Monthly Archives: October 2014

Why the Tesco story is part of a bigger UK retailing picture

Following today’s news that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is moving in on the Tesco £263m auditing ‘black hole’, I suspect that several people I know and like will be feeling quite apprehensive at the prospect of some serious official questioning. There is something in this story – from what has emerged so far – […]

Pontet Canet or Francois Hollande? Which do you respect?

Picture from the Independent Francois Hollande is currently le Président de la République Française. He enjoys an approval rating of 13%. His illustrious title doesn’t seem to be doing him much good. People are judging him by what they see. From Decanter The 2012 vintage of Les Hauts de Pontet, Château Pontet Canet’s second label […]

Tesco: the giant canary in the mine

‘Commercial income‘ like ‘collateral damage‘ is one of those attractively anodyne expressions that hides a decidedly unpleasant reality. In the UK, even some of the most sophisticated members of the business community have only just been introduced to this term that neatly covers all the cash that retailers extract from their suppliers rather than from […]

In praise of hobbyhorses

“Get off your hobbyhorse…”; “Stop banging on…”; “Can’t you just change the subject…”  Pity the people who had to spend time with William Wilberforce when he was going off on yet another of his tirades about why it was wrong to turn darker-skinned people into slaves. Or Emily Pankhurst’s dinner companions as she launched into one […]

Sex and wine

Original image to be found here As I write this, somewhere in the world, millions of people are having sex. Making love. Shagging. Fucking. Having intercourse. Enjoying conjugal rights. (Interesting how many different terms we have for the same activity). Some are enjoying it a lot more than others – including the people with whom […]

Crimea and Punishment

Ok, first things first. Crimea is legally part of Ukraine and Ukraine is not part of Russia. And, speaking as someone who has both just read Sebastian Haffner’s Defying Hitler, a brilliant, blood-chilling contemporary account of the apparently inexorable rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, and had a number of very worrying illiberal conversations with […]

The shrinking shelf, and what Dr Who has to teach the wine world

The famous Dr Who Tardis. Most wine producers seem to imagine that retailers’ shelves and store-rooms are miraculous places that resemble the Tardis in Dr Who. For those unfamiliar with this UK cult BBC TV series, the Tardis resembles an old British police box used by the eponymous hero to travel in time and space. […]