The Week

Leading article

The right answer

David Cameron might not be remembered as the best prime minister in modern British history but he will probably be remembered as the luckiest. Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour party is proving worse — or, for the Tories, better — than anyone could have imagined. His wrecking ball is busy destroying everything

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 17 September 2015

Home In the shadow cabinet chosen by the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the Exchequer went to John McDonnell, a left-winger who had run his campaign for the leadership. Although Mr Corbyn’s defeated rival Andy Burnham was given the Home Office portfolio, most appointments were from the left. Angela Eagle, the new shadow business secretary,


Diary – 17 September 2015

With four days to go until the result of Labour’s leadership election, a call from the Sunday Times. Would I like to write a piece, along the lines of the opening chapter of my 1980s novel A Very British Coup, about the first 100 days of a Corbyn government? Anything up to 3,000 words, he

Ancient and modern

The relative experience of consuls and Corbyn

One of the justifications of the House of Lords is that it embodies ‘collective experience’. That is not a quality which the eternal rebel Jeremy Corbyn can cite on his CV. Over many years, Romans developed a political system such that anyone who wanted to reach the top of the greasy pole and become consul


Barometer | 17 September 2015

It’s their party Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership contest with 60% of the vote among four candidates in the first round. Which leader has the largest mandate from their party? — David Cameron was elected in 2005 with 28% of the vote out of four candidates in the first round (held among MPs only).

From the archives

Time to tax

From ‘The coming budget’, The Spectator, 18 September 1915: At present the large majority of householders and electors pay no direct taxation of any kind. They know nothing of the Income Tax collector’s demand-note, and they never receive a call from the rate collector. This system is not only fiscally but politically unsound, and a Cabinet


Letters | 17 September 2015

What firefighters do Sir: Leo McKinstry’s vicious, misleading article ‘Out of the ashes’ (12 September) shows that he has no understanding of the real issues facing firefighters today. He implies firefighters sit around doing nothing while other emergency services are doing the real work. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firefighters rescue more than