Bad day at the office 15

Never mind the buttocks low res

New card design triggers Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Anarchy in the UK Cash Cowboys

Vicious internecine warfare has broken out again in the offices of UK Cash Cowboys where I work, about the new designs on the front of our credit cards. If you haven’t seen them yet, I guess you’ve not been on social media today. The artwork, which sends up the iconic album cover of Never Mind The Buttocks by 1970’s punk legends The Jizz Rifles, was created by our London agency PRICKS (Pratt Rypov Igo Charlatan Konman & Shytter), who were responsible for our recent TV ads of a ukulele-playing pigeon and a tortoise on a roller-skate. For anyone unfamiliar with the famous Never Mind The Buttocks cover, it features a picture of a guy with a rather prominent erection in a pair of tight swim trunks. Our CMO Dick Holder described the radical credit card design as “one in the eye for the other banks”.

Dick announced the strapline – Bring a bit of hypocrisy to your wallet!  that would support the ad campaign to me and the rest of the in-house marketing team yesterday, before it all went live today.

Stig Chuchwarden, the designer who sits opposite me in the creative studio, summed it up nicely when he threw me a baffled look over Dick’s shoulder, silently mouthing the words, “what the fuck?”

Apparently a veritable shitstorm has broken in the press today after several newspapers took offence at the use of the word ‘buttocks’ on a credit card. Marketing Week called it “utter cock”. While even PRICKS own Managing Director Uge Pratt went slightly defensive, describing his agency’s campaign as “a breathtakingly audacious piece of advertising bullshit”.  It caused our CEO Cleopatra LeGrande to rush out a hasty press release this morning defending the crass artwork that will be shoved into the faces of unsuspecting shop assistants across the world from today.

The card cock up comes at a sticky time for UK Cash Cowboys and our Rottweiler of a CEO, who have come in for a barrage of criticism this week. First when it was revealed that our crap pension actually blocks customers from being able to get at the money they’ve saved up, when they come to retire, a story which The Telegraph first ran last Friday. And secondly when a rumour began going round the office that LeGrande was being investigated for insider dealing. Woo fucking hoo. Fist pumps all round the studio were the order of the day when that little baby first popped up.

In an article last week in the Daily Rail’s, ‘Mafia Bank Bosses’ supplement, it was revealed that:

“LeGrande had worked for the disgraced Fred Goering, who she helped steer the Royal Bank of Snodland to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis. For five years she ran its calamitous £65bn mortgage business, lending money to destitute nutters like it was going out of fashion. Finally, when she got wind that the bank was about to go tits up, she phoned Sir Rich Pickle, who had always told her she would be welcomed back at the Cowboys. The timing of her departure in 2007 was immaculate, coming little less than a year before the bank went over a cliff.”

There was a little graphic in the article showing how Cleopatra had sold her RBS shares for £21.98 each in 2007. They subsequently fell to 50p in the bailout, and are still only worth £3.50 today. The headline in the graphic called it ‘Good timing’.  However, there’s a rumour going round that someone has drawn LeGrande’s ‘immaculate timing’ to the attention of the Financial Conduct Authority, pointing out that it appears to tick every box in the definition of ‘insider information’.

“A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly traded company that could provide a financial advantage when used to buy or sell shares of the company’s stock. Insider information is typically gained by someone who is working within or close to a listed company. If a person uses insider information to place trades, he or she can be found guilty of insider trading. Insider trading is illegal when the material information has not been made public and has been traded on. This is because the information gives those having this knowledge an unfair advantage.”

