Mark Greaves

Can Britain’s life sciences sector thrive after Brexit?

The Spectator, in association with MSD, brought together MPs and representatives from Life Sciences on 20th March, to discuss the future of Life Sciences after Brexit. Can the UK life sciences sector thrive after Brexit and what needs to be done in order to ensure that it does? This is a report of the discussion which

Can technology make the NHS more efficient?

As the Spectator held its inaugural health summit last week, the fraught issue of NHS funding was once again on the front pages. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, proposed a 10-year funding deal for the NHS. Two days later Theresa May announced there would be a ‘long-term funding plan’. However, while a multibillion pound cash

Is the NHS ready for artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is about to transform healthcare. The claim is not being made by excitable tech gurus from Silicon Valley but by medics. Machines, having been fed enormous amounts of data, are developing algorithms that detect disease from X-rays and tissue samples. This is, potentially at least, a much cheaper and more efficient way to

Could cancer break the NHS?

Could cancer break the NHS? This was the provocative title of a debate at the British Museum hosted by The Spectator and sponsored by Philips. Two of the expert panellists suggested that it just might. Others were more optimistic. But all seemed to agree that, for the NHS to survive, bold action was required. First,

Is the NHS open to new technology?

At a dinner on Tuesday 26th September at the Spectator’s offices, sponsored by Philips, entrepreneurs, doctors and healthcare experts discussed how new technology could ease pressure on the NHS – and whether the health service was equipped to take advantage of it. Guests included: Naushard Jabir, founder and CEO of Vida, Paul Bate, Director of

Spectator debate: Can we trust health advice?

It was a close fight. Both sides at Tuesday night’s debate at IET London seemed to accept that trust in official health guidelines was running low. And, among the 200 or so members of the audience, that was certainly the case: a show of hands requested by the evening’s chair Andrew Neil at the start

God’s new business plan

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Mark Greaves discusses the Church of England’s plans for growth” startat=1513] Listen [/audioplayer]A new mood has taken hold of Lambeth Palace. Officials call it urgency; critics say it is panic. The Church of England, the thinking goes, is about to shrink rapidly, even vanish in some areas, unless urgent action is taken. This

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican. Our guide, Tonia, takes us through security, and within minutes we are in a nearly empty Sistine Chapel. In an hour it will be crammed with tourists — sweating, gawping, getting in each other’s way.

The charity that could make you love social workers

Is any public service more reviled than social work? Policemen, when not drinking with journalists, chase down baddies; firefighters save babies, and doctors cure diseases. Social workers, on the other hand, take away people’s children. They miss catastrophic abuse. In no news story are they ever -heroic. The perception of social work is unremittingly grim.

Two months as a monk

Kieran Viljoen’s life sounds like a parable. Not long ago, back in South Africa, he spent his days in the depths of the ocean searching for diamonds. But for the past two months he has been living the life of a Benedictine monk. He is one of two interns at Quarr Abbey, a monastery on

Interview with a writer: David Mitchell

David Mitchell slaps a big hand on his head. ‘I look back at that kid and think, what were you thinking! How dare you, idiot!’ He is talking about his recklessness as a young writer. ‘Yeah I’ll stop it halfway, five times, and start it again. I’ll pretend I’m a Chinese woman living up a

‘We rot. Don’t we?’

Joanna Lumley and Sister Elizabeth Obbard are seated at the front of the church. Lumley is perched elegantly on the edge of her chair; Sister Elizabeth settles deep into hers, submerged under folds of habit. They are talking in front of an audience at the Carmelite church in Kensington, west London, about life as a

Spiritual athletics

Sister Catherine Holum remembers her first Olympic speed-skating race very clearly. The crowd, she says, was very loud. Three men with television cameras knelt in front of her as she tied her skates up. She felt the whole world was watching. And when she had finished the race, she burst into tears. At the time

Read more, speak less

Marilynne Robinson, Obama’s favourite contemporary novelist, says we all have a duty to raise our intellectual game As a child Marilynne Robinson was enthralled by writing poetry. As an adult, she says, it has never been quite the same. ‘During a thunderstorm or something like that I would write some crazy poem and then hide

Let there be light | 20 August 2011

The bare brickwork of Westminster Cathedral’s ceiling was always meant to be covered in mosaic. Mark Greaves meets Tessa Hunkin, who will bring the project to life Three years ago, Tessa Hunkin was asked if she would like to undertake the biggest mosaic project since the Hagia Sophia. The project, which would probably take decades

Hand of destruction

Mark Greaves talks to the artist Peter Howson about his latest commission and his demons Peter Howson started hallucinating last summer. Lying awake at night, he saw what he describes as ‘devils, demons and goblins’. They told him there was no point in living; that he might as well do away with himself. It was,