Hugo Rifkind

Shared Opinion | 3 October 2009

How is it that Hollywood has made Roman Polanski into a cause célèbre? He’s a paedo, but he’s our paedo. That’s what bricklayers say. Weird, I know, but there you go. He might have drugged and sodomised that little girl, these bricklayers will say, but he’s had a hard life, and he’s so damn good

You Know It Makes Sense | 3 October 2009

I watched, helpless, as a vicious Staffie ripped up my children’s guinea pigs I’m sorry to have to break the news so brutally but there’s no other way: Pickles Deathclaw and Lily Scampers are no more. They are ex-guinea pigs. They have ceased to exist. And all because of one of those bastard, evil dogs

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 3 October 2009

For years, I kept Labour’s shortest version of its 1997 ‘pledge card’. For years, I kept Labour’s shortest version of its 1997 ‘pledge card’. On one side, in red, were the party’s key pledges and a photograph of Tony Blair beside which it said, ‘strong’ (Daily Telegraph). The other side was blue, stated the main

Any other business

The Connoisseur’s Diary

2nd October New York: Opera Verdi’s Aida opens at the Met, conducted by Daniele Gatti, former principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana sings the title role. 4th October Paris: Racing The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat race held at the Longchamp course and one of

Final frontiers

Five travel writers journey far and wide to find the world’s last unexplored wildernesses Patagonia Lucinda Baring Arriving in Patagonia, the region spanning Argentina and Chile at the southernmost tip of South America, I really felt I’d reached the end of the earth. The journey is an epic but rewarding one – this was the

Any Other Business | 3 October 2009

I was Shriti’s speechwriter once upon a time — but she won’t need me in Seoul Several national newspapers lazily copied each other last week in describing me as ‘a former speechwriter to Shriti Vadera’ — the business minister who is leaving the government to become Gordon Brown’s emissary to the G20, and perhaps to

Who’s really driving the rescue of Vauxhall?

It’s an axiom of auto-makers — as it is of most producers of goods — that they are squeezed between suppliers and customers. Upstream suppliers have options to reduce costs and improve profits while their customers downstream, the retailers, can set prices to suit their markets. Although the producer likes to think of himself as

Advice to the next Chancellor

The best moment in a chancellor’s life comes early. ‘Mr Deputy Speaker,’ he says, ‘we have examined the books. The position is grave. My first duty is to put the public finances in order.’ He then sends for the Hungarian middle-distance runner, Savij Kutz. This bogeyman, first identified by Alan Watkins, has been off the