The Week

Leading article

Citizens’ assemblies are a dreadful idea

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour party is a government-in-waiting desperately searching for ideas. It says much about the leader of the opposition that arguably the biggest proposal he’s put forward comes not from him but from his chief of staff, Sue Gray. She, it seems, is enthused about the idea of citizens’ assemblies, and wants more

Portrait of the week


My Keir Starmer fantasy

A work outing to Venice. Sweetpea (yes, her real name) has captained my ship, run my life, steered me from countless disasters for 15 years and she deserved a decent break. Luckily two of my oldest friends have an apartment in the city. Our first supper at Corte Sconta in the authentic Castello district was

Ancient and modern

The Romans did politics properly

After 14 years in power, the Tory party still does not seem to know how to serve everyone’s interests, even its own. After 14 years out of power, the Labour party’s one consolation is that, for all Angela Rayner’s best efforts, it could hardly do worse. Might a new model for selecting MPs help? After


Does any country allow children to vote? 

Baby voters The Lib Dem Polly Mackenzie proposed giving people the right to vote from birth, with a proxy vote going to the under-tens. Does any country allow children to vote? – No country has a voting age lower than 16, although Iran allowed 15-year-olds to vote until 2007. Those countries that do allow 16-


Letters: Rishi’s ‘road tour’ is not a good idea

Navy to the fore Sir: In Eliot Wilson’s stimulating article highlighting the lack of capability within our armed forces (‘Losing battle’, 17 February), he comments on the reduced size of the army and the fact that it would be pressed to contribute a brigade to any conflict in the near future. This reminded me of