The Spectator


15 June 2013

The best leader Labour never had

Forget about the Conservatives. Michael Gove should be leading the Labour party

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Why Michael Gove is the best leader Labour never had

15 June 2013

Forget about the Conservatives. Michael Gove should be leading the Labour party

fraser piece

To transform schools, sack bad teachers and hire great ones. It'll transform education - and the economy

15 June 2013

The future of Britain won't be decided in a battlefield. It will be decided in a classroom.

Inside The Victorian Graveyard Of The Glasgow Necropolis

Recycled graves – coming soon to a cemetery near you

15 June 2013

For 150 years, Britain has tightly restricted the re-use of graves. That may be about to change

An Muslim imam (L), a Christian priest (

Chief Rabbi: atheism has failed. Only religion can defeat the new barbarians

15 June 2013

The West is suffering for its loss of faith. Unless we rediscover religion, our civilisation is in peril


My last chance to follow in Napoleon’s footsteps

15 June 2013

St Helena, the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died, is so far away from anywhere else that even pirates never… Read more

Something new is rising…

Energy special: Get ready for the ‘fire ice’ revolution

15 June 2013

The next great fossil fuel rush could make life very difficult for oil sheikhs – and for greens

Miners Finish Their Final Shift As Tower Colliery Closes Its Gates

Energy special: The green jobs myth

15 June 2013

Affordable energy would create more jobs than expensive climate-change policies ever could

With AFP Story by Veronique DUPONT: US-E

Energy special: It’s decision time on shale gas

15 June 2013

Britain is finally going to have to make a decision about shale

Better for the soul than Ibiza

America's Pacific Coast is no match for Cornwall

15 June 2013

The first time my wife and I decided to rent a cottage in Cornwall in the summer holidays, the idea was to save money. Not that summer rentals are particularly… Read more

The Week


Leading article

Top secrets

15 June 2013

This week’s exposé of the US National Security Agency has been heralded as the greatest intelligence leak since the Pentagon Papers. It is nothing of the sort. Far from revealing… Read more


Portrait of the week

15 June 2013

Home Six men from the West Midlands — Omar Khan, Jewel Uddin, Mohammed Hasseen, Mohammed Saud, Zohaib Ahmed and Anzal Hussain — were jailed for 18 or 19 years on terrorism charges… Read more

US President Barack Obama looks at a per


Anne Applebaum’s diary: Spies, terrorists and an undercover ham sandwich

15 June 2013

I am trying very hard to understand why everyone is shocked — shocked! — by news that the US government helps itself to the massive data flows generated by Google,… Read more


Ancient and modern

A little foresight

15 June 2013

After a damning IMF report on the EU’s botching of the Greek financial crisis, a Eurocrat snootily commented that hindsight was all very well, but…. Had the EU shown a… Read more



15 June 2013

Souls on ice Three Oxford academics have revealed that they have paid to become cryonically preserved at death in the hope of one day being revived. A selection of the… Read more



Letters: The barristers strike back

Legal squabbles Sir: Harry Mount’s angry and unfocused polemic (‘Against the Law’, 8 June), demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of the British legal system. That is surprising from a former barrister,… Read more



The Tory party are finally going to have to decide about Europe. It’ll break them

15 June 2013

By the time the G8 is next held in this country, the United Kingdom may well have left the European Union. In the next eight years, the question of whether… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

15 June 2013

Few things in history can be more worth thinking about than the first world war, so in a way one welcomes the government’s plan for extensive centenary commemorations. And I… Read more

Rod Liddle

The blurry line between Islam and Islamism

15 June 2013

There’s an Islamic school in Birmingham which is very highly regarded. It’s called Darul Uloom — the same name as the school in Chislehurst which was recently the subject of an… Read more

Steerpike: The Lib Dems’ free school fight, Dignitas on Scotland, and more

15 June 2013

Some politicians don’t read their own manifestos. And some don’t even read the names of their own parties. When it comes to academy schools, the Lib Dems are struggling to… Read more

Matthew Parris

The day I awoke my inner predator

15 June 2013

Gweru on the central Highveld of Zimbabwe used to be called Gwelo when I was there as a boy but seemed otherwise largely unchanged when we passed through a couple… Read more


George Osborne’s Lloyds sale will be all about votes – just as Mervyn King warned

15 June 2013

When a politician’s speech is spun ten days in advance, you know there’s trouble behind the scenes. Next week’s Mansion House dinner will be seen by City attendees principally as… Read more


