Hugo Rifkind

Shared Opinion | 5 April 2008

Nick Clegg’s sex confession shows why politicians should never try to look normal It was the 14 pints, I always thought, that ultimately did it for William Hague. That was the beginning of the end. There must have been teenagers out there in the 1970s who did, indeed, drink 14 pints a day. It’s just

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s notes | 5 April 2008

If Boris Johnson wins the contest to become Mayor of London on 1 May, he will not inherit an impartial civil service of the sort to which British national politicians are accustomed. There has only been one Mayor of London so far and he, Ken Livingstone, has made sure that London officials reflect his views.

Any other business

A fundamental crisis of credibility

During the boom years, it was fashionable to say that London owed its success as a financial centre partly to the quality of its regulation. Thanks to the Financial Services Authority’s astonishing internal audit of its supervision of Northern Rock, published last week, we can now see what that means. For Northern Rock, the UK’s

And Another Thing | 2 April 2008

Too early yet to say whether the present financial turmoils will end in a catastrophic maelstrom or simply slip away like an angry tide, leaving puddles. One has no great confidence in the authorities on either side of the Atlantic. Would that J.P. Morgan were still around to take charge of things and recreate order

Is Australia’s economic luck about to run out?

Australia’s residents are fond of referring to the place as ‘the lucky country’ but most are blissfully unaware of the phrase’s origins. ‘Lucky’ was never meant as a compliment. When the late Donald Horne, a giant of Australian intellectual life, conjured the tag in the 1960s he intended it as a putdown: ‘Australia is a