The Week

Leading article

Let Greece go

The campaign to keep Greece in the euro has resulted in five years of groundhog days. The unfortunate country seems to be forever approaching a day of repayments it cannot afford. Ministers and diplomats assemble to thrash out a deal. Meetings collapse in bad temper, and markets sink. Then, at the eleventh hour, a deal

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 18 June 2015

Home Talha Asmal, aged 17, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, died in a suicide bomb attack on forces near an oil refinery near Baiji in Iraq, having assumed the name Abu Yusuf al-Britani. A man from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Thomas Evans, 25, who had changed his name to Abdul Hakim, was killed in Kenya while fighting for


Diary – 18 June 2015

Off to prison to visit a writer friend, first jailed led some years ago for trying to find a hit man to kill his mother’s toy boy. My friend had no objection to his mother having boyfriends per se, but what irked him was that she’d left the toy boy her house. After good behaviour,

Ancient and modern

Aristotle on the Lego chair

So Cambridge University has accepted £4 million from the makers of Lego (snort) to fund a Lego chair (Argos sells a kit at £8.99) and a research centre into the importance of play (titter). One must not laugh (shriek). Aristotle (384–322 bc) might have approved — in part. At the start of his ground-breaking treatise on animal form


Barometer | 18 June 2015

Dropping the Clangers The Clangers made a comeback on BBC television. Some Clanger facts: — The actors doing the voices worked from a script in English, even though they were playing seemingly unintelligible noises on the swanee whistle. It was a good job the young viewers didn’t understand Clanger-language, because the creatures were known to

From the archives


From ‘Literature and Soldiers’, The Spectator, 19 June 1915: In this war some of the most moving poetry has been written by young soldiers. The most vivid accounts of fighting have been extracted from soldiers’ letters. These were certainly not written without a close companionship with letters. We wonder how many torn and thumbed copies of


Letters | 18 June 2015

Growing congregations Sir: I would like to take issue with Damian Thompson (‘Crisis of faith’, 13 June) and his assertions that England’s churches are in deep trouble. Last Saturday 250 Christians ranging in age from zero to 80, from two independent and orthodox local churches in Lancaster and Morecambe, met in a school to sing,