This week’s Portrait of the week


The Court of Appeal ruled that Sharon Shoesmith had been sacked unfairly in 2008 as head of children’s services in Haringey after the death of baby Peter; asked if she blamed herself for the
child’s death, she said: ‘I am not into the blame game. I don’t do blame.’ Southern Cross, Britain’s biggest care home company, caring for 30,000 people, agreed with
its landlords to defer 30 per cent of its rent for four months. Four people were arrested after a Panorama programme about abuse of patients with learning difficulties and autism at a residential
hospital in Bristol. In the first quarter of the year 300 cases of measles were recorded, four times last year’s incidence. The Health and Safety Executive served the animal health laboratory
at Pirbright, Surrey, with two ‘improvement notices’ after two incidents, in one of which a flask containing foot-and-mouth virus cracked and leaked, and in the other liquid leaked from
cows being incinerated.

12 issues for £12

Lord Taylor of Warwick, until recently a member of the Conservative party, was jailed for 12 months for falsely claiming £11,277 in parliamentary expenses. The Electoral Commission is to look
into the election expenses of Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, following a complaint. Alex Fergusson, the former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, is to give his £20,000
pension to charity while he continues to draw a salary as an MSP. Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, married Justine Thornton, the mother of his two children, on a windy day at Langar in
Nottinghamshire. About 200 people gathered to see competitors pursue a Double Gloucester cheese 650ft down the 1:2 slope of Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire.

For the first time, applications to universities have risen above 700,000, and more than 200,000 are expected to be left without places by August. King’s Park Secondary School in Glasgow
wrote to parents advising them not to dress children in short skirts or tight trousers lest they be photographed by paedophiles. A small earthquake struck Blackpool; some blamed boring for shale
gas. A 40ft whale died after three hours on the beach at Redcar.


Greece failed to secure cross-party agreement at home to austerity measures that European Union leaders were planning to impose upon it. The European Central Bank wanted the Greek debt to be paid
without any restructuring that would constitute a default. Sepp Blatter, aged 75, was left with no rival when he stood for re-election as president of the Fédération Internationale de
Football Association (Fifa), since his challenger, Mohamed bin Hammam, had been suspended while accusations were investigated that members of the Caribbean Football Union had been offered $40,000
to vote for him; Jack Warner, the vice-president of Fifa, was also suspended, but Fifa’s ethics committee rapidly cleared Mr Blatter. Spain angrily denied that its organic cucumbers had
killed 15 in Germany through the 0104 strain of Escherichia coli.

Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb commander accused of genocide for his part in the murder of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 and other crimes, was arrested after a 16-year
search and was extradited to the notorious UN war crimes court at The Hague. Abyei, on the border of north and south Sudan, from which 40,000 Dinka had fled, was turned over to looting and burning.
General Mohammed Daud Daud, the police commander for northern Afghanistan, was killed by a suicide bomber. Germany said it would never use its six older nuclear power stations again, and all would
be closed by 2022. Global carbon emissions reached a record level last year, according to the International Energy Agency, rising by 5 per cent over the year before. An infrared satellite survey
located 17 lost pyramids in Egypt.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa visited Tripoli to seek a diplomatic resolution of the civil war in Libya but soon left. Five Libyan generals defected to the rebels, leaving only ten remaining
loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. In Syria, troops with tanks and helicopters surrounded the towns of Rastan and Talbisa, north of Damascus, to crush protest. In Yemen security forces ended a four-month
sit-in in the southern city of Taiz, shooting dead at least 20 anti-government protesters. Protests continued in the capital Sanaa. The Yemeni air force bombed suspected al-Qa’eda fighters
who had seized the southern town of Zinjibar. A driver at Indianapolis made a record ramp-to-ramp jump of 332 feet. CSH

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated