Stonehouse, the British minister who faked his own death in Miami and fled to Australia | The USA Print

Stonehouse, the British minister who faked his own death in Miami and fled to Australia



The newspapers ‘Diario 16’ and ‘El Mundo’ began to publish in 1993 information regarding the increase in assets of Luis Roldán, who had been a government delegate in Navarra and held the position of General Director of the Civil Guard. Roldán had bought houses and farms worth 1,600 million pesetas, and the information caused the socialist government of Felipe González to dismiss him. The Roldán case began with accusations that contemplated various crimes of embezzlement of public funds, bribery, tax fraud and fraud. The solution was to flee the country on April 25, 1994. The scandal escalated in severity for the González government, which placed the civil guard as the first on the list of most wanted people. It meant a deep wear for the Socialists until Roldán was located in Laos and handed over to the Spanish police in Thailand on February 28, 1995. Two decades before the Roldán case, British politics and the Labor Party experienced another scandal in which a former minister and deputy faked his own death.

Beginning of the seventies, Cold War and Vietnam War. In the United Kingdom, Labor and Conservatives take turns in power in tight elections. At that time, John Stonehouse, a young Labor member, was aiming high and emerging as a future candidate to chair the party. The son of the mayoress of Southampton, he soon began to hold positions of responsibility at the highest level. Responsible for projects in the aeronautical industry, Minister of Technology and Director General of Posts. A brilliant career until the first suspicions appeared. In 1969, President Harold Wilson informed him that a defector from the Czechoslovak secret service had accused him of spying for the socialist state.

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As the series shows, the intelligence of the Central European country set up politicians with women who seduced them and ended up being recorded in the hotel. You can imagine the stupid face of the politician or businessman on duty who was coerced by Czechoslovak intelligence to show those tapes to the family or leak them to some media if he did not collaborate. Thus, The naive politician, who thought he had flirted with an attractive Czech woman a few hours after arriving in Prague, ended up betraying his country, implicated in an international espionage plot.

The problems for Stonehouse continued to grow, in the seventies he began to create companies that did not take long to raise suspicion. The one who seemed like a future candidate to lead Labor was now appearing in the media for his alleged corruption. Stonehouse’s clouded history took a bizarre turn when On November 20, 1974, he faked his own death on a Miami beach. He left a pile of clothes on the beach along with his documents and disappeared on a trip to Australia with the intention of starting a new life under an assumed name with his secretary, Sheila Buckley. The politician’s story shapes the miniseries stone house which has launched the Filmin platform in Spain.

The actor Matthew Macfadyen embodies Stonehouse as a goofball and somewhat fainthearted who doesn’t seem to have intelligence as his best weapon. Sometimes he seems like a compulsive liar, other times a real madman and others a being without much light who is manipulated and carried away by circumstances.

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Stonehouse was discovered and when he was reunited with his wife, he said he was under pressure, anguished and disappointed. In an interview, he justified his affair as a “stunning” generated by the pressure. He requested political asylum from eight countries and asked the Queen for protection if he returned to the United Kingdom. The prime minister’s anger was growing and he directly requested the Australian High Commissioner to extradite the deputy and his secretary accused of fraud and theft.

File image of John Stonehouse.

The authorities did not take long to obey their former mother country and Stonehouse was arrested and taken back to England. There he continued to challenge his party in votes that were still close. He also continued to defy his marriage, although he returned to his house with his wife and his children, and maintained a relationship with his secretary, whom he was prohibited from visiting by court order while waiting for her. judgment.

Without making many more spoilers, the alleged corruption scandal itself was not the only problem for Labor, because with a Parliament divided in half, the absence of the deputy risked the survival of the government. In the Chamber, Stonehouse justified his escape as “a very serious nervous breakdown” that provoked an attempt to destroy his own personality. It ended up being a plea against the British political system and representativeness.

The series reflects the crazy drift of the politician, how the snowball of lies ended up crushing him. Alleged spy for a corrupt socialist and political state, unfaithful husband and man on the run, until he ended up becoming what we would now all call a geek. A tragicomic figure that the viewer will end up growing fond of.

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