Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Cameron visits UN HQ, Scotland checks its bruises, and a Swede sells his submarine

27 September 2014

8:00 AM

27 September 2014

8:00 AM


David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited New York for talks at the United Nations; he said Britain supported the American air strikes on the Islamic State. ‘These people want to kill us,’ Mr Cameron said on NBC news. Mr Cameron met President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in New York, the first such meeting since the Iranian revolution in 1979. Mr Cameron was caught by cameras in New York saying to Michael Bloomberg, its former mayor, that when he rang the Queen with the Scottish referendum result, ‘She purred down the line.’

Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, with effect from November. This followed the referendum for Scottish residences, which rejected independence by 2,001,926 votes (55.3 per cent) to 1,617,989. The turnout was 84.59 per cent of those registered, who were 97 per cent of those eligible. David Cameron acted quickly to placate Conservative MPs angry at the promises made to Scottish voters. He said reforms for England would come ‘in tandem’ with those for Scotland, and he challenged Labour to support them. He invited 20 backbenchers to Chequers to talk to William Hague, who has the job of steering constitutional changes to a timetable devised by Gordon Brown. The former Labour prime minster promised a draft Scotland Bill by Burns Night (or the Conversion of St Paul, 25 January), to become law after the election. Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader, had published a ‘Vow’ in the Daily Record, which offered ‘extensive new powers’ to the Scottish Parliament and ‘the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources’. Lord Barnett said of the formula he had invented in 1978: ‘It is unfair and should be stopped… it is a national embarrassment.’ The Queen said: ‘We have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all.’ A man who bet £900,000 on a ‘no’ result received a cheque for £1,093,333.33 from William Hill.

Ed Miliband told the Labour party conference that he’d give an extra £2.5 billion to the National Health Service, by putting taxes on houses worth more than £2 million (to raise £1.2 billion) and another on hedge funds (to raise £1.1 billion), with an extra levy on tobacco companies. In his 65-minute speech, learnt off by heart, he entirely forgot a section on the national deficit. He used the word ‘together’ 51 times. Tesco astonished the City by saying it had overstated by £250 million its half-year profits forecast of £1.1 billion. The Financial Conduct Authority fined Barclays £38 million for failing to keep its clients’ assets separate from its own. Britain promised France £12 million to improve fences at Calais, to stop migrants getting to England.


The United States, supported by Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, launched air strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria. ‘This is not America’s fight alone,’ said President Barack Obama of the United States. US forces also attacked a network of al-Qa’eda veterans named Khorasan west of Aleppo. More than 130,000 Kurdish refugees from Islamic State attacks flooded over the border from Syria into Turkey last weekend, and thousands more were expected. Turkey welcomed home 49 hostages captured by the Islamic State when it took Mosul; no explanation for their release was given. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 48, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was jailed for life on terrorism charges after a trial earlier in the year in New York. Abu Qatada, the extremist Muslim cleric deported from Britain last year, was found not guilty of terrorism offences by a court in Jordan.

Ebola has killed 2,800 in west Africa, the World Health Organisation said, 70 per cent of those infected. Spain dropped a promised law to restrict abortions; ‘We cannot have a law which will just change when the next government comes in,’ said Mariano Rajoy, the Partido Popular Prime Minister. The Pope visited Albania.

Hong Kong students protested against the limitation of democracy embodied in closed lists for political elections. A shopping centre at Yichang, in Hubei province, lined a walkway with 606 kilogram bars of gold under a glass pavement. Nasa’s latest Mars satellite, Maven, went into orbit round the planet after a ten-month flight. India sent its own satellite. Smith Eric Westerberg, from Umea, Sweden, auctioned for £60,000 an eight-ton submarine he had built himself.             CSH.

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  • mutton

    England will never forgive the Lib/Lab/Con cabal of traitors