The Week

Leading article

Where are the ideas?

The Conservative party conference in Birmingham this week seemed a remarkably relaxed affair. The European question has been settled. Seldom has victory in the next-election looked more secure. The Labour conference in Liverpool had been a debacle, as the hard left set about picking off the remaining moderates. Diane James has resigned as Ukip leader

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week – 6 October 2016

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said at the Conservative party conference that hers was now the party of ‘working-class’ people and would occupy the ‘new centre ground’. She announced that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty would be invoked by next March, beginning the formal process for Britain to leave the European Union. The


Diary – 6 October 2016

Any day now, the government will make its long delayed announcement on whether a third runway should be built at Heathrow or Gatwick. Personally I am against both. During my 18 undistinguished months as an environment minister, I learned one thing about the aviation lobby: their appetite is voracious. They want more of everything. Runways,

Ancient and modern

Augustus vs Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected leader of the Labour party not by MPs but by his teenage ‘fans’ in Momentum. So what does Corbyn need to do when he wins power? Follow the example of the emperor Augustus, that’s what. When Rome was a republic, its monuments and military banners proclaimed it as SPQR —


Barometer | 6 October 2016

Tenement Scots John Cleese referred to the editor of this magazine as a ‘tenement Scot’. Do more Scots live in tenements? — The term tenement became associated in Scotland with 14-storey blocks built in Edinburgh in the 18th and 19th centuries. One collapsed in 1861, killing 35 residents and leading to an Improvement Act which

From the archives

Conscription in Ireland

From ‘More men’, The Spectator, 7 October 1916: Are we or are we not to apply compulsory service to Ireland? The difficulties, we admit, are very great. Personally, we dislike the idea of seeing the privilege — for such it is — of defending the Empire accorded to men who have disgraced themselves as did the


Letters | 6 October 2016

Studying grammars Sir: Isabel Hardman (Politics, 1 October) states that no reputable research backs up the belief that grammar schools promote social justice. I am not sure she is correct. For instance, Lord Franks’s 1966 report on Oxford University recorded an accelerating rise in the share of places taken by state school pupils at that