February 4, 1994, From the Office of the Vice-Chairman of the Honesty Helpline: Dear Mr al Satian, The Vice-Chairman has asked me to thank you for your letter. Due to pressure of work, he regrets he cannot enter into personal correspondence. Nevertheless, he strenuously denies all knowledge of everything appertaining to anything. Yours faithfully, D. Smithers (Mrs).

PS Please find enclosed a copy of our new departmental leaflet, 'Honesty - The Best Policy'.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
New SNP MP Mhairi Black distinguished herself in Westminster straight away when she made herself a chip butty in the canteen  

The SNP adventure arrives in Westminister - but how long before these new MPs go native?

Katy Guest
The Public Accounts Committee found widespread concern among civil servants that they would be victimised if they spoke out about wrongdoing  

Nikileaks explained: The sad thing about the Nicola Sturgeon saga is that it makes leaks less likely

Jane Merrick
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?