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Banking

A tale of two Stans

There is only one, real story this week. The resounding defeat of the Republicans in the US mid-term elections. My former Oxford classmate, David Rose, called me last Wednesday morning. “I feel I contributed to the Democrats’ victory,” he purred. David, a journalist for Vanity Fair, had interviewed some of the leading neocons for the magazine.

Originally scheduled to be published on December 6, the story, ‘Neo Culpa’, was dynamite, so the magazine rushed a summary on to its website the weekend before the elections. The so-called “architects of the Iraq war” turned on president Bush with the venom of women scorned. Richard Perle, a former chairman of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board Advisory Committee, is quoted as saying: “The decisions did not get made that should have been made... At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.” It was 8 o’clock in the morning, and I was befuddled by jet-lag – think Pete Doherty on a bad, or George W. Bush on a good, day. Nevertheless, I congratulated David and put down the phone in thoughtful mood.

Warm Stan

I had flown from Chicago to London at the weekend. The queues to pass through security were lengthy and chaotic. I was reminded of a refugee camp: mothers with wailing children, the infirm, the elderly, half-clad businessmen not looking very business-like and your columnist shuffled forward at a snail’s pace.

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