The Spectator


16 February 2013

Benedict’s reformation

The Pope’s resignation clears the way for a mission-driven new Catholicism

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The Week

Leading article

Bonfire of the Establishment

16 February 2013

In September 1955 The Spectator’s political commentator, Henry Fairlie, coined a term to describe the way in which Britain works which has been used ever since. The ‘Establishment’, he said, was… Read more


Portrait of the week

16 February 2013

Home Findus frozen beef lasagne was found to be 100 per cent horsemeat, and Tesco frozen ‘Everyday Value’ spaghetti bolognese 60 per cent horse. French suppliers blamed a Romanian abattoir.… Read more

A woman eats rice as another reads a boo


William Dalrymple

16 February 2013

The Jaipur Literature Festival, which I help to direct, has in just six years grown like some monster from an Indian epic. Each year it doubles in size and we… Read more



16 February 2013

Takes all sports The government is to introduce a new strategy for sport in schools. To what educational ends can sport be used? — ‘Using Sport to Tackle Youth Crime’… Read more


Ancient and modern

The Stoic stiff upper lip

16 February 2013

Last week, Stoics applauded the idea that the doctor might in certain situations give the patient a book, not a pill, on the grounds that thinking rationally solved all personal… Read more



16 February 2013

Militant humanists Sir: Thank God for Douglas Murray (‘Call off the faith wars’, 9 February). It is possible that I have been counting myself an atheist for longer than Richard… Read more



Benedict’s reformation

16 February 2013

Shock is probably the predominant emotion evoked by the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign at the end of February. Given that the last papal resignation took place 600… Read more

on December 25, 2012 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Benedict XVI in perspective

16 February 2013

In March 2005, when it became clear that Pope John Paul II would soon die, Boris Johnson asked me to write a piece for The Spectator predicting who would be… Read more

on March 25, 2010 in London, England.

Farewell, Independent on Sunday

16 February 2013

On Tuesday the Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced to a breathless world the latest development in the Leveson saga. The government wants a royal charter to oversee a new press… Read more


Reshoring: how jobs came flooding back to America

16 February 2013

It is 20 years since the US presidential candidate Ross Perot railed against globalisation, warning of a ‘giant sucking sound’ as millions of jobs left America and went to foreign… Read more


Why do Brits seek Eastern spirituality when they have so much of their own?

16 February 2013

I used to hang around a group of friends who worked for a British events company. Their boss was a keen follower of Buddhism and all things Oriental and, since… Read more


Lars Hedegaard interview: ‘I may be killed if I write this’

16 February 2013

The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like… Read more


Where did all the sweet people go?

16 February 2013

To say someone was ‘sweet’ used to be quite common in Britain. We didn’t just use the word to describe our mothers and grandmothers, but a wide range of people,… Read more


Giles Coren eats fried seal loin with Eva Avila

16 February 2013

My week began on a plane to Quebec, where I’m filming a show for Canadian television. It is a broadcast pilot for a format of my own devising and, if it flies,… Read more



The horsemeat scandal shows the true extent of Europe’s power in Britain

16 February 2013

There’s something gripping about a food scandal. The idea we could be inadvertently eating something taboo exercises a fascination on the public mind. But where has all the horsemeat in… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

16 February 2013

Pope Benedict is stepping down for conscientious reasons about which he will have thought deeply. But I still fear that his decision is a mistake. First, its manner was unfortunate.… Read more

Rod Liddle

The poor have been sold horse dressed as beef – and they should be compensated

16 February 2013

Well at least — so far — no middle-class food has been found to contain large chunks of horsey. It’s all been in the junk they feed the chavs. It’s… Read more

James Delingpole

How Twitter almost destroyed me

16 February 2013

Last year, my old sparring partner George Monbiot got himself into a spot of bother. ‘Why not stick the knife in on your blog?’ various people suggested. But I didn’t… Read more

Hugo Rifkind

Another good idea goes the way of all wheezes

16 February 2013

Coercing the long-term unemployed into work placements is not a stupid idea. Nobody thinks it is. And by ‘nobody’ in this context, I mean Iain Duncan Smith, the work and… Read more


Here’s my strategic review, Barclays: see shareholders right and the rest will follow

16 February 2013

Antony Jenkins, the new-broom chief executive of Barclays, has the tone of a junior minister, not long in parliament, who finds himself promoted to high office after the big beast… Read more


The son of an Italian shepherd, Jacques Inaudi (1867-1950) showed an astonishing aptitude for mental arithmetic from an early age — which attracted the interest of showmen, with whom he toured the world

Family differences

16 February 2013

Andrew Solomon’s simple and powerful guiding idea in this book is that there are two sorts of identity that affect your place in the world. Your ‘vertical identity’ is what… Read more

The tragedy of a hamlet

16 February 2013

Jim Crace’s novels have one thing in common, which is that each is set in an entirely original world. None of these worlds is of a specific time or place,… Read more

Growing up the hard way

16 February 2013

Like the gingerbread house, these three novels seem at first to be a delightful and innocent place, entirely suitable for the three not-quite orphaned young girls who are Holden’s heroines.… Read more

Leaving Sussex

16 February 2013

I read William Nicholson’s new novel in proof before Christmas. ‘The must-read book for 2013 for lovers of William Boyd and Sebastian Faulks,’ it said on the back. Well, I… Read more


Pyrrhic victories

16 February 2013

In 193 BC, Scipio met Hannibal at Ephesus, and asked him who, in his opinion, were the greatest generals of all time. Since he’d personally defeated Rome’s most dangerous enemy a… Read more

Away with the fairies

16 February 2013

There have been plenty of books in recent years in which apparently sane hacks go off in search of loonies to poke fun at. While The Heretics looks at first… Read more

What price freedom?

