Category Archives: How To Spend It

What rich geriatric adolescents are reading

Vulgar supplement of a dopey newspaper: Dalrymple writes that How To Spend It, a glossy supplement of the Financial Times newspaper, ‘suggests what most readers are really interested in and what their tastes actually are, or what the editors and advertisers think that most readers are really interested in and what their tastes actually are. Since newspapers are hardly read any longer by anyone under 40, the supposed interests and tastes are those of an ageing, educated, wealthy, liberal-leaning minority’. The supplement is ‘devoted mostly, though not quite entirely, to fashion, a subject of about the same interest to me as the Costa Rican traffic regulations’, with ‘pictures of terminally-pouting, bored-looking, anorexic models’ and of ‘geriatric adolescents—or is it adolescent geriatrics?’

Britain’s spiv economy, polity and society


Tony Blair: capo di tutti spivvi

The UK House of Commons, Dalrymple reports,

wants to strip [the tycoon] Sir Philip Green of his knighthood because it alleges that he is a spiv.

Dalrymple is

perfectly prepared to believe that he is a spiv, though I cannot claim to have followed his career closely. At the very least he seems to be a man given to vulgar show.

The Saturday supplement of the Financial Times newspaper: for people with more money than taste

The Saturday supplement of the Financial Times newspaper: for people with more money than taste

But Dalrymple asks:

How many members of the British parliament and government are spivs, or hope to become spivs at the end of their political careers? Two of our last three prime ministers were clearly of spiv calibre, one of them indeed to spivs what the capo dei capi is to the Mafia. If Parliament deprived them of their pensions, then it might have done something useful.

Once you grasp the concept of spivvery,

much about modern Britain becomes explicable. You have only to read the Financial Times’ Saturday supplement, How To Spend It, to understand how much of our economy is in essence a spiv economy. The supplement is aimed not at people with more money than sense, but at a group of people far, far worse: people with more money than taste, for whom Sir Philip is a leader of fashion.

David Cameron: clearly of spiv calibre

David Cameron: clearly of spiv calibre

We have, Dalrymple points out,

raised up spivs to the summit of our economy and society.

Moreoever, Britain has a tax system

that turns accountancy into the queen of the sciences.


Sir Philip Green: leader of fashion

How to beat insomnia on those long flights



In the pages of the Financial Times, writes Dalrymple,

one seeks in vain an item of interest, let alone of illumination.

Dalrymple sometimes attempts to read the FT

to help me get to sleep when it is handed out free on planes.

He very occasionally buys it and walks through

Outstanding vulgarity

Outstanding vulgarity

my small town in England with it under my arm in order to give the appearance to my fellow townsmen of material substance.

The FT

is earnest rather than serious. The only frivolity it permits itself is its glossy supplement, How to Spend It (a title of outstanding vulgarity), which consists mainly of advising financiers on how to dispose of their surplus millions—that is to say their misappropriations of shareholders’ funds—on expensive trifles.

Cartoonists brought it on themselves

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 08.34.16Faut pas se moquer: journalism at the Financial Times

How long, Dalrymple asks,

would it take for a Western journalist to blame the Charlie Hebdo murders on French colonialism and journalistic insensitivity to the feelings of Muslims? Not nearly as long, I suspected, as it would take a journalist in the Muslim world to blame them on the legacy of Mohammed and Islam. And I was right.

Tony Barber: Charlie Hebdo should stop 'being stupid'

Tony Barber: Charlie Hebdo ‘just being stupid’

Distressing wrong-headedness

Dalrymple reports that it took less than four hours for someone called Tony Barber, described as an ‘associate editor’ of the Financial Times, to publish an article on the newspaper’s website

blaming the journalists and cartoonists of the satirical French magazine (and the two policemen as well?) for their own deaths.

This Barber, Dalrymple points out, wrote and posted the following (see screenshot):

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 10.14.38Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims . . . Some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo . . . which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.


