The Week

Leading article

Brexit strategy

For months, now, a hunt has been on for the government’s Brexit strategy. Theresa May has quite rightly refused to disclose it. She knows that the European Union needs to be seen to make Britain suffer. She will have to ask for for a lot, only to back down so the EU can have its

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 1 December 2016

Home Paul Nuttall, aged 39, was elected leader of the UK Independence Party. He said: ‘I want to replace the Labour party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.’ Theresa May, the Prime Minister, was rebuffed by Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, and by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, when


Diary – 1 December 2016

It is odd when someone you know becomes a world-famous Nazi. You may not recognise the name Richard Spencer, but my bet is you soon will. He’s an American white-power activist who is often billed as the inventor of the ‘alt-right’. In the age of Trump, when everyone is panicking about the rise of extremism

Ancient and modern

Aristophanes on Trump

As self-important comics fantasise about unseating Donald Trump with their wit, they should remember the great Aristophanes. In 424 BC, he presented a comedy about the controversial politician Cleon. He was (apparently) the son of a tanner (ugh!), and was seen by contemporaries, including the historian Thucydides, as a ‘brutal’, ‘insolent’ but ‘very persuasive’ braggart


Barometer | 1 December 2016

Autumn Budgets Philip Hammond announced that in future the Budget will be held in autumn rather than spring. This is not as revolutionary as some have made out. — In his 1992 Budget Norman Lamont announced that there would be two budgets in 1993, one in spring and one in autumn, and that from then

From the archives

Food on the home front

From ‘The food shortage and how to meet it’, The Spectator, 2 December 1916: A rise in prices, if properly understood and properly used, will be our salvation, not our injury. High prices help conservation, and, what is still more important, they help supply… If we artificially cut down prices here, we sterilise instead of stimulating


Letters | 1 December 2016

Irrational EU Sir: James Forsyth’s otherwise excellent piece on Brexit talks (‘Britain’s winning hand’, 26 November) suffers from the flaw of most British analyses of the EU: the presumption that the EU is a rational actor. If that were so, Greece would not be in the euro, Europe’s borders would not be guarded by Turkey,