The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 14 January 2012


The High Speed 2 rail link between London and Birmingham is to go ahead, Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced. The stretch to Birmingham would be completed by 2026, but a connection to Heathrow not until 2033, when the extensions to Manchester and Leeds would be finished. The cost of the project would be £32.7 billion. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said in a separate initiative that shareholders would be empowered to limit the pay of company executives. Bob Holness, one of the first presenters on Radio 2 from 1967 and later the presenter of the television game Blockbusters, died, aged 83.


Mr Cameron said he wanted Scotland to hold a binding referendum on independence earlier than 2014. The Scottish National Party insisted that all referendums are advisory and that the questions, not necessarily a yes-no choice, should be decided in Scotland. Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, then told Parliament that it would be unconstitutional for a vote on independence to be held without the authority of the government of the United Kingdom. Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, said he’d still go ahead in the autumn of 2014. The Migration Advisory Committee, the government’s official advisers, said in a report that 160,000 British-born workers’ jobs had been displaced by non-EU immigration between 1995 and 2010. The body found on the Sandringham estate was identified as that of a missing Latvian, Alisa Dmitrijeva, aged 17, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.


 ‘I have a very clear plan and I have set out very clear themes,’ Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour party declared after Lord Glasman, the founder of the Blue Labour group, had said that Labour seemed to have ‘no strategy, no narrative, and little energy’ under a leadership that ‘flickered rather than shone’.

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