The Week

Leading article

Rough crossings

It has been a messy start to the new year for Sajid Javid. For months now, migrants using small boats have been landing in Kent, usually no more than a dozen people at a time. For a country that receives up to 2,500 asylum applications a month, this falls short of a national crisis. It

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 3 January 2019

Home The number of would-be migrants known to have reached England in small boats from France in the last two months of 2018 reached 239, with 40 making the crossing on Christmas Day. Most said they were Iranian. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, transferred two Border Force cutters to help the one patrolling the Channel.


Diary – 3 January 2019

You’ll be relieved to learn my penguin is back. ‘How long was it gone?’ you ask. About six months. ‘And sorry, it’s a real penguin?’ Actually, no. Here’s the story: back in 2005, I was staying at the 60 Thompson Street Hotel in Manhattan. On my first afternoon in town I went for a stroll

Ancient and modern

How the year was born

Why are our years structured as they are? Censorinus in his de die natali (‘Birthday Book’) for his chum Caerellius (ad 238) revealed all, as follows. The Roman year once had ten months. It began in March, named after Mars god of war, since that was when the fighting season began. April derived from aperio,


Barometer | 3 January 2019

Paths of infection 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the height of the Spanish flu pandemic which is believed to have killed 3 per cent of the world’s population. But how Spanish was it, and what should it have been called? Spanish flu: There is little evidence it originated in Spain, but news of the

From the archives

A model president

From The Spectator, 4 January 1919: President Wilson arrived in London on Thursday week, and was greeted with full expression of the heartiest goodwill. The welcome began at Dover; and when the visitors drove through the streets of London, they passed through a heavy barrage of cheering, which was renewed when the President appeared with


Letters | 3 January 2019

Lords reform Sir: How astonishing that the historian Robert Tombs (‘Beyond Brexit’, 15 December) should think that the Lords might ‘at last be seriously reformed’ after more than a century of schemes that foundered in the Commons. MPs have an unthreatening upper house; they will never agree on substantial changes that would increase its power.