The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 1 December 2016


Paul Nuttall, aged 39, was elected leader of the UK Independence Party. He said: ‘I want to replace the Labour party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.’ Theresa May, the Prime Minister, was rebuffed by Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, and by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, when she proposed settling the status of British and EU expatriates even before Article 50 was invoked. She made another attempt in talks with Beata Szydlo, the Prime Minister of Poland. There was some interest in a note photographed on papers being carried after a meeting in Downing Street by Julia Dockerill, an aide to Mark Field, a Conservative MP, that said: ‘What’s the model? Have your cake and eat it.’ A group called British Influence sought a judicial review of whether the United Kingdom would leave the European Economic Area by the very fact of leaving the EU. Some vegetarians reacted angrily on discovering that the new plastic £5 note contains tallow made from dead beasts.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted that in 2021 wages would still not be as high as they were in 2008. The OECD predicted that the British economy would grow by only 1 per cent in 2018, compared with 1.7 per cent for Germany and 1.6 per cent for France; but the OECD has already revised its prediction for British growth this year from 1.8 to 2 per cent. Michael Gove, the former Cabinet minister, cast doubt on forecasters, saying: ‘Economists overall have to recognise that their profession is in crisis.’ RBS, still 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer, failed a Bank of England stress test. Skyscanner, the UK-based travel search business, was bought by Ctrip, China’s biggest online travel company, for £1.4

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