Mr Soros deserves to be taken seriously. Every time the global markets fall sharply, it can affect the value of our pensions, or the cost of our mortgages. There is a case to be made for a more formal system of international regulation. It would need an influential chairman, practiced in the devious ways of traders, unafraid of the erratic nature of world markets. When President Franklin Roosevelt set up the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington DC to regulate the shady side of business, he chose Joseph Kennedy to run it because he knew Kennedy was well acquainted with the shady side of business. If we are to have a body to regulate speculation, there can only be one candidate for chairman. To check the speculators, you need the best speculator on side. Chairman Soros.
George Soros is a character all right. Interviewed on the radio yesterday, he cheerfully admitted that his investment funds dropped at least $1bn during last week's turmoil in the world's stock exchanges. It is swings and roundabouts: you make a billion betting against sterling in 1991, and then you lose a billion by being on the wrong side of the market in 1997. But Mr Soros also has something serious to say about the global markets in which he plays. He believes the financial instability they create is potentially ruinous, and that governments ought to create a united front against speculators like himself.