News & Politics
The Week

The Week V. 1243

The Week covers the Best of the British and Foreign Media. With its non partisan reporting, The Week gives the reader an insight into all the the news, people, arts, drama, property, books and how the international media has reported it. This concise guide allows the reader to be up to date and have a wealth of knowledge to allow them to discuss all these key topics with their friends and peers.

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51 Issues

in this issue

9 min.
the main stories... …and how they were covered

Brexit showdown in the Commons “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Boris Johnson had cause to reflect ruefully on that observation by the former boxing champion Mike Tyson this week, said The Times. For whatever his Brexit plan was on taking office in July, it surely didn’t involve “suffering a 27-vote parliamentary defeat on the first test his Government has faced in the House of Commons”. Nor can it have involved the defection of one of his MPs just as he stood up to make his first statement from the dispatch box as Prime Minister, a move that wiped out his majority. Johnson had hoped to stop MPs seizing control of the Commons order paper this week – a move designed to enable them to pass…

2 min.

Controversy of the week Ruth’s resignation Who’d ever have thought that “a young, gay, working-class woman would transform the fortunes of the Conservative Party in Scotland”, asked Mark Shepard on The Conversation. But that’s just what Ruth Davidson did when she became leader of the Scottish Tories eight years ago. Back in 2011, the party north of the border was on its knees. But under Davidson’s charismatic leadership, it moved from the margins of politics to be the main opposition in Holyrood: it galvanised unionist support in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and went on to win 13 seats at the 2017 general election – the party’s best haul since 1983. Without her, Theresa May would not have been PM. Before Davidson, “to admit to being a Conservative in Scotland was like…

1 min.
spirit of the age

The popularity of the name Alexa has slumped in the past year – most likely because it is now so closely associated with Amazon’s voice assistant. The number of babies named Alexa in England and Wales had remained fairly stable for years, but between 2017 and 2018 it more than halved: only 118 Alexas were registered last year, down from 301 in 2017. Cars with inbuilt projectors could be on the horizon, so that film lovers need never be far from entertainment. Ford has filed a patent for a projector built into a boot door, which would face out at 90 degrees when the boot was open. Owners might keep a folding screen in the car – or find a plain wall to project films or sporting events onto.…

1 min.
good week for

Amazon, which released figures showing that it paid just £220m in direct taxes in the UK last year, despite generating nearly £11bn in revenue from doing business here. It was the first time the online giant had published details of its UK tax liabilities. These revealed that most of its direct contribution came in the form of employer tax (Amazon employs 27,500 people in the UK), followed by business rates and corporation tax. The National Trust, whose membership is soaring. The charity’s membership increased by 400,000 last year, pushing it to 5.6 million for the first time. It is supported by 65,000 volunteers who gave more than 4.8 million hours of their time in 2018/19. Margaret Atwood, who won a place on the Booker shortlist for her novel The Testaments, although it…

1 min.
spending review

The Chancellor Sajid Javid claimed he was “turning the page” on austerity on Wednesday, as he unveiled his spending plans for next year. Javid committed £13.8bn in extra spending in total, £2bn of which will go on Brexit preparations. He said councils will get an extra £1.5bn for social care next year; defence spending will get a £2.2bn boost (up 2.6%); there will be another £6.2bn for the NHS, and £7.1bn for schools over three years. Economists warned that the Chancellor risked breaching government spending rules that state borrowing as a proportion of output must remain 2% below GDP.…

1 min.
hs2 delayed

The Government has admitted that the timetable for the completion of HS2 is unrealistic – and that its projected cost has risen to £80bn (up from £56bn). The first phase of the high-speed line, from London to Birmingham, was due to open in 2026, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it could now be as late as 2031. The second phase – from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds – might not open until 2040. The future of the project is already under review, with a “go or no go” decision expected by the end of 2019.…