Stephen Robinson

Fraud victim? Don’t bank on getting your money back

Lloyds Bank has been running a new advertising campaign which updates its long-standing black horse corporate branding. The horses no longer thunder along a beach, but interact with people who we assume are actual or potential customers. The soothing payoff slogan goes: ‘Lloyds Bank. By your side.’ The latest episode features a girl who slightly

Brexit means Boris

A few months before he died in 2007, Bill Deedes asked if I would come to see him at his home in Kent and bring Boris Johnson along with me. I was writing a biography of Bill at the time, and I knew he was miserable because he had broken his hip and could no

Writing behind bars

So much rubbish has been written over the years by those who feared, revered or pretended to know Nelson Mandela that it is useful, finally, to be able to read about him and the privations of his prison years in his own contemporaneous, understated prose. At more than 600 pages including annotations, The Prison Letters

Cameron adrift

It can be cruel, the way politics plays out. At the very moment George Osborne was telling the bemused staff of the London Evening Standard last week that his working life in politics had obscured a passionate desire to become a newspaper editor, a familiar figure could be seen in the fresh meat department of

A race apart

South African democracy has not, on the whole, been kind to the Afrikaner. During Nelson Mandela’s benign oversight of the Rainbow Nation, liberal Afrikaners persuaded themselves that all would turn out well in the end. But in their hearts, they sensed it would go wrong. And so it has. At the time of writing, President

A toe-curling tragedy

Zac Goldsmith spent almost every day out on the stump during his London mayoral campaign dressed in the formal dark suit he inherited from his father, and had recut on his death in 1997. At least that is what a member of his team told me as I was out observing proceedings one day. I

The halo slips

Peter Popham is commendably quick off the blocks with this excellent account of the run-up to last November’s Burmese general election, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept the board. At the time of writing this review, Suu is taking four ministries, including foreign affairs. So she will do what she

The return of the fountain pen

Every working day before I start pounding the keyboard of my ridiculously flashy 27-inch iMac, I perform a little ritual. I straighten the fountain pens I keep on my desk, and make sure they are fully inked. Though I always have an eye for my next acquisition, I currently have just six pens, which are fuelled

Private grief

Two or three mornings a week I walk our four-year-old down to his Catholic primary school in Camden Town. As we pass an expensive though rather bad private school, we have to squeeze our way through the mayhem of north Londoners decanting their pampered progeny from their double-parked 4x4s. I can’t say I like the