Matthew Parris

Another Voice | 11 October 2008

Dramatis personae: Joe Citizen                    (a citizen) Jack and Jill Jones        (Joe’s neighbours) Mr Whatam-Ibid            (a surveyor) Mr Ballpark-Estimate    (a valuer) Ms Dreamhomes            (an estate agent) Mr Moneybags                (a small banker) Mr Dollarsacks                (a global fund manager) Mr Brown           

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 11 October 2008

We all know that everything about money comes down to confidence, but normally, because we have that confidence, we do not think about what this means. Now we must. We have learnt that mighty banks are nothing if customers — and other banks — have no confidence in their assets. Panicked, we turn to governments.

Any other business

City Life | 11 October 2008

When the credit crunch first hit, Icelanders blamed everyone but themselves: international banks for their loss of faith, hedge-funders in London for betting on the country going bankrupt. Seven months later, though, with its current troubles and the recent central bank rescue of Glitnir, Iceland’s third largest bank, the mood is one of anger amid

Time to bet against excessive pessimism

Just as directors’ dealings often reveal more about the immediate outlook for their companies’ shares than can be gleaned from annual reports, it often makes sense to follow what fund managers do, rather than what they say. So it was a pleasant surprise over lunch the other day to find myself in step with one

‘Business only thrives when society thrives’

Judi Bevan hears the views of Paul Myners, the left-leaning millionaire art collector who has just become Gordon Brown’s City minister There is a telling mischief about the way the new City minister dresses. A double-breasted dove-grey pinstripe suit is worn with a white shirt worthy of a detergent ad, no tie but tasteful cuff

A riposte to the Archbishop

When Rowan Williams and John Sentamu took up their crosiers against short-sellers, they chose strange company: Ken Lay, the disgraced chief executive of Enron, Dennis Kozlowski, the jailed boss of Tyco (who took out full-page ads against short-sellers, before his company sank under the burden of accounting fraud) and the former prime minister of Malaysia

The No. 1 tax detective agency

Ross Clark takes a look at the TaxPayers’ Alliance Seldom has tax featured in the media over the past decade without the lanky figure of Robert Chote of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, or his predecessor Andrew Dilnot, popping up to discuss it. Yet recently the IFS’s monopoly has come under increasingly serious challenge. Whether

Safe as houses: why Nationwide survived

Matthew Lynn says Britain’s largest building society prospered by refusing to follow fashion — while its bolder, greedier rivals have all gone bust or been taken over Over the last 25 years, Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare has been a poor guide to financial markets. As the swashbuckling investment banks rose in

And Another Thing | 8 October 2008

People who are infuriated by the huge sums paid for stuffed animals in tanks and the adulation heaped on Francis Bacon’s squiggly horrors should grasp that there is no reason or logic in aesthetics. Andy Warhol, no mean exponent of effrontery, if not of skill, summed up the game for all time: ‘Art is what