LONDON: Amid global financial meltdown, it's business as usual in the City of London - an ancient, quasi-independent enclave of the British capital whence lurk bankers, brokers and the rest of the scurvy multinational knaves who have brought the western world to its knees.

However, all's well within the City's symbolic walls, despite the outflow of billions of pounds from the nation's economy and into the coffers of global speculators, the concomitant collapses of businesses and institutions, burgeoning job losses and a moribund housing market. 

But rest ye easy! As the fiscal bloodbath continues within the City, Sir Martin Sorrell may now herd sheep over London Bridge, bestride the enclave with a drawn sword, be married in St Paul's Cathedral, be buried within the City's square mile; be drunk and disorderly without fear of arrest. And, if convicted of a capital offence, be hanged with a silken rope.

For such are the rights of a Freeman of the City of London, granted this week to WPP Group's ceo in recognition of the sacred act of making money for himself and others.

The honour will shortly be bestowed on the adland knight by the Lord Mayor at the City's ancient Guildhall, perpetuating a ceremony that dates back to 1237.

Intoned the holder of that office, Alderman Ian Luder: "Sir Martin is one of the best known names in advertising and communications and his success in developing WPP into a major international force is unparalleled. He is a great ambassador for British business across the world."

Other famous honorary freemen include The Queen, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, General Dwight Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff