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The Spectator

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15 December 2012

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Features

David_Hare

Notebook

15 December 2012

For obvious reasons, people are always looking for a nicer word for right-wing. For a while, they tried ‘free-market’ — after all, it sounds spirited and buccaneering — but the… Read more

goveCoverktw

The unlikely revolutionary

15 December 2012

Michael Gove has done more than any other minister to advance the Conservatives’ radical agenda

Joanna-Lumley-Finish

‘We rot. Don’t we?’

15 December 2012

A metaphysical conversation with Joanna Lumley

POLL

The greats we hate

15 December 2012

Spectator writers and others on the classic books they most dislike

Social History. London, England 13th February 1908. Emily Pankhurst, a member of the Suffragette movement, is arrested by police officiers.

Thank men for women’s lib

15 December 2012

The male side of the feminist struggle has been airbrushed from history

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Fifty shades of Santa

15 December 2012

If bondage-themed presents are all right for newborns, then I have some suggestions for the rest of us

Alexander-Armstrong

Christmas Notebook

15 December 2012

I used to spend a small part of every Christmas season worrying that perhaps that year, the particular year in which I was worrying, wasn’t quite as Christmassy as all… Read more

spinrunFinal

The age of turboparalysis

15 December 2012

Why we haven’t had a revolution

Professor Brian Cox AT The London Studios Photo Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Screen burn

15 December 2012

The sane man dreads Christmas television

Joan-Collins

American Notebook

15 December 2012

I bumped into Steve Martin dining with Eric Idle at a Beverly Hills boîte, as one does. ‘I really enjoy your Spectator diaries,’ said Steve. ‘And I,’ said Mr Idle.… Read more

London 2012 - UK Landmarks - Oxford

Assault on the ivory tower

15 December 2012

Plum positions once reserved for academics are now being shared out among the liberal elite

htb

Alpha male

15 December 2012

Can Nicky Gumbel and Holy Trinity Brompton save the Church of England?

EGYPT-POLITICS-UNREST

Egypt on the brink

15 December 2012

We must do all we can to promote democracy in Egypt – the future of the region depends on it

Norman-Stone

A letter from Turkey

15 December 2012

My Turkish never having got beyond intermediate, I always have the same conversation with taxi drivers. ‘Where are you from?’ ‘England, actually I’m a Scotsman,’ I say. Cue suppressed giggles… Read more

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Reason to believe

15 December 2012

In a world beset by evil, we are universally compelled towards good – surely proof of the existence of God

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The tao of washing up

15 December 2012

There’s nothing like the joy of immersing your hands in hot soapy water

FINAL-Tbilisi-The-Edge

Tbilisi: The Edge of the Real

15 December 2012

Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize

Paxman

Christmas Quiz

15 December 2012

It’s time for the immemorial Christmas custom in which the family gathers round the iPad, cracks another walnut, and sharpens its competitive claws on the Spectator’s traditional challenge to suppressed… Read more

The Week

Has national morale ever been as strong as it was during the Jubilee and the Olympics? Photo: Getty Images.

Leading article

Glad tidings

15 December 2012

Never in the history of the world has there been less hunger, less disease and more prosperity

Photo: Getty Images

Diary

Pippa Middleton

15 December 2012

I have been much teased for my book, Celebrate: A Year Of British Festivities For Families And Friends. Lots of journalists are saying that my advice is glaringly obvious. A… Read more

Portrait_of_the_year

Portrait of the week

15 December 2012

January Britain’s public debt rose above £1,000 billion for the first time. Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was stripped of his knighthood. The… Read more

Any-Other-Business

Barometer

15 December 2012

Double trouble The Duchess of Cambridge’s acute morning sickness was said to be associated with twins, raising the prospect of an awkward question of succession, especially if twins were to… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

A woman’s place in Homer

15 December 2012

Christmas is the time in the church calendar when Woman-as-Mother comes into supreme prominence. But in classical literature, Women-as-Anything never seem to enjoy much of a press, being either ignored… Read more

Letters

Letters

15 December 2012

Courts to be proud of Sir: Nick Cohen’s article (‘Export-only justice’, 8 December) might leave the reader with the impression that the use of the High Court in London by… Read more

Columnists

Rod Liddle

The net is closing in on Father Christmas, the old perv

15 December 2012

Does Santa Claus really exist? I have to say I have become very sceptical in recent years. There is something about this character which simply does not ring true, not… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

15 December 2012

Here is a point about the coalition which is so obvious that I have not seen it expressed. When a single party is in power, the approach of a general… Read more

James_Forsyth-80x98

Our person in Brussels

15 December 2012

One of David Cameron’s great skills is his ability to separate the cares of office from the rest of his life. Samantha Cameron is never likely to say, to misquote… Read more

Matthew Parris

A Christmas Carol for the Chancellor

15 December 2012

‘“You will be haunted,” resumed the Ghost, “by Three Spirits, without their visits you cannot hope to shun the path I tread…”’ ‘“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” said… Read more

James Delingpole

We must act now to save our country from the scourge of wind turbines

15 December 2012

The place I love more than anywhere on earth is the Edw Valley in mid-Wales. We’ve been going there every summer for more than a decade now and the kids… Read more

Hugo Rifkind

A chance to look backwards, and forwards, and see where you are

15 December 2012

To Edinburgh for Christmas this year, and I can’t wait. We’ll be leaving any day now, in our pathetic London squib of a car. You know the sort — it’s… Read more

Vander-Weyer-NEW

There may be troubles ahead, but here’s my Christmas recipe for keeping the pecker up

15 December 2012

I tried, I really did, right to the bitter end. No column has made more effort than Any Other Business to spot pinpoints of light on this year’s dark economic… Read more

Books

Jonathan-Miller

Doctor in distress

15 December 2012

Sam Leith wonders why such a gifted man as Jonathan Miller should be so unhappy in his skin

Troops Fly Home From Kuwait To Fort Hood, Texas After U.S. Forces Leave Iraq

A bloody waste

15 December 2012

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an act of frivolity without parallel in United States history. The destruction of the Baathist state caused Iraqis to flee into their… Read more

A pollard oak near West Hampnett Place, Chichester c.1660 by John Dunstall

Of knowledge, life, good and evil

15 December 2012

The British Museum contains more about trees than one might expect: trees in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and all kinds of small artefacts of wood and bark. Frances Carey, sometime Deputy… Read more

Coward with Gertrude Lawrence in ‘Private Lives’ — a play he wrote specifically for them both

Old King Noël

15 December 2012

What is this I hold in my hands? Is it just a book? It’s quite heavy, but somehow, instinctively, one feels its light heart.  When I eventually prize its even… Read more

Return of the living dead

15 December 2012

What is it with dead American writers? Years after they’ve popped their clogs, some of the biggest names in crime fiction continue to produce novels from beyond the grave. Mario… Read more

As dark and heavy as plum pudding

15 December 2012

Dressed up as a child-friendly, pocket-sized hardback, just the right size for a Christmas stocking and with a pretty front-cover illustration of two dear little children in a snowy fir… Read more

‘Snow at Louveciennes’ by Alfred Sisley, 1878

Bleak beauty

15 December 2012

Adam Gopnik’s dazzlingly knowledgeable and beautifully told essays on winter began life as the Massey Lecture Series on Canadian National Radio, the Canadian Reith lectures. But dismiss from your mind… Read more

Limelight

Into the limelight

15 December 2012

The online accessibility of British population censuses has resulted in an outpouring  of ‘who and how we were’, keeping amateur genealogists, local historians and social commentators extremely busy. Barry Anthony’s… Read more

spot-the-book

Spot the book title

15 December 2012

Test your lateral thinking with our book titles picture puzzle. Answers at the end of ‘Those who can, teach’.

Luggala

The most decorative honey pot in Ireland

15 December 2012

Luggala Lodge was built in Ireland’s Wicklow mountains near the end of the 18th century by Peter La Touche, the son of a French Huguenot banking family. It was only… Read more

Not just for Christmas

15 December 2012

New York is a strange place for dogs. As I walked back from an early morning art-world breakfast — black coffee and untouched fruit, untouched granola — the apartment buildings… Read more

Clockwise from top left: Salisbury, Chelmsford, Wells, Gloucester, Liverpool, Winchester

In the cold light of dawn

15 December 2012

In The English Cathedral Peter Marlow of Royal Mail fame (his photographs of eight world heritage sites were used on stamps in 2005 and in 2008 of six British cathedrals)… Read more

First pluck your crow

15 December 2012

As fewer people write by hand, some of us who do venture to squeak a thin call of alarm, like mice behind the frescoes during the last days of Pompeii.… Read more

Family commitments

15 December 2012

Twice in my career, in very remote places, I encountered lunatics who had been chained for many years to the wall or to posts in the ground. The reasons why… Read more

The Making of Snow White

15 December 2012

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (or ‘Seven Little Men’, as Walt Disney called them — he didn’t want to ‘disrespect’ dwarfs) first previewed in 1937 at the Carthay Circle… Read more

Those who can, teach

15 December 2012

This book shouldn’t work. A memoir written by a 40-year-old, who has never written a book before, hardly sounds promising. The topic, education, moreover is death to good literature: barely… Read more

Rod-The-Autobiography

Rock solid

15 December 2012

Rod Stewart once tried to convince his mother that he had made a lot of money, and wanted to buy her a really big Christmas present. After much thought, she… Read more

Arts

Euan Uglow’s 1989 Christmas card

The art of Christmas

15 December 2012

Andrew Lambirth celebrates the cards he has received over the years from his artist friend

My Week with Marilyn - UK Premiere - Outside Arrivals

Going for a song

15 December 2012

Robert Gore-Langton talks to Eddie Redmayne about awkward sex scenes and his forthcoming role in Les Misérables

Sole survivors: Richard Parker and Pi (Suraj Sharma)

Tiger feat

15 December 2012

Wow! Just: wow! Life of Pi may be the most ravishingly beautiful film I have ever seen. It’s stunning. It’s gorgeous. Its visual inventiveness made me want to weep for… Read more

Coca-Cola’s secular, rubicund, guffawing Santa Claus

In the worst possible taste

15 December 2012

What are the rules of taste at Christmas? How might the fastidious chart a neat path through this garish and cluttered carnival of unreflective consumption? How might dignity be maintained… Read more

Stephen Layton (extreme left) and the choir of Trinity College Cambridge

Chorus of approval

15 December 2012

Is there anything more essential to one’s well-being than the sound of an English choir at evensong? Is there, for that matter, any word in our language more beautiful than… Read more

Simply incomparable: Simon Keenlyside as Prospero in the Met’s ‘The Tempest’

Jumping the gun

15 December 2012

2012 has been an undistinguished year in opera, at any rate in the UK. A combination of cutbacks and the promise of stops being pulled out next year for the… Read more

Henry Pettigrew (Lewis) and Jessica Ransom (Morgan) in ‘Straight’

Male bonding

15 December 2012

Both these plays are about concealed sexuality. Straight, by D.C. Moore, is based on an American indie flick named Humpday. The play has one of the funniest openings you’ll ever… Read more

Nigella Lawson: buoyant, convivial and flirtatious

Food, glorious food

15 December 2012

Despite a wet summer, the recent crop of food programmes has been prodigious: six episodes of Nigellissima, eight of Nigel Slater’s Dish Of The Day, six of Lorraine Pascale’s Fast,… Read more

Dream team

15 December 2012

It’s like being a fly on the wall (or maybe an earwig) at one of those fantasy dinner parties where a group of people who intrigue, infuriate or fascinate us… Read more

EALatnight

London’s high life

15 December 2012

You can take a five-minute flight across the Thames on something called the Emirates Air Line. It’s a cable-car ride between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks that’s sponsored by… Read more

Life

High life

High life

High life

15 December 2012

Religion is in decline, tradition takes a back seat to fashion, and same-sex marriage is now looked upon as normal. Previous taboos are accepted, such as swearing on television, and… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

15 December 2012

At the end of the carol service, the vicar invited us to stay for a cup of tea and a mince pie, to be served at the back of the… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life

15 December 2012

Shortly after rekindling my relationship with the builder boyfriend, I had another hair-brained scheme. I brought the mad chestnut mare in from her retirement field thinking that while I’m U-turning… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life

15 December 2012

I have a daughter called Freya, aged seven, who sometimes makes suggestions for this column but complains that I never take any notice of them. In particular, she is cross… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

Wild life

15 December 2012

Gilgil, Kenya Pembroke House, our children’s school, is a little slice of England set in Kenya’s Rift Valley. In the shadow of extinct volcanoes they play cricket on extensive grounds.… Read more

TheTurf

The turf

National loyalty

15 December 2012

‘The Grand National is a great race,’ one of Britain’s most respected racecourse chiefs told me over lunch the other day, ‘but in 2013 we’ll all be watching it from… Read more

Christmas Quiz

The answers

15 December 2012

Weird world 1 Mark Rothko’s 2 George Washington 3 Nadine Dorries 4 The Duchess of Cornwall 5 Sakhalin 6 The 158th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race 7 Harry Redknapp, when… Read more

Bridge

Bridge

15 December 2012

At a dinner party recently, I was asked whether men and women are equally good at bridge. Not at the very highest level, I replied. If you were to name… Read more

Chess

Chess

London greats

15 December 2012

This Christmas and New Year I am publishing a series of tributes to players in great London games. This week, examples of play by Capablanca, who won the great tournament… Read more

chess_solution

Chess puzzle

Puzzle

15 December 2012

Black to play. This position is a variation from Lee-Lasker, London 1899. The white king has been driven into a dangerous situation in the centre of the board. How can… Read more

Investigation

Competition

What the donkey saw

15 December 2012

In Competition No. 2776 you were invited to supply a poem reflecting on the Nativity written from the point of view of the donkey or the ox who (according to… Read more

Crossword_xmas

Crossword

Xmas Spectator

15 December 2012

2A, 118, 1 and 19 (three of five words and one of three, ignore two apostrophes) are of a kind. The first word of a further example sounds like what… Read more

Solution to 2090 - Precipitate

Crossword solution

2090: Precipitate

15 December 2012

HAL DAVID (15) and ANDY WILLIAMS (12/19) died on the 1st and 25th September 2012. The former produced the LYRICS (29) of the OSCAR (4)-winning song ‘RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON… Read more

Rory_Sutherland

The Wiki Man

In praise of inventors – and visionaries too

15 December 2012

The award for the most hideous TV moment of 2012 goes to NBC — and their coverage of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. ‘Apparently there’s going to be… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Dickens and the profit motive

15 December 2012

I’m writing this from a hotel room in Stockholm where I’ve been stranded for the last 24 hours thanks to bad weather. Turns out the Swedish airport authorities aren’t any… Read more

Dave
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

A glorious embarrassment of riches

15 December 2012

So those really were the days of miracle and wonder, the time of times, or any other lyric you might care to think of. 2012 — never has a year… Read more

Food

Food

Tanya Gold reviews the Orient-Express

15 December 2012

The British Pullman on platform 1 at Victoria station looks mad, because it is 9 a.m. and ugly British commuters are running around, looking wracked and unhappy, like extras from Les Misérables,… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

‘Everything goes dead mad’: the strange world of sportspeak

15 December 2012

What tense shall we use? That’s the first question autobiographers must settle. The historic present might convey a sense of immediacy. ‘I’m just one race away from becoming an Olympic… Read more

Drink

Drink

A cellar in Mayfair

15 December 2012

There is mixed news. It must be a long time since the nightingales sang in Berkeley Square. The traffic drowned them out long ago. There are still relics of grace… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

15 December 2012

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her attention. From Plum Sykes Q. I have always given Christmas… Read more