The Week

Leading article

‘In’ trouble

David Cameron wants to get the European Union referendum over with quickly — and understandably so. Things are still going well for him, and his political opposition is in disarray. The ‘in’ campaign will draw heavily upon his personal authority and the public is not (yet) fed up with him. Ideally, he wants to start

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 28 January 2016

Home Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, prepared a paper on the four areas of concern between Britain and the European Union, as formulated by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, for the EU to chew on at a summit in February. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, said that


Diary – 28 January 2016

For years, I’ve wondered why so many clever people go to Davos to discuss topics as meaningless as ‘the new global context’ or ‘shared norms for the new reality’. It has always struck me like a massive game of Just A Minute, in which contestants compete on how long they can talk about a theme

Ancient and modern

Quintilian on lecturers

Professor Louise Richardson, Oxford’s new vice-chancellor, is worried about a new government plan to judge teaching quality. Her reason is that she does not know how to measure it. One wonders what else she does not know about assessing a university’s basic function. Plato made a distinction between the art of teaching and the pupil’s desire


Barometer | 28 January 2016

So near and yet so far Henry Worsley died in a Chilean hospital of peritonitis after being airlifted from Antartica, 30 miles short of what would have been the first solo unaided crossing of the continent. How does this compare with Britain’s other heroic failures? — Scott and his two surviving companions died 11 miles short

From the archives

Disciplined brutality

From ‘The Crimes of Germany’, The Spectator, 29 January 1916: It would be a relief, a partial solution, if only one could say that the Germans broke loose from their officers and their habits in a lust of blood and violence. But the terrible fact is that throughout the war we have heard no word


Letters | 28 January 2016

Levelling the cricket pitch Sir: As a cricket addict and believer in state education, it pains me to agree with Michael Henderson’s assertion that the future of England’s Test side rests in the hands of private schools (‘Elite sport’, 23 January). The high-performing, 1,700-strong school where I am the head teacher has a grass area for