The wealthy are now wealthier, more numerous and more socially mobile than at any time in history. But will Gordon Brown’s tax-and-spend policies put an end to this?For the rich and successful, these are the best of times. They are earning more than most had ever dreamt possible and are celebrated in popular culture and courted by the political establishment as never before. Millionaires have become Britain’s fastest-growing social class; every single working day, another hundred people, many of them women, join that once exclusive club, thanks to bumper bonuses or judicious investments.
For all that was made of the ‘diversity’ of the French World Cup side, what was truly striking about the team that took to the field to face Italy in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium was its very lack of diversity. For all but three of the players who thundered on to the pitch to do battle with the Italians were black Frenchmen.Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, the Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines of the beautiful game (along with its now disgraced Algerian maestro, Zinedine Zidane), fought the good fight for France in a contest that ultimately favoured Italy — and that says as much about the changing face of modern Europe as it does about the game of football.
Am I about to become the ‘Spectator One’? Having cleared the first airport-style security check at the US Embassy on Upper Grosvenor Street, I reach a second perimeter inside the building itself. This time the X-ray machine picks up a mysterious electronic device inside my briefcase which turns out to be a mobile phone I do not recognise. Uh-oh. Here I am, on my way to interview the American ambassador, and there is a stray mobile in my case — a potential trigger device, as everyone around me is thinking, but not saying.