Watch this space, as they say. But if anyone’s expecting to see our haughty CEO in chains any time soon, don’t get your hopes up. Cleopatra LeGrande’s CV lists a diploma she received from the Sepp Blatter school of bribery and corruption among her professional qualifcations. Not for nothing is she known in the banking world as the Teflon Tracy. Brushing off all the criticism her press release began in typically bullish mood this morning:

“No, the credit card designs aren’t a pathetic marketing gimmick, you fuckwits. They’re just the latest step in our quest to cheapen and debase UK banking. For a long time now UK banks have been professional and business-like, with the same attitude towards their financial products and customers. At UK Cash Cowboys we’re aiming to change that, by completely mugging everyone off. In launching these cards we wanted to celebrate the Cowboys heritage and difference, by commemorating the iconic punk band 38 years after they first signed to Cowboys Records. The Jizz Rifles challenged the establishment. They swore and spat in people’s faces. Just as we are doing today in our quest to drag UK banking into the gutter. Did people really think we’d let them have their pension savings back when they reached retirement? How the fuck do they expect me to cream off a fat profit to pay my bonus if they take all their money out, FFS! If you’re all too thick to see that it’s not my problem love. Now get out of my way, I have a lunch appointment with the Chancellor at twelve.”

For those who don’t know, The Jizz Rifles were first signed up to Cowboys Records in May 1977 after being dropped by both EMI and A&M Records. Their loud trashy music, foul-mouthed lyrics, obscene gestures and torn clothes held together with safety pins were at the forefront of the iconic punk rebellion in the late 70s.

When the band’s lead singer Jimmy Gangrene sang the words “I am a paedo-phile, I am a paedo-phile!” all those years ago, I bet he never imagined The Jizz Rifles’ name would one day be used to endorse our credit card at the Cowboys. Then again, I bet he never thought he’d appear in the reality TV series I’m A Failed Celebrity Who Nobody Remembers Anymore Get Me Out Of Here, or on a TV ad for Downton Margarine. Strange times we live in.

The Jizz Rifles are an important part of Cowboys’ history,” said our Global Group Chairman, Sir Rich Pickle, fighting a stiff rear-guard action from his Caribbean retreat Slapper Island this morning. “Okay, UK Cash Cowboys might be a total joke as a bank, run by a psychotic CEO who’ll kill anyone who stands in the way of her obscene end of year bonus, but the Cowboys’ brand has a long and distinguished track record of pretending to be on the consumer’s side while completely mugging everyone off, so I love the fact that the team have chosen to fuck the public over again in this way. Even after nearly 40 years the Rifles’ power to jizz all over your face is undimmed.”

Apparently Cleopatra, who received a CBE for services to bullying in this year’s New Year’s Honours list, was locked in a two-hour conf call with Sir Rich this morning, cooking up some bullshit story to try and deflect the storm of criticism that the lame marketing gimmick has attracted. Afterwards it was agreed Sir Rich would post a statement on the Cowboys’ blog, under the headline: ‘Never mind the buttocks, we’re still being censored!’  Here’s what he posted, word for word.

“When Cleopatra LeGrande, the CEO of our Cowboys banking franchise in the UK, suggested celebrating Cowboys’ unique music heritage by launching Jizz Rifles credit cards, I thought it was a blinding idea. I was looking forward to seeing the classic Never Mind The Buttocks slogan loud and proud across our advertising again. It’s fun, iconic and the guy in the Speedos with the huge erection will certainly catch the eye. However, as we began to book in advertising slots we discovered some newspapers still took offence at the word buttocks and asked for censored versions of our ads. The Jizz Rifles clearly still have the power to provoke nearly 40 years on. As Jimmy Gangrene would say, ‘It’s deja vu all over again!’

“Did you know that apparently buttocks is the eighth most offensive word in the English language? I really don’t see what everyone’s problem is. Only last year I emailed Cowboys Atlantic’s CEO Ben Dover using the word buttocks and his IT system blocked my message for being ‘profane, vulgar or offensive’. WTF? Fucking sort it Ben, you muppet, I told him. Or you’re out. When Ben protested I smugly reminded him about the time we won a court case proving the word ‘buttocks’ was not rude or profane. If you remember, the Bitchfield police in Norfolk once took us to court for advertising Never Mind The Buttocks in our Cowboys Records store windows back in the 70s. They argued ‘buttocks’ was a derivative of ‘arse’, FFS. How ridiculous can you get. I contacted the linguistics professor at the world-famous Bitchfield University, who soon put them straight. ‘What a load of shite,’ he said. ‘Buttocks has clearly nothing to do with arse. What are they thinking of? Fucking amateurs.’ On the contrary, as he went on to prove through scholarly argument, ‘buttocks’ was a popular nickname given to 17th Century nuns. As it turned out, the professor actually turned out to be a transgender nun himself, and appeared as our expert witness in court – complete with his dog collar and bra. The case was thrown out. ‘Thanks for clearing that up,’ said Ben.

