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The Spectator

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17 November 2012

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Previous Issues

The Week

Leading article

A new world power

17 November 2012

For decades, America has dreamed about becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy, and ending its dependence on unsavoury Arab regimes. Now this dream seems within reach. The International Energy Agency… Read more

‘No, I don’t want a coffee — I was wondering if you could do my tax return.’

Portrait of the week

17 November 2012

Home Abu Qatada, detained in Britain for seven years although not charged here, but wanted on terrorist charges in Jordan, could not be deported, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled,… Read more

Diary

Diary

Tom Bower

17 November 2012

I have just returned from sunny Los Angeles, visiting Simon Cowell, the subject of my most recent biography. He told me about a visit by Cheryl Cole to his amazing house in… Read more

Any-Other-Business

Barometer

17 November 2012

Brave new words ‘Omnishambles’ was declared the Oxford English Dictionary’s ‘word of the year’, but will not for the moment be added to the dictionary itself. Here is a selection… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

Aristotle on Entwistle

17 November 2012

George Entwistle accounted himself ‘honourable’ as he resigned his position as head of the BBC, and Lord Patten joined in the applause. It was as if Entwistle thought he deserved… Read more

Letters

Letters

17 November 2012

What the result says Sir: John O’Sullivan (‘Obama’s hollow victory,’ 10 November) says that after President Obama’s re-election, ‘America looks a less naturally conservative country, more a centre-left one.’ But… Read more

Features

Merkel-Kick_SE

Merkel’s sovereign remedy

17 November 2012

‘Europe is speaking German now,’ said Volker Kauder, parliamentary chairman of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, about a year ago. He was urging Britain to back Merkel’s plans… Read more

Prime Minister David Cameron Meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The coming showdown

17 November 2012

Angela Merkel is running out of nice things to say about David Cameron and the Tory rebels who are dictating his European policy. Der Spiegel magazine recently compared the British… Read more

US General David Petraeus, outgoing US c

The fall of Petraeus

17 November 2012

In the middle of a breaking news story, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sounded like she was about to cry. Something had happened to the CIA director David Petraeus — but what?… Read more

OBITUARIES_2

Bringing obituaries to life

17 November 2012

I used to be a foreign correspondent. Sometimes I thought it was a pretty glamorous job. At dinner parties I might occasionally drop hints about the dangerous sorts of places… Read more

China's Growth At Stake As Communist Party Congress Begins

End of the Party?

17 November 2012

The 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party had begun, and President Hu Jintao was droning his way through his last big speech before stepping down for good. Irritatingly, he… Read more

Bryan Ferry performing at the Royal Albert Hall, 1972

In praise of Bryan Ferry

17 November 2012

Francis Lee, the barrel-chested footballer who banged in goals for Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City, was my first idol. Billy Wilder, Johnny Mercer and Philip Larkin rank among the heroes… Read more

The old ways: family skiing in Switzerland, 1961

Downhill for generations

17 November 2012

My 22-year-old daughter is feeling a little low. Me, too, actually. I’ve just told her there aren’t enough pennies in the coffers to go skiing this season — just as… Read more

travel_polo

Seven things to do if you’re not skiing

17 November 2012

These days, a winter holiday isn’t just about skiing. The majority of larger resorts offer a range of activities from dog-sledding to five-star spa facilities, while adrenalin-fuelled sports such as… Read more

Columnists

James_Forsyth-80x98

To win the next election, the Tories must crush the Liberal Democrats

17 November 2012

On the wall in Conservative Campaign Headquarters is a clock counting down the days, hours and minutes to the next election. It is so large that anyone who enters for… Read more

Rod Liddle

Welby’s impossible task is to lead the opposition to gay marriage

17 November 2012

The new Archbishop of Canterbury has the cleanest-shaven chin I think I have ever seen on an adult male human. It is as if, in an attempt to rid himself… Read more

James Delingpole

Here’s a BBC scandal that should really make you disgusted

17 November 2012

How many of you reading this were abused by Jimmy Savile? Few if any, I would hazard. And while I don’t wish to play down the misery wrought over four… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

17 November 2012

David Dimbleby is right that the BBC is bedevilled by managerialism. He makes an apt comparison with the National Health Service, where his wife, who works in mental health, reports… Read more

Matthew Parris

Listening out for the silent minorities

17 November 2012

A day or so after writing a column, when the horse has certainly bolted, you read it in print. Now you are hit by l’esprit d’escalier. Ideas you left out… Read more

Vander-Weyer-NEW

Creative destruction: lessons from New Orleans seven years after Katrina

17 November 2012

Never say this column doesn’t offer global perspectives. OK, sometimes it comes in folksy Yorkshire parables — but a fortnight ago I was up close with Branson in Mumbai and… Read more

Books

Books of the year

Books of the year

17 November 2012

A.N.Wilson Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie (Bloomsbury, £14.99). At last, an Anglican Father Brown. Runcie has sensibly set his detective stories in the 1950s, before the… Read more

Oppenheimer

Making the bomb

17 November 2012

Of the making of many books about J. Robert Oppenheimer there is apparently no end. There have been 23 previous lives, seven of them published since 2004. This situation, which… Read more

Scottish interior

Scotland’s top ten

17 November 2012

It is no mean feat to produce a publication of the type that used to be described as ‘a coffee-table book’, devoted to the subject of great Scottish houses, and… Read more

The Shrine of the Book, in Jerusalem, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls

A global hegemony of clean lines

17 November 2012

Phaidon Press invented the art book. It was in 1930s Vienna that Bela Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider established the format of the illustrated monograph: a short essay by an expert,… Read more

The French connection

17 November 2012

When novelists write essays, they often boom through megaphones, aggrandise the importance of their views and inflate their stature.  Julian Barnes, however, seems to be a novelist who enjoyed feeling… Read more

Clay- Michael Cardew

Clay pride

17 November 2012

What a superb potter Michael Cardew was. What a fascinating, complex man. And what a lovely book this is. Next to Bernard Leach, who as the seventh Kenzan (that is,… Read more

All in the telling

17 November 2012

I like Jewish jokes. I begin every conversation with the literary editor of The Spectator with one or two, do the same with the judge across the road, and tell… Read more

Living on the brink

17 November 2012

To write this book Aman Sethi, a journalist for the Hindu, spent five years hanging out with the casual labourers of Bara Tooti Chowk in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar, who live… Read more

Daughter of Empire - cover

Fun and games — except with mother

17 November 2012

The Duke of Edinburgh, a New Zealand typist claimed in 1954, was ‘the best investment that the royal family has made in all its history’. But would she have thought… Read more

Portrait of Henry Jermyn by Sir Peter Lely

A cavalier attitude to monarchy

17 November 2012

Historians have long been more interested in the Roundheads than in the Cavaliers. It was the parliamentarians who achieved England’s revolution, or the nearest thing the country has come to… Read more

Give me stress

17 November 2012

Christmas is one of the few remaining occasions when the English feel obliged to cook a proper meal at home. To help them, in the autumn, kind publishers bring out… Read more

Conrad-Black

Apologia pro vita sua

17 November 2012

Any fair-minded person who has looked into the matter knows that Conrad Black was wrongly convicted. Indeed under English law he would not have been prosecuted at all, I believe,… Read more

He knows it teases

17 November 2012

Simon Hoggart has spent 20 years going to Westminster to annoy people. He entertains no high-minded delusions about politics and he writes his Guardian sketches in a state of amused… Read more

Shaw

Narrative drive

17 November 2012

Michael Holroyd describes this tiny, charmingly pointless publication (On Wheels, Chatto, £9.99) not as a book but as an example of ‘nostalgic intertextuality’, which is a grand way of saying… Read more

Arts

Kiss Me Kate

Everything goes

17 November 2012

When I first began rehearsing a musical, I discovered to my genuine surprise that I was breaking an unwritten rule…that directors of serious ‘legitimate’ theatre should not dirty their hands… Read more

Studio with Figure on Bed II 1966

Unexpected structures

17 November 2012

There are only eight single paintings in the current show of early work by Gillian Ayres (born 1930) — eight paintings and the four panels of a mural created for… Read more

Linda Bassett, Frances de la Tour and Selina Cadell in ‘People’

Issues of Trust

17 November 2012

An orgy of navel-gazing on the South Bank where a national treasure is satirising the National Trust at the National Theatre. Alan Bennett sets his latest comedy in the drawing… Read more

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Vengeance, at a price

17 November 2012

Where have you been all my life, Orphan of Zhao? Come to think of it, where has any Chinese theatre been? Bang up to the minute, the RSC’s new artistic… Read more

