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Welcome to subprime Britain. How scared should you be?

When London radio news is being sponsored by a firm of bailiffs, you know something bad is happening. ‘Helping landlords get what they’re owed’ runs the cheery slogan at the end of the bulletins. As bad as the financial headlines are, this tells a bigger story than anything captured in the headlines — proof that

You’d think Prince Charles would approve of foie gras

No foie gras was served at the banquet for Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy at Windsor Castle last week, which was hardly surprising, since the Prince of Wales, who was very much in evidence, had recently joined the swelling ranks of those who regard the force-feeding of ducks and geese as a barbaric practice. In February

Tatarstan is the Muslim girlfriend Putin locks up

Venetia Thompson dislikes the resignation she finds in the most quiescent of Russia’s Muslim states. But other republics will be less apathetic in the face of Moscow’s provocations Kazan, Tatarstan The 12-hour train journey from Moscow was a blur of vodka, of only visiting the bathroom in pairs for our own safety and, most frustratingly,

Why hasn’t Britain got a sovereign wealth fund?

Twenty years ago, when I ran the Hong Kong branch of a London investment bank, one of our most important London-based investor clients for Asian stocks was only ever referred to, in whispers, as ‘Orange’. It operated — so I was told — behind unmarked doors somewhere near St Paul’s Tube station; it dealt with

Death of a Post Office

They shut our Post Office yesterday. For the first time in living memory there is no early morning light in that end of the ancient cottage and the little shop that went with it. The stacks of newspapers and magazines with unlikely titles have disappeared overnight. No longer can a letter be weighed to go

A chance for the Lords to justify their existence

Like, I suspect, most Spectator readers, I saw no need for Lords reform in the first place. The old chamber functioned perfectly well, as even Labour was forced to admit. But the party took the view that, while it might work in practice, it didn’t work in theory. The hereditary principle, Tony Blair declared, had