“That was back in 1977. Who would have thought the word ‘buttocks’ would still be censored in 2015? Then again, who would have thought the guy who brought you The Jizz Rifles would own a bank? Radical huh? I’m such trendy guy even though I’m a hundred and thirty four years old. That’s what money can do, pal. Hey, thankfully, my bank is a bank unlike any other. That’s what this campaign is saying. We’re a bank committed to mugging everyone off, taking the piss out of the public by pretending to be young and trendy, a consumer champion on your side, while selling you rank financial tat that frankly I wouldn’t recommend to my nineteen year old Swedish au pair’s dog, Randy. We laugh in your faces, losers. As we like to say: There’s Cowboys, and there’s UK Cash Cowboys, so buttocks to that! Fuck you!”

I’ll perhaps give the final word to the Daily Rail’s financial columnist Oprah Purse. Referring to our new gaudily-designed credit card’s hefty 2,348,099% interest rate, Oprah asked the question, “Never mind the artwork, what about the APR?”

It’s a good question. And to be fair, one I had flagged to my boss Norman Shylock in a meeting a few weeks ago, but he slapped me down, saying nobody would notice if we put a nice picture of the front.


We’re apparently also under investigation by the FCA on suspicion of producing financial advertisements while under the influence of illegal substances. The news just broke on Reuters after images of our Jizz Rifles credit cards started going viral on Twatter.

Yawn, I’m off to lunch.

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Bad day at the office 14

UK Cash Cowboys Bank Front low res

UK challenger bank launches sleazy high street sex shops to help boost sales


UK Cash Cowboys launch high street sex shops to help flog its balance transfer credit cards

Ainsley Fibber / Bitchfield Evening Standard / 30 April 2015

The well-respected credit card giant Barkercard is locked in a death struggle this morning with the cheap and nasty newcomer to the market, UK Cash Cowboys, who today launched a challenger to Barkercard’s market-leading 36 month balance transfer credit card.

While both company’s cards offer 0% for 36 months, the Cowboys 1999% per cent APR is considerably higher than Barkercard’s 18.9%, whose 2.99% balance transfer fee is also dwarfed by the Cowboys’ 119.99%. So basically, for every £100 of debt you transfer to the Cowboys’ card, they charge you £120. And if you slip a day over the 3 years without clearing the balance, expect to be paying thousands in interest from day one. It’s all there in the small-print if you look, under the section titled ‘Don’t look here, it’s all boring, just buy the card and everything will be fine’.

But before you reject the Cowboys Credit Card out of hand it comes with additional customer benefits that really make it stand out from competitors like Barkercard. In fact, in its latest blatant attempt to bribe customers into buying some of its financial tat, the upstart challenger bank has renamed its high street branches as ‘Garden Sheds’ and launched half a dozen chill-style ‘Steam Rooms’ on the streets of our towns and cities, for customers to hang out, buy stuff, and have sex.

The refurbished high street properties, which were recently purchased from the national dry-cleaning chain Starchleys after they went bankrupt, were given a quick hoover and a lick of paint in an overnight re-branding exercise, before having a new logo slapped on and opening their doors as UK Cash Cowboys.

The bank have opened 75 of these Garden Sheds, or ‘Sheds’ as they’re being radically called by the challenger bank, in towns and cities up and down the country, where customers can pay in and withdraw money, just like in a normal bank branch.

But the Steam Rooms are where the real action is. These are an entirely new concept which are for now only being trialled in a handful of major cities like London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Norwich to measure customer interest. Customers won’t actually be able to do any banking transactions in the Steam Rooms. They’ll be more like drop-in centres where customers can put up their feet after a hard day’s shopping, relax on a sofa and check out UK Cash Cowboys’ new balance transfer card and range of other exorbitantly-priced financial products on a company iPad, while being distracted by a live sex show streaming onto overhead TV screens.