Dalrymple’s response:

According to this perverted logic, if the relatives of the 12 murdered men were now to storm into the offices of the Financial Times and shoot 12 staff members because of the considerable provocation offered by Tony Barber, it will prove only that Barber had just been stupid.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 08.31.07Dalrymple points to a relevant difference between the two cases:

When he wrote his disgraceful little article, Barber knew perfectly well that the relatives of the murdered men would not behave in this fashion, and that therefore he was not ‘just being stupid’. Hence, he equates prudence with cowardice, a sure way to encourage (though not perhaps to provoke, in his sense of the word) more such attacks.

Barber refers to Charlie Hebdo's 'editorial foolishness', in contradistinction to the FT's editorial wisdom, judgment, tact and perspective

Barbare refers to Charlie Hebdo’s ‘editorial foolishness’, in contradistinction to the FT’s editorial wisdom, judgment, tact and perspective


Barber’s implicit recognition

that some people react differently to provocation is not flattering to those whom he wishes to exculpate, in so far as it implies that they are childishly unable to accept the kind of mockery that is perfectly normal in a free country.

France had it coming

In his first paragraph, Barber wrote

that the attack on Charlie Hebdo will ‘not surprise anyone familiar with the rising tensions among France’s 5m or more Muslim citizens and the poisonous legacy of French colonialism in North Africa.’ In other words, France had it coming, though it offers a far better life to its 5m Muslims than they would be likely to find anywhere in the Muslim world, including in their countries of descent. The Muslims owe nothing, no loyalty, to France.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 09.21.56How To Spend It

Rather than commenting cretinously on matters of which it knows little or nothing, such as the meaning of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Islamism, free speech, etc., perhaps the Financial Times should concentrate on what it does best, for example putting out its spectacularly vulgar and imprudent How To Spend It magazine supplement for the corrupt international rich.


Dalrymple concludes:

The French must defend to the death the right of their satirists to mock, bait, and needle Muslims, in France and elsewhere.

Private Eye No. 1384, 23 Jan - 5 Feb 2015

Private Eye No. 1384, 23 Jan – 5 Feb 2015

The eternally hypocritical English bourgeoisie

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 18.15.18The British lower classes are deeply unpleasing, having been thoroughly corrupted by welfarism. But the classes of Briton that excite the most disgust are the upper middle, to which Britain’s current, lamentable prime minister belongs.

It is not just the world-class snobbery and hypocrisy of the British upper-middle classes that repel. (The snobbery and hypocrisy persist, or are even heightened, despite the nation’s third-rate, piffling status. As snobs and hypocrites, Britons punch above their weight.)

Middle-class Britons are greatly more vulgar — and sillier — than before. They are the silly-billy bourgeoisie, and the idea of duty, responsibility, probity or self-restraint is alien to them, especially if they work in that abyss of imaginary money, the City of London. Dalrymple has, for example, often drawn attention to the grotesque, insensible vulgarity of one of their favourite magazines, the How To Spend It supplement of the Financial Times newspaper. They are, writes Dalrymple,

the underclass, but with more money.

The British middle classes are ‘not a pretty sight or a grateful sound’, for they

lack refinement in their tastes, except in matters of expensive technological appurtenances…Their manners, down to their gestures and very facial expressions, are crude, coarse and brutish.

The imprudence of the Financial Times

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 02.56.30The Financial Times, slave to political and economic fashion, voice of the effœte Western European and North American establishment, house journal of the plutocrats, is taken to task by Dalrymple over its tasteless How To Spend It supplement:

Lack of temperance calls forth vulgarity on an epic scale. How To Spend It is a magazine for people whose main difficulty is finding things expensive and luxurious enough. There seems no sense of limitation, of temperance, in its pages; nor, for that matter, of prudence.

In a situation in which

millions of people find it difficult to meet everyday expenses, it is surely not prudent to make it appear that the most important decision in life for a whole class of people already not supremely popular is which wristwatch costing €100,000 to buy: whether it should be the one that automatically tells you what the time is in Reykjavík to the nearest hundredth of a second when you are in Bujumbura, or the one that tells you what the time is to within a thousandth of a second when you are diving in the Caribbean.

Dalrymple adds:

I understand the anger when people see such things.