The Week

Leading article

Think-tank battle

The concept of a ‘Red Tory’ is not an easy one to grasp. T he concept of a ‘Red Tory’ is not an easy one to grasp. Is it someone who believes in huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ for all, or is it an inversion of a champagne socialist: someone who preaches free markets from beneath

Troubled waters | 28 November 2009

Amid the wreckage of this week’s floods the most depressing comment came from a government scientist who called for a national register of bridges. If we had a register, he argued, the relevant authorities might in future be better able to predict which bridges are likely to go the same way as Workington’s two went

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 28 November 2009

Floods swept Cumbria after 12.4 inches of rain fell in 24 hours (at Seathwaite), the most ever recorded in Britain. Main Street in Cockermouth was more than waist deep in water. Some 1,300 houses were affected, and insurance claims were expected to reach £100 million. PC Bill Baker died in the collapse of the Northside


Diary of a Notting Hill nobody | 28 November 2009

Monday I can’t quite believe what we had a strategy meeting about this morning. My hands are trembling as I type… What if climate change doesn’t exist? It’s too awful to contemplate. But we are being asked to consider: what if the earth is not getting warmer? What if the world is not sleepwalking to

Diary – 28 November 2009

The man who invented the breathalyser more than 50 years ago was called Robert Borkenstein, a former policeman who had risen from the ranks to become head of the Department of Forensic Studies at Indiana University. He was very proud of his achievement. ‘If we can make life better simply by controlling alcohol, that’s a

Ancient and modern

Ancient & Modern | 28 November 2009

What do we do about the wealth-producers? Especially foreign ones? Everything in our power to indicate our distaste for them, seems to be the answer. The Greek essayist and soldier Xenophon would wonder what we were playing at. In 355 bc Athens was in desperate financial straits. It was then that Xenophon, whose military career


Letters | 28 November 2009

Not so special Sir: The only ‘disrespect’ Obama can really be accused of is a degree of indifference to the British delusion of a ‘special relationship’ with the USA (‘A special form of disrespect’, 21 November). One would have thought that after the con-trick of Lend-lease, the wholesale vacuuming-up of British nuclear and aviation technology,