Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Home With the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the 2,300 invited to attend Lady Thatcher's funeral in St Paul's cathedral included the three surviving former prime ministers, members of her cabinets, the leader of the opposition, F.W.de Klerk, June Whitfield, Joan Collins, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Terry Wogan.

Mikhail Gorbachev did not attend, because of ill health, Lord Kinnock because of a previous funeral engagement, the Argentine ambassador for an unstated reason and Sally Bercow, the Speaker's wife, because she didn't want to. Much time had been spent discussing whether the BBC should play on its singles hit chart programme 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead', which had been downloaded by those who held the memory of Lady Thatcher in disdain. The chimes of Big Ben were silenced for the funeral.

Tony Blair, the former Labour prime minister, criticised the state of the party in the New Statesman. 'The guiding principle should be that we are the seekers after answers, not the repository for people's anger, ' he wrote. The London School of Economics unsuccessfully demanded that the BBC should not show a Panorama programme presented by John Sweeney, who had covertly joined a student group visiting North Korea. The annual rate of inflation in March remained the same, at 2.8 per cent, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, but rose to 3.3 per cent from 3.2, as measured by the Retail Prices Index.

Unemployment rose to 2.56 million in December to February, 70,000 higher than in the previous three months. The national minimum wage for adults is to rise by 12p an hour to £6.31 from October. James Harding, the former editor of the Times, was appointed as the BBC's director of news. Sir Colin Davis, the conductor, died, aged 85.

The Premier League commissioned HawkEye to provide it with goal-line technology.

Haroon Aswat, accused of trying to establish a training camp in Oregon with Abu Hamza, should not be extradited from Britain to the United States, the European Court of Human Rights ruled, as it might make his paranoid schizophrenia worse. The trust that runs Stafford Hospital was put into administration by the health regulator Monitor. Cases of measles in the outbreak in Swansea rose to 765; temporary clinics immunised 2,500 children but 5,000 were thought to remain unimmunised. …

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