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Home The International Monetary Fund reduced its growth forecast for Britain this year from 1.5 per cent to 1.1 per cent and for next year from 2.3 to 1.6 per cent. A debate rumbled on in government about whether to spend more money on public infrastructure works as dark financial clouds loomed. ‘What I will not do is provide cover for ideological descendants of those who sent children up chimneys,’ Vince Cable, the Business Secretary told the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham, in a speech warning of ‘difficult times ahead’ for Britain’s finances. Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told the conference that the better off should pay more tax. Oxford University has licensed a Hong Kong company to sell branded merchandise including a £780 ‘Tutor Chair’ with Dominus Illuminatio Mea printed on it.

Ascheme to set up nine regional fire service control-rooms failed after £469 million had been spent, the Commons public accounts committee reported, yet most of those responsible ‘have suffered no hindrance to their careers’. The family of Milly Dowler, the murdered schoolgirl, were offered £3 million in damages relating to the hacking of telephones at the News of the World. The Metropolitan Police dropped its attempt to use the Official Secrets Act to force the Guardian to reveal how it knew about the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone. Alexander Lebedev, the oligarch who owns the Evening Standard and the Independent, punched a fellow guest on a televised debate in Russia, knocking him off the podium.

Police in London investigating £1.5 billion losses at UBS arrested Kweku Adoboli, a 31-year-old Ghanaian. Jaguar Land Rover is to build a £355 million factory near Wolverhampton, aiming to create up to 750 jobs. A judge once more delayed the eviction by Basildon Council of hundreds of travellers living in illegally built houses at Dale Farm in Essex, who have been joined by many protesters. Four miners died when a shaft flooded at Gleision drift mine, near Pontardawe in West Glamorgan. Catholics in England and Wales resumed the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays.

Abroad President Barack Obama of the United States outlined plans to raise $1.5 trillion in taxes, mainly from high earners, over the next decade. Mr Obama said that if his idea was not supported he would veto any plans from Congress that cut spending on a health insurance programme for the elderly. The initiative had been characterised as the ‘Buffett Rule’ in recognition of Warren Buffett’s suggestion that rich men like himself should pay more tax. ‘Class warfare will simply divide this country,’ commented Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House budget committee. ‘This is not class warfare,’ President Obama responded, ‘It’s math.’ Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF, said in a television interview that his behaviour in an incident that led to his being accused of the rape of a chambermaid in New York, was a ‘moral fault that I’m not proud of’.

the spectator | 24 September 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk

The stock markets rose and plunged as Greece neared its October deadline for going bust unless it received international support. The European Union, the European Central Bank and IMF held talks with Greece on new austerity measures. ‘We should not be the scapegoat,’ said Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek finance minister, a notably fat man. Italy’s credit rating was taken down a step by Standard and Poor’s. Contemplating events in America and Europe, the IMF said that the global economy had entered a ‘dangerous new phase’ of sharply lower growth. The coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was dealt a blow by its junior party, the Free Democrats, securing only 1.8 per cent of the vote in the Berlin state elections. The Pirate party came from nowhere to win 8.9 per cent of the votes. A 17-year-old boy walked into Berlin City Hall and said he had been living wild in the forest for five years.

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, flew to New York to urge the United Nations to accept Palestine as a sovereign state. Shelling and gunfire killed over 70 protesters in Yemen. Burhanuddin Rabbani, who had been President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 and was negotiating peace terms with the Taleban, was murdered by a suicide bomber at his home in Kabul. An earthquake caused death and destruction in Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet. Four earthquakes hit Guatemala within three hours, causing less death and destruction. Super Girl, a Chinese variant of Pop Idol, was pulled from the schedules because voting for acts was said dangerously to resemble western democracy. CSH

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