The Spectator's Notes

Charles Moore

Spectator’s Notes | 23 February 2008

The United Nations declared last week that, for the first time in human history, more people in the world live in the town than in the country. If true, this feels momentous, though it is not, obviously, sudden. The imagination of mankind has been shaped by rural life more than by anything else, but this

Any other business

And Another Thing | 20 February 2008

I gave up writing novels in my mid-twenties, when I was halfway through my third, convinced I had not enough talent for fiction. Sometimes I wish I had persisted. There is one particular reason. The point is made neatly by W. Somerset Maugham in Cakes and Ale: These remarks need qualification. I’m not sure that

Don’t let them kill off the cheque

Next month I will break the habit of a lifetime and wait until the red reminder before paying my telephone bill. I will do so because BT has decided to charge me £33 a year for the audacity of paying my bill by cheque. BT is penalising people who pay by cheque because it wants

Was ABN Amro a deal too far for Fred the Shred?

The title of the worst deal in British corporate history is hotly contested. Glaxo and SmithKline were worth £107 billion on the day they announced their merger: eight years later, they’re worth £57 billion, and they’re not quite the ‘kings of science’ their chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier said they would be. Getting on for a

Any Other Business | 23 February 2008

In the end, they may have to auction what’s left of Northern Rock on eBay When the nationalisation of Northern Rock was announced at the beginning of the week, commentators queued up behind the shadow chancellor to declare a return to the dark days of the 1970s and to dance on the ashes of Alistair