The Spectator

15 February 2014

‘Instant wildlife – just add water’

The ideology that created an unnatural disaster

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Features

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Features

Revealed: how green ideology turned a deluge into a flood

Somerset saw the floods coming. The Environment Agency should have, too.
The British Academy Film Awards - Heads On Sticks
Taylor Swift's RED Tour - London, England - 2/10/2014

Features

Why I've started my own Mail Online

Media moguls aren’t philosophers. So it’s time for philosophers to become media moguls

Race Demo

Features

Britain has many major problems - racism isn't one of them

It has less prejudice than the countries where I’ve lived before – and more people taking offence

60 Playmate Bunnies Celebrate Playboy's 60th Anniversary
Clueless

Features

Warning: upspeak can wreck your career

A caution to my daughter that’s worth passing on

Here are little towns as pretty as any in Tuscany

Notes on...

The Marche

It's always meant to be the next Tuscany. It's still blessedly quiet

The Week

Sun Rises As Somerset Levels Recovers From Recent Flooding

Leading article

Britain needs small government, not weak government. That means strong flood defences

The need for cuts shouldn't let those in power wriggle out of their unglamorous responsibilities

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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: as the waters continue to rise

Home Floods grew worse in the West Country. The village of Moorland, Somerset, was abandoned. Then the Thames flooded, from…

White Dee with her daughter Caitlin

Diary

White Dee's diary: From Benefits Street to Downing Street?

Plus: On being Channel 4's biggest hit, and on James Turner Street as a tourist attraction

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Barometer

Barometer: The kamikaze pilot who retired after three missions

Plus: poaching by numbers, homes on flood plains, and the best-paid university bosses

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Ancient and modern

Ancient Rome’s fraudulent foreign students

Modern lessons from a fourth-century tax dodge

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Letters

Spectator letters: Fears for Scotland, and John Cornwell answers Melanie McDonagh

Save our Scotland Sir: Matthew Parris is quite right to praise Lord Lang’s speech in the Lords on Scottish independence…

Columnists

James Forsyth

Politics

If David Cameron can't get the floods right, all his hopes will wash away

He's right to be on alert. Governments that don't look competent get no credit when things go well

Spectators notes
Rod Liddle

Rod Liddle

We buy dogs to reflect ourselves. So who’s buying all these killer pitbulls?

My dog, by contrast, is intelligent, vigorous and middle class

Mry_Wakefield

Mary Wakefield

Why did Theresa May deport my homeless friend?

The officials who flew Marc to France reassured him that he could, perhaps should, come straight back

James Delingpole

James Delingpole

The martyrdom of Mark Steyn

I envied him for getting sued by Michael Mann. But now he needs all the support we can give

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Any other business

Where I’m looking for the next great banking blow-up

Plus: George Soros’s secrets, and what changed at Sainsbury’s

Books

Faisal’s dark, liquid eyes and distinguished bearing caused a sensation at the Paris Peace Conference

Books feature

The enlightened king of Iraq

Faisal I was humane, far-sighted, distinguished — and rather dishy, shows Ali A. Allawi in his hefty if loosely-written biography 

The Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York

Books

The man who gave the world (but not London) the glass skyscraper

Detlef Mertins's book on the architect Mies, who designed New York's Seagram Building, is suitably monumental

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Photo: Getty

Books

Did Hurricane Katrina have an angel of mercy — or an angel of death? 

Did Dr Anna Pou euthanise victims trapped in the Memorial Medical Centre? Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial takes a close look at this — and much else

Edmund Burke (left) and Thomas Paine, caricatured by Gillray and Cruickshank respectively

Books

Where did the Right and the Left come from? 

The pamphlet war between the 'conservative' Edmund Burke and the 'radical' Thomas Paine remains with us in unexpected ways, shows Yuval Levin in The Great Debate

A sign common in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1956 Photo: Getty

Books

How to get around South Africa's many boundaries

In Dispatcher: Lost and Found in Johannesburg, Mark Gevisser remembers the secret roads and escape routes a young gay like him — and other dispossessed people — took in the land of apartheid

Lord Tweedsmuir and President Franklin D. Roosevelt Photo: Time & Life/Getty

Books

The Scot who became more Canadian than the Canadians

By focusing on one man in John Buchan: Model Governor General, J. William Galbraith casts a clear sidelight on a dying British empire

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Books

The Shock of the Fall is a worthy Costa Book of the Year

The schizophrenic hero of Nathan Filer's novel, Matt Homes, gives us a true, clear view of the world through his distorted vision

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Books

Isabel Allende's Ripper doesn't grab you by the throat

Interweaving a thriller with the backstories of a large cast of characters, the Chilean author give us two underwhelming novels in one

Arts

Marble portrait of Augustus, c.40 BC

Arts feature

What Emperor Augustus left us

The Roman ruler abolished the Republic – but he also created a new system of imperial government and oversaw a flourishing of the arts

Choristers at Westminster Abbey, 1962 Photo: Getty

Music

Are hymns dying? 

