The Week

Leading article

In this election, won’t someone please weaponise defence?

Britain is forfeiting its position on the world stage. With no national debate, we are surrendering our claim to be a major player in international affairs and undermining the Atlantic alliance that has kept Britain and Europe secure for 65 years. In these circumstances, it is easy to understand why Barack Obama has felt obliged

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 12 February 2015

Home Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, told Parliament that Britain reserved the right to supply arms to Ukraine, as ‘We could not allow the Ukrainian armed forces to collapse.’ The Prince of Wales, embarking on a six-day tour of the Middle East, said on Radio 2 that he ‘particularly wanted to show solidarity really, deep


Ancient and modern

What Cicero knew that David Davis doesn’t

The MP David Davis has lamented that the British seem to prefer laws that protect their security rather than guard their liberty. But the first duty of the state is to protect its citizens. If it could not do that, argued Thomas Hobbes, citizens had the right to disobey. The Latin for state is res


What Samsung’s new TVs owe to Jeremy Bentham

Watching brief Samsung warned users of its voice-activated televisions that what they said in front of the TV could be transmitted to other people. The story attracted comparison with the telescreens in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, but the principle of keeping a population under control by surveillance was foreseen a century earlier by Jeremy Bentham.

From the archives

From the archives | 12 February 2015

From ‘Prohibition in Scotland during the War’, The Spectator, 13 February 1915: At present the economic waste caused by drunkenness in Scotland is enormous. We are not going to attempt to calculate how many hours in the working year are lost through the inefficiency caused by alcohol, but unquestionably in the aggregate the total is