The Week

Leading article

Hope in Mosul

For the title of world’s most benighted city, Mosul takes some beating. Liberated from Saddam Hussein by US forces in 2003, the ancient Assyrian town was pummelled by years of insurgency before being seized by Isis in 2014 and its population subjected to militant theocracy. It has no water supply, no infrastructure, it has been

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 13 July 2017

Home In her first big speech since the general election, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said: ‘I say to the other parties in the House of Commons… come forward with your own views and ideas.’ She was responding to a government-commissioned review of modern working practices by Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal


Diary – 13 July 2017

It has been an unqualified delight, even if it is mildly absurd: I have been chairing the judges for this year’s Forward Prizes for poetry, wallowing in some quite extraordinary writing. It has been like gorging on champagne truffles every day. We are nearly there. Winners are emerging. But the absurd aspect is that everybody

Ancient and modern

Property’s not theft

Sir Trevor Nunn is directing a play called ‘Dessert’. It seems to be a virtue-signalling riff on the evil of possessions. Doubtless Cicero and Aratus will not feature. On the face of it, the Roman statesman Cicero (1st c bc) was a passionate upholder of property rights. He said ‘it is the proper function of


Barometer | 13 July 2017

The joy of Sixtus Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his wife announced the birth of their sixth child, a son called Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher. But is that appropriate? — A sixth child ought to be ‘Sextus’. Five popes were called Sixtus but the name is believed to derive from a Greek word meaning ‘polished’.


Letters | 13 July 2017

Technical education Sir: I am grateful to Robert Tombs for highlighting the baleful use of ‘declinism’ as part of the anti-Brexit campaign and the persistent underestimation of the United Kingdom’s strengths (‘Down with declinism’, 8 July). It is ironic that the heirs of the old 19th-century Liberal party, the Liberal Democrats, are among its principal