At the End of the Day

Glenda Cooper wrote in the Telegraph yesterday that yes, a wife can be worth £337 million. She asserted this in the context of the Chris Cooper-Hohn divorce case, at the end of which JCH’s missus Jamie was awarded that completely obscene sum of money.

I could be wicked and wonder if hack Glenda and ex-wife Jamie are in any way related and I Think We Should Be Told, but let me make my case less bitchy and more clear: nobody on the planet is ‘worth’ 337 million quid. Not Chris, Jamie, the Queen, Sherman McCoy, Vlad Putin or Warren Buffet.

Let’s just review some of the facts here.

When the Hohns met while studying at Harvard, Mrs Hohn admits that her ex-husband said all he was interested in was making money. Now far be it from me to go all George Carlin ironic here, but wouldn’t you say that, for the future Mrs Hohn, there was a bit of a clue in there? I mean, don’t you think there might have been the potential for a lack of normal human feelings in the relationship?

Well anyway, Jamie the wife went and married the bloke and had four kids with him while having been sublimely happy to be known as Mrs Hohn, the wife of a Hedge Fund jerk doing stuff which – in terms of aiding humanity – was up there with Joe Stalin and Robert Mugabe. The Judge in this case decided that her reward for having made that probably quite calculating decision should be 40% of Mr Hohn’s ridiculous fortune. Writes the Telegraph hackista, ‘personally, I think she is worth every penny’. But Mrs Hohn, it seems, doesn’t agree: she’s considering an appeal to go after more.

Just stop and think about that: £337million isn’t enough for this woman.

Let’s say her life expectancy from here on is 40 years. Even with Zirp in play, just the interest on that sum will come to £2.8 million a year.

Mrs Hohn made a pact with Faust. Unsurprisingly, the couple’s inestimable greed and mutually material braindeath led to a falling out. And the result of the judge’s ruling is that he gets 60% and she gets 40%. I think that, as a judgement of relative material contribution, that is madness – as it was his contribution, not hers, that led to the quite extraordinary injustice of all that money flowing into their bank accounts.

But before all The Sisters of Vengeance get on my case, let me make a simple point: he knew what he wanted, and she knew what she was in for. In that sense, they thoroughly deserve each other: but neither of them deserve a 60/40 split of the total net worth involved.

In divorce cases of this size, were I a Judge, my inclination would be to siphon off 80% of their joint net worth, and put it into a mutual fund designed to invest in social infrastructure on a completely tax-free basis. Then I’d split the residue 50/50, on the basis of their goals and desires having been equally depraved.

I am sick to death of bankers, entertainers, energy oligarchs, hedge fund owners and media proprietors telling me about their worth. And while some will find my Fantasy Verdict crypto-Communist State theft, I would suggest that they ponder on this: the solution I suggest would leave just two (2) silly materialists with £211m each. It’s hardly what you’d call compulsory Soviet nationalisation is it?

Earlier at The Slog: Mellor & Mitchell standup duo snapped up by BBC for new game-show format