The Week

Leading article

Leadership, please

Is a time of economic crisis an opportunity for fundamental reform, or a time to muddle through while waiting for calmer waters in which to effect lasting political and economic change? When he came to power last year, David Cameron argued for reform. He laid out plans so radical that Vince Cable complained they were

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 10 December 2011

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said before an EU summit on the eurozone debt crisis that he would not agree to any treaty change ‘that fails to protect our interests’. Downing Street rejected suggestions by Iain Duncan Smith that a referendum on the EU would be made necessary by the changes proposed. Sir Mervyn


Diary – 10 December 2011

Recently, telling myself I must cure my allergy to the banal language employed by the Church of England these days, I went to a service in a local Norman church. The visiting preacher was a grey-haired woman. Her soporiferous sermon induced instant lethargy until she gave a sudden shriek. ‘…and God went WOW!’ she shouted,

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: In praise of barter

Since austerity is now the order of the day, Greeks are doing the sensible thing and beginning to barter. Aristotle thought it was the only system that kept the world honest. At the centre of Aristotle’s thinking lay a concept dear to him — the purpose for which something was designed (its telos). So, the


Barometer | 10 December 2011

Let the Games begin The budget for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics has been doubled to £81 million, the government has announced. The move has ignited fears that the ceremony could prove an expensive disaster — but there is no guarantee that things will go well even when kept simple.   — The


Letters | 10 December 2011

All at sea Sir: The Spectator’s cover article last week was entitled ‘The Sea Level Scam’. You can rest assured that no such scam exists. Most claims of the author, Nils-Axel Mörner, have never been published in peer-reviewed articles so cannot be independently verified. However, he published on his research in the Maldives in the