“They were originally going to be named something safe like Lounges or Stores where we’d bribe the punters with free coffee and sticky buns and tacky shit like that, you know, colouring books for the kids, but that just felt really lame,” said Chief Marketing Officer Dick Holder. “We decided if we were going to really stand out from the other banks we’d need next level thinking. So we briefed in our agency, Pratt, Rypov, Igo, Charlatan, Konman and Shytter, you know, the geniuses behind our new Pigeon Ukulele Blues and Tortoise on a roller skate TV ads. They’ve come up with the whole brilliant Steam Room idea, which is like so totally out there. I mean, they grey-skied the whole concept of what we all crave as human beings. Once you’ve got the boring shit like tea and coffee out the way, basically sex is where it’s at. And Steam Room so captures the whole free sex thing, don’t you think? Completely radical. Have you had a look inside one yet? You can get condoms, Viagra, sex toys, amyl nitrate, morning after pills, abortions. We’ve really pushed the envelope on this one. You can’t get this kind of bare-faced bribery at any other bank.”

When I quizzed the CMO about the thinking behind calling their main high street branches ‘Garden Sheds’, and whether that might confuse customers, Holder was unrepentant. Slapping me across the face, he said, “Watch it, sonny. Any more lip from you and you’ll be feeding fish at the bottom of the Wensum. You are dicking around with the wrong people. We are bankers. You don’t question ANYTHING we do, kapeesh? Not if you want to keep your fingernails on. Listen, the Sheds are like, where you typically keep all your tools and knick-knacks when you want to do shit, yeah? Keep up. So we had the idea that our branches, sorry, our Sheds were like where you could do all your banking shizzle, you with me? You come in, buy some insurance, pay into our pension, gamble a few grand on dodgy shares, so we get to fuck you over and take all your money. All under one roof. Like a shed. Geddit?”

In a first for a UK high street bank, the Steam Rooms will be staffed by teams of highly photogenic ‘Trolley Dollies’ and oiled-up ‘Gladiators’. The dress code will be chic see-through lingerie, dicky-bows and thongs. The staff will offer a range of casual sexual services for free, to the drop in customers. “It’s a hooooge win-win,” said Xerxes, one of the Gladiators from the Norwich Steam Room, “I get to boff loads of massively frustrated housewives with serious nymphomaniac issues, who just pop in for a five minute top-up on their way to Tesco. For them they get to be famous by appearing in the videos, as well as getting a right proper seeing-to. I’ve not had any complaints, put it like that. I think this kind of commitment to customer service is a real first for UK banking, which definitely sets UK Cash Cowboys apart from the other boring banks. To be honest me and Emma thought it would have been brill to call it like, you know, a Speakeasy, Den or Massive, some bad shit like that. But I guess with all the boy girl action going on in the Customer Satisfaction Cubicles upstairs management wanted to keep it real. See that chandelier swinging? That’s proper gland to gland combat, that is. You could write your name on the mirrors in the bogs up there.”

Xerxes’ sentiment was echoed by CEO Cleopatra LeGrande, who was awarded a CBE for services to bullying in the recent New Years’ Honours list. “We think it’ll be a real game changer. I mean, name me another bank where a poor person can just drop in and get a quick BJ from a smoking hot bimbo, or you can drop off your wife for a cheeky bit of double DP by two totally ripped hunks hung like trident missiles? We’re hoping this blatant appeal to the basest desires of our punters will encourage them to buy loads of our over-priced crap and increase my already considerable personal fortune massively, so like my bonuses are off the map. Why are you looking at me like that? Have you ever broken a bone? Do you how painful it is? In fact, do you know what it’s like to have your fingers pulled back til they snap, sweetheart? Well take that stupid look off your face then. I’m running a bank, lovey, not a nursery.”