‘Well, gentlemen, I think we all fought a good fight’(The Spectator, 16 October 1959)

The birth of modern Britain

15 June 2013

Sam Leith on the dawning of the consumer age in Britain, when Harold Macmillan reminded us that we’d never had it so good


Consolations of the Forest, by Sylvain Tesson - review

15 June 2013

In this book, the French writer Sylvain Tesson spends six months, mostly alone, in a log cabin in Siberia. ‘Cold, silence and solitude are conditions that tomorrow will be more… Read more

The figure of the flâneur, captured by Degas in ‘Place de la Concorde’, had its origin in Mr Spectator

Tales of Two Cities, by Jonathan Conlin - review

15 June 2013

In Jonathan Conlin’s Tales of Two Cities the little acknowledged but hugely significant histoire croisée of two rival metropoles gets a long overdue airing. For, like it or not, London… Read more

View of Salzburg, oil on canvas by Julius Schoppe, 1817

A Place in the Country, by W.G. Sebald - review

15 June 2013

Within a few years, and in four books — The Emigrants (1996), The Rings of Saturn (1998), Vertigo (1999) and Austerlitz (2001) — W. G. Sebald achieved a reputation as… Read more


Bedford Park, by Bryan Appleyard - review

15 June 2013

Nothing in Bryan Appleyard’s Bedford Park betrays the fact that it is his first period novel: not its deft characterisations, its virtuoso dialogue, its dry and economical wit, or its… Read more

Talluluh Bankhead, the only convincing flapper in the book, photographed c.1930

Flappers, by Judith Mackrell - review

15 June 2013

I’m never quite sure what the term ‘flappers’ means. How did these creatures flap, and why? Where did they flap? Did they flap all day, or only at night? Were… Read more

Nijinski by Georges Barbier in ‘Le Festin /L’Oiseau d’or’ (1912)

Nijinsky, by Lucy Moore - review

15 June 2013

The first biography of Vaslav Nijinsky, which appeared in 1934, was written by his wife Romola with the help of two ghosts — the young Lincoln Kirstein and Little Blue… Read more

Memoirs of a Leavisite, by David Elllis - review

15 June 2013

As the author of this wise, patient and delightful book wryly reminds us, Stephen Fry — who, of course, knows everything — has recently written F.R. Leavis off as a… Read more

Photographs are reproduced courtesy of Ronald Blythe

A Time by the Sea, by Ronald Blythe - review

15 June 2013

I first encountered Ronald Blythe at Benton End, a glowing oxblood farmhouse above the river Brett, poised on the edge of Hadleigh in Suffolk. This was the East Anglian School… Read more


Tinselled royal: ‘Elizabeth I when a Princess’, c.1546, attributed to William Scrots

Royal bling with the Tudors at the Queen’s Gallery and the V&A

15 June 2013

Leanda de Lisle revels in two exhibitions celebrating Tudor and Stuart fashion

Gaudy: ‘TSIATSIA — searching for connection’, 2013, by El Anatsui

To survive the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, don’t linger — just scan and pounce

15 June 2013

The Royal Academy’s biggest annual prize is the Charles Wollaston Award, worth £25,000, for the most distinguished work in the Summer Exhibition, this year won by the Ghanaian sculptor El… Read more

Free spirit: Micsha Sadeghi as Nasrine

Review: Stir yourself — I am Nasrine is far from an Earnestly Grim Wrist Slitter

15 June 2013

I Am Nasrine is one of those small, low-budget films showing somewhere awkward on a day and time that probably aren’t ideal but you can’t expect everything in life to… Read more

Munnings’s love rival: Dan Stevens as Gilbert Evans with Emily Browning as Florence Carter-Wood

Film review: Summer in February: as vivid as a Munnings masterpiece

15 June 2013

We like our artists to be larger than life and preferably bohemian, even if nowadays we’ve had to accept that the ones we hear about are more likely to live… Read more

Sam Evans (Jason Watkins) and Nina Leeds (Anne-Marie Duff) in ‘Strange Interlude

Theatre review: Despite the wordiness and monstrous plotlines, Strange Interlude is gripping

15 June 2013

First the good news. Strange Interlude by Eugene O’Neill has been cut down from five hours to just under three and a half. The action, if you can call it… Read more


We should be teaching kids to make programs like Word, not how to use them

15 June 2013

Technology is turning the human urge to consume information into an unhealthy addiction. Some of this consumption — reading, following the news, exposing ourselves to culture — has obvious merits;… Read more

