Really hard left political types and genteel private banking are not usually bedfellows. The former, of course want to eat the rich while the latter are more interested in laying out a menu de jour before the really filthy rich, containing titbits of appetising in-house products.
None the less, we are given to understand that a scion of the Drummonds banking family, one Andrew Murray, and a man that thinks Stalin was the nearest thing to Jesus Christ, has been recruited by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Andrew’s Stakhanovite job is to coordinate the party leadership in the run-up to the 8 June General Election.
Gad, what an unlikely combination. This is rather like having to invite Kim Jong-un to Donald Trump’s birthday party.
Andrew is an avowed Communist, despite the fact that his father was Peter Drummond-Murray, a descendant of Andrew Drummond, a goldsmith who founded the bank in 1712. The firm remained within the Drummonds family until 1924 when it was purchased by RBS, becoming a peer of Coutts, Adam & Co and Child & Co.
In its time, Drummonds banked to the famous, such as Benjamin Disraeli, Beau Brummell, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Capability Brown, Josiah Wedgwood, and Thomas Gainsborough. Not Karl Marx, though.
Dad Peter very much followed the family tradition, pursuing a career in stockbroking in London and Edinburgh. He died in 2014.
After such a privileged background and a private education, why is son Andrew Murray such a barmy leftwinger? He quit the Communist Party of Great Britain last year to join Labour, and has come under fire for his previous views on such Communist iconography as Stalin and North Korea.
His career has been adorned by notable events like giving the annual Marx memorial lecture at the tomb of the old codger at Highgate cemetery.
Perhaps there’s one clue for his fanatical adherence to Communist butchers, past and present. For pater Peter gained a reputation for being rather a maverick. A staunch Jacobite, he believed that the true British sovereign was the head of the House of Stuart, e.g. the Duke of Bavaria.
(Personally, we favour the Jacobite claim of the family of Etienne d’Arenberg, at Mirabaud in London, a dynasty which hails from the House of Arenberg, an aristocratic lineage and traditionally close to the Habsburgs).
Our Andrew meantime has taken on the difficult Labour job - involving dealing with the chaos within Labour and surely a role somewhat akin to herding cats - after being seconded from the Unite union. He has camouflaged his aristo roots rather well - dropping his double-barrelled surname and to his fellow lefties, never mentions his entry in Debrett’s.
As the eldest son of the late Peter, he has succeeded to the title of Drummond-Murray of Mastrick, in Aberdeenshire.
Defending the appointment, Jeremy Corbyn has meanwhile declared: “(Andrew) is a person of enormous abilities and professionalism and is the head of staff of Unite the union. To manage a very large union and a large number of staff takes special skills and Andrew has them.”
It must be said that Andrew is following some famous footsteps in the Labour movement among those who have, er...downsized to become proletariat. Tony Benn, descended from the Wedgewood china makers, was at first Lord Stansgate. He gave up the peerage, was then Sir Anthony Wedgewood Benn and then ultimately became the bloke next door, as the ever so ‘umble Tony Benn.
Incidentally, the motto of Andrew’s mother’s family is: ‘But hope is unbroken.’ After 8 June, that may be a very small comfort to the comrades.
- Drummonds and Coutts are, of course, the best of friends. But that was not always the case. In the nearest thing in private banking to apostasy, King George III moved his account from Coutts to Drummonds during his reign as he was not amused at Coutts for financing the Prince of Wales from his personal account. Drummonds honoured the wishes of the King but unsurprisingly when the Prince of Wales became King George IV in 1820 he moved the royal account back to that one true church, Coutts.