16 February 2013

One of the best-known contacts for many Western reporters covering Poland and the Solidarity protests of the 1980s was Konstanty ‘Kostek’ Gebert. A fine journalist who usually wrote under the… Read more


Spearthrower made from reindeer antler, sculpted as a mammoth, c.13,500 years old

Ice Age art at the British Museum: Geniuses of 40,000BC

16 February 2013

The best way to approach any exhibition is with a clear and uncluttered mind, without expectations or prejudices. Of course this is often impossible, for all sorts of reasons, particularly… Read more

Mid-life crisis

16 February 2013

This is 40. Or perhaps I should say, is this 40? I haven’t yet reached that rounded age myself, so don’t have much of a frame of reference. But a… Read more


The new seekers

16 February 2013

Over the past year or so, art world insiders have queued up to denounce the current state of the contemporary art world. Charles Saatchi started the ball rolling with a… Read more

Antony Sher (Wilhelm) has ‘everything a great clown needs except comic graces’

Fatal flaw

16 February 2013

A new play about the banking crisis at the Bush. Writer, Clare Duffy, has spent a year or two badgering financiers and economists with questions about ‘the fundamentals’. ‘What is… Read more

A performance of genius: Corinne Winters as Violetta in ENO’s production

Double vision

16 February 2013

This week has featured new productions at the Royal Opera and English National Opera of staples of the repertoire, both subjected to drastic rethinking. Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is the first… Read more

Schoenberg in shorts

16 February 2013

For anyone who missed The Sound and the Fury (Tuesday, BBC4) here is a reason — one of many — to catch it on your iPlayer: footage of a fierce,… Read more

The comfort of strangers

16 February 2013

Blink and you would have missed it, but Wednesday was World Radio Day, devoted to celebrating radio ‘as a medium’. You might think the BBC would welcome this Unesco initiative… Read more


Kraftwerk at Tate Modern

16 February 2013

Quite what it was that was so spellbinding about a quartet of middle-aged German blokes in skintight bodysuits standing at neon-lit consoles is difficult to articulate. They didn’t even seem… Read more


High life

High life

Tuesday lunches are an exercise in nostalgia

16 February 2013

Hanky-panky is American slang for doing what comes naturally. In this Valentine’s Day week, I offer you Swoon, a book about great seducers and why women love them — one… Read more

Low life

Low life

My encounter with a Bond girl

16 February 2013

It’s my birthday. Four in the morning and I’m in the back of a cab coming back from a night out in town with Trev. He’s in the front, telling… Read more


Real life

Discovering a takeaway-ordering rabbit

16 February 2013

My ability to almost play the opening bars of Chopin’s Revolutionary Study may seem like a futile skill to have. But I never lost faith that it was going to… Read more

Long life

Long life

Excited by finding fairy eggs

16 February 2013

One ‘bridge too far’ should have been enough, but it looks to me as if Michael Gove has already embarked on a second one with his new plan to tackle… Read more


The turf

Profit and loss

16 February 2013

In his days as Foreign Secretary Robin Cook once told me that every politician should have a spell as a racing tipster to teach him humility — he tried it… Read more



16 February 2013

I feel that we in the bridge community (is there one? Am I in it?) haven’t made enough of a song-and-dance about Andrew Robson being awarded an OBE in the… Read more




16 February 2013

Any book by the erudite Steve Giddins is an event and he has now produced a valuable guide to the popular Winawer Variation of the French Defence, championed by the… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 253

16 February 2013

White to play. This position is from  Hartston-Portisch, Nice  1974. Can you spot White’s most accurate continuation of the  attack? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 19 February… Read more



Come, friendly bombs

16 February 2013

In Competition No. 2784 you were invited to  rewrite John Betjeman’s poem ‘Slough’, substituting the target of your choice. The poet Ian McMillan sprang to Slough’s defence in 2005 with… Read more



2100: Mask

16 February 2013

Each of eighteen clues contains one misprinted letter in the definition part. Corrections of misprints spell a four-word phrase which alludes to the unclued lights, indicating the position of one… Read more


Crossword solution

2097: spaced

16 February 2013

1D, 2 40, 12 and 15 36 are PERSONAE (43) that have been adopted by DAVID BOWIE.  Unchecked letters of unclued lights are supplied by the thematically allusive astronaut writer,… Read more


Status anxiety

The indiscreet charm of Julie Burchill

16 February 2013

One of the downsides of getting older is witnessing your friends and acquaintances being honoured in various ways. I don’t just mean knighthoods and peerages, I also mind the little… Read more

Government Plan To Make Speeding Motorists Pay To Compensate Victims Of Crime

The Wiki Man

Chris Huhne and the £500,000 speed camera

16 February 2013

I don’t want to defend Chris Huhne, I really don’t. Apart from anything else, I have always thought the country would be better off if all Oxford PPE graduates were… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

16 February 2013

Q.  My husband, aged 56, mutters constantly that he is not well.  He has a variety of symptoms and I suspect hypochondria, yet he will not put his mind (or… Read more

Horsemeat Also Has Its Fans


Horse and bourbon

16 February 2013

At a club table, a group of us were discussing horse–eating, marvelling at the confusion and sentimentality of our fellow countrymen while telling hippophagic anecdotes. I mentioned a typically Provençal… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Electrification of the ring fence

16 February 2013

At the age of 55, Gervase Markham set off to walk from London to Berwick without using any bridge or boat, and without swimming, but relying only on a staff… Read more