The bank’s Culture Director, Steve ‘WD40’ Lovett, was excited about the Cowboys new move into bricks and mortar. “When Starchleys went bankrupt, we thought, get in. I mean you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, do you. We’d been hanging around for years hoping to pick up a bank on the cheap, to give us some kind of ersatz credibility on the high street. So naturally when Starchleys went tits up we were in there like a rat up a drainpipe. Bosh. Take that you muppet. Got them for an absolute steal. For now we’ve just opened Steam Rooms in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Norwich. We’re still in ‘proof of concept’ stage, yeah. Once we’ve demonstrated we can really hook the mugs in with promises of free casual sex on tap, then get them to buy shed loads… ha ha… of our high-charging, middle-of-the-road financial tat, we can turn them into long-term cash cows. We’ll be fucking minting it bro,” he said.

I was about ask Lovett what the high street challenger bank would do if the Steam Rooms proved an unprofitable venture, when LeGrande brushed him to one side and got right in my face. “Don’t talk to me about profits,” she hissed, “we’ve just blagged a 3.6% share of the mortgage market, you dickhead. Our retail deposits have increased to £22.2bn, and our credit card balances totalled more than a BILLION quid! Fuck you, loser. My end of year bonus is going to be COCKING HUGE this year! Ten mill at least. What are you on, thirty K a year, you sad journo muppet. As for the Steam Rooms, don’t you worry about them sweetheart. If they don’t wash their face we’ll sink them quicker than the fucking Titanic. Screw the customers. They can go down the sodding brothel and pay for it like everyone else. Now jog on back to your newspaper, you nosey cunt. And you can quote me on that.”

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Bad day at the office 11

General Election 2015: UK Bank CEO Cleopatra LeGrande wants a strong leader who will back bullying

Cleopatra LeGrande General Election

Cleopatra LeGrande is chief executive of UK Cash Cowboys

 Every day until the final week of the election campaign Jeremy Trough, Political Editor at The Daily Profit, asks a business leader to say what politics would entice them to vote for a particular party.


