Monday 16 September 2019

I don't see why Paul McCartney shouldn't have parted with a further £100 million

Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

As I do not know Sir Paul McCartney or Ms Heather Mills personally I do not see how I can quite make a personal judgement about their lives and motivations. However, that doesn't restrain a lot of people, who, without personal knowledge of either Mills or McCartney, feel quite free to decide who is the goodie and who is the baddie in the breakup of their marriage.

True, Ms Mills did not show herself to be a person of composure during the divorce proceedings: she ranted somewhat, poured a jug of water over her ex-husband's attorney and distinctly failed to impress the judge, who called her all manner of names, including, in effect, a fantasist, a fibber and an unreliable witness.

Heather's complaint that her small daughter would "only" have £35,000 a year as personal pocket money was also less than graceful -- especially to those hard- working folk doing valued jobs as teachers and nurses who earn somewhat less.

And there is a lot more on the charge-sheet against the former Lady McCartney which does not impress -- viz. that her boast of generous charity work was not always borne out by the figures revealed.

Neither does her conduct always seem edifying. But that does not necessarily make her the baddie against Sir Paul's goodie in this singularly adversarial contest. Nobody really knows what goes on inside someone else's marriage.

And even if, at the very least, Ms Mills turned out to be an unsuitable second wife for the former Beatle, and given to hysterical and undignified rants in public, the fact still remains: he chose her. As a mature guy in his late fifties, a widower, a man of the world, and a person who had been a globally famous pop star since 1963, Sir Paul could have chosen from, quite literally, millions of females almost anywhere on the map.

A young woman of high moral character and with "no previous form" would have been a doddle for him. A maturer lady of sound sense and private means could easily have been found. A deferential young girl -- perhaps from Asia -- whose priorities would have been absolute discretion and total decorum, could quite easily have been a candidate.

In the pool of potential wives, there was no limit for Paul McCartney. But he chose Heather Mills, the fiery, feisty, strong-willed Geordie who had lost a leg in a road accident and come up fighting; whose character references were somewhat on the dubious side.

Previous fiancés had found her bewilderingly unreliable and whose nude modelling jobs had been described as bordering on porn. Sir Paul's own grown-up children could not stand his new partner and counselled him, strongly, against marrying her.

But marry her he did, aged 60, in the beautiful Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan, seat of that Leslie family who so valiantly sold off their horses and carriages to give to the poor during the Famine.

If Heather is, according to the evidence, an unreliable character, then what does that say about Sir Paul's own judgement? That "there is no fool like an old fool"? Perhaps. Yet, Sir Paul wasn't that old: he was not in the category of the very elderly billionaire who decides to buy himself a well-stacked blonde for his 85th birthday, and thinks the bargain worth the nickel.

But McCartney had reached the age, all the same, where, as Shakespeare put it, "the blood waits upon the judgement". A young man, in the heat of youth, may rush into an unwise union; and a very old man may loose his marbles in the last flicker of senile lust.

But a man in his late fifties is generally in full possession of his faculties, and in such full possession did Sir Paul select Heather Mills to be his lawful wedded wife.

Therefore, it seems to me, he should take the consequences of his choice. He may, as the High Court judge said, be the hero of the divorce court while Heather is cast as the villainess, but he was still the instigator of the situation, as the rich and powerful pop-icon.

His responsibility in the marriage and its dissolution is all the greater. I don't see why he shouldn't have parted with a further £100 million.

This is not to judge him personally, but to examine the first cause of this very public courtship, marriage and divorce.

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