Featured articles


Investment special: The zero era

The Bank of England’s latest announcement of quantitative easing, widely referred to as QE2, prompts as many questions as it does answers — particularly for investors and pension-holders. Under a QE regime, money printed out of thin air is used to purchase government bonds from banks and other private sector investors. The theory then has

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: The kids can wait

The government wants you to save more. You might think that odd for two reasons. First, because if you are an average person you’re unlikely to have much extra to save; your mortgage payments may be lower than they were, but what the financial crisis has given you with one hand it is ripping away

Say no to wind farms: Selling our birthright

A few weeks ago, I attended a planning seminar at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire organised by the Historic Houses Association (HHA). It was a chilling presentation which contained a clear message: the current planning proposals — which close for consultation next week— pose a serious threat, not just to our countryside, but to our heritage.

Say no to wind farms: Shale of the century

The arguments for wind farms just became obsolete. We’re entering an era when gas will be cheap, plentiful – and green Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the

Textbook error

If young people don’t want to learn languages, it might be because the teaching materials are so drearily trendy Tonight’s homework: learn ‘Bonjour’, ‘Je m’appelle,’ ‘Comment t’appelles-tu?’ ‘Ça va?’ ‘Ça va bien’, ‘Pas mal’, and ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est?’. And the tired child, already sick to death of French, having been taught it since the age

Top gear | 15 October 2011

The exciting thing about showbiz is, you never quite know where you are. I thought of a good test some weeks ago. I phoned Denee, my agent’s assistant. ‘Can you ring Audi and see if they’ll give me a car. But for goodness sake be discreet.’ I know it sounds grasping, but I’d been forced

Private Eye’s private life

The first editor of the magazine turns a quizzical eye on 50 years of a ‘national institution’ Not long after the 50th birthday of what was once the most successful humorous magazine in Britain, one of the best-known writers of the day delivered a damning judgment. Whereas in its early days, Max Beerbohm wrote in

To catch a minister

Old hands in Westminster are confident that they know what lies behind the Liam Fox-Adam Werritty relationship. With a knowing glint in their eye, they lean forward and whisper: ‘He’s a lobbyist.’ They’ve seen it all before, they say. It explains why Werritty thought it was worth spending tens of thousands of pounds just to

Investment special: Be very afraid

In The Fear Index, the latest thriller by Robert Harris, now heading for the Christmas bestseller lists, a brainbox hedge fund manager with little in the way of interpersonal skills discovers that his computer-driven trading system has flown out of control and threatens to send the world’s stock markets into a tailspin. Anyone familiar with

Investment special: Flying through storms

The financial crisis has unleashed a great debate about rebalancing Britain’s economy. The conventional wisdom is that our prosperity during the Nice decade (non-inflationary continuous expansion, that is) was over-dependent on finance and that we need to refocus our attention on high-quality manufacturing. Under New Labour, and the Tories before them, manufacturing was allowed to