Mad men plotting: The Unfolding, by A.M. Homes, reviewed

Fifteen years ago, A.M. Homes published The Mistress’s Daughter, an explosive, painful account of how she met her birth mother, Ellen, who had placed her for adoption as a baby when, as a very young woman, she became pregnant in the course of an affair with an older, married man. Perhaps the most memorable scene depicts her mother, who had instigated the contact between them when Homes was in her early thirties, appearing without warning at a reading Homes was giving in a bookshop. The writer’s panic and discomfort at this unexpected ambush, and her sense of what it might foreshadow, were palpable (and she was not wrong. Ellen’s desperate,

Colin Powell: A great man – and a failure

My memory of Colin Powell feels personal, even though we were 6,000 miles apart at the time. I was in Baghdad, covering the invasion of Iraq for the BBC. Powell was giving the speech of his life at the UN Security Council, accompanied by Powerpoint, trying to convince the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. I had just come from a press conference with senior Iraqi officials, who denied there were any WMDs in the country. They were shifty, oleaginous, terrified of Saddam. It wasn’t hard to believe they were lying and that dignified, decent Colin Powell, was right. ‘If Powell says so,’ I thought, ‘it’s probably true.’

Will the G7 tax deal survive?

What are the chances of the G7’s agreement on a minimum rate of corporation tax actually coming into effect? While it was presented as a done deal last weekend, things are not going too well. Firstly, the G20 will have to agree — which is far from guaranteed given that smaller countries have less to gain from the proposal than the US. It is a tax designed to help countries with a large number of multinational companies who currently operate through subsidiaries in countries with lower corporation tax rates. While no G20 country currently has a rate below the agreed 15 per cent, (and the biggest loser, Ireland, with its 12.5 per cent