Dear George Soros

The billionaire investor who crippled sterling three years ago has lost his Midas touch. Don't expect us to weep for you
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The Independent Online
I am sorry to hear about your latest little embarrassment. Having to warn shareholders that your investment funds' performance was "downright poor" in the first half of the year must have been tough for someone who, as a child, thought he was God.

Down to your last pounds 4bn, I gather you had to rub by on pounds 70m last year, breadline stuff compared with the pounds 1.1bn you "earned" in 1993. When you're used to growing your funds at up to 50 per cent a year, the 3 per cent you achieved in 1994 would have been a painful intimation of mortality.

Of course, you won't expect any sympathy from this side of the pond. Keeping one of your four houses over here, you will be aware that, unlike on your adopted Wall Street, we tend to disapprove of financial success.

We especially dislike wunderkinder like you who make their pile by humiliating us. We didn't like you making a billion pounds betting that sterling would be forced out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism three years ago. But what we really hated was the idea that one man - Johnny Foreigner at that - could discard our beloved currency like a sweet wrapper.

Now don't misunderstand me, George, I believe in the cut and thrust of capitalist speculation as much as you. But there is a world of difference between an honest bet and the no-lose speculation that you and a handful of other so-called "gurus" before you have practised.

Over the past three years you have used your mythical reputation for timing to jump in and out of a bewildering array of markets around the world. Like all the best speculators, you've used the press - and we should have known better - for enormous personal profit.

You see, by the time you've started the whisper that you and Jimmy Goldsmith are keen on gold, the price has jumped from $340 to $400 an ounce and you're out again. You did the same for property last year, hopping in with a seriously hyped pounds 500m before (shhh, quiet now) slipping out a few months later, once all the other mugs had piled in.

You even had the gall to tell us that you could have done for the French franc as well, but for a sudden uncharacteristic rush of public spiritedness. With an ego as big as that, it really is unsurprising it has all started to unravel in such a satisfying way.

You've really dropped a few clangers this year, though, haven't you? What with the collapse of the Mexican peso putting a halt to the tower you're building in Mexico City with the Reichmanns, and the bond market collapse, and thinking wrongly that the G7 would prop up the dollar. Oh, it's all going rather nicely.

But you're a big boy, George, and understand as well as the next shark that when someone wins a billion, someone else has just lost it. I know you'll forgive me for enjoying the fact that, like the rest of us, you're having to worry about money for a change.

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