As church attendance falls off a cliff, so is our beautiful heritage of sacred singing

Stroke of Luck, Park Theatre Photo: Simon Kane

Theatre

Putin: ‘Oi, Europe, you’re a bunch of poofs’

Plus: The actor in Stroke of Luck who's ripe to play Brian Sewell

Vanitas’, mid-1650, by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Exhibitions

'Castiglione: Lost Genius' loses his genius in a sea of brown

Plus: A sneak preview of the drawings of Gainsborough, one of the greatest European draughtsmen of the 18th century

Gwyn Hughes Jones as des Grieux with Chiara Taigi as Manon

Opera

Manon Lescaut is twerking — should we applaud or shudder? 

How the Welsh National Opera's MTV version of Manon the minx made me wish for comfortable cotton underwear

Steven McRae in Frederick Ashton’s ‘Rhapsody’

Dance

Bach is made for dancing

Plus: Directors of Swan Lake could learn something from Channel 4's reality TV show Big Ballet

Crack team: Matt Damon and George Clooney in ‘The Monuments Men’

Cinema

Bury every copy of Monuments Men in mines across Europe, so George Clooney can try again

Clooney has cast himself, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett in a patchy show that tells, not shows

Joachim Klaus leads the raid on the Jonkhere bank in Salamander

Television

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! 

Comparing the cops of Salamander, Midsomer Murders, Brooklyn Nine-Nine — and Danny Boyle's frustrating Babylon

A stowaway jumps from a ferry to avoid police checks Photo: Getty

Radio

Ali risked his life to escape Afghanistan — and now teaches Britons how to survive there

Plus: The show that makes you want to visit Calcutta (but not Kolkata)

Woodwardian-Collection

Culture notes

Take a look at John Maynard Keynes's armchair

Discoveries: Art, Science and Exploration marks the first time Cambridge university's eight museums are collaborating

Life

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High life

Why doesn't Stephen Fry boycott the Saudis as well as the Russians? 

The Sochi Games are being held on the edge of a war zone with Muslim extremists, yet the media concentrate only on gay rights

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Low life

My night in Zambia with Ian Dury 

'You’ve got to get a hat, my son. Walk into a room with a hat on and every bird in the room will turn around and clock you.'

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Real life

Let's make Andre Rieu the leader of the world 

The Dutch conductor of feet-stamping classics is a weapon of mass happiness, and could sort out the Syrian mess in a couple of hours

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Long life

In praise of Milton Keynes

'Concrete bungle'? The town is cultured, contemporary — and wonderfully content

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Wild life

Jubilant greetings to you, Celestino! How is the atmospheric pressure in your corner? 

The man who held the fort for me many a time, and who once saved me from bandits, is leaving Laikipia for his own home

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Bridge

Bridge

A couple of Sundays ago, in London, Zia Mahmood and Demetri Marchessini held the first ever ‘Goulash Individual’ tournament. ‘Goulash’…

Chess-Column

Chess

Georgics

George Osborne is a supporter of chess. During the award ceremony at 11 Downing St for last year’s London Candidates’…

Chess-Puzzle

Chess puzzle

no. 301

White to play. This position is from Carlsen-Caruana, Zurich 2014. White’s pin against the black rook and the passed pawn…

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Competition

Hard-boiled Blyton

In Competition 2834 you were invited to submit an extract from a classic of children’s literature rewritten in the style…

Crossword

Crossword

2149: Super!

Each of the unclued lights (one of two words and one of three) can be preceded by the same word…

Crossword-Solution

Crossword solution

Solution to 2146: 4 ÷ 4 = 8

One 4-letter word is to be placed in the middle of another to yield an 8-letter solution: 6 ÷ 19…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Oh no. Have I let my children have too much self-esteem?

According to two new books, I should be hothousing them. I'm not

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Rory_Sutherland

The Wiki Man

Will self-driving cars know what to do in the middle lane?

The trick is that there's no one rule. Try doing that with an algorithm

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: What do I do now I haven’t sent a thank-you letter?

Plus: The elegant way to deal with a dodgy restaurant bill

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Mind Your Language

Mind your language

A learned poet's mystifying mistakes

I expected better of Bernard O’Donoghue