The Week

Leading article

Through the roof

When David Cameron said this week that he is worried his children would not be able to afford to buy their own homes, he struck on one of the greatest economic problems of his premiership. The old British promise is that if you work hard and make the right decisions, you can advance in life

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 7 January 2016

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, decided to allow ministers to campaign for either side in the referendum on membership of the European Union, once his negotiations had been concluded on Britain’s relationship with the EU. The government said it was commissioning 13,000 houses to be built by small builders on public land made available


Diary – 7 January 2016

So far my responsibilities as the 2016 chair of the Man Booker prize have been rather light. We’ve had our first meeting, received our first batch of books, and I’ve bought a smart notebook for record-keeping. I shall take a step back from journalism this year, including my Sunday Times column, but that doesn’t mean

Ancient and modern

Drinking at school with Plato

Rugby and Ampleforth schools have decided to give their charges experience of sensible drinking by introducing a little alcohol, under close staff supervision, at dinner. But, as Plato realised, what they actually need is experience of senseless drinking. Plato’s last work, Laws (c. 350 bc), depicts a new utopia, quite unlike that of the Republic with its


Barometer | 7 January 2016

The outsiders Did the seven members of Harold Wilson’s cabinet who campaigned to leave the Common Market in the 1975 referendum damage their careers? Michael Foot, Employment Secretary. Made deputy leader by Jim Callaghan in 1976. Elected leader in 1980. Tony Benn, Industry Secretary. Challenged Denis Healey unsuccessfully for Labour deputy leadership in 1981. Barbara

From the archives

Church service

From ‘A Mobilisation of the Church’, The Spectator, 8 January 1916: Suppose the Church were mobilised so that the majority of the younger clergy and all the ordinands were set free for service in the Army, the situation at the end of the war might be very different from that which we have been anticipating. There


Letters | 7 January 2016

A tax on empty dwellings Sir: Both the Conservative and Labour candidates (‘Battle for London’, 2 January) rightly see housing as the big issue in London’s mayoral election this year: Ukip and the Greens would probably say the same. But if one travels along the river at night and observes the large blocks of flats