The Week

Leading article

Gamblin’ man

When George Osborne visited Sweden, Finland and Denmark  the stock markets of each country promptly fell by about 5 per cent. As soon as he left, they recovered. A coincidence, of course: Osborne’s tour coincided with stock-market jitters, but this nonetheless forced him to look over the precipice — and panic. Britain, he warned, was

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 27 August 2015

Home Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour party, said that 3,000 people had had any votes they cast in the Labour leadership contest set aside. Voters for the contest had been reduced from 610,000 to 553,954, mostly because people could not be found on the electoral register, but 1,900 alleged sympathisers with the


Diary – 27 August 2015

There are many good reasons for being in Edinburgh in August, when the population doubles and nobody looks twice if you walk down the street in a sequinned basque with a man dressed as a leopard on a leash. One of those reasons is a certain kind of lunch — an assortment of natives augmented

Ancient and modern

Just how republican is Jeremy Corbyn?

True to his antique, bearded ideology, guru Corbyn is a ‘republican’, a form of government invented 2,500 years ago. ‘Republic’ derives from the Latin res publica — ‘people’s property, business’ (not politicians’). It defined Rome in contrast to its earliest condition as a monarchy, under the control of kings. Romans dated the republican revolution to


Barometer | 27 August 2015

How many cheats? More data on members of extramarital dating site Ashley Madison were put online. How widespread is adultery? — The 2000 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles found 15% of men and 9% of women admitted an ‘overlapping relationship’ within the previous 12 months. — In 2010 an opinion poll for a

From the archives

Discovering Europe

From ‘A Converted Peace-Man’, The Spectator, 28 August 1915: We have brought the present war upon ourselves in a great measure by the obstinate refusal of the great mass of English politicians to recognise that Europe is a fact, and a very momentous fact, and that to ignore it as they did was a piece of


Letters | 27 August 2015

Trimming the ermine Sir: I am a new boy in the House of Lords compared with Viscount Astor — though I did hear Manny Shinwell speak — but he is right that it is bursting at the seams, and something needs to be done about it (‘Peer review’, 22 August). I detect signs of a