ENO The Pilgrim's Progress

Slow progress

17 November 2012

As usual on the rare occasions when Vaughan Williams’s last and largest opera, The Pilgrim’s Progress, is performed, the new production at English National Opera has been greeted antiphonally, with… Read more

Emmannuelle Riva as Anne in 'Amour' (2012)

Everlasting love

17 November 2012

Michael Haneke’s Amour is about love as we near the end of life and is so painful it isn’t a film to ‘like’ or ‘enjoy’ but is one you do… Read more

Lord Reith

Carry on broadcasting

17 November 2012

By some strange, freakish coincidence, just as the biggest story to hit the BBC in recent years was about to cut through the airwaves on Saturday night, Radio 4 was… Read more

The Hour

Time trials

17 November 2012

It’s amazing what can be squeezed into an hour of The Hour (Wednesday, BBC2): smutty photos, gang violence, bent coppers, illegal gambling, fascism, racism, a political cover-up, a media exposé,… Read more

William-Crozier-Untitled-rug-2010

Weaving magic

17 November 2012

Tapestry, papal and princely, never quite went away. Today it satisfies a need for conspicuous displays of skill of the kind celebrated in the V&A’s recent show Power of Making.… Read more

Life

High life

High life

High life

17 November 2012

Miami Beach To the Mecca of brutalism, a place that rivals Marbella for vulgarity, with sprawling marble-clad palaces, boxy condo blocks and concrete lumps in the place of old world,… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

17 November 2012

Two policemen and a policewoman were the first of the emergency services to arrive on the platform. The policemen ran about like headless chickens. The woman was calmer. She quickly… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life

17 November 2012

Ikea is a totalitarian state. When you drive under the overhanging barrier preventing reasonably sized vans from gaining access to its car park you are entering sovereign territory. Should you… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life

17 November 2012

The BBC and the Church of England are two rather similar institutions, both designed for the comfort and consolation of modest, well-meaning Englishmen who don’t like to be shaken about… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

Wild life

17 November 2012

Northern Kenya If I go out in darkness I dread neither the leopard nor the lion but I recoil from the aardvark: for me a terrifying creature. The ant bear,… Read more

bridge

Bridge

17 November 2012

Time and again in bridge, when tackling problematic contracts, I miss simple solutions which, it turns out, were staring me in the face. It’s some consolation to know that this… Read more

Chess-Column

Chess

Witschcraft

17 November 2012

Last week, in the context of the discovery of the chessboard of Sir John Tenniel, the Times related a famous, possibly apocryphal story in which Aron Nimzowitsch mounted a table… Read more

Chess puzzle

No. 244

17 November 2012

Black to play. This position is from Jacobsen-Nimzowitsch, Copenhagen 1922. How did Nimzo terminate the game? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 20 November or via email to… Read more

Investigation

Competition

Culinary comparison

17 November 2012

In Competition No. 2772 you were invited to liken a well-known figure, living or dead, to a foodstuff. This challenge fell on somewhat stony ground, producing a small if distinguished… Read more

Crossword-Puzzle

Crossword

2089: Backward and forward

17 November 2012

The unclued lights, (one of four words), can be arranged to form a quotation, verifiable in  ODQ. One unclued light does double duty. Across 1  Ape hasn’t played some game… Read more

Crossword-Solution

Crossword solution

2086: Tufty

17 November 2012

The key word is LOPHOBRANCH (7), defining 1A and 29A, and divisible into words of which synonyms are 20 and 36; 8A and 18; and 29D and 41. First prize… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

A perfect media storm

17 November 2012

For those of us who write for the tabloids, there’s something almost poetic about the crisis currently engulfing our more respectable rivals. Ever since the Guardian ‘exposed’ the News of… Read more

Dave17nov
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

The world in Union

17 November 2012

Here’s a thing: some years ago Rhodri Davies left Cardiff and emigrated to New Zealand with his young half-Scottish, half-Irish wife Megan. Not long after settling in Auckland Megan gave… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

17 November 2012

Q. Our son goes to a state primary school in west London which in most respects we are very happy with. However, the teachers correct him every time he says… Read more

Food

Food

Tea and lunacy

17 November 2012

Food and fashion are enemies, so congratulations to the Berkeley Hotel for attempting detente with something insane. It has invented a fashion ‘tea’ called Prêt-à–Portea which is, I am told… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Lichen

17 November 2012

On an article in the Times about eating oak moss I saw the headline: ‘I’m lichen it!’ Since I pronounce lichen to rhyme with kitchen, this meant little to me.… Read more