George Trefgarne

Will Rishi Sunak admit the truth about Net Zero?

Grant Shapps, the energy secretary, popped up on television at the weekend to explain that the cost of installing a heat pump is only about £3,000, the same as a gas boiler. Hmm. Good luck with that. That number is only true once a £5,000 grant from the government (of which only 90,000 are available)

Capital gains from the super-rich

Suddenly it is starting to look as if the period after 1914 — when London lost its position as the financial capital of the world to New York — was an aberration Suddenly it is starting to look as if the period after 1914 — when London lost its position as the financial capital of

In defence of Liz Truss’s retro economics

One of the many curious things about Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is that she has the capacity to drive some people around the twist. There are the Trussites, hovering over her Instagram posts in political adoration, and then there are others who consider her a menace who is about to be made Prime Minister in

How we could be heading for another snap general election

I hate to depress everybody, but the possibility of both a leadership challenge to Theresa May and a general election is suddenly mounting. I don’t believe this is the desired outcome of any of the political factions currently flying under the Conservative party flag, but if things go on like this, it is not hard

Students are right to vote Labour

Almost everything which is said officially about student finances is obfuscatory and contradictory, starting with Damian Green’s assertion at the weekend that we need ‘a national debate’ on tuition fees, only for former education secretary Michael Gove to say the opposite the following day. A week before the General Election was called, the Student Loan

An election before 2015 could soon be illegal

Amazingly, the forces of conservatism derided by Tony Blair, are in the ascendant, their enemies scattering and in retreat. Bin Laden is dead, the oil price tumbling, the Royal Wedding was a triumph and now Labour and the Lib Dems beaten at the ballot box. Surely, we tell ourselves, this is an alignment of the

The true scale of the cuts

George Osborne likes to spend his weekends at Dorneywood, the chancellor’s official residence near Slough, but I doubt this one will be  particularly enjoyable. He will be burning the midnight oil as he prepares next Wednesday’s spending review. No doubt he will also be taking calls from ministerial colleagues, muttering dark threats about aircraft carriers,

The credit crunch with jokes

Unlike most financial writers, who are too serious for their own good, Michael Lewis has a sense of humour and he deploys it deftly. In Liar’s Poker, his semi-autobiographical account of the Salomon Brothers bond desk published 20 years ago, the traders always explain a market move they do not understand by blaming it on

Put the lights back on: shale gas has arrived

Fretting about an impending energy apocalypse has long been a diverting parlour game of the chattering classes. Projections are drawn up showing that the last drop of petrol will be squeezed into the last 4×4 in about 50 years’ time. It is said that Britain, forced by the European Union to retire a third of

Even oilmen are human

Until the credit crunch sent bankers to the naughty step of capitalism, the spot was occupied by oilmen. The consequence is that an exciting tale of human endeavour — how the abundant resources of the earth have been harnessed to power an era of unimagined prosperity — is often obscured by hostile forces and, it

How the first multinational was hijacked by greed

In June 1773 Adam Smith was at home in Kirkaldy, Fife, hard at work on his Wealth of Nations, when an excited letter arrived from his fellow philosopher David Hume. ‘Do these events affect your theory?’ wrote Hume. ‘What say you?’ Smith was caught up in perhaps the third or fourth most serious stock market

Awash with oil and plenty more to come

George Trefgarne says there’s no need to worry about recent dramatic swings in oil prices: despite Opec production cuts, there’s ample supply for a new era of cheap energy It must be quite boring to be a crewman on the curiously named Front Queen, an oil tanker reportedly moored off the sweltering coast of Malta.

Darling has offered an incentive for chicanery

Imagine the scene at around 10 p.m. last Thursday night in the private apartments at Buckingham Palace. It could well have been past normal bedtime for the Queen and Prince Philip, but they were sitting up — perhaps aided by a scotch and water or some camomile tea — waiting so that Her Majesty could

The making of Ronald Reagan

I have a new hero. He is called Lemuel Boulware, of America’s General Electric Company. According to a fascinating new book by Thomas W. Evans*, Boulware should be credited not only with a role in defeating the intellectual apparatus of communism, but with the creation of one of the most successful US presidents of all

Are these Spanish builders really fit to run Heathrow?

After the chaotic scenes of the past few weeks, with probably more than a million travellers caught up at Heathrow alone, it is surely time to rebrand BAA. In the fashionable corporate way, those three initials no longer actually stand for anything, but everyone thinks they still signify the British Airports Authority. This unloved operator

A superjumbo-sized monument to Euro-folly

Jacques Chirac hit the nail on the head in 2002 when he opened a factory making components for the Airbus A380. The aircraft was, he said, ‘A symbol of what Europe can achieve.’ I could not put it better myself. As the vast 550-seat superjumbo wowed the crowd at Farnborough Air Show this week, there