Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


Universities in England should be able to charge unlimited fees, according to a report by Lord Browne of Madingley;

students would start repaying loans when their earnings reached £21,000. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said the coalition was considering a maximum fee of £7,000. Sir Philip Green, asked to investigate Whitehall efficiency by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, found that paper was being bought too dearly. The rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index was unchanged at 3.1 per cent; on the Retail Price Index, it fell a smidgin from 4.7 to 4.6 per cent.

The Queen named the Queen Elizabeth, Cunard's 92,000-ton liner, built in Italy.

Alan Johnson was appointed shadow chancellor by Ed Miliband, the new leader of the Labour party; he said he would 'pick up a primer in economics for beginners'. Yvette Cooper became shadow foreign secretary and her husband, Ed Balls, shadow home secretary. Maria Eagle became shadow transport secretary, and her twin sister, Angela, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. Andy Burnham got education, John Healey health, Sadiq Khan justice, Douglas Alexander work and pensions, John Denham business, Harriet Harman international development, and Hilary Benn became shadow leader of the House. Peter Hain and Shaun Woodward, though not elected to the shadow cabinet, were reappointed to shadow the Wales and Northern Ireland secretaries. Howard Jacobson, aged 68, won the Man Booker prize for The Finkler Question.

An inquest began into the deaths of 52 people killed by bombs in London on 7 July 2005. It heard that the atrocity had been delayed by a day because one of the bombers had to take his wife to hospital. The two men accused of murdering six British Royal Military Policemen in Iraq in 2003 were cleared by a court in Baghdad. Heathrow saw its busiest month in September, with 7.6 per cent more passengers than last September. Mark Byford, the deputy director-general of the BBC, was made redundant, with an £800,000 pay-off and a £215,000 pension. A Bill was introduced for part-privatisation of the Royal Mail. Tate Modern covered 1,200 square yards with 100 million hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds made by 1,600 people in China, an idea by the artist Ai Weiwei. Claire Rayner, who made a career commenting on other people's problems, died, aged 79. …

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