Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Fifty-eight Chinese people (including four women) were found dead, suffocated in a sealed lorry at Dover; two men survived. Mr Tony Blair, in Portugal for a European Union meeting, insisted that the Cabinet shared one opinion on Britain's adoption of the euro. Mr Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking at Mansion House, had already reiterated the government's policy of waiting until after the next election and then considering whether to seek economic and monetary union with the rest of the European Union; this was interpreted as a slap-down to those keener on the euro, such as Mr Robin Cook and Mr Peter Mandelson. Ikea, the Swedish furniture company, is to open 20 more stores requiring 10,000 workers. C & A closed all its 109 shops in Britain, with the loss of 4,800 jobs. Corus, formerly British Steel, is to cut 1,400 jobs. BAe Systems announced the loss of 3,800 jobs as a consequence of its merger last year with Marconi. Of the 12 million questionnaires sent out by the government to collect opinions on the National Health Service, 200,000 were sent back; many suggested that more nurses and doctors might help. Prince William turned 18 but announced he would not yet adopt the style of His Royal Highness. A policeman fired two shots by mistake at 5.30 a.m. in the royal train as the Queen sped towards Cardiff. Lord Ashcroft was given a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours to add to the peerage he received three months before. Other knights included Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats; Eddie George, the governor of the Bank of England; Michael Caine, the actor; and David and Frederick Barclay, the businessmen. Beryl Bainbridge, the writer, became a Dame, as did Vivien Duffield, who is active in the arts. The BBC lost the rights to screen Premier League matches but secured rights to FA Cup coverage. England football fans enjoyed rioting in Charleroi, Belgium, and hundreds were arrested. …

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