Hugo Rifkind

Shared Opinion | 8 March 2008

Do you reckon they told all the royals? Seriously? All of them? Even the flaky minor ones, like Fergie? Or has she been gossiping with the Countess of Wessex and the bafflingly female Princess Michael of Kent, these past three months, wondering where Harry was, and whether this time he’d done something really bad? ‘Has

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 8 March 2008

The battle over the evaded referendum on the Lisbon treaty seems to be following the pattern of all European arguments in this country. The pro-integrationists have used the favourite tactic of claiming that it is all a fuss about nothing. The treaty, they say, is technical, too boring to be worth discussing (although also, mysteriously,

Any other business

And another thing | 5 March 2008

There are certain words, carrying overtones of money and privilege, which stir up strong emotions. One is ‘private income’. ‘What’s held me back,’ says Uncle Giles in The Music of Time, ‘is that I’ve never had a private income.’ J.B. Priestley used to say, disdainfully, ‘He’s got a private income voice.’ There were various euphemisms

Global Warning | 8 March 2008

Theodore Dalrymple delivers a Global Warning  It has been shown conclusively that people who listen to the news or read a newspaper at breakfast are more miserable than those who wisely maintain themselves in ignorance. Unfortunately, help for the former is not at hand: one of the main stories in the newspapers recently was that

Any other business?

‘Sexual intercourse began in 1963,’ wrote Philip Larkin; consumer debt, with similar connotations of gratification and regret, began in Britain three years later with the launch of Barclaycard, based on the model of the world’s first mass-market credit card, BankAmericard in California, which dated back to 1958. A retired bank manager once told me he

Leadership lessons from Beowulf

Margareta Pagano on why businessmen should watch Robert Zemeckis’ latest film Chief executives under pressure in these gruelling times should sneak out, or stay in, to watch Beowulf, the 2007 film starring Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie that has just been released on DVD. They could learn what it is to be a really great hero —

New oil giants rise in Gandhi’s native land

Gazing out over India’s Gulf of Kutch from the small jetty owned by Essar Oil, you would hardly think you were witnessing the birth of one of the world’s new industrial heartlands. Placid turquoise waters stretch out to the low landmass opposite; behind you lie mile upon mile of shimmering salt pans where flocks of