The Week

Leading article

Repatriate British justice

If an inquiry were to be launched into the excesses of the dentistry profession, it would not be conducted by a body made up entirely of dentists. You wouldn’t put a team of journalists in charge of the Leveson inquiry. Why, then, was Nick Clegg allowed to appoint a commission on a bill of rights

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 17 March 2012

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on an official visit to the United States, joined President Barack Obama in declaring that their relationship was not just special but ‘a unique and essential asset’. The Queen began her Diamond Jubilee tour of the United Kingdom at Leicester, with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duchess of


Diary – 17 March 2012

I’m a cowardly traveller. I’m not afraid of trains, planes, cars — just of change, and of elsewhere. Months ago I agreed to go with my colleagues from Bath Spa University to a conference of creative writing programmes in Chicago. As the time approaches, I resent that past self who said yes: foolishly enthusiastic, deluded

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: Imperial tax brackets

Nick Clegg’s idea of taxing tycoons sounds very ‘modernising’, but tycoons need a pro quo for their quids, sorry, quae, as the Roman historian Livy knew. For Romans, there was no such thing as a tax on income. Bar money raised from e.g. harbour dues, sales and inheritance taxes, the Senate got its money from


Barometer | 17 March 2012

Heated debate Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk, was fined and given a community order for butting a fellow MP in a Commons bar. Which countries’ national and regional assemblies are the most violent, according to the number of videos posted online over the past four years? Country Number of fights Ukraine 6 Taiwan, South Korea


Letters | 17 March 2012

Israel’s dilemma Sir: Jeffrey Goldberg (‘Israel isn’t bluffing’, 10 March) is probably right, but if Israel does attack Iran, they are in a no-win situation. Iran is a large country some distance away. One or two bombing missions will have little effect — look at the weeks it took for Nato to degrade Libya’s defences.