Magazine article The Spectator

Potrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Potrait of the Week

Article excerpt


At the beginning of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on the radio that from 2013 child benefits would be withdrawn from any family where one parent earns more than about £44,000 a year. He also told the conference that the maximum amount of benefits any family could claim would be about £26,000, the amount 'the average family gets for going out to work'. Some sort of tax allowance for married couples was also in the offing.

Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, said that prisoners should work 40 hours a week.

A systems failure meant that credit and debit cards would not work on Saturday afternoon in Sainsbury's 872 shops.

Labour MPs set about vmoting for the 19 people to be appointed to the shadow cabinet. Hazel Blears stopped using red dye for her hair. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said he would not nominate David Miliband (who left 'frontline politics' after his brother was elected Labour leader) for the post of European Union foreign minister; 'Cathy Ashton is doing a really fantastic job, ' he remarked.

Sir Norman Wisdom, the comic performer, died, aged 95. From Christmas Eve, the M4 bus lane is to be returned to use by cars, except during the Olympic Games in 2012. Europe won the Ryder Cup after rain stopped play for a day at Celtic Manor, Monmouthshire. Eighty thousand copies of Jonathan Franzen's new novel Freedom were to be pulped because of misprints.

The Foreign Office warned of a 'high threat' of terrorist attacks in France, Germany and other European countries.

British security sources had warned of an al-Qa'eda plot to send teams of gunmen to crowded places to kill civilians. The United States had issued advice to its citizens on 'the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure' in Europe. In Britain, the nationally determined level of threat indicated that an attack was 'highly likely'.

A 200lb car bomb set off by the Real IRA in Londonderry injured two policemen.

Professor Robert Edwards won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on testtube babies. Two Russian-born scientists working at Manchester University, Professor Andre Geim and Dr Konstantin Novoselov, shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on graphene. …

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