PLUS: The secrets of ageing well and wisely.
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Saturday August 15 2020
Editor's Choice - John
Dear Reader,

It's been another tough week for the government, with a row over A level results and a quarantine imposed this weekend on holidaymakers returning from France. Tom McTague has written a penetrating Saturday essay about what lies behind Britain's poor performance in the face of the pandemic. After speaking to numerous politicians and senior civil servants, he concludes that it has been a systematic failure across government and Whitehall underpinned by complacency. Put simply, Britain is an over-centralised state that is weak at the centre.

Max Hastings, the historian and columnist, says the cabinet is the worst there has been for a century. Boris Johnson needs to shake it up and not be afraid of appointing talented people who disagree with him.

It was also the week that Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate for the US presidency. Gerard Baker, former editor of The Wall Street Journal and a Times columnist, says she doesn't frighten voters but she won't attract those seeking consistency and authenticity.

Huw Edwards is seen as the nation's favourite and longest serving newsreader. In a revealing interview, he told Andrew Billen about how his father's death had made him come to terms with his depression and tackle being overweight. Oh. And the small matter of taking over from David Dimbleby for the 2019 general election.

Everyone would like to be fit in old age and the secret, says Professor Norman Lazarus (who's in his eighties and very sprightly) is what you do in your fifties. He tells Hilary Rose the secrets of ageing well and wisely.

Have a delightful weekend.
John Witherow
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Covid revealed sickness at the heart of Britain
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Boris Johnson at the daily briefing during lockdown
Behind the individual failings of ministers and advisers there are gaping systemic weaknesses in every layer of government, says Tom McTague
Read the full story >
This lapdog cabinet is the weakest in a century
Max Hastings
Johnson’s insistence on blind loyalty has left talent on the back benches and led to a series of missteps and failures
Read the full story >
Kamala Harris as No 2 is sensible but flawed
Gerard Baker
His pick for vice-president is a moderate who doesn’t frighten voters but she won’t attract those seeking consistency and authenticity
Read the full story >
The nation’s favourite newsreader
BBC News anchor Huw Edwards speaks to Andrew Billen about depression, grief and losing weight
Read the full story >
What to do in midlife to feel great at 80
Longevity expert Professor Norman Lazarus is in his eighties and remarkably healthy. His research has revealed why. It’s about what he did at 50, he tells Hilary Rose
Read the full story >
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