The Week

Leading article

The dangers of post-Covid isolationism

There is something bizarre about a sporting event designed to bring people and nations together but from which spectators have been excluded. Most foreigners are currently forbidden from setting foot inside Japan, let alone inside the Olympic stadium. In many senses, Tokyo 2020 — which like the Uefa Euros retains its original name, despite a

Portrait of the week


My brush with a royal literary crisis

The past week has seen another media splash about the self-exiled Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Following the recent ruckus over the statue of Princess Diana, the latest crisis to come off the royal conveyor belt was news that the Duke has written what his publishers sedately describe as a ‘literary memoir’. Cue general outrage.

Ancient and modern

The Greeks had their reservations about the Olympics

Winners at the Olympics were thought to have come as close to a god as any man could. But that did not stop some Greeks wondering whether it was all worth it. The poet Xenophanes commented that ‘a noble boxer would not make a city better ordered, nor keep its granaries filled’. Diogenes the cynic


Is rain getting heavier?

Reinventing the wheels Skateboarding made its debut at the Olympics. Who invented the skateboard? — There are many reports of homemade skateboards being created in the 1940s and 1950s by Californian surfers who wanted to continue a form of their sport out of season, but the first commercial skateboard was marketed by roller-skate company Roller


Letters: In defence of organic food

A note about manure Sir: I am afraid Matt Ridley shows a lack of understanding about agriculture in general and organic production in particular in his argument against organic food (‘Dishing the dirt’, 24 July). Livestock production has involved the use of animal faeces — or farmyard manure as it is called when mixed with