The Week

Leading article

Bad habits | 3 March 2012

Professor Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board, is not the first to observe that Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham have acquired ‘no-go’ areas of ‘fractured communities’ ruled by gangs. But if he were brave enough to venture just a little bit closer to the frontline of Britain’s drug problem he would realise

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 3 March 2012

Home Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, lent his support to a series of amendments to the government’s Health and Social Care Bill that he said would limit its adoption of competition and privatisation. The British Medical Association said that two thirds of members had approved some form of action over plans to make them


Diary – 3 March 2012

When we switched on the BBC’s 6 o’clock news on 18 February, we had no idea that it was the day of Whitney Houston’s funeral, and even less that the coverage of this sad event would blot out all other news. So we expected the item to come to an end. But it never did.

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: The point of ritual

Humanists are breast-beating about the wicked influence of Christian practice on civil life. Julius Caesar would have put them straight. There were no pagan scriptures underpinning creeds, belief in one true god, or moral and ethical standards. Polytheistic religion was simply a system of cult practice: performing ritual — doing the right things, in the


Barometer | 3 March 2012

Sister ships The Costa Allegra, sister ship of the Costa Corcordia, suffered a fire off the Seychelles. Are families of ships jinxed? —The Titanic had two sister ships. The Olympic collided with a naval vessel off the Isle of Wight soon after its maiden voyage in 1911, and again with a lightship off New York


Letters | 3 March 2012

Pension scheming Sir: As a pensions professional who has witnessed his once-mighty industry’s sustaining of blow after blow, I was heartened to read The Spectator’s call for Conservatives to resist the temptation to make ‘yet another raid on pension funds’ (Leading article, 25 February). The government’s lack of understanding of pensions tax relief was revealed