The Week

Leading article

Osborne’s duty

Vince Cable has a point. The government does, alas, lack a ‘compelling vision for the economy’ but the Liberal Democrats see this as an opportunity, not a defect. They regard George Osborne’s agenda as a blank slate on to which they can write all sorts of policies: a mansion tax, capital gains tax, even a

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 10 March 2012

Home Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said in a leaked letter that the coalition lacks a ‘compelling vision’. He proposed that RBS be split up and half turned into ‘British business bank’. Earlier he had said that there was a ‘broad understanding’ in the coalition that, if the 50p tax rate was removed, it should


Diary – 10 March 2012

Some time in the olden days, an Irishman called St Piran took the trouble to float over the ocean on a millstone and land in Cornwall, with the purpose of introducing the natives to tin-mining and Christianity. Today, the mines are closed and the inhabitants under the age of 75 are indifferent to the saint’s

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: When the people decide

Though our ‘democracies’ are designed to prevent any popular involvement, there are times when the situation becomes so critical that only the people have the authority to make the final decision. Modern Greeks face that situation now, as Athenians did in 431 bc. Athens’ fleet ruled the sea, the army of its deadly rival Sparta


Barometer | 10 March 2012

Catch a falling star Astronomers appealed to anyone who might have found a small, polished piece of rock: the remains of a meteor spotted as it streaked across Britain. Being hit by a meteorite has become a byword for an unlikely event, but just how unlikely is it? — One of the last cases of


Letters | 10 March 2012

Blowback Sir: Matt Ridley’s article ‘The Winds of Change’ (3 March) says that the government has finally seen through the wind energy scam. If this is the case, it is most welcome news to those who have been fighting on all fronts to keep Britain’s countryside clear of unwelcome, unnecessary and inappropriate wind farms. In