Magazine article The Spectator

Potrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Potrait of the Week

Article excerpt


Inflation rose to an annual rate of 4 per cent in January from 3.7 per cent in December, far above the Bank of England's target of 2 per cent. The rate according to the Retail Prices Index rose to 5.1 per cent from 4.8 per cent. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, defended his idea of the Big Society and the government's economic policy, saying: 'We have to make these cuts, we have to raise those taxes, ' even though 'it will make me unpopular'. Unemployment rose to 7.9 per cent, with 965,000 16- to 24-year-olds without jobs. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said that big banks should be split up to prevent them making too much profit and developing a bonus culture. Barclays announced profits of £6.1 billion for 2010. A pilot review of incapacity benefit in Burnley and Aberdeen found 30 per cent of claimants fit to work immediately and that 39 per cent could consider working with the right help.

Two racehorses, Fenix Two and Marching Song, collapsed and died in the paddock at Newbury. Electrocution was suspected.

National Health Service provision for old people was sometimes 'failing to meet even the most basic standards of care', according to a review by the Health Service Ombudsman of ten cases which she said were far from isolated examples.

The RAF is to reduce its number of trainee pilots by a quarter due to defence cuts. The army apologised for having sent emails to 38 warrant officers, all of whom had served more than 22 years, telling them that they were losing their jobs. A judge at Chelmsford Crown Court invited the Crown Prosecution Service to consider the dignity of the court before proceeding with a case involving a woman hit in the eye by a sausage thrown at a party; the CPS then offered no evidence.

The House of Commons voted by 234 to 22 to reject the European Court of Human Rights' ruling that those serving prison sentences must be allowed to vote in elections. Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, said the government planned to lift the prohibition of civil partnership ceremonies in churches. Trevor Bailey, the England all-rounder and BBC cricket commentator, died in a fire at his house in Essex, aged 87. The BBC had more than 100 complaints about the children's animated puppet series Rastamouse, some saying it was racist, others that children should not be encouraged to use slang such as 'wagwan'. …

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