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[/audioplayer]Ambushing your opponent’s walk-about is a classic tactic of the political insurgent. When a major party leader comes to town, you position guerrilla campaigners on his route, near the cameras.
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[/audioplayer]Whether or not Ukip wins, this month’s European election campaign has belonged to one politician alone: Nigel Farage. Single-handedly he has brought these otherwise moribund elections to life. Single-handedly he has restored passion, genuine debate and meaning to politics.
Close your eyes and imagine a young Ukip voter. Let me guess: mustard trousers, swivel eyes and foaming mouth, ranting furiously about the European Union, socialism, ‘lib-tards’ and so on.
Now meet Dayle Taylor, a young Ukipper working at McDonald’s in Accrington. He’s no fruitloop, just a typical modern student who grills Big Macs to pay his way through university and feels that none of the major parties speak for him.
The other day, I got an email advertising ‘miracle’ weight loss. You know the sort: English as defined by Boggle and no way on earth that anyone would ever buy the product in question. I opened it without thinking, and was redirected to a blank page. Within minutes, my Hotmail, Twitter and Wordpress accounts had gone haywire; I stared at my computer screen as the original message replicated itself and fired off to every single one of my contacts.
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[/audioplayer]Plans are afoot to introduce the Flashman novels, those politically incorrect celebrations of cowardice, bad form and caddish behaviour, to a new generation of readers. But according to Sarah Montague on the Today programme, ‘Flashman is not typical of our times.
I feel a certain disappointment with myself at the moment. On the big question of the day, ‘How worried should we be about inequality?’, I find myself miserably unable to give a simple answer. In the last few months, I’ve had a chance to speak to two notable economists on the topic, representing opposite extremes of the argument — both arguing their case so well that I can’t disagree with either.
On one side of the debate, I got to interview the man of the moment, Thomas Piketty, author of the much talked-about Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
There was a time, not that long ago, when financial advisers as we know them today didn’t really exist. Pension and tax advice came from accountants. If you bought shares you bought them via a stockbroker (who gave you advice along the way). Unit trusts came directly — you responded to advertisements or perhaps got your accountant to do it for you. Occasionally you used an insurance broker. And that was that.
A strange language is spoken on Planet Finance. It often seems designed to baffle the average investor, and save the richest pickings for the professionals. Take, for example, ‘investment trusts’ — they’re investments, certainly, but they are not trusts. And since blind faith is the last thing to invest in any money-making exercise, the two terms make an odd pairing.
The most important decision an average investor has to make is to trust their money with a good manager in a promising sector.
Teenagers have never exactly been short of things to complain about to their parents. You didn’t give them enough support, sent them to the wrong schools, stopped them going to the right parties, or didn’t get them the latest iPhone. But Generation Rent, perhaps stirred up by too much time spent reading Ed Miliband’s Twitter feed, are likely to be especially aggrieved. To add to the traditional litany of charges from the younger generation against the older can be added one that might even have a kernel of truth in it — you stole our future.
You smelt them, it was said of the Mongol hordes, before you heard them, and by the time you heard them it was too late. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed it’s the other way round: you hear the intoxicating yowl of high-revving engines before you’re close enough to smell the heady mixture of high-octane, burnt oil and hot rubber. But by then it’s too late — next year you’ll be back for more.
Goodwood is motoring’s Glyndebourne, glamorous, smart and bucolic with the South Downs as backdrop and its origins in aristocratic hedonism.