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE, CEO UK CASH COWBOYS: “I will vote for the party who has the most ruthless leader. A psycho, basically. Callous, cold-hearted despotism is essential for success – whether in business, crime or politics. I want to be represented by a total bastard who couldn’t give a toss what people think about them, both at home and on the world stage. And I desperately want a leader who will represent the few – not the many – in a greedy, cut-throat, pitiless United Kingdom.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So more tax breaks for millionaires then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Quite. It is also important to have a government which will champion sadistic, iron-fisted business leaders like myself, and encourage bullying and intimidation in all sectors. I want a government brave enough to repeal the slavery act and the minimum working wage, tackle all this nonsense about equal opportunities and paternity leave. Oh, and treble tuition fees for working class students, so we take a broom to the low-life plebs clogging up our universities. Education should be for rich, arrogant people like me who are in a position to use it to maximum advantage. And so end once and for all, the anti-competitive, altruistic cancer eating away at Banks’ profits. I mean, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay? What creepy little PC turd came up with that bunch of crap? Gandhi? Get a life, for Christ’s sake. The truth is we cannot afford not to introduce despotism if we really want world class bullying that works for bank bosses like me, my cronies and filthy rich people in general, like our Chairman Sir Rich Pickle.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I’m guessing that rules out the Lib Dems then.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Is that supposed to be some kind of joke? You only have to look at their logo, it’s like someone’s chucked up on the pavement, and nobody’s going anywhere near it. When they talk about fairness to me, they’re radioactive. I will vote for you only if you put terrifying, remorseless greed at the heart of all you do. With policies that ensure a strong and growing salary and bonus package for bank CEOs, with a tax regime and immigration policy that lets me absolutely treat my staff like concentration camp trash. I think we can destroy health, education and the other deeply wasteful public services that are a drain on my personal wealth, absolutely, yes. Next question.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “What do you think about the Conservatives manifesto pledge to reward more cut-throat, sadistic leaders like yourself with awards in the New Years’ Honours List?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Well, it’s progress obviously. Next level thinking. I think those kinds of forward-thinking policies are essential for a thriving economy. Feel my face, that’s stubble, that is. I didn’t get my CBE by tickling employees under the chin, big boy. I got it by destroying their lives. Squashing them flat. Humiliating them. Working them til they dropped and rubbing their faces in the dirt. Government policies should incentivise a bullying culture across all disciplines from senior bank management to internet trolls. That means encouraging vindictive, callous management practices by people from a wide range of backgrounds. It also means investing in staff demoralisation, indoctrination, disengagement and alienation, to address slackers and get the engine room of my massive salary firing.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “You are notorious for imposing impossible performance targets on your staff, for suppressing their pay and bonuses, and generally treating them like low-paid vermin while giving the impression that you’re actually a caring employer. Would you vote for a party which endorsed those kind of two-faced, double-standards?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Absolutely. But Christ, which party? I mean, you can’t put a cigarette paper between them when it comes to double-speak. I say, let’s find a way to tackle fair pay across the UK. A generation of young people have grown up thinking work should be fun and they should be paid a fair whack if they work hard. Complete bollocks. Clearly changes are needed to the bullying system and more can be done to exploit first time employees. I feel privileged to work in a banking sector and a country where bullying can be practiced openly and where we can vote against issues such as human rights and personal dignity. And in the end I want a government which lives by the knuckleduster and the jackboot. Only by cleansing ourselves of the weak and the poor in positions of power or responsibility can we make this country great again. This seems to me where true leadership and true integrity lie.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So you’ll be voting Conservative then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “At least the Tories know how to keep the scum in their place and look after rich billionaires like me. Scrapping inheritance tax, for instance, brilliant idea. I own property all over the shop and have billions stuffed in offshore bank accounts. When I pop my clogs I want my kids to be like pigs in shit, not for all the riches I’ve spent my lifetime bleeding people dry to acquire, wasted on garbage like social services and education for the poor. For fuck’s sake.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “So Ed needn’t hold his breath on your vote then?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Is he really a person? Or a waxwork dummy wired up to a cliché generator? Higher tax rates for the rich? Mansion taxes? Show some imagination, Ed. Same old classic mean-spirited commy dirty tricks to rob the rich and feed the scum. What sort of cunt does he take us for? How am I supposed to keep my private jet and fleet of limousines for my personal use on the road? Those things don’t run themselves you know. I tell you, if red Ed the teenage mutant gets in and starts wading into bankers’ bonuses and obscene profits and shit like that, if he’s not careful I’ll have to pass all his extra taxes on to customers, through higher charges, fees and commissions. You start eating into my massive personal wealth, buddy, we are going to war mate, make no mistake. You will not believe how nuclear I can go. Don’t worry though, I’ll get my accountant Dave to fix it. He’ll sort it. We headhunted him from the EU.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Okay, so we’ve established you’re voting Conservative. Any advice you’d give David Cameron about areas the Tories can do better on?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “I’m not happy about this raising the minimum wage nonsense. Every penny extra I have to pay my employees is a penny off my multi-million pound bonus at the end of the year. What kind of incentive is that for talented despots like me to run businesses in UK plc, if we can’t screw our own employees? Brain drain? You ain’t seen nothing pal. They might change their tune when we’ve all left, switched off the lights and all they’ve got left is the scum running the country. See what that does for your GDP.”


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Plebs, working class, ordinary people. Scum.

