The Week

Leading article

Hammond’s humiliation

After Philip Hammond delivered his Budget last week, he went to speak to a meeting of Conservative backbench MPs. Several were deeply alarmed about his tearing up of their manifesto pledge not to raise National Insurance. One asked him how sure he was about all this. Would they find themselves going out to defend this

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 16 March 2017

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, decided to delay until later in the month the invoking of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to trigger the Brexit process, even though her power to do so had been confirmed by the passing of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act. The Commons had defeated two amendments added


Diary – 16 March 2017

In the NHS clinic where I work, adults who suspect they may have Asperger syndrome wait almost a year for a diagnosis. The clinic takes referrals from all over Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (a population of 860,000), but we have to see all of them in the hours of a single full-time doctor. And the clinic

Ancient and modern

How to make the rich love tax

Now that Philip Hammond is promising yet more tax hikes, he might consider how Athens managed it. During the whole period of their direct democracy (which ended in 323 BC), the decision-making assembly was dominated by the poor. Their empire made Athens a wealthy place, and the poor ensured that wealth came their way, not that


Barometer | 16 March 2017

Mary Queen of Golf? The vote by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to admit women as members has reawakened speculation as to who was the first woman to play golf. —According to legend, Mary Queen of Scots played the game at St Andrews and coined the phrase ‘caddy’ when referring to the cadet who

From the archives

Disaster in the Dardanelles

From ‘The Dardanelles report’, 17 March 1917: The plan of the government in the case of the Dardanelles Expedition had the worst fault which any naval or military plan, or naval and military plan combined, can have. It had no real objective… or rather, to put it in another way, it only had a vague


Letters | 16 March 2017

Pope Francis’s mission Sir: Despite Damian Thompson’s intimations (‘The plot against the Pope’, 11 March), Pope Francis is going nowhere except onwards and upwards. Jorge Bergoglio has a loving family background which gives him a mature, balanced personality. He is gifted with a fine, open mind, underpinned by an Ignatian spirituality which reminds him of