The Spectator

Barometer | 23 July 2015

Plus: Water cannon in Northern Ireland; what truancy can save in holiday costs; and the odds of an official message on ET

Text settings

Gesture politics

A royal home movie from 1933 apparently showed the future Queen, aged seven, and her mother giving a Nazi salute. Like the Swastika, the stiff-armed salute was not invented by the Nazis. In this case they took it from the Mussolini and his Fascists, who thought it came from ancient Rome. Three Roman soldiers are shown making such a gesture in Jacques-Louis David’s 1784 painting ‘Oath of the Horatii’.But the US beat both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by using the gesture to accompany the pledge of allegiance.

Hitler himself claimed the salute was one of peace, saying it meant ‘Look! I am holding no weapon.’ But like the royal family, he and his followers never quite agreed on how to do it: while Hitler raised his arm no more than 20 degrees above the horizontal, other senior Nazis raised theirs 45 degrees and members of the Hitler Youth — like the future Edward VIII in the home movie — favoured 70 degrees or even more.

Wet jobs

Theresa May decided not to let police use water cannon in mainland Britain. How often are they seen in Northern Ireland?

Times deployed









Times used









Source: Police Service of Northern Ireland

Maths lesson

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw called for the fine for parents who take their children out of school during term time to be raised from £60. How much can a family of four save on a package holiday by going during term?

Two weeks at Sol Antillas Barbabos Hotel, Magaluf, Majorca, with Thomson.

5 August: £4,520  

12 September £3,540

Saving: £980

Ten days at Topkapi Palace hotel, Antalya, Turkey.

10 August: £3,380

15 September: £1,944

Saving: £1,436

Space oddity

Russian physicist and internet billionaire Yuri Milner gave £65 million to a search for aliens. What do the bookmakers think?

William Hill: ‘UK PM or US President announce existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life’: 100-1

Paddy Power: ‘Sitting US President making a statement confirming without doubt the existence of alternative, intelligent life beings from another planet’ in 2015: 100-1