The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 3 October 2012


In a well-received 65-minute speech without notes to the party conference, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, presented himself as a human being and concluded: ‘This is who I am. This is what I believe. This is my faith.’ Mr Miliband presented Labour as a One Nation party. He also said that if banks do not separate their retail and investment arms, a future Labour government would ‘break them up’. Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, said that 100,000 houses should be built with the £4 billion raised from the sale of the 4G mobile phone spectrum. Dave Prentis, of the union Unison, criticised Mr Miliband and Mr Balls for supporting a freeze on public-sector workers’ pay. Staff in Britain’s largest companies began to be automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme. Tesco saw its first fall in profits since 1994. The London interbank offered rate (Libor) will in future be set under a new administrator, instead of the British Bankers’ Association, according to the Financial Services Authority. Eric Hobsbawm, the Marxist historian, died, aged 95.

The government announced it would have to re-run the bidding for the West Coast railway franchise because of ‘mistakes’ in the process set by the Department for Transport. A man who stabbed to death his son, aged seven, and daughter, aged six, before killing himself, turned out to be the former member of the Household Cavalry who in 1982 was riding the horse Sefton when an IRA bomb killed four soldiers in Hyde Park. A report by Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, into events leading to the jailing of eight men of Pakistani background and one Afghan, found that one girl had spoken to social workers several times about being abused, but nothing was done, officials believing that girls as young as ten coerced into sexual abuse were ‘making their own choices’.

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