Monday, 23 July 2012

Bitter Together 6. The Worm Turns.

Grindstone had finished boxing up all Sir Nigel's books, personal papers, was sitting having a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive pondering the potential pin number and password of Sir Nigel's Cayman Island account, Grindstone had carefully checked the papers on Sir Nigel's desk for clues or notes and had, so far come up blank. He was looking at Sir Nigel's original bar certificate on the wall opposite and thought if he had been Sir Nigel the last four digits would make for an excellent pin number. Putting down his cup to go and see he spilled some tea and as he went to mop it up felt the indentations in the blotting pad below - maybe if he did a rubbing of the blotting pad the password might show. Sir Nigel was left handed so the place to start would be the bottom left quadrant. Grindstone went 'brass rubbing'.

Half an hour later Grindstone was certain he knew the password. He finished packing up the rest of Sir Nigel's personal possessions in the 'Liberty' storage boxes provided, picked up the Aldi bag containing his own stuff from his desk. Told the front desk he was finished and Sir Nigel's things were packed ready to go, handed in his civil service pass and walked out into Whitehall a free man at just after 10:30am on a warm July morning. He then went to a cash machine checked his pension lump sum had been paid into his Natwest Account and set off home to Woking to start shifting cash around - he had big plans to complete.

Lennie and Dennie woke up just after midday and the combination of the noise from Hackney High Street and their own grumbling bellies made it impossible to get back to sleep. The ability to sleep was also effected by considerations about where the explosive filled condoms were planned to be inserted for transit on their person by their Rastafarian 'angel'.

There was partial relief for Cranbourne as the London based papers were all running the latest bank scam on their front pages and currently pointing the finger at the banks first and foremost. The Scottish based papers were different while the Hootsmon carried the Secretary of State for Scotland's press release, as fact; the Glasgow Herald was pointing out the long history of Westminster and SIS connivance in opposing any move to Scottish independence. The Herald was not willing to disregard some sort of discrediting attack had been or was still planned in spite of the Scottish Secretary's vehement and excessive sounding attack on the SNP, as they had also heard from a Scottish Government source that SAS squads had been deployed to Scotland with out the approval or knowledge of the Scottish government, the knowledge of the Scottish military HQ and for no apparent reason. Worse was a claim from an Orange Order spokesman on the front page of the Retard (which even the latest farce over the SFA's attempt to force Rangers on the Scottish first division did not displace) that they had indeed be approached by a member of the SIS, acting as an agent provocateur and had sent him on his way.

On the balance of information available the information seemed to indicate that the original 'Cockleshell' had indeed failed both from the SIS side and the Orange Order side. The Scottish government knew about the unauthorised deployment of the SAS to Scotland and clearly a bit about 'Cockleshell' but were hoping yesterday's First Minster's statement to Holyrood would kill it stone dead. To Cranbourne's eyes 'Cockleshell' was no longer a problem as long as the weedy little civil servant' Gritstone, kept his mouth shut and the Cabinet Secretary had assured him Gritstone had been paid well for his silence. A far as the latest banking scam was concerned it appeared Dickie had for once used his nooddle and he and Jack Daring were concocting a line which was quite economical with the truth of either's involvement in turning a blind eye to the scam while no doubt shifting the profits, they made on the back of gambling on the London Interbank Lending Rate's fluctuations, beyond the reach of the UK press, as Blair Cambourne knew he already had - via his wife's trust account in the Cayman Islands.

Grindstone returned home to Woking after spending a fascinating afternoon in the National Portrait Gallery and treating himself to a meal on Bankside looking back over St Paul's and the City of London with its bastardised skyline of shards, gherkins and faceless blocks of glass and steel. The cat was annoyed he was late back but a tin of Sheba, clean water and litter soon put her world to rights. He made himself a mug of tea and went to work. First he shifted his legitimate lump sum payout and split it between his new Swiss Franc and Sterling accounts in Zurich, leaving an adequate sum in his Natwest account for day to day expenses over the next month. He then turned to Sir Nigel's Cayman Island account and was instantly rewarded with access to the account. He had been right about the pin number but still could not believe Sir Nigel's password had been the very obvious 'Cockleshell12'. Using the card and the card reader he successfully transmitted  £200,000 to his Swiss Franc account and £50,000 to his sterling account from the Cayman Islands to his new Zurich accounts giving his sterling account the same balance as his pension lump sum. In the space of ten minutes Grindstone had made himself into a very comfortably off bachelor, indeed.

