Rhodri Colwyn Philipps: The racist aristocrat for whom Gina Miller scandal is nothing new

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps: The racist aristocrat for whom Gina Miller scandal is nothing new

Rhodri Colwyn Philipps has been jailed for menacing communications

Friday, July 14, 2017

In case you missed it this week, an aristocrat by the name of Rhodri Colwyn Philipps has been jailed for writing an offensive Facebook post towards Gina Miller, Britain's most recognisable anti-Brexit campaigner.

It was a message laced with poisonous, ignorant racism, the sort of sentiment often attributed to the great unwashed of the British working-class in the pro-Remain press. At least Philipps has shown the lazy pigeon-holers that people from all strands of society are capable of such bigotry.

Philipps promised a £5,000 reward for anyone who would "accidentally" run Miller over. As if that weren't offensive enough, he called Miller, who is of Guyanese descent, a "boat-jumper" and urged her to go back to her "stinking jungle." No wonder she told the trial she felt "violated" by his tirade.

It's not just Miller who felt the force of Philipps' ire. Having read about the case of Arnold Sube, a migrant father-of-eight who rejected the officer of a five-bed flat in Luton, Philipps offered £2,000 to anyone willing to "carve him into pieces."

Philipps has been given a 12-week jail sentence for the comments, but at least the scandal won't damage his reputation too much - because he didn't have much of one to begin with.

Philipps, the Fourth Viscount St Davids, grew up in the lap of luxury, his family one of Britain's oldest aristocratic dynasties. His father, Colwyn Iestyn John Philipps, served in the army before rising to become deputy speaker in the House of Lords and played a key role in the Welsh devolution process at the turn of the Millennium.

Yet Rhodri's life has been a pale shadow of his father's, his vast advantages squandered in a series of rotten, sordid scandals. Apart from playing polo and striking up friendships with the likes of Jodie Kidd, he has shown little demonstrable talent for anything.

Indeed he has failed miserably as a businessman, having been declared bankrupt twice. In 2001 the business he owned collapsed with debts of £5 billion, then in 2010 it was ruled that his £3.6 million home could be repossessed by Barclays.

He has also spent more than a year in prison in Nuremberg from September 2008, having been arrested at the airport and denied bail as a flight risk. This related to his purchase of engineering firm Hans Brochier in 2005 - while he was still technically bankrupt - and subsequent asset-stripping, which bled the company dry.

It was revealed that he spent £350,000 of Hans Brochier's money on promoting an opera singer, £12,000 on renting a private jet and £5,000 on a shotgun. Furious staff stormed his offices, and when he was eventually given a two-year suspended sentence, there was outrage from critics who labelled him 'the job killer.'

Then in 2012 there was a court case in Mauritius, with Philipps suing a local company which had run his overseas activities for fraud and mismanagement. His claims were thrown out and he ended up having to pay full costs.

As well as the viscounty, Philipps holds a couple of other titles - one of which is 'Baron Strange of Knockin'. It's a rather amusing title, redolent of aristocratic befuddlement, an anachronistic world of gun dogs and tweed jackets. 

Yet for Philipps the word strange doesn't seem to go far enough. His is a deeply cynical, malicious world, and his hate-filled views are deadly serious.