The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 28 December 2012


Banks should erect a protective ring-fence round their high-street operations, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recommended, and moreover it should be ‘electrified’. The metaphor meant that regulators should have the power to break up banks that misbehaved. The ten members of the commission included the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, and ‘Nigella’s Dad’, as one paper put it, Lord Lawson of Blaby. Mark Carney, the next governor of the Bank of England, suggested that economic growth should be a target, rather than inflation. The government had to borrow £17.5 billion in November, £1.2 billion more than a year earlier, although some economists had predicted borrowing would fall to about £16 billion. Gerry Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds, died, aged 83. Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, the composer, died, aged 76.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on the eve of a visit to British forces in Afghanistan, said that their numbers would be cut from 9,000 to 5,200 in 2013. The Duchess of Cambridge presented Bradley Wiggins, the bicyclist, with the BBC sports personality of the year award. The Duke of Cambridge spent Christmas with his wife’s family in Berkshire. The Queen attended a meeting of the Cabinet, which gave her some place mats to mark her jubilee and named as Queen Elizabeth Land an area of British Antarctic Territory twice the size of Britain. In her Christmas broadcast, the Queen said that ‘God sent his only Son “to serve, not to be served”.’ Lady Thatcher spent time in hospital undergoing a bladder operation. Floods swept the land from Cornwall to Aberdeen.

Government ministers said it was unlikely to be able to find a majority to repeal the Hunting Act. A controversy revived over what Andrew Mitchell, the former chief whip, said to police who forbade him to use the main gates from Downing Street for his bicycle on 19 September.

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