The Week

Leading article

Laying down the law

A great test of political leadership is how well you deal with vested interests on your own side. In his first speech as Lord Chancellor this week, Michael Gove has shown himself willing to tackle a profession which has long been comfortable with Conservative governments and whose reform, as a consequence, is long overdue. A

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 25 June 2015

Home Tens of thousands took part in a demonstration in London against austerity, and thousands more in other cities. Russell Brand was heckled for being too right-wing: ‘Fuck off back to Miliband,’ protestors in Parliament Square cried. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, explaining his thinking on further benefit cuts: ‘There is what I would call


Diary – 25 June 2015

My husband says I only write books in order to have a launch party. Not so. I also write books in order to give the author speech at the party. To this end, I hired a wild warehouse under the Westway flyover. Faced with a stream of emails from PAs asking things like whether vegan

Ancient and modern

Hesiod on Grexit anxiety

Why do Greeks want to keep the euro, or remain in the European Union? The combative, creative, competitive, mercantile classical Greeks throve on independence. The farmer-poet Hesiod (c. 700 BC) makes the point about competition by calling it Eris, ‘strife’, which he characterises as painful but also helpful. On the one hand, he said, it


Barometer | 25 June 2015

The spirit of 1945 No one would have been more surprised at the sight of 100,000 people marching in London under the banner ‘End Austerity Now’ and demanding ‘Tories Out’ than Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade and briefly Chancellor of the Exchequer in Attlee’s government. — Hard though it might be

From the archives

The Russians are coming

From ‘The Inexpugnability of Russia’, The Spectator, 26 June 1915: At this moment, after nearly a year’s fighting, Russia is only just beginning to be mistress of her resources in men and munitions. The hardy soldiers of her Far Eastern provinces are in many cases only just beginning to be got ready for the firing line.


Letters | 25 June 2015

Free trade with Africa Sir: Nicholas Farrell suggests that a naval blockade is the only solution to Italy’s immigration crisis (‘The invasion of Italy’, 20 June). Examining the causes of the situation might identify other measures. Since the European Union effectively closed its borders to trade with Africa to protect European farmers from lower food