The Week

Leading article

Labour’s love lost

Just as it seems that Labour has reached the bottom of the abyss, Jeremy Corbyn and his party somehow manage to find a new low. The latest nationwide poll puts them at 24 per cent, trailing the Tories by 16 points. No wonder Labour MPs look so boot-faced around Parliament, and an increasing number are

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 16 February 2017

Home The Queen opened a new National Cyber Security Centre in London. Britain’s contribution to Nato has fallen below the promised 2 per cent to 1.98 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, because GDP has grown. The annual rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index


Diary – 16 February 2017

I’m boning up on conversational Spanish for a trip to the Primera Persona festival in Barcelona with Alexei Sayle. We’re due to talk about The Young Ones — the comedy series we made together 35 years ago. For some reason the show is huge in Catalonia — perhaps it’s scatological: one of their regional symbols

Ancient and modern

From Tacitus to Justin Welby

Many are still questioning the enthusiasm with which newspapers have implicated Archbishop Justin Welby, as a young man, in the abusive activities of a Christian camp leader for whom he was working. This line from the Daily Telegraph is typical: ‘Archbishop Welby is said to have gained much of his early grounding in Christian doctrine from


Barometer | 16 February 2017

Special forces Cathedral constables at York Minister got back their powers of arrest, which they had held from the 13th century until the 1930s. They will be allowed to carry batons and handcuffs. Other private police forces: — British Transport Police, which is almost entirely funded by the rail industry, has 3,069 officers with similar

From the archives

War and law

From ‘The confiscation of enemy property’, The Spectator, 17 February 1917: It is perfectly possible to remove German influences without confiscating German property. This, as far as can be gathered, is the policy which the French have followed, and in their interest as well as in our own we ought also to follow it. The


Letters | 16 February 2017

Living room Sir: Sajid Javid is quoted as saying that the biggest constraint on building more houses is the ‘lack of land’ (‘Javid’s home truths’, 11 February). While he is right to call for government intervention, I don’t agree with this view. We may live on a small island in relative terms, but that doesn’t