“The pursuit of money is a waste of time”

Anthony Horowitz, the writer of the new Bond novel, isn't motivated by money.


The most successful Bond film ever made and the worst

Skyfall, the most recent 007 movie, is the most successful British film ever made staggering, considering what tosh it is. In an interview with Cole Moreton in The Mail on Sunday's Event, Anthony Horowitz (author of the latest Bond novel, Trigger Mortis), puts the boot in. "I know it's heresy to say so, but it is the one Bond film I have never liked." He thinks Bond comes across as "weak" "He has doubts. That's not Bond" and the villain wins. Then there's the ludicrous climax. If you want "to protect the head of MI6 from a madman, do you take her to a Scottish farmhouse with no weapons? And tell your bad guy where you are, so he will arrive with six people to kill her? And then M escapes and stands on top of a hill waving a torch to tell them where she is!"

Horowitz says he doesn't want to know about Bond's doubts, weaknesses or insecurities. "I just want to see him act, kill, win." (Fair enough, though Fleming's Bond does have weaknesses: he hates flying, calms his nerves through drink and drugs as in Casino Royale and can be vain, as in The Man with the Golden Gun, when he passes up an early chance to kill the villain.)

Horowitz is not being paid as much by the Fleming Estate as he might be for a new Alex Rider book, but he doesn't mind: his attitude to money, he says, was shaped when his father (a shadowy figure who had been a "secret fixer" for Harold Wilson) died, plunging the family into bankruptcy. "He went to the bank in Switzerland, put all his money in a suitcase, walked to another bank and put it there. Then died, without saying which bank it was or the name of the account."

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His poor mother found a leather notebook with a list of codenames. But it didn't help her locate the money and in the meantime other banks were chasing her for debts running to millions of pounds. She was "wiped out. The house, the cars, the jewellery, the mink coats, everything [had] to go." Horowitz thinks one of the shady, white-collar criminals with whom his father consorted managed to steal the entire amount. The lesson he draws, he says, is that "the pursuit of money is a waste of time" which is a healthy attitude to have if, like Horowitz, you can afford it.

New money floods the Lords

The prime minister has been under fire from Labour for packing the House of Lords with political cronies or MODAGs (Mates of Dave and George). Some of his own side are none too happy either. The PM has resisted a number of requests to reward "an older generation of City Tories'", says Anne McElvoy in The Mail on Sunday, among them Rupert Hambro and the long-standing Tory donor Sir Henry Keswick.

"Cameron has cavalierly rewarded new money and neglected many of the old faithful who have stood by the party over the decades," says a source in the Lords. I am sure the PM will seek to rectify the situation at some stage if, that is, there's any room left in the Upper House.

Tabloid money: "Arise, Lord Piggy!"

Amid Chinese "jitters" last week some hysterical experts urged us to grab food and cash and head for the hills, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "Former Gordon Brown hit-man Damian McBride, who as a one-time Treasury official should know better, fuelled the panic with a barrage of hair-raising Tweets. Get hard cash in a safe place now' have enough bottled water, tinned goods to live a month indoors' agree a rally point with your loved ones'. He was not alone." Plenty of others predicted global meltdown too, with Britain on the brink. And it's true we will all feel the pinch with world economic growth likely to be halved.

But in the short term, China's stockmarket crash might actually help Britain. "The UK is better positioned than almost anywhere else in the world to cope with a shrinking Dragon." Along with America, we're the "only properly growing economy". And thanks to China "we are in for a year or more of low interest rates, low inflation and, importantly, low fuel prices". There may be "carnage ahead", but if so we are better placed than most countries "to dodge the mincer".

"At last the BBC has done something right it's got rid of the Met Office," says Rod Liddle in The Sun. The only problem is "they're going to keep some of the regular forecasters. So we'll still have to put up with legions of camp, prancing ninnies talking down to us as if we were all stupid. Telling us to put on our wellies when it's raining." Half the time they're not even accurate. The BBC should save still more money by getting rid of them all.

"Even in the expenses-fiddling sewer of the House of Commons, Douglas Hogg was always a little bit special," says Tony Parsons in The Sun. "Hogg is the MP who claimed £2,200 in expenses for cleaning his moat. So has David Cameron punished Hogg for sticking his snout so deep in the expenses trough? No Dave just gave him a peerage. Arise, Lord Piggy!"