Why Cole’s retirement tale fans the flames of incredibility

Regular readers of this column know that I don’t go a bundle on conspiracy theory. But Michael Cole’s early retirement from Harrods and his six-figure salary without a cross word, but with reputedly a pounds 50,000 pension, just doesn’t add up. Indeed, the old Royal TV correspondent went without giving us even so much as a glimpse of himself, explaining his amazing decision, on the box. Instead, he took himself off on ’holiday’, leaving behind only the usual thoughtful, crafted expressions of mutual admiration when master and faithful retainer presentationally part company.

Regular readers of this column know that I don’t go a bundle on

conspiracy theory. But Michael Cole’s early retirement from Harrods and

his six-figure salary without a cross word, but with reputedly a pounds

50,000 pension, just doesn’t add up. Indeed, the old Royal TV

correspondent went without giving us even so much as a glimpse of

himself, explaining his amazing decision, on the box. Instead, he took

himself off on ’holiday’, leaving behind only the usual thoughtful,

crafted expressions of mutual admiration when master and faithful

retainer presentationally part company.



It looked contrived and furtive.



In any case, had Mr Cole always intended, as he says, to retire at 55,

we would surely have heard of it long ago. Anyone in his position has to

manage their departure carefully. Few are blessed with a firm intention

to spend more time with their family five years before normal retirement

age. When they are, it can help to let it be known well in advance.



Second, an energetic director of public affairs just doesn’t abruptly

and prematurely enter God’s waiting room - which is what retirement is -

when his boss has recently spent the week regaling us with his

fantasies, via the Mirror, about the death of his playboy son, Dodi and

Princess Diana. Or, at least he doesn’t unless he has had a bust up with

his employer, Mr Mohamed Al Fayed for making another fool of himself,

especially when he has countenanced, defended and vigorously supported

so many other tales of Araby.



It could be that Mr Cole is preparing himself for other things since the

Mirror’s astonishing hospitality to Mr Al Fayed’s inner thoughts has

prompted speculation that this is the preliminary to the Mirror-owned

Independent as well as Harrods becoming Egyptian-owned. I hope not.



Instead, I would like to think that Mr Cole eventually saw the light and

that is why he has slung his hook, as they say in Hebden Bridge.

Unfortunately, he has chosen to muddy the waters by saying he left ’with

much sadness’ and had ’made many lasting friendships, particularly with

Mohamed Al Fayed and his family’. Most of us think this means that he

has agreed to shut up about the circumstances of his departure. Mr Cole

has thus denied himself the luxury of basking in our unadulterated

admiration for his jacking it in on principle.



I can nonetheless state with absolute authority that nothing more became

the man than the manner of his going because his departure was wreathed

in clouds of incredibility. For all his hyperactive blunderbussery,

spraying even me with his shot, Mr Cole’s strong point was not

credibility. That is Mr Al Fayed’s problem too. Too much PR: too little

credibility.



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