Why does the City still use quotas?

It sometimes feels like every regulatory body in Britain today misuses its influence to advance progressive causes. A welcome exception is the Financial Conduct Authority, which last week decided to allow firms to choose whether they use sex or gender as the definition of ‘woman’ for reporting on their representation on corporate boards. It is clearly not the role of a financial services regulator to attempt to define ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Out of 540 responses to a consultation on the matter, all but one said they did not want trans women to be automatically included in the targets and data. As the group Sex Matters has pointed out, there is

Lord Mandelson’s City outreach

‘We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’, once drawled Peter Mandelson, ‘as long as they pay their taxes.’ And it seems the socialist Svengali is practising what he preached, with his latest appointment at a new British bank. William Hague famously mocked the New Labour spin doctor for his many honorifics during the dying days of Gordon Brown’s government – ‘it would be no surprise to wake up in the morning and find that he had become an Archbishop’ – and now Mandelson has a new title to add to his collection. For the Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county

Leiden: The eccentric city that’s worth leaving Amsterdam for

I’m on a narrowboat in Leiden, nursing a filthy hangover, watching this antique city floating past, when I’m awoken from my daydream by a strange whirring noise above me. The glass roof of the canal boat is rapidly descending, and the jolly Dutchman at the tiller is telling me to mind my head. I end up flat on my back, with the roof a few feet above. ‘We have some low bridges here in Leiden,’ says the tillerman, by way of explanation, as if this weird contraption was the most natural thing in the world. For me, this canal boat with its collapsing roof encapsulates the quirky appeal of Leiden,