The good news is that Theresa May has dropped the threat to withdraw universal free school meals. Thank God (and the PM) for that. School lunches are the biggest weapon we have to fight obesity.
The UK is sixth in the supersize race of OECD countries, with a quarter of the population obese. The fact that six of the fattest nations (the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and the UK) are English-speaking should tell us something about our food culture.
James Cracknell, the athlete turned anti-obesity campaigner, was the subject of sniggering and derision in April when he said that North Korea and Cuba had got a ‘handle on obesity’. With impressive understatement, he attributed this to both countries being ‘quite controlling on behavioural trends’. It was a bad point poorly made, but in a roundabout way he drew attention to the major obstacles faced by those who want to reduce obesity rates in the rest of the world: freedom and affluence.
My name is Katherine and I’m an intern at The Spectator. What does that say about me? If you had to guess, you’d probably assume I was just finishing university and that I’m perhaps the niece or goddaughter of someone important. Because that’s how the media works, isn’t it? That I’m probably unpaid, but it doesn’t matter because my parents will sort me out — that’s if they didn’t buy this internship for me in a charity auction in the first place.
Environmentalism has gone too far; renewable energy is a disaster; scares about pesticides and chemicals are horribly overdone; no, the planet is not going to end any time soon; and, by the way, the answer is nuclear…
This isn’t me speaking, but the views of an environmentalist so learned, distinguished and influential you could call him the Godfather of Green. His name is James Lovelock, the maverick independent scientist perhaps best known for positing the theory that our planet is an interconnected, self-regulating organism called Gaia.
I received a sad letter this week: Steve is back in prison. Each day the mail comes down to the wing in a pouch, and the office is closed while the staff sort through it, marking a board next to the name of each lucky recipient. When a board is put out, we all have a look, playing it casual but really hoping for a letter, a card, a few quid; anything provides a bit of interest, and the feeling that someone, somewhere has thought of you.
‘Capitalism is armed robbery,’ reads the graffiti on the subway wall, but here in Berlin, German capitalists are doing what capitalism does best — creating new jobs and new industries. Berlin used to be regarded as ‘poor but sexy’(as Berlin’s former mayor Klaus Wowereit put it), but last year the German capital boasted the highest growth in the country — 2.7 per cent, 0.7 per cent above the national average.
A rat’s not called a rat for nothing, and — as we are repeatedly told — we are never very far from one. Certainly not in Paris, where I sit, which has seen a great increase in their number recently.
There’s also been a rise in the number of people living on the streets, and perhaps the two are in some way connected. On the other hand, the increase in the rat population may be due to the ban on the use of certain kinds of rat poison, as when arsenic rat poison was banned.
It is rare nowadays to see someone pull out a half-finished tapestry from their handbag and get on with their stitching. In fact, tapestry is becoming increasingly unfashionable; ‘nomadic murals’ (as architect Le Corbusier described them) are often relics of the distant past. So much so that they have plummeted in price.
‘People are streaming into contemporary art, and tapestry is becoming more of a niche market,’ says Marcus Radecke, Christie’s European head of furniture.