The Week

Leading article

Deadly silence

There was a time when the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo would have featured strongly in political debate in Britain. Just two weeks after a negotiated ceasefire appeared to have provided some respite, a war of attrition in Syria’s second largest city is escalating into a vast human tragedy. Last Saturday, a bomb dropped by Syrian

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 29 September 2016

Home Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said that Britain would oppose attempts to create an EU army, as it would ‘undermine’ Nato. Forecasts for British economic growth in 2016 collated by the Treasury were revised from 1.5 to 1.8 per cent, the level expected in June, before the EU referendum. Mathias Döpfner, the chief


Diary – 29 September 2016

Monday night’s US presidential debate should convince a majority of American voters that Hillary Clinton is their only credible choice for the White House. Yet it may well fail to do so, in the new era of ‘post-truth politics’. The historian Sir Michael Howard suggests that on both sides of the Atlantic, we are witnessing

Ancient and modern

Let the right ones in

As the UK prepares for Brexit into the big wide world outside, it has been pointed out that the Foreign Office is sadly lacking in people with hard experience of that world, and even more lacking in people from that world. But if the Romans can do it, surely we can too. Whatever else the


Barometer | 29 September 2016

Lynch lore John McDonnell refused to apologise for a 2014 interview in which he called for former employment minister Esther McVey to be ‘lynched’. — Several Lynches have been credited for giving the term to the language. One was Charles Lynch (1736-96), a farmer, community leader and, remarkably, a Quaker from Lynchburg, Virginia (a town

From the archives

Serpent of mud

From ‘The fall of Combles and Thiepval’, The Spectator, 30 September 1916: The trench — ugly, dirty, dull, untidy serpent of mud and sandbags — will always have the advantage of the most artful fortress. In the last resort, the reason for this seeming miracle is the fact that the trench has something of mobility in it,


Letters | 29 September 2016

Ground zero Sir: James Forsyth looks for hope for moderates within the Labour party and finds none (‘The party’s over’, 24 September). That is because the most promising source of hope for them is not a change of position by Labour, but one by the Conservatives. The history of British politics since 1990 has been