The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 1 October 2015

Portrait of the week | 1 October 2015
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In his speech at the Labour party conference, much of it taken from material that had been on the internet for some time, Jeremy Corbyn, its new leader, told the British people that most of them shared his values, such as ‘fair play for all, solidarity and not walking by on the other side of the street’. ​Mr Corbyn urged: ‘Let us build a kinder politics, a more caring society together.’ Supporters of the Class War movement with fiery torches and pig masks attacked the hipsterish Cereal Killer Café in Brick Lane, east London​.​ The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate apologised after an RAF sergeant was moved away from other patients because staff said his uniform might cause offence. ​The full moon took on a bloody tinge​ during a lunar eclipse.

At Britain’s request the UN imposed sanctions limiting travel and movement of assets on four declared jihadists supporting the Islamic State: Omar Hussain from High Wycombe, Nasser Muthana from Cardiff, Aqsa Mahmood from Glasgow and Sally-Anne Jones from Chatham. In Calais, a migrant bound for England died at the tunnel mouth, the 13th to die since late June.​ Dark stripes on slopes on Mars are caused by trickling water, Nasa scientists said.​

Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Féin, who was arrested last year for questioning about the IRA’s murder of Jean McConville in 1972, will not be charged, the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland ruled. ​Sarah Sands, aged 32, ​of Canning Town, ​was jailed for 42 months for the manslaughter by reason of loss of control, of Michael Pleasted, 77, who had been charged with sexually assaulting young boys on the east London estate where they lived. Marie Black, 34, of Norwich, was sentenced to life on 23 charges relating to a child sex-abuse circle. Smoking will be banned in all prisons in Wales and four in southwest England from next year.​ Britain is to spend £25 million building a prison in Jamaica to which convicts could be deported. Hartwig Fischer, director of the Dresden State Art Collections, will next year become director of the British Museum.


The UN refugee agency said that more than 514,000 people had crossed the Mediterranean into Europe this year, mostly via Greece. Thousands of migrants a day entered Hungary from Croatia, bound for Germany. Germany, having established border controls, drew up a law to stop people from Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania from seeking asylum. (More than 70,000 Kosovans and Albanians had applied for asylum in Germany this year, compared with 55,000 Syrians.) Elections for the Catalan assembly gave a majority of seats to the pro-independence parties, but with only 48 per cent of the vote. German prosecutors investigated the role of Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of Volkswagen, in the scandal of false emissions readings. Switzerland investigated the activities of Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s retiring president. ​Remains said to be those of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, thought to be the sitter in Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’, were found in Florence.

President Barack Obama of the United States met President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the UN in New York. Mr Putin urged the need to involve President Bashar al-Assad in the future of Syria. ​The Russian parliament voted for military action in Syria. In a speech to the UN Mr Obama said: ‘The US is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict.’ France bombed Syria. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, suggested that Mr Assad might play a role in a transitional government. At least 769 people died in a crush at Mina during the hajj, including 169 Iranians, whose government complained. At least 131 wedding party guests were killed in an air strike in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has led a coalition fighting Houthi rebels, who are Shia. Fighting continued at Kunduz in northeastern Afghanistan after it was taken by the Taleban.

President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China, after meeting at the White House, said they would address cyber crime, but Mr Obama said ruefully: ‘The question is now, are words followed by action?’ During his week-long visit to the US, Pope Francis called for an end to the death penalty in his address to Congress and praised the example of Dorothy Day. After meeting the Pope, John Boehner announced that he would resign as Speaker of the House of Representatives and give up his seat.​ In a dispute over a red card during an amateur football match in Brazil the referee pulled out a gun. CSH