Is Soros taking his biggest gamble ever
Any move by Soros commands special attention. His cachet may have slipped a little in the past few years but he still has a reputation for being a man who can move markets, especially those as delicately poised as London is just now. Who can forget Black Wednesday?
On 16 September, 1992, Britain was forced to quit the European Exchange Mechanism after a humiliation that saw the Treasury spend £27 billion in an attempt to shore up the pound. It had been sold short relentlessly by speculators among whom Soros was believed to be the most active.
He is said to have made £1 billion from the affair, although he has never confirmed - or denied - this figure. As Soros bets against the Footsie now the inevitable question is - could he do it again?
There may be a view that the stock market has the resilience to withstand even an assault by Soros. But as awareness grows of his shorting strategy there is a bound to be a reaction. The impact of this reaction may depend on how aggressive he and, no doubt, his associates, decide to be.
After hammering the pound, Soros repeated the exercise with the Thai baht.
His Quantum fund has been among the most successful investment vehicles ever seen and despite giving away a sizeable portion of his wealth - $6 billion according to one estimate - Soros still features high on the list of the world's richest individuals with a fortune of at least $10 billion.
Last year he was the second biggest hitter on Wall Street, according to Forbes magazine, with earnings of $2.4 billion. Soros will be 78 next month. Apart from his philanthropy, he has also been busy helping shape the modern world.
His backing for the Solidarity movement in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and the Rose Revolution in Georgia contributed to profound change in those countries. His influence on Russia before and after communism has been widely acknowledged.
He may have failed in his ambition to topple George W Bush but his successes have been many and some will wonder why he might be bothered, at this stage in his life, to risk a potentially bloody battle on the London stock market.
Perhaps it is a matter of unfinished business. Soros is still hungry for recognition but not as a man who can make vast amounts of money, rather as a prophet of the age, although the word he might use is philosopher.
Indeed, philosophy is Soros's first and most enduring love. Anyone trying to second guess himwould do well to look at his roots.
He was born in Budapest in 1930, the son of Teodor Schwartz, a Jewish intellectual and idealist who had been captured by the Russians on the eastern front in the First World War.
Teodor made it back to Hungary and pursued a career as a lawyer and one of the world's leading exponents of Esperanto. As fascism took hold in Germany and elsewhere he changed the family name from Schwartz to Soros, the Esperanto for "will soar".
After the war Georgemade his way to London and was accepted as a student at the London School of Economics where he encountered the man who was to become one of the most profound influences in his life, Professor Karl Popper.
Sir Karl, as he became, was an Austrian to whom Soros could relate on almost every level. Theirs was a shared background of intellectual rigour, often set in the context of a conversation, or chess game, in a central european coffee house.
Popper's Open Society thesis was adopted wholeheartedly by Soros who expounds it to this day. He is currently chairman of the Open Society Institute.
For Soros, an open society is a global entity where the rivalries and conflicts of nation states become irrelevant.