The Week

Leading article

Bank withdrawals

When George Osborne became Chancellor, he took charge of a very large zombie bank with a medium-sized government attached to it. The Royal Bank of Scotland was nationalised in 2008 with assets of £2.2 trillion, almost four times state annual spending. The difference between RBS being run well or run badly could be counted in

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 4 February 2012

Home Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood by the Forfeiture Committee, which said he had ‘brought the honours system into disrepute’. Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, turned down a £963,000 shares-only bonus payment in the face of ‘enormous


Diary – 4 February 2012

Try as I might, I can’t pretend even to myself that the Cambridge Union debate against Katie Price was anything but a total victory for tits and telly, and an utter defeat for me. What was I thinking? But still. Last week I found myself at the Cambridge Union in a tight red dress, proposing

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: Call that a spectacle?

The Grand Olympic Opening Ceremony will apparently inform us ‘who we are, who we were and who we wish to be’ — just in case we had forgotten — and you will have to pay to sit in a stadium to watch it. Romans did not go in for this sort of claptrap, let alone


Barometer | 4 February 2012

Bonus culture Some have called for an end to a ‘bonus culture’ in banks and big firms. But bonus culture has been around a long time… — Around the year ad 70, Roman legionnaires received bonuses of 25 denarii to supplement their salaries of 225 denarii. — Bonuses were recorded by 14th-century Florentine banks, with


Letters | 4 February 2012

A woman’s work Sir: I enjoyed Andrew M. Brown’s article on the rise of the ‘Dalis’ (28 January). As the working wife of a man who earns more than I do, I drew comfort from the fact that more and more women are becoming the main breadwinners. At the same time, it is irritating to