Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s notes | 25 October 2008

Charles Moore's reflections on the week

But why did Nathaniel Rothschild write to the Times? Yes, he was genuinely annoyed that George Osborne had relayed Peter Mandelson’s disobliging remarks about Gordon Brown to the Sunday Times. The then Mr Mandelson was Mr Rothschild’s guest, as was Mr Osborne. Mr Osborne betrayed hospitality and strained an old friendship. That might have made Mr Rothschild tell Mr Osborne privately that he never wanted to see him again. It might even have made him ‘tell friends’ (as the press puts it) about the supposedly naughty behaviour of Mr Osborne in relation to Oleg Deripaska and his money. But why write a public letter? Mr Rothschild deals professionally with other rich people’s money, and is therefore expected to be discreet. Why, even in revenge, would he break what he himself calls, in his letter, ‘the age-old adage that private parties are just that’? The answer could simply be righteous anger, plus a touch of Rothschild arrogance, but I doubt it. There must be something else. In his letter, Mr Rothschild attacks the Times for its ‘obsession with Mr Mandelson’ which, he says, ‘is trivial in light of Mr Osborne’s actions’. Why is it so important for Mr Rothschild to divert attention from Lord Mandelson? It must surely have something to do with Mr Deripaska, for whom Mr Rothschild works, and to whom, before everything went wrong, he introduced Mr Osborne four times in three days. It must matter very much indeed to Mr Deripaska that his dealings with Lord Mandelson are not pursued, and Mr Rothschild must be so devoted to keeping in with Mr Deripaska that he feels it necessary to fall out with someone who may well be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer. What is at stake for the Russian, the Rothschild and our new Business Minister? It feels as if it must be a great deal.

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