The Week

Leading article

Get-out clause

In the same week that Sun journalists were subjected to dawn raids at home, the British justice system released one of the leading ideologues of al-Qa’eda to walk the streets. The fact that Abu Qatada should never have been here in the first place, having arrived in 1993 on a forged passport, is not a

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 18 February 2012

Home Bideford town council acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said at meetings, the High Court ruled. ‘A local authority has no power under section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972,’ Mr Justice Ouseley said, ‘to hold prayers as part of a formal local authority meeting’, but he rejected arguments based on the


Diary – 18 February 2012

We are not made incrementally aware of things that happen incrementally. Though something may have been changing for a while, the realisation comes all at once in a swoop, usually when it’s far too late. I realised that I had become a ‘madam’ last weekend, in the butcher’s. We had a bit of a joke,

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: The meaning of expertise

While it is obviously the case that every university wants to teach bright students, it is statistically probable that Oxbridge fails to pick up a number of students who are bright but poor. It must be a huge relief to them that an expert in the subject is to be appointed, Professor Les Ebdon, of


Barometer | 18 February 2012

Cradle to grave The Health Bill is one of numerous attempts to change the administrative make-up of the NHS. What did it look like on its first day, 5 July 1948? — There was a tripartite structure under the Minister of Health, Nye Bevan (who was also responsible for housing policy). — 14 regional hospital


Letters | 18 February 2012

America the saviour Sir: Andrew Alexander’s book America and the Imperialism of Ignorance (Books, 11 February) alleges that since 1945 ‘the world is a much more dangerous place, as a result of America’s determination to save it’. With respect to Mr Alexander, a distinguished journalist who has often been right, this analysis is very wrong.