The Week

Leading article

Losing control

If Brexit was going to be as easy as some of its advocates had believed, we would not have had weeks such as this one. It’s hard to interpret the recent agreement over the transition period as anything other than a capitulation to EU demands. Theresa May has quietly scrubbed out her ‘red line’ on

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 22 March 2018

Home Britain and the European Union agreed on a transitional period after Brexit on 29 March 2019 until the end of 2020 in which Britain can make trade deals and EU citizens will be able to claim UK residency. The Irish border question was unresolved. British fisherfolk were sold down the river, despite an undertaking


Diary – 22 March 2018

I went to a dinner for Toby Young, who has had some troubles of late, at this magazine’s gracious HQ, hosted by the editor. I was slightly dreading being beasted by a reptilian gathering of hard Brexiters, but it was in the diary. So I tipped up last Friday in a somewhat plunging jumpsuit and

Ancient and modern

Octavian’s poison legacy

Barely a day passes without yet another Russian explanation for the Salisbury nerve agent attack. What’s new? Such disinformation has a very ancient history. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 bc, his old friend Mark Antony and the 18-year-old Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son and heir, emerged as the two contenders for power. In 32 bc, it had


Barometer | 22 March 2018

Spin doctors The BBC has denied it photoshopped a Newsnight backdrop to make Jeremy Corbyn’s hat look more Russian. The art of doctoring photos is, appropriately enough, often credited to the Bolsheviks. One photo of Lenin in 1920 had Trotsky and Kamenev edited out after they fell from favour. — Yet manipulating photos for political


Letters | 22 March 2018

Reform National Insurance Sir: One objection to an increase in National Insurance contributions to rescue the NHS is that it would once again exempt from contributing those who most heavily use the NHS — the retired — and heap yet more of the burden on the working young who least use it and can least