The Week

Leading article

A smoking ban is pointless and illiberal

Why is Britain poised to ban cigarette smoking, when the habit is already dying out anyway? Smoking is seen by the young as disgusting and outdated. A generation ago, 50 per cent of school pupils said they had smoked at some point. By the time David Cameron came to power, this was down to 25

Portrait of the week


I always judge a hotel by its club sandwich

As a child I was fascinated by the exotic names of certain cities: Havana, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles sounded so glamorous to me, and I was determined to visit them (which I eventually did). But never in my childhood musings did the country of Czechoslovakia join this roll-call of dream destinations. However, since

Ancient and modern

What was it like to be nouveau riche in Pompeii?

Frescoes are always the lead story in reports of the latest finds from Pompeii, but they are only a part of a much bigger picture. Before it was destroyed in ad 79 Pompeii had been a flourishing port town (the explosion of Vesuvius altered the whole landscape) with a population of around 11,000, offering trading


When was the world’s first drone attack?

Attack of the drones The world’s earliest drone attack goes back further than you might think. On 12 July 1849 the Austrian military launched unmanned balloons over Venice, which they hoped to recapture after the city had declared itself a republic the year before. Suspended beneath each of the balloons were bombs containing up to


The Spectator’s letters page is hazardous 

Question time Sir: Your leading article ‘Sense prevails’ (13 April) is a valuable précis of the Cass Review into NHS gender treatment. However, it also raises several questions. How are the actions of these individuals, groups and organisations different from those of others who have been found to have acted unprofessionally, causing harm to patients