James Forsyth

How the Tories plan to avoid a cultural beating

James Forsyth reviews the week in politics. Mud sticks. In politics everyone remembers the charge and not the denials — something Labour has exploited for years. Typically, it would denounce the Conservatives for being heartless, privileged bigots who care nothing for the poor, eat foxes and have no place in modern Britain. But that doesn’t

You Know It Makes Sense | 17 October 2009

The Kindly Ones — Les Bienveillantes if you read it in French, which I didn’t — is probably the most brilliant piece of trash fiction ever written. I dedicated most of the summer to Jonathan Littell’s much-praised, internationally bestselling blockbuster and loved almost every minute of it. But it’s definitely not as great as Le

Shared Opinion | 17 October 2009

How long will it be before the word ‘voting’ is no longer associated with ‘governing’? How long will it be, do you reckon, before the connotations of the word ‘voting’ are all about reality television, and hardly about government at all? Not long, I’d say. With President Blair, with goats and General Dannatt, I worry

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 17 October 2009

People are missing what is wrong with Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ expenses. People are missing what is wrong with Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ expenses. It is not so much that it is unfairly retrospective: after all, MPs were supposed to decide themselves what was appropriate in the discharge of their parliamentary

Any other business

Golden summit or false horizon?

Should you ever buy any investment — a share, a commodity, an acre of land — when its price stands at an all-time high, having risen by half in less than a year? Or does that make you the ‘greater fool’, the greedy investor who buys into the top of the rally? In recent days,

Safer savings and clearer consciences?

Janice Warman looks at two ‘ethical’ banks that are drawing customers away from the shamed high-street giants The credit crunch left most of our major banks in disarray, not to say disgrace. But it has been remarkably good for some of their smaller competitors. ‘Ethical banks’ might once have been dismissed by the high-street giants

Islamic finance stakes its claim

Banking governed by Koranic principles is a rare growth market in a shaken financial world, says Edie Lush — but is it really more stable than its Anglo-Saxon equivalent? The clash of civilisations between the Muslim world and the West takes many forms. Even on the financial front, there are deep differences of philosophy in

Investment: stock markets

We’re all Shanghai gamblers now You might think yourself a fairly cautious investor. Maybe you dabble in a few shares and unit trusts, probably in major, well-established markets such as the US, Japan or Germany, as well as London. Emerging markets, and in particular the wild frontier that is China, you might reckon best left

Twenty-five years on, the game begins again

In the autumn of 1984, solicitors were allowed to advertise for the first time, but if the public failed to spot their modest announcements it was probably because the newspapers were awash with a much more unusual publicity blitz. The government was selling half of British Telecommunications, as the phone company was then called, and