The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 23 July 2015

Portrait of the week | 23 July 2015
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Parents would be able to have their children’s passports removed if they were suspected of planning to travel abroad to join a radical group, under provisions outlined by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to deal with Islamist extremism. It emerged that five British pilots embedded with allied forces had been taking part in air strikes over Syria, which Parliament had voted against in 2013. Julian Lewis, the Conservative chairman of the Defence Select Committee, accused Mr Cameron of making up policy ‘on the hoof’. Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said that in order to defeat the Islamic State, ‘tanks would have to roll and there’s going to have to be boots on the ground’. A man was charged with the murder of Don Lock, aged 79, who was stabbed at Findon, West Sussex, after a minor collision.

Forty-eight Labour members, including 18 new MPs, defied Harriet Harman the acting leader and the whip, and voted against the government’s Welfare Bill, which passed by 308 to 124. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asked for savings of between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020 from government departments not protected from cuts. Footage from a home movie from 1933, showing the Queen as a little girl playing outdoors with her mother and uncle and making a Hitler salute, was published by the Sun. Tim Farron beat Norman Lamb in an election by party members to become leader of the Liberal Democrats. Four people were killed in an explosion and fire at a wood mill at Bosley, Cheshire. Aberdeenshire Council ordered the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven to take down a banner declaring it ‘the birthplace of the world-famous deep-fried Mars bar’.

Boris Johnson MP was said to have remarked about a statement in Parliament by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announcing her decision not to authorise water cannon in England and Wales: ‘There was no need to make a song and dance about it.’ As Mayor of London, Mr Johnson had bought three water cannon from Germany for £218,000. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority imposed an increase of MPs’ salaries from £67,060 to £74,000. Rob Wilson, a minister for civil society, claimed 60p for a journey on his bicycle between his constituency office, the railway station and home. Ambulances in England were found to have received 23,227 speeding tickets between 2009 and 2014. Professor Martin West OM, the classicist, died aged 77. The Revd Professor Owen Chadwick, OM, the historian, died aged 99.


Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez shot dead four US Marines at Chattanooga, Tennessee, before being shot by police. The night before, he had sent a text quoting words attributed to God in a Hadith: ‘Whosoever acts with enmity towards a friend of mine, I will indeed declare war against him.’ In Washington. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria held talks with President Barack Obama of the United States on countering Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorists. A suicide bombing in Suruc on the Turkish border that killed at least 32 people was blamed on the Islamic State. The movement was also blamed for a bomb that killed 120 people in the mainly Shia town of Khan Bani Saad in Iraq, during celebrations for the end of Ramadan. Saudi Arabia arrested 431 people accused of being members of the Islamic State. Arctic sea ice increased by a third after the cool summer of 2013, more than making up for the losses of the previous three years.

Greek banks reopened, with customers limited to withdrawals of €420 a week. Wild fires spread in the Kareas district of Athens and in the southern Peloponnese. Wild fires in California set cars ablaze on a freeway near Los Angeles. Ciudad Real airport in the middle of La Mancha, built in 2008 for a billion euros and closed in 2012, was auctioned for €10,000. An Australian surfer, Mick Fanning, punched a shark that approached him during a competition in South Africa on live television.

Cuba and the United States reopened embassies in each other’s​ capitals. Two US helicopters attacked an Afghan army checkpoint by mistake, killing eight. Mitsubishi apologised at a ceremony in Los Angeles for having forced US prisoners of war to labour in mines. Toshiba’s chief executive resigned after the company admitted it had overstated its profits for the past six years by a total of £780 million. Nothing was heard from the Philae lander on comet 67P, silent since 9 July. CSH