Exquisitely moving: Emma Bell as Elsa in ‘Lohengrin’

Opera review: Crying with the heroine in WNO’s Lohengrin

15 June 2013

In Act II of Lohengrin, after the villainess Ortrud has interrupted the procession to the Minster, and sown the seeds of doubt in Elsa’s mind about the provenance of her… Read more

Is she hallucinating? Clotilde Hesme as Adèle in ‘The Returned’

Television review: The Returned is the finest, purest heroin

15 June 2013

With the possible exception of Game of Thrones, The Returned (Channel 4, Sunday) is the best series you will see on TV all year. I caught some early previews about… Read more

Radio review: The Archers — Soapland’s response to our post-9/11 world

15 June 2013

He’s gone. Not that anyone apart from Lilian will miss him. But Paul’s been despatched (at long last) to the Land of Discarded Soap Actors, despised, rejected and scorned by… Read more


Herzog at the BFI: Mad men in the rainforest

15 June 2013

‘I am the wrath of God. The earth I pass will see me and tremble.’ Not my words, Mr Speaker, but those of demented conquistador Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog’s… Read more


High life

High life

High life: I may have lost the race but I got my reward

15 June 2013

St Tropez To the once upon a time sleepy fishing village, now the focal point for Russian oligarch excess, outrageously ugly super-yachts, and what is commonly known as the scum… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life: There’s no such thing as race — or is there?

15 June 2013

The barbecue was a sawn-off 40-gallon oil drum with holes punched in the sides. It stood on a rock under the spreading boughs of an oak tree. For fuel we… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life: I always regress to a three-year-old when my horses aren’t well

15 June 2013

‘Dealing with a bruised soul’ is how I read the headline on the front of Horse Scene magazine. When I looked closer, the actual headline was ‘Dealing with a bruised… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life: Who’s top of the Louis XIV league of show-offs?

15 June 2013

Great wealth has always bred envy and resentment among the rest of us, which is why even in ancient times people liked to believe that it would be its possessors’… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

Wild life: Could I ever revive the Pinguaan Springs?

15 June 2013

Il Pinguaan Springs When I first saw the Pinguaan Springs they were small, fetid bogs set about with papyrus, the haunt of mercury-coloured frogs and dragonflies. I wondered why they… Read more



15 June 2013

Last week I was glued to BBO, watching the US trials to select the two teams who will represent America in the Bermuda Bowl in Bali later this year. All… Read more




15 June 2013

Thessaloniki is said to be named after a half-sister of Alexander the Great. Fidé staged a recent Grand Prix there, with the surprising outcome that it was won by the… Read more


Chess puzzle

puzzle No. 270

15 June 2013

Black to play. This position is from Bacrot-Ivanchuk, Thessaloniki Grand Prix 2013. This was the scene of Ivanchuk’s only success. What is the key move? Answers to me at The… Read more



Show time

15 June 2013

In Competition 2801 you were invited to rewrite, in pompous and prolix style, any well-known simple poem.   Space is on the tight side so, pausing only to congratulate and… Read more



2117: Highlands and Islands

15 June 2013

The solutions to numbered lights are the words missing from the story. The unclued lights are the names of twenty-two Scottish lochs.  However, forty-four names of lochs appear in the… Read more


Crossword solution

Solution to 2114: MMCXIV/CCCII

15 June 2013

The unclued lights are headwords in Brewer under the SEVEN heading. The title indicates the sum ‘2114 divided by 302 = 7’ and so solvers had to include ‘7’ or… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Cadbury World is a big fat rip-off

15 June 2013

When did it become a tradition to organise expensive birthday treats for your children? I don’t want to sound like a character in Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch, but when… Read more

Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Spectator sport: Forget this year’s Formula 1 championship – here comes 1976

15 June 2013

Even if you don’t have a head for petrol, you can’t have failed to have noticed that the Formula 1 season thus far has been somewhat unsatisfactory. ‘Degradation’ and even… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Should I pretend to do anything other than play bridge?

Q. Is it acceptable to admit that you don’t ‘do’ anything? Or should one pretend to be writing a book or attending a course at the V&A or some such?… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language


15 June 2013

‘Scatter ye rosebuds while ye may,’ sang my husband, reckless of words and tune, thereby offending the ghosts of Herrick, William Lawes and my good friend standing nonplussed on the… Read more



Restaurant: Kaspar’s at the Savoy

15 June 2013

Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill is named for superstition, snobbery and avarice. At a dinner at the Savoy in 1898 there were 13 guests at dinner, and the host, a… Read more