Today we learned that cruel erstwhile comedian Lenny Henry intends to disinherit his offspring and give them nothing from this reported £5 million fortune. Well, I’m sorry, but as a fellow minority I must disagree with the porky Comic Relief host’s Gradgrindian social ideals.
Henry seems to think that his children should sing for their suppers. What a horrific suggestion! The nation’s favourite flabby philanthropist seems determined to rob his BME offspring of privilege at precisely the moment the rest of the world is crying out for better starts for black kids.
I plan to pay a fortune for my gorgeous chocolate babies. And I’ll be damned if I allow them to slide into penury just because their “other dad” has collapsed after a heart attack onto a pile of Venezuelan rent boys.
Just because I intend to go out in a blaze of morning glory after a week-long drug-fuelled orgy with South American prostitutes, I see no reason why my children should be cast out onto the streets, forced to cobble together a living from such undignified professions as BBC producer or UNICEF ambassador.
No one with my surname is going to be subjected to the indignity of signing on or taking a media studies internship at Channel 4 just because their father keeled over in a dark room in Vauxhall thirty years too soon.
Let’s set aside the obvious fact that inheritance tax is the most grotesquely immoral and indefensible component in our tax system.
Let’s set aside the fact that people who work hard and sacrifice time with their children just to provide them with a more secure financial future would be appalled by the suggestion that rich, successful entertainment celebrities might viciously deny their children the fruits of their labours.
Let’s instead concentrate on the real-world consequences, should Henry’s bizarre proposal take root in the wider population.
Granted, I will not miss my first-born’s graduation because I am closing the deal of a lifetime at Slaughter & May. Nor am I likely to skip a “little kickers” cup final because my hedge fund needs a signature by 6 p.m.
Far more likely is that I’ll be half-way through a sordid orgy at the Fist tent at Brighton Pride, and unable or unwilling to attend key dates in my child’s emotional, social and sporting development.
But, you see, I am hardly alone in neglecting my kids for nefarious nocturnal pursuits. Consider Lenny Henry himself, whose income is a source of mystery on newsdesks up and down the land.
The man hasn’t been funny since the 1980s – and even that is a matter of debate – yet somehow he has amassed a fortune of over five million quid.
What are we to conclude from this extraordinary accumulation of wealth? One answer might be that Comic Relief, the charity for which these days he is best known, is notorious in NGO circles for investing in seriously dodgy industries.
I’m not saying that Lenny Henry is the UK’s answer to Robert Mugabe, but if you believe what you read on the investigative blogs, it does seem as though his gigantic annual appearance fees are at least in part supplemented by Comic Relief’s investments in Big Tobacco, Big Booze and – if you believe BBC Panorama – the arms trade.
Like my least favourite ex-boyfriend, Lenny “Black Santa” Henry shows up with his bulging sack once a year professing to give, but all he really wants to do is take, take, take.