The Week

Leading article

How Britain smashed the slave trade

It was bound to happen sooner or later: a guest on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow presented an artefact which derived from the slave trade – an ivory bangle. One of the programme’s experts, Ronnie Archer-Morgan, himself a descendant of slaves, said that it was a striking historical artefact but not one that he was willing

Portrait of the week


How on earth does Rishi Sunak keep going?

It’s my birthday this week and the end of my seventh decade (mathematicians will note that this does not make me 79). Looking at my long and generally happy life, I do wonder quite how we arrived where we are with this all-pervading sense of gloom and despondency. Gaza, Ukraine, Putin, Trump, Islamic State, Brexit…

Ancient and modern

What would the Romans think of assisted suicide? 

What a song and dance about the end of life! Historians assure us that, among human beings, there is a long, well-established tradition of dying and if, after a life well lived, one feels enough is enough, what on earth is the problem? Seneca, the philosopher and adviser to Nero, took a duly stoical approach:


How many people sleep rough?

Ballot points Michael Gove hinted that the general election could be on 14 or 21 November.     Have we had a November election before? – General elections were held on 15 November 1922, when the Conservatives won a 74 seat majority and on 14 November 1935 when the National Government won a majority of 242. –


Letters: screens in schools are not a problem

Screen tests Sir: As somebody whose teaching career coincided with the digital revolution, I must take issue with Sophie Winkleman’s well-meaning but blinkered views on screens in schools (Actress’s Notebook, 30 March). I shall ignore the several familiar yet unsubstantiated opinions presented as facts, but I cannot let ‘straight back to books, paper and pens’