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12-13 November

Behind the headlines

The real winners of the West’s migration crisis

Lord Wolfson, chief executive of the fashion giant Next, recently complained about the lack of cheap labour to staff the 5am shifts at his warehouses. Before Brexit, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph, he could simply “pick up the phone to an agency in Gdansk”, fly over as many Polish workers as needed, and pay them close to minimum wage. Not any more. Wolfson is one of many employers who “have become addicted to importing, rather than training, workers”. In Rotherham – not far from a Next warehouse advertising vacancies – some 16% of the working-age population are on out-of-work benefits. The figure tops 20% in cities like Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool; in total, there are five million Brits on these payouts. “No wonder GDP has stalled.” If the government did more to help these people get healthy and acquire the necessary skills, “at least a million” of them could rejoin the labour force.


Sometimes quitting is the best option

When Liz Truss declared she was “a fighter and not a quitter” – shortly before quitting – she meant it as a show of strength, says Tim Harford in the FT. The term “quitter” is an “unambiguous insult”. But it shouldn’t be. In everything from ideas to jobs to romantic partners, “we are far too stubborn” to give up. Look at the viral popularity of “quiet quitting”, in which burnt-out young employees refuse to work beyond their contracted hours. It’s an understandable response to being underpaid and overworked. But wouldn’t a better response be to just quit for real? Workers are often told to tough out a job they hate so that their CV doesn’t look “flaky”. But they’d often benefit far more from quitting in the long run.

Quirk of history

We’re “programmed to think of the past as being innately more conservative”, says Harry Mount in The Oldie. Latin, “the preserve of public schools and the Catholic Church for centuries”, is seen as particularly stuffy. But as a new exhibition of Latin graffiti in Pompeii demonstrates, the language was put to more earthy uses too. On one thermopolium, or snack bar, is inscribed the wonderfully rude “NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR” (“Nicias, you catamite shi**er!”). In a house is written “Move te, fellator” (“Push off, ****sucker”), and on a wall near the basilica we find “Sum tua aeris assibus II” (“I’m yours for two bronze coins”). In an imperial palace in Rome itself, “there survives a crudely-drawn man with an oversized penis for a nose”.

On the money

Economists all agree there will be a recession in the US within the next year, says Ruchir Sharma in the FT. Which, given their track record, is a pretty good indication there won’t be one: their consensus view hasn’t forecast a single downturn “since records began in 1970”. Far better at the crystal ball stuff are the markets: before every recession since the Second World War, US stocks have fallen by at least 20% and interest rates on short-term bonds have risen higher than those on long-term bonds. And “both of those market signals are warning of a recession now”. Still, as the economist John Maynard Keynes once warned: “The inevitable never happens. It is the unexpected always.”


When Lady Anne Glenconner’s unflinching memoir became an international bestseller three years ago, everyone started asking her for advice. Once, she tells Hilary Rose in The Times, a man sitting next to her at dinner said he needed her help because his wife had lost her libido. “I said, ‘Well, I’m 90, I’m not sure I’m quite the right person.’ But he seemed perfectly serious. We went through his wife’s libido.” Glenconner, a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, has now written a follow-up, and there’s a “jolly anecdote for every day of the year”. As a guest of honour at a banquet in the Saudi desert, she was presented with a sheep’s eye to eat. “How kind,” she told her host. “Is there any other bit of the sheep that would also count as an honour?”


Quoted 12.11.22 Sowell

“Liberals take positions that make them look good and feel good – and show very little interest in the actual consequences for others.”

Economist Thomas Sowell


“Cor blimey, guv – you got me bang to rights!”

I can forgive the new series of The Crown for “jazzing up the facts”, says Stephen Bates in The Guardian. My complaint is the “clunky” writing. Characters “go round telling one another what they must already know”: in one conversation, Prince Charles talks about John Major’s upbringing in “Brixton, a multicultural working-class part of London”. This “little exposition” is presumably intended for US viewers, who don’t know “Brixton from Balmoral”. It’s a wonder the scriptwriters didn’t have Major reply: “Cor blimey, guv – you got me bang to rights!”

Inside politics

Donald Trump is “losing his touch” for derisive nicknames, says The Wall Street Journal. The latest target is Ron DeSantis, his likely challenger for the 2024 presidential nomination. Pointing at polling numbers during a recent rally, he said: “There it is, Trump at 71%, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%. Mike Pence at seven – oh, Mike is doing better than I thought.” Neat swipe at former VP Pence aside, the DeSantis line is “a dud”. It isn’t “catchy or funny”, and you have to think about it, unlike the gold-standard “Sleepy Joe” Biden or “Crooked Hillary” Clinton. It’s a shame. As former Obama adviser David Axelrod says, names like “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren, who falsely claimed native American heritage) and “Little Marco” (the diminutive Marco Rubio) are a mark of Trump’s “diabolical genius”.


“Theatrics aside”, says Inside Hook, magnums of wine are a “surprisingly sensible option”. Each 1.5-litre container holds about 10 glasses, meaning it often winds up cheaper than buying multiple smaller-sized bottles for large parties. The thicker glass keeps the temperature controlled for longer, making magnums perfect for warm summer days. And bigger bottles mean fresher wine – the same amount of air enters through the neck, but the larger quantity of liquid means the drink oxidises slower.


Western companies have made a big fuss about pulling out of Russia, says The Moscow Times. But in many cases they’re being disingenuous. The likes of Renault and McDonald’s have clauses in their exit deals allowing them to buy back their Russian assets at any point in the next six years. The sports retailer Reebok transferred its Russian business to a Turkish holding company and rebranded the stores as “Sneaker Box”. Coca-Cola, despite its much-publicised withdrawal, is still produced and sold in Russia – it now just calls itself Dobraya Kola (“Kind Cola”).



This colourful three-bedroom house is in a peaceful part of Kentish Town, north London. Set over four floors, it has two reception rooms, a private garden, and a balcony on the top floor. It’s a short stroll away from local shops and pubs, and Belsize Park tube station is a 10-minute walk away. £1,795,000.


This seven-bedroom manse in the Scottish borders has a 4,700 sq ft interior, including a grand dining room, a light and airy library, and a drawing room with a curved façade and large south-facing sash windows. The 1.25 acres of grounds include an orchard, vegetable garden and summer house. Lockerbie station, which has regular train services to Glasgow and Edinburgh, is a 30-minute drive. £895,000.



Quoted Avedon 12.11.22

“Charm is the ability to be truly interested in other people.”

American photographer Richard Avedon