The Week

Leading article

Defending Dave’s legacy

It is too early to tell what sort of Prime Minister Theresa May will turn out to be, but we already know who she does not wish to be. From the moment that she arrived in Downing Street she has been inclined to define herself as the Conservative antithesis of David Cameron. She has developed

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 15 September 2016

Home Schools in England would have the right to select pupils by ability, under plans outlined by Theresa May, the Prime Minister. New grammar schools would take quotas of poor pupils or help run other schools, a Green Paper proposed. ‘We already have selection in our school system — and it’s selection by house price,


Diary – 15 September 2016

The borderline between fact and fiction becomes ever hazier, I find. Last February, Daisy Goodwin — the author of the brilliant new Victoria drama on ITV — took me to an aircraft hangar near Leeds. Cold fog hugged the tarmac and grass outside. We stepped over cables and squeezed past screens. A ringletted woman in

Ancient and modern

Plato on grammar schools

Theresa May wants to use grammar schools to create a meritocratic, ‘socially mobile’ society at a cost of £50 million. But that raises the question: merit in what, precisely? In his Republic, Plato envisaged Socrates wondering how society was created, with a view to determining how best to establish a just one. Socrates suggested that


Barometer | 15 September 2016

French intelligence Some interesting facts about the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, for the benefit of shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry. Ayrault was elected mayor of Saint-Herblain, a suburb of Nantes, in 1977 aged just 27. He went on to become mayor of the entire city. In 2012 he was appointed prime minister by incoming president

From the archives

In defence of Asquith

From ‘Mr. Asquith’, The Spectator, 16 September, 1916: King George has no other subject who is trusted so widely by his countrymen and who is respected so heartily by our Allies as the Prime Minister. Under his guidance we are now, after two strenuous years of war, an even more thoroughly united nation than we were


Letters | 15 September 2016

What immigration debate? Sir: Henrik Jonsson says (Letters, 10 September) that Swedes ought to learn from the Brits how to maintain a broad and dynamic public debate. I can’t say I witnessed anything approximating public debate on the topic of immigration during the referendum, when the debate was carried out through the ballot box, not in