Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Foot-and-mouth swept the land after an outbreak was found in pigs at an abattoir in Essex, and livestock suffering with the disease were soon discovered at farms in Northumberland and on the Isle of Wight. A seven-day order prohibiting movement of farm animals was imposed, but not before the disease was found at a farm in Devon; outbreaks were then reported from all quarters. Thousands of infected livestock were bought at market prices by the government and burnt, but no compensation was offered to farmers unable to move their livestock to market. No meat exports were allowed. Masters of foxhounds cancelled hunting; the Countryside Alliance postponed its Liberty and Livelihood March. Mr Brian Cass, the managing director of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the drugs-testing company, was hit on the head with a baseball bat when three people in balaclava helmets attacked him outside his house; he had eight stitches in his scalp and police said he was fortunate not to have been killed. A passenger train hit a goods train derailed after a vehicle went on to the track at Great Heck, near Selby, North Yorkshire; at least 13 were killed. Innogy, the domestic arm of the former National Power group, bought Yorkshire Power in a deal costing L1.84 billion to produce Britain's largest electricity supplier. Tens of thousands had their electricity cut off when heavy snow fell in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The government said that churches would not be granted a promised reduction in VAT on repairs until the European Union agreed; it would decide in 2003. Neighbours of the dockyards at Rosyth complained of the smell when seven tons of sprats were trapped behind harbour gates and died. Slurry leaking into a river killed 80,000 trout at a fish farm near Barnstaple. The government moved to ban trade in basking sharks, a species said to be endangered.

MR Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, met Mr George W. …

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