Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Home George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, visited Glasgow to cast doubt on the probability of an independent Scotland being allowed to continue to use the pound: 'Why would 58 million citizens give away some of their sovereignty over monetary and potentially other economic policies to five million people in another state?' The government borrowed £120.6 billion in the financial year 20122013, £300 million less than in the previous year. Fitch became the second agency to downgrade Britain's credit rating by a notch from AAA. The Co-op pulled out of buying 632 branches of Lloyds Banking Group, put up for sale to meet European competition rules. The government planned to sell its one-third stake in Urenco, the uranium enrichment company. The Football Association charged Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, with violent conduct after he bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic on the arm during a game.

James McCormick was convicted of fraud at the Old Bailey after making £50 million out of selling so-called bomb detectors that were nothing but novelty toys to countries such as Iraq and Thailand. PC Osman Iqbal, aged 35, of the West Midlands Police, was charged with conspiring to manage a brothel, conspiring to launder money and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply; nine others were charged with him. Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, undertook to assuage opposition on his own benches by amending proposed legislation to allow house extensions without local authority permission. Stoke-on-Trent put on sale 35 run-down houses at £1 each to people earning between £18,000 and £30,000. A poster depicting Margaret Thatcher as the Blessed Virgin Mary in Rubens's Assumption was banned from the London Underground, not on grounds of blasphemy but because of 'public controversy' over the late prime minister's reputation.

The number of cases in the South Wales measles outbreak rose above 886, and a man of 25 who caught the disease died.

Thousands of people marched through Stafford, protesting at plans to remove services such as an accident and emergency department from Stafford Hospital.

London councils warned that the capital would be short of 118,000 school places by 2016, when it will have 1.25 million children to educate. A law is to be passed against discrimination on grounds of caste, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, announced. …

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