Image of the week: Leaky pipes
It has all the hallmarks of an event that gains its own paragraph in the history books of the future: the Nord Stream gas pipelines were this week subject to what the European Union termed “sabotage”, with both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 suffering damage. This followed underwater disturbances detected by Sweden’s National Seismology Centre, which said there was no doubt that they were “explosions”, while the Danish military released an image of a gas leak in the Baltic Sea above Nord Stream 2, near the island of Bornholm, and told ships to avoid the area. The pipelines still contained gas despite not being operational.
Back in February, as tensions relating to Russian aggression towards Ukraine mounted, Germany halted the only recently completed but still idle Nord Stream 2 project – a once-prized symbol of German “Ostpolitik” intended to double the flow of gas from Russia – while Russian president Vladimir Putin closed down Nord Stream 1 in August for “maintenance”. Well, that’s one word for it.
In numbers: Tunnel vision
Maximum number of passengers per hour that Eurostar’s London terminal St Pancras can process, the train company’s chief executive Jacques Damas has told a Westminster committee.
Number of passengers per hour Eurostar could process at St Pancras before Brexit ended free movement between the UK and the EU. The cross-channel operator has recently cut a number of services, including a direct one from London to Disneyland Paris.
Additional seconds it now takes for a Eurostar passenger to cross the border due to the stamping of British passports, with automated systems such as e-gates less effective, Damas said. Time, as it turns out, really is money.
Getting to know: Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee (35) would “rather people know my work than my face”, but his face has been knocking about for happy reasons this week, with the much-admired young fashion designer appointed chief creative officer of luxury brand Burberry. During his stint as creative head of Bottega Veneta, Lee was credited with igniting the Italian label’s popularity with younger consumers, shifting high volumes of clutch handbags and quilted mules.
In conversation with novelist Bret Easton Ellis in Interview magazine last year, he shared some of his cultural tastes, including his admiration for singer Rihanna – “I am typically drawn to someone who really doesn’t give a s**t about what everyone else thinks – and musician PJ Harvey, “an endless source of inspiration”. He also admitted that balancing the creative aspects with the financial realities of big corporate fashion jobs could be a “heavy burden”. Fortunately, he didn’t have too much time to worry.
The list: Fiscal fallout
The “fiscal event” unveiled by new British prime minister Liz Truss and her chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng last week was embarrassingly irresponsible enough to trigger a blunt rebuke from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and force the Bank of England to intervene. But what else have people been saying?
1. Larry Summers: The former US treasury secretary told Newsnight it looked as if the UK had made “a number of unforced errors” and he was “frankly a little surprised” not to hear from the IMF sooner.
2. Giles Wilkes: The former economic adviser to Theresa May tweeted that he was “old enough to remember when the point of an emergency budget was to solve one, not cause one”.
3. Stuart Rose: The Asda chairman and former Marks & Spencer boss told the BBC that Truss’s government were no better than gamblers: “They have put the entire UK economy on the 3.30 at Epsom.”
4. Paul Donovan: Investors are inclined to regard the new Conservative regime as a “doomsday cult”, said the chief economist for UBS Global Wealth Management. Financial markets duly took fright.
5. David Frost: Taking a different tack, Boris Johnson’s erstwhile Brexit minister said Truss and Kwarteng “should tune out the criticism from those who are still in the intellectual world of Gordon Brown”, thereby unwittingly reminding everybody of the halcyon days when UK prime ministers were intellectuals.