How many years is it since Marks & Spencer beat a pathetic and humbling retreat from Europe?

Before Rosey's time, of course, otherwise he might just have learned something from it. But never mind, eh? If you're going to return to the glitz and glamour of Continental Europe, you might as well do it in style. Monte Carlo, perhaps, or Vienna or Milan?

Or in this case, Marbella, the Margate of the Iberian peninsula, playground of the blue-rinse middle-classed unwanted Brit and just an hour by donkey cart from Gibraltar, that most odious outpost of sunburned crimson, balding, retarded BNP supporters. If you've ever wandered the dusty and desolate streets of that woebegone enclave you'll know precisely what I mean.

From the throne room at Pumsey Towers it's hard to see exactly what Stuey's on, unless it's the intoxicating feeling that he's about to acquire a nice little retirement home. But expansion is the flavour of the month, and it looks as if our Qatari friends have got caught up in the mood as they return to circle the Holborn Colisseum like Bolton pensioners around a tin of catfood.

Add this to the increasingly unedifying sight of Kraftwerk Inc rattling the tin around the British banks - and thus the British taxpayer - in its bid to gobble up Messrs Crunchie & Co Ltd and surely it's springtime for everyone that matters i.e. the bankers, lawyers and boundlessly rich spin-mercenaries who thrive by sucking the very lifeblood from the corporations they purport to serve. If I wasn't a card-carrying member of the Labour Party I'd almost swear I was becoming a socialist.

But of course us professionals at DRIP don't allow such things to distract us from the main job in hand - working out how we can grab some of the action for ourselves. Even now I'm considering investing a couple of billion of public funds in the expansion of a major Newcastle-based piemaker. Sauces close to the deal tell me I could be in the dough for the rest of my life. Badum!

Don Pumsey on the canonisation of St Peter Marks