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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Bankruptcy

28 May 2004

In another fascinating News of the World exclusive this Sunday, ex-prime-timer and over-fussy swimmer Michael Barrymore revealed that he has just had to declare himself bankrupt. And a million lonely grandmothers wept into their muffs. It’s an interesting word, bankruptcy. As well as having many connotations and diverse applications, it’s also often used - or so it seems - to describe rich people who are not as rich as they used to be and are very keen to avoid becoming even less rich. "I've just declared myself bankrupt so obviously I owe more than I have," said the ex-game show host. Christ, who doesn’t?

Apparently it was a £1.4 million tax bill from the Inland Revenue which finally nudged him into the poorhouse and forced him to sell his Essex mansion and fleet of vintage cars. Selling his Bentley Azure, he says, was the hardest part. "It was the car of my dreams," he said. "I'd look at it and couldn't believe it was mine." You’d think that would make it easier to let it go. But no. You’d be wrong. There are those cynical few of course who suggest that the failed entertainer is as devious as he was once popular. These cynics reckon he’s got a few million stashed away in foreign bank accounts. Barrymore shakes his sad enormous head at such cynicism and, emptying his pockets to prove a point, says, "That's cynics being cynics." He prays for them.

Barrymore now lives in New Zealand, where presumably he sleeps in a box on the beach with the words "Do you wanna bank it?" going round and round in his brain. One thing is certain. Michael Barrymore is not bankrupt in the same way the US government are bankrupt. According to Amnesty International general secretary Irene Khan, who accused Bush’s government of committing the worst human rights abuses in 50 years, "The global security agenda promoted by the US administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle.2 Actually, maybe he is.

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