Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Theresa May goes to Africa, Labour accused of anti-Semitism (again) and John McCain dies

1 September 2018

9:00 AM

1 September 2018

9:00 AM


Theresa May, the Prime Minister, flew off to South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria accompanied by a trade delegation. In a speech in Cape Town she promised an extra £4 billion in British investment in Africa. ‘True partnerships are not about one party doing unto another,’ she said, but the achievement of ‘common goals’. The government announced plans for Britain’s own satellite navigation system if Brexit meant it was expelled from the European Union’s Galileo project. A gang flew men from Chile to burgle houses around London, said police who arrested 36 men in the past eight months, 16 of them being convicted and eight deported, with 12 leaving the country while still under investigation. Lindsay Kemp, the choreographer who advised Kate Bush, died aged 80. British and French fishing boats clashed in the Channel over scallops.

Labour continued to be accused of anti-Semitism. Footage showed Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, talking in 2013 about ‘Zionists’ in the audience at a conference who had a problem that, ‘having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony’. The pro-Corbyn Skwawkbox blog predicted that the Labour National Executive Committee would adopt a code of practice that would put a stop to accusations of anti-Semitism being made ‘as part of a factional agenda’. Alex Salmond was revealed to have been under investigation since January over allegations of sexual harassment relating to his time in office as first minister. He blamed someone in the Scottish government of ‘sustained leaking’ of the most unfair kind’.The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action called upon Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to restore the Stormont executive, which has been suspended since January 2017. The Primark store in Belfast was engulfed by fire.

British Gas paid £2.65 million in refunds and compensation to 94,000 customers wrongly charged when they switched to other providers. Wonga, the payday lender, was said to be close to collapse in the face of compensation claims over loans taken out before 2014. Sir Vince Cable would stand down as Lib Dems leader before the next election, the Sunday Times said. Only one person was stabbed at the Notting Hill Carnival and 30 policemen injured. The wholesale price of onions rose by 41 per cent because of the hot, dry summer.


John McCain, the Senator for Arizona, died aged 81 after being ill with a brain tumour; President Donald Trump said he would not be going to his funeral. The US and Mexico agreed new terms for the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Canada did not. Neil Simon, the playwright who wrote The Odd Couple, died aged 91. David Katz, aged 24, a participant at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, shot dead two people before killing himself. Didi Chuxing, China’s taxi-hailing company, the largest in the world, suspended its carpool service, Didi Hitch, after a driver raped and killed a woman passenger.

A UN report based on hundreds of interviews said military commanders in Burma must be investigated for genocide against Rohingyas in Rakhine state. It said that Aung San Suu Kyi had ‘not used her de facto position as head of government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events’. Before 700,000 Rohingyas were driven out of Burma, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army had killed police and dozens of Hindu civilians. The Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen, mandated by the UN, accused all sides in the war in Yemen of war crimes. Peru closed its border to Venezuelan migrants without passports as thousands continued to flee the crisis-stricken country that has seen two million leave since 2014.

A carpenter, aged 35, was stabbed to death in Chemnitz, Germany, and two men, a Syrian, aged 23, and an Iraqi, 22, arrested as suspects; hundreds of protestors gathered at the central Karl Marx monument, some pursuing foreign-looking people and others scuffling with police. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in 2016, returned to prison in Iran after a three-day release. Pope Francis spent two days in Ireland, where he was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people and repeatedly asked forgiveness for ‘abuses in Ireland, abuses of power, conscience and sexual abuses’ perpetrated by Church leaders. CSH

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