Davos diary: No backsliding from Boris Johnson

To dinner with Barclays Bank atthe Schatzalp Hotel, a formersanitarium high above Davos made famous as the scene of Thomas Mann's classic novel The Magic Mountain. In typically rumbustious form, the guest speaker, Boris Johnson, congratulates Marcus Agius, the Barclays chairman, for defying the mood of austerity bypersisting with the dinner, and declares himself one of the last defenders of the free market system left in politics. Wearing his London Mayor's hat, he invites all foreigners to take advantage of the weak pound to buy assets in London, pointing out that a year ago a copy of the Evening Standard cost 50p. Today you could buy the whole thing for the same price, complete with 300 journalists. Boris headed back down to Davos in the only proper way – by toboggan. Your intrepid reporter can testify to the terrifying speed with which he completed the run.

Blair doesstand-up comedy

A half-way decent joke fromTony Blair, our former primeminister, whose "third-way" thinking fits the Davos agenda hand-in-glove. Sharing aplatform with Stephen Green,he congratulates the chairman of HSBC for being one of the few bankers who is still willing to come out during daylight hours.

The word of God to govern the markets

Tony Blair isn't the only politicianin town doing a few gags. Asked to wind up a rambling treatise onsocially responsible capitalism, Shimon Peres, the President of Israel, suggests that there is no better code by which to govern society and the markets than the Ten Commandments. Simple, but effective.

Bill raises an eyebrow at Putin's conversion

President Bill Clinton, seemingly one of only a handful of Americans to be attending Davos this year, isastonished by the apparent conversion to the free-enterprise system of Vladimir Putin, who with Western banks being nationalised right, left and centre has beenwarning his Western counterparts here about the perils of a state-run economy. "Yes, I am pleased to see Putin come out in favour of the free market system," says Mr Clinton. "I wish him luck."

It's not all free booze for those who care

One of the events in Davos everyone feels obliged to have a go at (and to be seen to be having a go) is the Refugee Run, a clever idea operated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Participants get the chance to find out what life might be like for a refugee, as they run the gauntlet (simulated, naturally) of a war zone, a minefield and a rebel attack. Those already queuing up for their turn, having notified the media of when they'll be doing it, of course, include Ban Ki-Moon, UN secretary general (though he's chickened out of the full experience), and – surprise, surprise – Sir Richard Branson.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn