Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Business confidence in Britain was at its highest level since 2007, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce, which said it expected gross domestic product to have grown by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

Ofgem, the energy regulator, warned that spare electricity capacity could fall to 2 per cent by 2015, increasing the risk of blackouts.

The regulator urged companies to deal with theft of electricity, a third of it said to power cannabis farms. Butterflies and bees were found to have suffered badly from the cold May. Channel 4 is to broadcast the dawn call to prayer each day during Ramadan.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, outlined £100 billion of infrastructure spending (much of it announced previously), with £100 million going towards a new prison in North Wales. Welsh people will have their organs removed, posthumously, it is planned, unless they register an objection, following a vote by the Welsh Assembly. The BBC was been criticised by the National Audit Office for paying out £25 million in severance to 150 senior BBC managers, including Roly Keating, who voluntarily paid back the £376,000 he had been paid on leaving to run the British Library. Ocado, the online supermarket, saw losses rise a little to £3.8 million over 24 weeks, despite sales rising 15 per cent and the average customer's order totalling £114.90. Tesco was found to be selling a colouring book, Colour Me Good - Arrggghhhh! ! , featuring scenes from Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said that illegal immigrants should be granted an amnesty after 12 years, but added that 'the key thing is to kick them out before they reach first base'. Department for Education figures revealed that 1,061,010 schoolchildren speak English as a second language; the proportion in Westminster was 72 per cent. Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, were sentenced at the Old Bailey to 17 years in prison on charges of rape, trafficking and organising prostitution, and five others to sentences between 12 and 20 years for their part in offences centred on Oxford against girls as young as 11, several of them in the care of social services. A fire in 100,000 tons of plastic in Smethwick that caused £6 million of damage, and took 200 firemen to extinguish, was said to have been started by a Chinese lantern landing there. …

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