Hugo Rifkind

Shared Opinion | 24 January 2009

If the bankers start saying sorry, then we’ll have to forgive them. It’s much too soon I’m not sure I can deal with contrition from bankers. I thought it was what I wanted, but I now think I was wrong. ‘The first stage is to fess up,’ said Stephen Hester, the new RBS chief executive,

Politics | 24 January 2009

Perhaps George Osborne regularly serves meatloaf at the powerbroking soirées he hosts at his west London house. But when this detail about the food served at his lunch with David Cameron and Kenneth Clarke was briefed to the press it did seem a bit odd. Perhaps the shadow chancellor suspected Kenneth Clarke would want something

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 24 January 2009

Living in a monarchy, one naturally compares the inauguration of a US President to our Coronation. It compares unfavourably. It lacks beauty, mystery, good order, and, although it is full of history, it lacks the fascinating complications and accretions of a country like ours, which has no theory, only its history. I could not help

Any other business

Private bankers run into very public trouble

Matthew Lynn says banks that prospered by offering exclusive ‘wealth management’ services during the boom years are about to encounter some very angry customers Of all the phrases in the financial lexicon, ‘private banker’ is one of the most evocative. It summons up images of discreet addresses in the more remote Swiss cantons, of luxuriously

Surviving the Recession

The credit crunch has had some unlikely repercussions. Tim Blixeth, a US lumber billionaire, was recently trying to sell his Caribbean island. With little interest shown in the $75 million asking price, Blixeth is now trying to barter it. He has suggested that a Gulfstream jet or a snazzy New York apartment might just secure

And Another Thing | 24 January 2009

It is a sobering thought that a year ago the nominal wealth of the world, as registered in bank holdings, stock and bond prices, real estate and company valuations, was twice what it is today. Where has all the money gone? Was it there in the first place? The $50 billion ‘invested’ with Bernard Madoff