Confession time, I really enjoy Ben Elton’s books. His latest publication “Identity Crisis” is both hilarious and gripping. As is often the case, he wraps some serious uncomfortable truths about the world we live in, our own hypocrisy, in a blanket of comedy. He is the equivalent of Lear’s Fool, offering deeply pertinent wise observations that make you laugh.

The novel is frankly a must read for anyone with a social media account of any description. That’s you. It is set in the very near future, Britain undergoing an identity crisis and having yet another referendum, this time about the separation of England from the UK. The motivations are unclear, except for a backlash against “latte drinking liberal London lefties” and the struggle to adjust to new realities of virtual realities, multiple and changing identities. Throw in some gender politics, a dash of religious discrimination, a pinch of disenfranchisement wrapped in the ribbons and bows of a “proud heritage” and he creates a mix that leaves Politicians running for the comfort of soundbites.

Money, Sex and Power

This of course has absolutely nothing to do with financial planning. Then again, it has everything to do with financial planning. The way that money, sex and power combine to persuade people to behave in a way that may serve their baser instincts but against what is in their own interests.

Solomons IFA Blog Identity Crisis - Ben Elton

Incoming SPAM

I am sure that if you have an email account (you must do). At some point you have had various emails that have somehow bypassed your spam filters. These may offer the promise of lucrative rewards for assisting moving money around, perhaps offer a money-making scheme or threaten to expose you for something you have done, might have done, or never have done but the fishing trip alone is enough to make you wonder. We have all heard of cyber bullying and generally assume this is something that happens to children at school, where bullies now have constant access to their prey via social (unsocial) media. Yet we all know that those three pillars of money, sex and power are more vulnerable amongst the adult population, those that possess a modicum of one or more.

You may well find yourself confounded by the changing social attitudes to gender and its new fluidity, but everyone of us has an identity that we do not wish to see trashed by the prospect of blackmail, however baseless and fake. You are in my electronic address book and I in yours. So I wonder whether you have considered what a financial planner, (or any of your professional advisers) but particularly a planner that knows all about you and your money, might compromise if placed under the duress of blackmail. Not given it much thought? No neither had I until I wondered how someone that had actually done some of the things suggested in an email might have responded differently to the threat of “exposure” in exchange of payments of Bitcoins. I simply hit delete, but I did wonder how some would respond.

Hashtag Keep It Real

We all want those that we trust to be “decent” people, we know that we are all flawed. None of us wish to expose our own. Everyone has their thing. Please know that I am not remotely interested in yours and assume the same. It is this that any blackmailer preys upon – the delusion that your private life is of any significant interest. Those possessing a grasp on reality and a healthy amount of self-awareness recognise a world in which we are all flawed. Rather than face our own failings, we live in times that crowds now gather virtually around the corpse du jour, perhaps joining the mellay. Occasionally making a Game of Thrones battle look like a Sunday picnic.

So, haven given it some thought (it is a work in progress) I would encourage everyone, you and me to ignore blackmail. We are what we are, a blackmailer only wins when we pretend to be otherwise. Accept that we have a flawed identity, own the truth.

Here is Ben Elton talking about his book.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email


Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – 
Call – 020 8542 8084


Are we a good fit for you?


Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email –    Call – 020 8542 8084


Are we a good fit for you?

IDENTITY CRISIS2023-12-01T12:17:27+00:00

King to Pawn and seedy money? The Look of Love

Celluloid Reflections: The Look of Love

The Look of Love is a new film that was shown at Sundance London last night. It goes on general release this weekend. The film explores the life of Paul Raymond who at one point was the richest man in England. I’m not really clear who the film is aimed at. Mr Raymond derived his fortune from strip clubs in Soho and pornography, the film is most certainly an “18” and many (perhaps most) will find the admittedly “probably necessary” nudity (given the context) rather excessive. Then again, part of the purpose of the film is to help reveal how our attitudes towards sex have altered over the last 40 years or so. However, it is not a film about sex, nor is it a sex film and whilst it has comedic moments and a plethora of current comedians  in the cast (including the lead Steve Coogan) it isn’t much of a comedy either. It is much more of a biopic of a man that “had it all” but actually had nothing, rather more of a tragedy.

The main plot of the story reveals fragile relationships, a deeply dysfunctional family and an inability to draw boundaries. We see a disturbing portrayal of his relationship with his daughter, which at best might be described as “unhelpful” and at worst, deeply irresponsible. There is a sense of self-importance “we’re not normal people” and a disconnection with the reality of real relationships. A long-lost son “managed”, another son bullied and a daughter indulged, who dies of a drug overdose (I’m not giving the plot away – opening scene). A habit that was used, as is often the case, to dull the pain of reality. If the film is even vaguely accurate, Mr Raymond was certainly someone that was very confused about love and relationship. Materially successful, but emotionally bankrupt, I assumed the title of the film ” The Look of Love” is deliberately ironic.

Whilst Paul Raymond’s life may have been somewhat extreme, it is a reminder (not a new one) that few people go to their deathbed, wishing that they had spent more time at the office. To be known is to be human. Money is little more than a tool, it is not real security and it certainly is no compensation for a lack of relationship. A good financial planner doesn’t just point out that you will die one day, but will help prompt you to reflect on what you value and want from life and then build a plan around your values. Being the richest man in Britain is little more than a game, in the end all the kings and pawns go back into the box.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

King to Pawn and seedy money? The Look of Love2023-12-01T12:23:34+00:00
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