Butler to the World by Oliver Bullough review – bent Britain at your service

This unmissable history traces Britain’s cynical transition over 70 years from imperial power to kleptocrats’ best friend

To say this unmissable, deeply depressing book – about exactly how Britain pimps itself to the world’s dirtiest money – is timely is to miss author Oliver Bullough’s point. The fact is the stories that he tells, sordid tales of a nation flogging its real estate and its services and its football clubs and its good name to the shadiest and highest bidder, no questions asked, have been hiding in plain sight for decades. It has just seemed in no government’s interest to notice them.

Bullough himself has long been shouting from the bullet-proof penthouses about these tales. Alongside his 2018 book Moneyland – a quest into that Narnia of libel laws and tax havens and old-school-tie discretion that makes London so attractive to extortionists – he organised “kleptocrat tours” of the capital, his equivalent of Hollywood Hills rubber-necking, bus trips around Knightsbridge and Mayfair pointing out the mansions where the cronies of the world’s worst dictators and biggest tax dodgers hide their billions.

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