Why are some Western governments contemplating an extremely risky military strike on Syria? What is the true motivation of those trying to upend the unsavory regime of Bashar Al-Assad?
Were we to see intervention, would the main driver be moral outrage, as the US and its allies sought to punish the Syrian President? After all, Assad last month ordered a ghastly chemical weapons attack, killing hundreds in a Damascus suburb.
If you watch The Apprentice, you may think that running a business is all about fast-talking and posing in designer clothes. In the real world, limousines and killer heels have little to do with creating a thriving enterprise. Commercial success stems, instead, from insight, courage and hard graft.
I’ve come across all these qualities and more in recent weeks, while getting to know four unsung heroes of British business. Rather than sitting in plate-glass buildings, they operate at the sharp end, plying their trade in prefabricated huts on drab industrial estates or even on their own kitchen tables.
Bank holiday weekends, often involving travel to see friends and family, are traditionally a time for moaning about the UK’s gridlocked roads and erratic rail services.
The British late-summer, with many of us having just spent a week or two on the Continent, is also high season for wondering aloud why “their trains are better than ours”.
Finally, the British political classes are starting to get it. Finally, a head of steam is building. Over the last week, calls to impose a proper division between investment and commercial banking have become louder, more authoritative and part of mainstream debate. Pressure for the introduction – or re-introduction – of this crucial split could soon become irresistible, however much the politicians wiggle and the investment bankers deceive.
Until now, it’s been mainly nerds like me who’ve advocated a full Glass-Steagall separation. Given the vested interests that would lose from this change, we’ve been lampooned for our “hot-headed” views. Yes – our message is awkward. Life would become difficult (and less lucrative) for a lot of powerful people, were we to prevail. Yet we “Glass-Steagallers” are right. We have history, logic and common sense on our side. And now – thanks to Barclays ex-CEO Bob Diamond, and “Liborgate” – we also have political momentum.