The Week

Leading article

The need for the monarchy has never been greater

The natural reaction to this week’s news that King Charles III is suffering from cancer has been one of concern and compassion. As the Prime Minister said, consolation can be drawn from the fact that the illness has been caught early and that Charles is continuing with his duties – albeit stepping aside from public-facing

Portrait of the week


Labour is right to ditch its £28 billion green pledge

My family despises war movies, so it’s way after Christmas that I get to see Ridley Scott’s dire Napoleon film. The most embarrassing scene is where Josephine lifts up her dress and tells Bonaparte: ‘If you look down you will see a surprise, and once you see it you will always want it.’ It strikes

Ancient and modern

It’s hard to improve on classical comedy

Ian Hislop’s genial radio series on the earliest English jokes got off to an odd start since the joke in question – Pope Gregory’s description of the Angli being more like Angeli – was a Latin one. Romans had much to say about humour, most of it cribbed from ancient Greeks. Cicero saw jokes as


How many people are switching religions? 

Rough drafts Ian Lavender, who died aged 77, was best-known for playing Private Pike, an out-of-place young man in a group of elderly Home Guardsmen in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Yet in reality Pike was much closer in age to the majority of those who served in the Home Guard. A sample analysed for


Letters: where did St Blaise go?

Too many not too few Sir: I have to disagree with your article ‘The people problem’ (3 February). There is a ‘people problem’ in the world but it is – globally – not too few, but too many people. In my own lifetime the world’s population has approximately tripled. This rate of increase is manifestly