Babylon! The Mesopotamian city-state, whose hanging gardens were considered the one of the wonders of the world.
Babylon! Founded two millennia before Christ, whose ruins could be seen from the window of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.
Babylon! Site of the mythic tower of Babel, that enduring allegory for man’s hubris!
Babylon! Seat of the warlike King Nebuchadnezzar, who ransacked Jerusalem and held the Jews captive.
Babylon! A symbol of every kind of evil in the Book of Revelation, presided over by the “great whore” who rides a seven-headed beast.
Babylon! The term used by Rastafarians to denounce Western society, debased as it is by materialism, greed and wickedness.
It’s hard to know what was going on in the none-too-dreadlocked head of Ali Parsa when he decided to name his new venture after this ancient and negatively-portrayed society.
But the former Circle chief executive has done exactly that. What can the NHS expect from such a venture? That the firm will be an exemplar of generosity and peacefulness? That it won’t take stuff over or subjugate a free people? That it will not be run by a sex worker riding a monster from your nightmares?
No-one knows what Babylon Partners will do (apart from almost certainly make Mr Parsa an enormous amount of money). No-one even knows who the other “partners” are. All we know is that the firm is a private limited company registered to Ainsdale Road – a modest but pleasant enough residential address near Hanger Lane, west London.
Babylonpartners.com adopts a lightheartedly conspiratorial tone. “If you have arrived here you’ll know about us already. Please help us keep it quiet until launch…”
Don’t worry Ali, your secret is safe with us.