JEREMY TROUGH: “You mean, like your employees?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Your words, not mine. But since you mention it, yeah. I’m the big cheese around this bank. I’m the brains behind all the important decisions, got that? Nobody dies without my say so. It’s me who has to bang heads together when aggressive sales targets aren’t met, and heads need to roll. When profits fall and my end of year bonus is under threat, someone’s got to sack family breadwinners, break up homes and encourage feelings of hopelessness and despair. It’s a tough world out there. I’m not running a bloody charity here. You fuck with my money and I’ll turn your bloody lights out.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Since you mention charity, what about your charitable arm, UK Cash Cowboys Giving? And your new company strapline, Everyone’s Getting On. Isn’t that supposed to include employees, customers, society, good causes, the environment…?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Sweetheart, watch my lips. Two words. Public relations. You think I really give a mouse’s fart about good causes? Ask any of my employees, they’ll tell you what I’m really like. A complete and utter ruthless bastard. You know who’s picture I have hanging on the wall of my office?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Churchill? JFK?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRAND: “Heinrich Himmler. Let ‘em bloody work for their soup, I say, like every other pleb. When I see someone begging on the street I think, bring back flogging and National Service. Corporal punishment would be too good for some of these parasites. I’d sort the buggers out, never mind all this free hand outs crap. Still, I suppose it’s good for the brand so I shouldn’t knock it. If it wins us a few extra customers and keeps the cash register ringing, every cloud as they say.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I should have thought with all the PR your bank has been putting out about environmental responsibility, you’d at least be supporting a greener agenda.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Ha ha ha. The Greens? What’s that all about, windmills? Ha ha. Lol, as they say. Don’t, you’ll give me the giggles. C’mon love, get real. Wake up and smell the Frappuccino. Twenty-first Century, hello? What am I supposed to fly my private jet on, fresh air? Sod that. Green means higher taxes sweetheart. Higher taxes are bad for business, and bad for my personal fortune. Who needs the rainforests anyway? You can have ‘em. Waste of good car-parking revenue. Do you know where I can pick one up cheap?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Politicians have been talking a lot about ‘red lines’ in this election campaign. Do you have any personal red lines?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Tax havens and tax loopholes for the rich are an absolute deal-breaker for me. That’s a purple line that is, with flashing lights and a klaxon. I’ll say it again. Fuck with my banker’s bonus and I’ll kill you and eat your children.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Which brings us neatly to UKIP. Breath of fresh air or a bunch of right-wing bigots?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “They have some good ideas, like closing down the NHS and sending all those scrounging foreigners back.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “You’d support closing down the NHS, really? Isn’t that a sacred cow in the eyes of the public?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “No good to me, is it? I’m the CEO of a bank, love. I’ve got more health insurance than I know what to do with. I always go private. Biggest drain of all on the public purse, is the NHS. It pisses literally billions up the wall every year, for what? Giving poor people cancer treatment and heart transplants? They cost an arm and a leg those things. Let ‘em die, I say, and cut the pension burden at the same time. The fewer old people you have, the faster you can shrink the welfare state, scrap the higher tax bands and raise net take home pay for senior bank executives like me. It’s a no-brainer.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Can I pick up on your reference to sending all the scrounging foreigners back home…”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Well, first off I believe, like UKIP, in an Australian-style points system of immigration. We shouldn’t be letting all these talented bankers, nurses and business entrepreneurs into the country. There’s only so many fat million-pound bonuses to go round. No, we should only be letting in cheap and nasty foreign mercenaries from Eastern Europe who’ll basically work 23 hours a day on half a slice of bread for ten pee a week. I personally exploit thousands of the fuckers in our call centres in Newcastle, Edinburgh and Chelmsford. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, what. They can’t speak a word of English mind, but Christ do they know how to extort money out of our customers. Brutal, they are. I’ve already promoted Stanislaw to my Board as Director of Money Laundering and Internet Fraud. Big guy with a crew cut, scar across his left cheek. Lives on raw potatoes and cardboard. These are the kind of talented thugs we need to get this country back on its knees.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Wow, radical.”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “But UKIP are right, we definitely need to address all the benefit and health tourism as an absolute priority. Did you know that for every African who comes over here with HIV, it takes twenty-five grand a pop to treat them? That’s coming out of my pay packet that is. Foreign scum. Every grand I pay extra in tax is a person I have to lay off, and double the hours of the remaining staff. As for your foreign aid budget, you know where you can shove that. Until we can properly reward high-powered bank executives in our own country we shouldn’t be squandering money keeping foreign trash alive abroad. Let them eat worms, I say. It’s good for their immunity. Ebola? Do I look like I have Ebola? Fucking foreigners.”

JEREMY TROUGH: “But isn’t your husband foreign?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “What did you just say?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “I, I just said, isn’t your husband Indian?”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Did you just use the ‘N’ word about my husband?”


CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Right, that’s it, I’m having you. Where’s my solicitor’s number?”

JEREMY TROUGH: “Mrs LeGrande, I only said…”

CLEOPATRA LEGRANDE: “Okay, listen up. I’ll say this once and I won’t repeat it. I want five hundred grand in used notes, stuffed inside a duffle bag, left on top of the litter bin at the junction of Eagle Place and Jermyn Street at nine o’clock in the morning. Do I make myself clear? This conversation never happened.”


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