David Cameron, the Prime Minister, flew to the Gulf to sell Typhoon jets to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. On the border of Jordan with Syria he said he shared a ‘goal of a Syria without Assad’. Mr Cameron appointed Mrs Justice Macur to examine the treatment of allegations of sexual abuse at children’s homes in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. Someone abused at that period accused a former Conservative politician. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced a new police inquiry into the abuse. A text message from Rebekah Brooks to Mr Cameron was published by the Mail on Sunday: ‘Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love “working together”.’ Denis MacShane, a former Labour minister, stepped down as an MP for falsely claiming £7,000 of expenses. A man jumped into the boot of his car as it was being stolen in Edinburgh and managed to telephone police from inside.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, discussed on television the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union. He was speaking four days after the government was defeated by 307 to 294 (with the help of 53 Tory rebels) in a vote calling for a real-terms cut in the EU budget between 2014 and 2020. Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, backed a campaign for a ‘living wage’ minimum of £7.45 an hour (or £8.55 in London), compared with the legal minimum wage for those over 21 of £6.19. More than 50 per cent of mortgages in London, the south-east and the south-west were found to be interest-only loans in a survey by Moody’s. A flood siren went off accidentally in Boston, Lincolnshire, at 3 a.m. and kept townspeople awake for five hours.
The ash tree dieback disease caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea was found to be present at 82 locations in England and Scotland. A prison officer was shot dead on the M1 in County Armagh as he drove to work at Maghaberry Prison, the first such murder for 20 years. On landing in Australia for a six-day tour, the Prince of Wales said: ‘I feel a few sausages short of a barbie’, on account of the jetlag. In temperatures of 100°F, the Duchess of Cornwall was made to cuddle a year-old kangaroo. Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP, flew to Australia to take part in the television series I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Operations were postponed at King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, after a rat was found in a theatre.
Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States, comfortably beating the Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Mr Obama said: ‘We know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.’ The symbolic popular vote was very close. The Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives and the Democrats held the Senate. Colorado and Washington voted to legalise recreational use of marijuana, and Maine, Maryland and Washington voted for same-sex marriage. More than a million people in New Jersey and New York were still without electricity a week after the storm Sandy. More than 100 in the United States were found to have died and 30,000 to 40,000 were left homeless. Haiti, hit earlier by the storm, appealed for aid. The United States and Japan undertook joint naval exercises involving 47,000 people near islands in the East China Sea claimed by China. China’s Communist party congress met to finalise the new national leadership. Elliott Carter, the American composer, died, aged 103.
In Qatar, the Syrian National Council, the main opposition coalition, set about trying to extend its support among groups in Syria, where fighting continued, with 179 reported killed on 4 November, mostly civilians, and the next day 50 government troops were reported killed in a suicide car bombing in Ziyara. At least 27 were killed by a car bomb outside an Iraqi army base near Baghdad. Authorities in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan armed volunteers with whistles and drums to shame people out of defecating in public.
The parliament of Iran passed a motion calling for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to appear before it to explain the state of the economy. President Vladimir Putin of Russia dismissed Anatoly Serdyukov as defence minister. The European Court of Auditors said there were errors in allocating €5 billion from the 2011 EU budget. Greek workers held a two-day general strike against austerity. A blindfolded child drew the name of Bishop Tawadros, aged 60, to be the 118th Coptic pope.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 10 November 2012