Whatever advantages money may have brought Rishi Sunak as he rose to become Chancellor of the Exchequer, his wealth has now become a serious hindrance to his career. Whatever decisions he takes, everything is seen through the prism of his personal financial situation. If he rejects demands for greater public spending, he will be accused of throwing the poor to the lions. If he raises taxes, he will be accused of failing to understand how ordinary people are struggling.
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s business spokesman, said that the government should be preparing for energy rationing, but Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary ruled it out. Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, asked the British Geological Survey to reassess the effects of fracking, Essex police arrested 192 people from Just Stop Oil in a weekend of protest at oil refineries. By the end of March, 4,700 visas had been issued from 32,200 applications to sponsor accommodation for Ukrainian refugees; under the family visa scheme, 24,400 had been issued from 32,800 applications.
Europhobes will never have a better argument against European integration than the seat of the European parliament in Strasbourg. It’s not just the €200 million per year it costs to move MEPs to and from Brussels once a month at great inconvenience to everyone; the building itself is a disgrace. It feels like a prison: identical glass corridors look out over a useless inner courtyard, so you can go on walks without the danger of escape.
Historians in Russia have a long and craven record, now going back centuries, of being economical with the truth about their current regime. The Roman historian Tacitus had a fascinating explanation for why such economy was also the case under the early Roman emperors. First, some background.
Livy’s 142-book moral and romantic history of Rome stretched from earliest times to 9 bc, including the end of the republic in 27 bc when Augustus became emperor.
Palm Sunday was so-called because of the palm fronds thrown before Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem. But that caused problems for people trying to hold ceremonies to re-enact the occasion in countries where palm trees do not grow. Some other names by which the day is, or has been, called:
Yew Sunday; Branch Sunday; Blossom Sunday; Sallow Sunday; Sunday of Willow Boughs; Flowers Sunday; Flowering Sunday
And elsewhere in the world:
Pussy Willow Sunday (Latvia); Hosana (Egypt); Oshana (Syria)
The National Farmers’ Union claimed the price of a pint of milk could rise by 50 per cent over the next few months.
The lie’s the thing
Sir: Your leading article (‘Partygate’s hangover’, 2 April) maintains that if the Prime Minister receives a fixed penalty notice, he shouldn’t have to resign. No fair-minded person would disagree with this, for such a resignation would indeed be absurd. However, there is a more serious issue. The Prime Minister repeatedly assured the House of Commons that all Covid guidelines were followed in Downing Street.