The internet then furnished him with a first class ticket, Swiss Air, from Heathrow to Zurich tomorrow morning and Last Minute Hotels produced two nights in Zurich at a very good price. Tomorrow he would give Ms Price next door £50 to look after his cat for the next month, as they had agreed, while he took himself on his first overseas holiday for around forty years - well, that is what he had told Ms Price. Grindstone's worm rubbed its psychic hands together for a job well done. There was one last thing to do, post the notarised and sworn affidavit to his solicitors, Grindstone would do that on the way to the airport, by hand, to make completely sure his insurance policy was in place. After he had signed formally for his Swiss bank accounts on Monday morning he would jump a train and head for Venice, maybe stop over for a couple of days in Milan first and then? The 'then' he would worry about, when he got bored of Venice.

On the same Friday, the Cabinet Secretary had been a bit perturbed to find his 'ace in the hole' to let the prime minister off the hook over 'Cockleshell' had already been blown by that 'little woman' at Holyrood and the Orange Order. Still there was the fun of yesterday's Treasury Select Committee debacle on the bank interest rate fixing scandal to taunt Cambourne with, along with the apparent failure of Dickie and his pal Daring's plan to shift the blame off the politicians onto the banks. The Bloke from Barclays had seen to that, much fun still to be had there. Cambourne's aim to reform the civil service by bringing in outsiders, well that would now be over Cambourne's dead body, if Cambourne tried again, he would see to that. Grindstone would be off the premises by midday to never be heard of again - another problem resolved - and once he had the warrant from the Queen (in Her Majesty's Olympic Honours List) agreeing his ennoblement he would follow Grindstone out the door, at the rush, as what used to be Westminster 'perks' for MPs in the 1970's had now turned into down right corruption, veniality and greed, a repetition of Thomas Cromwell's 16th Century parliaments and he was not going to carry the can. Time to get out ahead of the lynching mob. He was not going to be like his hero, Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, for any top politicians (more political pygmies), of the current generation. His head was staying where it was, thank you very much. He knocked on the door to the Cabinet Room and entered without waiting for any acknowledgement or invitation to hear, in his hero's words, parliamentarians talking much about change and reform but changing and reforming nothing.

All in all, Cambourne was having a better day of it than he could have hoped with the defusing of Cockleshell and the focus all on how much either Dickie or Daring knew about the bank scam. Cambourne felt he had got off lightly at this morning's cabinet meeting, all things considered, and even the 'Marley's Ghost' of a Cabinet secretary had been unable to give him the 'willies'. He could relax at last and look forward to tonight's Heads of State reception at Buckingham Palace followed by Boris' pre Olympic feast at the Guild Hall when all of London, which matters, would be glad handing with the likes of such fine democrats as Vladmir Putin of Russia, Thein Sein of Burma (Myanmar as they prefer) or Hu Jintao President of the People's Republic of China  and he would be there as Prime Minister, the UK's actual lord and master. He now understood why his predecessor but one 'got off' on these occasions, these assemblies of the 'great and good' in London. For those few days the British Empire was alive, well and still ruling the world - in the imagination of Westminster. Tomorrow night there would be the Olympics opening ceremony and another skip load of smug satisfaction to enjoy -  there was some satisfaction, after all, to being prime minister.

Dinwoodie's people were hard at work carrying out internet searches looking for reported links between the cast of Glasgow New Labour and organised crime. As his team ferreted around, a series of dubious land deals, Commonwealth Game's contracts and redevelopment scams started to form a picture of links between New Labour's Glasgow Council and some very interesting, if shady, characters. They had a long chat with the Libdem author of 'Halls of Infamy' on the evidenced basis of his claims in the book of which the strongest corroborative evidence was the failure of the then New Labour Glasgow Provost to bring an action for defamation against the book. This being a book which described, in minute detail, the brown envelope culture of Glasgow New Labour, its money for favours, its links to organised crime; going as far as identifying New Labour councillors with direct links to organised crime families and known organised crime front businesses.

