The Week

Leading article

Joe Biden has dropped ‘vaccine passports’. Will Boris?

‘The government would love to put issues such as these beyond the bounds of debate by creating an air of national emergency.’ So this magazine declared on 27 November 2004 in response to Tony Blair’s proposal for national identity cards, which had just been announced in the Queen’s speech. Our editor then, Boris Johnson, argued

Portrait of the week


The hidden death toll of lockdown

The last patient I treated was 105 years old. She has lived through two world wars, a depression and at least five pandemics. It’s a real honour to treat centenarians. They teach me much about life: how it is and how it ends. I can also lighten the mood with my 80-year-old patients by telling

Ancient and modern

Models of obedience: how to make people obey the law

Protests are being staged against the proposed bill to change the laws on protest. But there is a bigger issue here. Obedience to the law is at the root of civil society, but what systems best achieve that end? The ancients provided three models that underpin western thinking on the subject. The Athenian model was


How likely is a false positive from a Covid test?

Positive thinking The government wants us to test ourselves for Covid-19 twice a week, using lateral flow kits which will be freely distributed. What is the risk of being ordered to self-isolate as a result of a false negative? — While the NHS claims that these tests produce false positives in 0.1% or fewer cases,


Letters: The inconsistencies of Mormonism

A leap of faith Sir: I live not far from the ‘London Temple’ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most summers, the local streets are trodden by American Mormon missionaries, polite teenagers who occasionally approach to ask if we know Jesus Christ. Some years ago, I read the book on which the