The Week

Leading article

Spelling it out

Sympathy for Gordon Brown is not a common emotion in Westminster, but this week only the coldest heart could fail to feel for the Prime Minister. It is mortifying to have misspelt the name of a fallen soldier, even if the mistake was minor. To have his misery played out in front of the national

Can Cameron deliver?

There is something about ‘compassionate conservatism’ that infuriates the Labour party, as if the very phrase were a deceitful contradiction in terms. The notion sends Gordon Brown into apoplexy. He can handle the Tories talking about economic efficiency or immigration, but he regards concern for the poorest as a subject purely for Labour. And for

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 14 November 2009

Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said that British forces would be fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan until at least 2014, by which date the Afghan National Army would ‘be able to take the lead on security across the country’. Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said that British


Diary – 14 November 2009

Not long ago, I astounded the men sitting next to me at a dinner party (yes, dinner parties still take place here and there) by saying that I thought Gordon Brown was handsome, and indeed had sex appeal. The men exclaimed that I had gone off my rocker. But the women within earshot immediately chipped

Diary of a Notting Hill nobody | 14 November 2009

Monday V difficult to know how to respond to this one. Sometimes, something is so sad that it is better to just let it go. We had a big brainstorming session on Sunday with policy people, image consultants, focus group teams. In the end, it was decided that Dave should go for it after all.

Ancient and modern

Ancient & Modern | 14 November 2009

Socrates once met such a girl, Theodote. A stunning beauty — everyone wanted to paint her — she admitted that she came by her wealth through her ability to persuade ‘friends’ to be generous to her. At this Socrates pointed out that, great beauty though she was, it was above all her mind that made


Letters | 14 November 2009

Good relations Sir: Timothy Garton Ash writes (‘I was the man from Spekta’, 7 November) that Britain had a good name in central Europe. Perhaps the British Council played some small part in that. Uniquely in communist countries, the Council in Poland worked independently of the embassy, and with the encouragement of many Polish academics