Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week

8 October 2016

9:00 AM

8 October 2016

9:00 AM


Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said at the Conservative party conference that hers was now the party of ‘working-class’ people and would occupy the ‘new centre ground’. She announced that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty would be invoked by next March, beginning the formal process for Britain to leave the European Union. The pound fell to a 31-year low and the FTSE 100 index rose above 7,000 to an 18-month high. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: ‘We will no longer target a surplus at the end of this Parliament,’ as his predecessor George Osborne had promised, but would spend on housing and transport. More than 500 people were stranded on the London Eye big wheel for three hours one evening by a mechanical fault. A No. 26 bus to Hackney Wick burst into flames outside Liverpool Street station.

Diane James resigned as leader of the UK Independence Party 18 days after being elected. Under plans to stop England’s reliance on doctors trained abroad, the number of medical school places will increase by 25 per cent from 6,000 to 7,500 a year from 2018, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, announced. British servicemen would be protected from ‘spurious’ claims of misconduct by the suspension of parts of the European Convention on Human Rights during future conflicts, Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, told the Conservative conference: ‘Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it.’ Three British-born scientists, David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz, won the Nobel prize for physics for their work on very thin layers of matter; all three now work in America. Schools were overtaken by a craze for flipping plastic bottles of water so that they land upright.

Recipients of Employment and Support Allowance with severe conditions and no prospect of getting better would no longer have to be retested, Damian Green, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced. Gareth Southgate, interim England football manager since the departure under a cloud of Sam Allardyce, endorsed Wayne Rooney as captain. Durham County Cricket Club accepted a £3.8 million aid package but was relegated from Division One of the County Championship. Mike Towell, aged 25, a Scottish boxer, died after a bout in Glasgow. Sir Neville Marriner, the violinist and conductor, died aged 92.


The United States suspended talks with Russia over Syria, blaming it for joining Syrian government forces in ‘targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need’. The main hospital in the sector of Aleppo where 250,000 are besieged was bombed three times in a week. Russia confirmed it had sent an S-300 air-defence missile system to the Syrian port of Tartus. Russia suspended an agreement with the United States in force since 2000 by which each side undertook to dispose of 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to make more than 8,000 nuclear weapons. Turkey suspended 13,000 policemen suspected of links with Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in the United States. German prosecutors dropped an investigation into Jan Böhmermann, a comedian accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by reciting a poem about him copulating with goats.

In one day, 6,055 migrants were rescued from the sea off Libya, the Italian coastguard reported. More than 98 per cent of Hungarians voted against mandatory EU migrant quotas in a referendum rendered non-binding by a turnout of only 40.4 per cent. In Colombia, 50.2 per cent of voters rejected a peace deal to end the long civil war there. Villagers near the Pakistan-India border in Punjab were evacuated as tensions continued over Kashmir. The Pope visited Georgia and Azerbaijan, which has fewer than 300 Catholics.

Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the American presidency, declined to publish his tax returns in the face of claims by the New York Times that he might have paid none since declaring losses of $916 million in 1995. Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint of jewellery worth £5 million at her house in Paris. Seven species of yellow-faced bee native to Hawaii were added to the US federal list of endangered species. Two American Samoan businessmen complained to the US transport regulator that they were obliged to be weighed before joining their flights from Honolulu.       CSH

The post Portrait of the Week appeared first on The Spectator.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments