The Spectator

15 December 2012

Features

Notebook

15 December 2012 9:00 am

For obvious reasons, people are always looking for a nicer word for right-wing. For a while, they tried ‘free-market’ —…

The unlikely revolutionary

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Behind Michael Gove’s desk stands an imposing McCarthy-era poster which says: ‘Sure I want to fight Communism — but how?’…

‘We rot. Don’t we?’

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Joanna Lumley and Sister Elizabeth Obbard are seated at the front of the church. Lumley is perched elegantly on the…

The greats we hate

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Craig Brown Which classic work do you think this comes from? ‘Her teeth were white in her brown face and…

Thank men for women’s lib

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Let’s get this straight. I’m a feminist. That’s the way I was brought up. My mum was a passionate women’s…

Fifty shades of Santa

15 December 2012 9:00 am

During a frantic online rummage for last-minute Christmas presents (I am too old to risk actually purchasing anything on the…

Christmas Notebook

15 December 2012 9:00 am

I used to spend a small part of every Christmas season worrying that perhaps that year, the particular year in…

The age of turboparalysis

15 December 2012 9:00 am

More than half a decade has passed since the recession that triggered the financial panic and the Great Recession, but…

Screen burn

15 December 2012 9:00 am

In mid-November an Indian chauffeur taking me to Broadcasting House made a detour to show me the Christmas lights in…

American Notebook

15 December 2012 9:00 am

I bumped into Steve Martin dining with Eric Idle at a Beverly Hills boîte, as one does. ‘I really enjoy…

Assault on the ivory tower

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Look down the list of the masters, wardens and principals of Oxford colleges and you’ll soon see that The Spectator’s…

Alpha male

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Just before stepping down as Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie told me — in a sotto voce conversation…

Egypt on the brink

15 December 2012 9:00 am

It is strange now to recall the jubilation with which the ‘Arab Spring’ was welcomed. Amid all the excitement of…

A letter from Turkey

15 December 2012 9:00 am

My Turkish never having got beyond intermediate, I always have the same conversation with taxi drivers. ‘Where are you from?’…

Reason to believe

15 December 2012 9:00 am

My belief in God is not philosophical. It is not rooted in metaphysics or reason. It springs from the heart…

The tao of washing up

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Christmas isn’t about giving. Or receiving. It’s about washing up. And for some of us that’s its greatest joy. You…

Tbilisi: The Edge of the Real

15 December 2012 9:00 am

The electricity will be on in one hour, says my landlady. She tells me that it is dark out all…

Christmas Quiz

15 December 2012 9:00 am

It’s time for the immemorial Christmas custom in which the family gathers round the iPad, cracks another walnut, and sharpens…

The Week

Leading article

Glad tidings

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

Diary

Diary

I have been much teased for my book, Celebrate: A Year Of British Festivities For Families And Friends. Lots of…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the year

January Britain’s public debt rose above £1,000 billion for the first time. Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of the…

Barometer

Barometer

Double trouble The Duchess of Cambridge’s acute morning sickness was said to be associated with twins, raising the prospect of…

Ancient and modern

A woman’s place in Homer

Christmas is the time in the church calendar when Woman-as-Mother comes into supreme prominence. But in classical literature, Women-as-Anything never…

Letters

Letters

Courts to be proud of Sir: Nick Cohen’s article (‘Export-only justice’, 8 December) might leave the reader with the impression…

Columnists

Rod Liddle

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

Does Santa Claus really exist? I have to say I have become very sceptical in recent years. There is something…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

Here is a point about the coalition which is so obvious that I have not seen it expressed. When a…

Politics

Our person in Brussels

One of David Cameron’s great skills is his ability to separate the cares of office from the rest of his…

Matthew Parris

A Christmas Carol for the Chancellor

‘“You will be haunted,” resumed the Ghost, “by Three Spirits, without their visits you cannot hope to shun the path…

James Delingpole

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

The place I love more than anywhere on earth is the Edw Valley in mid-Wales. We’ve been going there every…

Hugo Rifkind

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

To Edinburgh for Christmas this year, and I can’t wait. We’ll be leaving any day now, in our pathetic London…

Any other business

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

I tried, I really did, right to the bitter end. No column has made more effort than Any Other Business…

Books

Doctor in distress

15 December 2012 9:00 am

The passing of Jonathan Miller’s father Emanuel Miller — a very distinguished psychiatrist — was terrible. ‘His last words, as…

A bloody waste

15 December 2012 9:00 am

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an act of frivolity without parallel in United States history. The destruction…

Of knowledge, life, good and evil

15 December 2012 9:00 am

The British Museum contains more about trees than one might expect: trees in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and all kinds of…

Old King Noël

15 December 2012 9:00 am

What is this I hold in my hands? Is it just a book? It’s quite heavy, but somehow, instinctively, one…

Return of the living dead

15 December 2012 9:00 am

What is it with dead American writers? Years after they’ve popped their clogs, some of the biggest names in crime…

As dark and heavy as plum pudding

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Dressed up as a child-friendly, pocket-sized hardback, just the right size for a Christmas stocking and with a pretty front-cover…

Bleak beauty

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Adam Gopnik’s dazzlingly knowledgeable and beautifully told essays on winter began life as the Massey Lecture Series on Canadian National…

Into the limelight

15 December 2012 9:00 am

The online accessibility of British population censuses has resulted in an outpouring  of ‘who and how we were’, keeping amateur…

Men’s Wear

15 December 2012 9:00 am

From theWoolrich Elite Concealed Carry line Shawn Thompson bought two shirts. He wrote on his blog: ‘The clothes I used…

Spot the book title

15 December 2012 9:00 am

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

The most decorative honey pot in Ireland

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Luggala Lodge was built in Ireland’s Wicklow mountains near the end of the 18th century by Peter La Touche, the…

Not just for Christmas

15 December 2012 9:00 am

New York is a strange place for dogs. As I walked back from an early morning art-world breakfast — black…

In the cold light of dawn

15 December 2012 9:00 am

In The English Cathedral Peter Marlow of Royal Mail fame (his photographs of eight world heritage sites were used on…

First pluck your crow

15 December 2012 9:00 am

As fewer people write by hand, some of us who do venture to squeak a thin call of alarm, like…

Turkeys

15 December 2012 9:00 am

emerge from the orchard.There now Aunt Kit says, pouring us lemonade.It’ll be another scorcher. The bronze birds drop wing, shake…

Family commitments

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Twice in my career, in very remote places, I encountered lunatics who had been chained for many years to the…

The Making of Snow White

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (or ‘Seven Little Men’, as Walt Disney called them — he didn’t want to…

Those who can, teach

15 December 2012 9:00 am

This book shouldn’t work. A memoir written by a 40-year-old, who has never written a book before, hardly sounds promising.…

Rock solid

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Rod Stewart once tried to convince his mother that he had made a lot of money, and wanted to buy…

Christmas and other trees reviewed by Oliver Rackham and Ysenda Maxtone Graham

Books and Arts

15 December 2012 9:00 am

Life

High life

High life

Religion is in decline, tradition takes a back seat to fashion, and same-sex marriage is now looked upon as normal.…

Low life

Low life

At the end of the carol service, the vicar invited us to stay for a cup of tea and a…

Real life

Real life

Shortly after rekindling my relationship with the builder boyfriend, I had another hair-brained scheme. I brought the mad chestnut mare…

Long life

Long life

I have a daughter called Freya, aged seven, who sometimes makes suggestions for this column but complains that I never…

Wild life

Wild life

Gilgil, Kenya Pembroke House, our children’s school, is a little slice of England set in Kenya’s Rift Valley. In the…

The turf

National loyalty

‘The Grand National is a great race,’ one of Britain’s most respected racecourse chiefs told me over lunch the other…

Christmas Quiz

The answers

Weird world1 Mark Rothko’s2 George Washington3 Nadine Dorries4 The Duchess of Cornwall5 Sakhalin6 The 158th Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race7…

Bridge

Bridge

At a dinner party recently, I was asked whether men and women are equally good at bridge. Not at the…

Chess

London greats

This Christmas and New Year I am publishing a series of tributes to players in great London games. This week,…

Chess puzzle

Puzzle

Black to play. This position is a variation from Lee-Lasker, London 1899. The white king has been driven into a…

Competition

What the donkey saw

In Competition No. 2776 you were invited to supply a poem reflecting on the Nativity written from the point of…

Crossword

Xmas Spectator

2A, 118, 1 and 19 (three of five words and one of three, ignore two apostrophes) are of a kind.…

Solution to 2090 - Precipitate

Crossword solution

2090: Precipitate

HAL DAVID (15) and ANDY WILLIAMS (12/19) died on the 1st and 25th September 2012. The former produced the LYRICS…

The Wiki Man

In praise of inventors – and visionaries too

The award for the most hideous TV moment of 2012 goes to NBC — and their coverage of the opening…

Status anxiety

Dickens and the profit motive

I’m writing this from a hotel room in Stockholm where I’ve been stranded for the last 24 hours thanks to…

Spectator sport

A glorious embarrassment of riches

So those really were the days of miracle and wonder, the time of times, or any other lyric you might…

Food

Tanya Gold reviews the Orient-Express

The British Pullman on platform 1 at Victoria station looks mad, because it is 9 a.m. and ugly British commuters are running…

Mind your language

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

What tense shall we use? That’s the first question autobiographers must settle. The historic present might convey a sense of…

Drink

A cellar in Mayfair

There is mixed news. It must be a long time since the nightingales sang in Berkeley Square. The traffic drowned…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Once again Mary has invited some of her favourite figures in the public eye to submit personal queries for her…