The real gem was the discovery of a Glasgow Herald piece in the run up to the last election where Mr Rodin had been on the table next to O'Hallohan at an O'Hallohan fund raiser. The person who paid for the table seating Rodin was Mr Murphy, the Funeral Director, and when asked about the presence of a recently released prisoner at an O'Hallohan fund raiser the initial response from O'Hallohan's election agent to the Herald was "A'body kens Louis." Later O'Hallohan made clear he did not know Louis Rodin was in the room and if he had he would have asked him to leave, as he did not associate with 'known' criminals - this implied that associating with 'unknown' criminals was OK. Who were these criminals to be unknown to -  the suggestion was clearly the Scottish public. Still the initial Herald report had O'Hallohan looking Mr Rodin in the eyes from his place on the top table and his election agent, as a member of the Strathclyde Police Authority, would have been aware of Mr Rodin occupation which left the door wide open to the view that O'Hallohan was 'OK' about Rodin's presence until the Herald brought it to the public purview. Mr Rodin's comment of when asked if he was there was, "I like listening to Mr O'Hallon speak, its no illegal, pal.", adding more smoke to the nascent fire. For some reason the 'Herald' stopped digging at that point. Dinwoodie knew the Herald journalist, from his own time at the Edinburgh Evening News, so gave him a personal call to see what more was there to know. For Dinwoodie it was a very interesting conversation. Next on his department's things 'to do' list was 'Cockleshell'.

After the initial shock Dennie and Lennie had found that the mode of transport of the explosive was not as uncomfortable as they had first imagined. Their eyes had watered a bit at first but the operation had not turned out quite as hard or repulsive as they had originally thought. So, with a degree of confidence they did not expect to have, they set off for the Olympic Aquatic Centre, for their next shift, in good spirits. Their Rastafarian angel had handed them a key to the pump room and reminded them when the twelve hour detonation pen had to be set to go off. The trickiest bit was no one knew if the door to the pump room had an alarm but if it went off the pair were just to play the 'daft laddies' and say when they tried the pump room door to check it was secure, it opened.

On their midnight circuit the boys tried the door with the key, it opened. They waited for five minutes to see if all hell broke loose and there was just silence, not even a visit from the watch supervisor - who would be snoring his head off by now in the canteen. The lads relieved themselves of their burdens and the detonating pencil and placed them just inside the door - peppermint tasting condoms were not that bad on regurgitation, they agreed, and headed up to the canteen to have a midnight 'smelly burger' and one of those equally obnoxious, chemical milk shakes with out any trace of real milk.

At two o'clock the boys re-entered the pump room and identified the main flange leading from the pool's main drain. As instructed they used the foil linings from their four stick Quitscats, placing them in the 'v' they made in the Semtex. These Semtex charges were then placed, hollow side down, on the side of the flange away from the door and secured with silver duck tape. They then made a small cut in the duck tape and inserted the still 'safe' pencil detonator shallowly into the Semtex and then duck taped that in place, followed by water filled and sealed condoms as tamping which were also then taped into place. They left and continued on with their rounds. On their six o'clock round Lennie popped in and crushed the end of the pencil detonator with a pair of pliers - there was now twelve hours to go before the explosives went off.

At eight o'clock in the morning Lennie and Dennie walked out of the Olympic Aquatic Centre having said bye to their supervisor and see you tonight. As they walked into the alley behind their safe house on Hackney High Street they ditched all their McWeinner's sponsored security kit into the bottom of a nearly full communal street bin, put the pump room key and their security passes into a half filled industrial skip marked toxic waste only, returned to the flat, picked up their personal kit and headed off to Euston and home with £800 still between them and 2K to come. They played with the idea of getting first class seats but opted instead for the standard class 'silent' carriage on the 1015 'Virgin Crusader' pendolino from Euston to Glasgow Central. They would be down the pub in Dalmelington having a bevvy by the time the explosives went off.

Grindstone took the Heathrow Airport bus from outside Woking Station, his suit case packed, his passport and E-ticket safely in his pocket and his insurance policy handed in to his solicitor's with clear instructions of what to do if anyone from the civil service or the police approached them for his whereabouts because they wished to have a 'chat' with him. To give the solicitors some lee-way they were to say, when pressurised, they understood Mr Grindstone had travelled to Switzerland, intending to take a barge trip down the Rhine from Basle to Rotterdam. The same story Grindstone had told his next door neighbour, Ms Price, who was looking after his cat.

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