The Spectator

Barometer | 17 May 2018

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Gammon vs gammon

Controversy raged over whether calling an angry, white, right-wing man a ‘gammon’ is racist. The insult is first recorded in Charles Dickens’s novel Nicholas Nickleby in 1838.   But what of people really called Gammon?

— There are about 2,500 Britons with that surname, which originated in Cornwall. Their politics are not all right-wing: in the 2017 Cornwall county council elections a Jacquie Gammon stood for the Lib Dems.

— In the US, two Gammons are recorded as delegates at National Conventions: Lemuel Gammon representing Colorado for the Democrats in 1916 and Gussie Gammon representing North Carolina for the Republicans in 2008.

— Not all Gammons are white: 7.3 per cent of those in the US are African-American and 2.2 per cent are Hispanic.

Caught at sea

Operation Atalanta, the EU’s mission to tackle piracy off Somalia and the Horn of Africa, may relocate its headquarters from London to Spain after Brexit. How is the fight against piracy going? Incidents worldwide have fallen in recent years:

2013: 264

2014: 245

2015: 246

2016: 191

2017: 180

The waters off Somalia are far from the world’s most dangerous. Incidents in 2017 closest to the coast of:

Indonesia: 43

Venezuela: 12

Nigeria: 33

Bangladesh: 11

Philippines: 22

Somalia: 5

Source: ICC International Maritime Bureau

Neglected diseases

The government announced an extra £65 million in research funding for brain cancer in memory of Tessa Jowell. How much research money goes to cancer compared with other big killer diseases?

£ spent per 1,000 life-years lost



Heart disease






£ per £1m of health costs



Heart disease






Source: Nuffield Department of Population Health

The end of the party?

Thomas Cook is reported to be thinking of selling off Club 18-30 because they no longer appeal to millennials. How old would the clients on the first 18-30 holiday be?

— The brand was started by Horizon Holidays in 1965 when it flew youngsters to Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava.

—An early advert promised: ‘There’ll be people like you. That means… nobody’s grandmother.’ But some will be great-grandparents: the original holidaymakers will now be aged between 71 and 83.