The Spectator

Barometer | 11 August 2012

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Family fortunes

Louise Mensch became the latest MP to resign in order to spend more time with her family. The phrase has become something of a euphemism over the years to refer to somebody who has made a suspicious exit, not least because the original politician to resign for that stated reason — Norman Fowler from his job as employment secretary in January 1990 — did so a few months after the sudden departure of Nigel Lawson as chancellor of the exchequer.

— That event signified a deep rift between Mrs Thatcher and her ministers, and presaged her downfall a year later. Fowler has since insisted that he really did want to spend more time with his family, which at the time consisted of a wife, Fiona,16-year-old stepson Oliver and daughters Kate, 8, and Isobel, 5.

— The words he actually used in his resignation letter were 'I have a young family and over the next years I should like to devote more time to them while they are still so young.'

Gold standards

Great Britain won more gold medals at an Olympics than at any games since 1908. Host nations often do well at the games, but does the effect last?

Gold medals won Other medals won
4 Before hosting Games (2000) 9
6 While hosting Games (2004) 10
0 After hosting Games (2008) 4
9 Before (1996) 32
16 During (2000) 42
17 After (2004) 32
United States
37 Before (1992) 71
44 During (1996) 57
37 After (2000) 57
1 Before (1988) 3
13 During (1992) 9
5 After (1996) 12

Done a runner

Athletes who have so far gone missing from the 2012 London games and are expected to claim asylum:

Cameroon 7
Sudan 3
Ethiopia 1

Athletes have been given visas until November, so it won't be known until then whether the record exceeds the 145 who went missing from the Sydney Olympics in 2000, 35 of whom claimed asylum.