Tag Archives: Cameron

Time to renegotiate our relationship with Westminster

DAVID Cameron’s promised referendum on Europe will be the first in my lifetime, which began the year after the 1975 vote to remain in the Common Market. So to me the Prime Minister’s new commitment for a vote feels like both a victory and a defeat. It is a historic decision: after more than four decades (the vote still won’t happen until after 2015), the British public will issue a verdict on its relationship with the EU. It is also a national embarrassment: our democratic deficit is so vast that our elected elites have not dared to put their decisions on Europe to the vote since the fall of Saigon. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, History, Politics

How to build a self-healing bank

BANKS should be more like cats than washing machines. So suggests Nassim Taleb, ex-trader and controversial author of The Black Swan, who has a new book out in time for Christmas. What he means is that living things – cats, economists, bankers – display a property that even our best-designed machinery lacks: a quality that he names antifragility, fragility’s true opposite. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Finance

You can’t always get what you want but the Rolling Stones defy the gloom

DON’T paint Mick Jagger too black. The Rolling Stones have come in for criticism over high ticket prices for their fiftieth anniversary gigs at the O2, which go on sale this morning. But I have some sympathy for the devil. While the cost may have disappointed some of the veteran rock band’s passionate fans, it’s a gesture of economic honesty for which they should be respected, not reviled. It reflects the exceptional demand for their music, and the realities of a music industry in which most revenues must be earned from concert performances rather than recording sales. Continue reading

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October 19, 2012 · 9:30 am

Cameron’s conservative ideal of striving is holding back the big society

DAVID Cameron’s conference speech this week was supposed to be a defence of conservative values. But by defining the Tories as “the party of the want to be better-off,” he revealed the limit of his ambitions. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Politics

The Games are a chance for Britain to showcase its freedom and openness

IT’S fitting that the Olympic flame, which passed through the City yesterday, is lit in Olympia by focusing the sun’s rays in a mirror. The modern Games is a mirror of nations, in which the host nation and its guests reveal themselves to the world.

Take the torch relay. For the Nazis, who ran the first relay in 1936, it was a statement of imperial intent. The flame crossed Czechoslovakia like a dog marking its territory. For Britain’s latest Games, the same symbol is instead a beacon of both a peaceful ideal and more local anxieties, criss-crossing the length and breadth of our small island, in an effort to bring a spirit of national unity to a Games centred on London. Continue reading

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Filed under Human nature, Olympics, Politics

We need a political hero to slay the corporate undead

NO ONE will ever produce a film called David Cameron: Vampire Hunter. Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, got a Hollywood blockbuster this week that reinvents his life as a fight to the undeath. Lincoln’s cod-historical battle with soulless, slave-owning bloodsuckers adapts a mash-up biography/monster novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, whose back catalogue of left-field bestsellers includes the wildly successful Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which sold 794,000 copies in 2009 alone. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Economics, Literature, Politics

Even Disney can’t pick a winning movie script

SPARE a thought for the Mouse. Disney’s latest movie spectacular, John Carter, has lost the company $200m (£127m) after a disastrous opening. Meanwhile The Hunger Games opens at cinemas today on speculation that it will achieve a record-breaking run. Lionsgate, the studio responsible, has seen its stock rise some 75 per cent this year as the momentum has gathered. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Business, Economics, Film, Innovation