There’s one subject that you don’t raise with David Cameron’s circle if you want the conversation to last: the election result. They don’t like to be reminded that they failed to win a majority. The Cameroons have been persuading themselves that coalition government is the best possible result. No. 10 has been dubbed ‘the love nest’ by the rest of Whitehall. The Tories inside gush about their new Liberal Democrat colleagues.
Robert Chote’s Institute of Fiscal Studies is widely seen as the source of all wisdom on economic matters. So what did its director make of the Budget? Fraser Nelson asks himA British Budget is never over until Robert Chote has spoken. It’s unclear just when this was inserted into Britain’s unwritten constitution, but his status was obvious from the audience gathered to hear his verdict on Wednesday.
We like our little cottage in a pretty Wiltshire village on the River Kennet — and we just hope the village likes us. It’s hard to tell.‘I see you’ve been doing a lot of work on the house. So, have you finally moved in or are you [slight pause, crinkle of nose] weekending?’ asked one of the village’s grand dames.‘Oh, yes, we’re very much here and loving it,’ I said. There was no need to mention that London is where we live, Wiltshire is where we flop, and that we don’t even get down every weekend.
This week marks the centenary of what might just be the greatest cricket match of all time: Fowler’s match, the epic battle between Eton and Harrow in 1910.This week marks the centenary of what might just be the greatest cricket match of all time: Fowler’s match, the epic battle between Eton and Harrow in 1910. On 8 and 9 July that year, Lord’s was packed to the gunwales. It was the social and sporting event of the year.
Years ago I used to spend one evening a month in some dank and frowzy local authority hall attempting to prevent crazed and scary lesbians from becoming my local MP or councillor. This was during my time as a Labour party activist in south London — and attendance at the staggeringly dull ward meetings was compulsory for a small group of us who hoped that one day the party might select candidates who had not whizzed in from the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Zone, that strange, dark and cold place on the edge of our solar system from which all manner of trouble emanates.
Last weekend, on a windswept plain about ten miles south of Brussels, 3,000 grown men dressed up as soldiers to re-enact the Battle of Waterloo. Performed every five years, on the original battlefield, this noisy extravaganza attracts more than 50,000 visitors, and on Sunday I was one of them. It was an extraordinary experience, more vivid than any movie. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Yet what’s most intriguing about this surreal Belgian spectacle is what it reveals about our muddled idea of Europe — and the people in the biggest muddle are the Belgians themselves.
In the final interview before his death last week, Sebastian Horsley told Ed Howker about being ‘the high-priest of the dandy movement’, a heroin addict and a self-confessed fraudHis artwork was described as ‘dreadful’, his poetry as ‘pointless’ and he was denied entry to the United States for what the authorities called ‘moral turpitude’. But Sebastian Horsley excelled at failure. When a play of his memoirs opened this month at the Soho Theatre, the book had fallen out of print.
At Tony Hayward’s inquisition in Washington last week, the hapless BP chief executive resisted the temptation to condemn his predecessor, Lord Browne of Madingley, by name. Instead, pressed repeatedly to explain why BP had breached safety regulations on over 700 occasions, Hayward described 2006 as the corporation’s worst year. That was John Browne’s last full year as chief executive. He left the job humiliated, having been exposed for signing an untruthful court statement.