×

The Spectator

Cover_130113_issue

19 January 2013

The Pacific President

In his second term, Obama is taking a decisive turn away from Europe — and Britain

Subscribe from £12 »

Previous Issues

The Week

Leading article

Just the tickets

19 January 2013

Kingsley Amis was never a fan of the Arts Council. Writing in this magazine almost 30 years ago, he described it as a ‘detestable and destructive body’ whose grants and… Read more

portrait

Portrait of the week

19 January 2013

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, brought forward his speech on new relations with the European Union from 22 January when it was realised that it was the 50th anniversary… Read more

Diary

Diary

Christopher Caldwell

19 January 2013

Washington DC: My elegant and sociable mother-in-law received an email this week warning that, should she wander on to her balcony to smoke on Monday, somebody might shoot her. The Secret… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

Socrates on career advice

19 January 2013

Young girls are constantly being told that they will have failed unless they get a top job as prime minister, CEO of a Footsie company, rocket scientist or cutting-edge TV… Read more

Any-Other-Business

Barometer

19 January 2013

Equine dining Horsemeat was found in hamburgers sold by Tesco, among others. Why did eating horses become a taboo? — In the 8th century Pope Gregory III instructed St Boniface,… Read more

Letters

Letters

19 January 2013

Aid waste Sir: In Andrew Mitchell’s response to my article ‘The Great Aid Mystery’ (5 January), he asks ‘what about the 11 million children in school who wouldn’t be there’… Read more

Features

pacific_president_final_SE

The Pacific President

19 January 2013

In his second term, Obama is taking a decisive turn away from Europe — and Britain

People. England. 1957. A mother and a young child look at a line of washing machines in a laundrette.

The mother myth

19 January 2013

There is no such thing as a full-time mum, and never has been

Short cut to stardom: Tom Courtenay in 1961

Tom Courtenay vs fame

19 January 2013

The acclaimed actor on Hull, Hollywood, regrets, and accepting a knighthood

chavez_illo

Chávez’s useful idiots

19 January 2013

The demagogue of Caracas has helped sustain a long tradition of left-wing fellow travelling

Venezuelan policemen escort Dutch citize

My Venezuelan jail hell

19 January 2013

There are two conditions British foreign correspondents must meet before they can consider themselves old hands. The first is having one’s work savaged by John Pilger; the second is spending… Read more

McMahon_notebook_1

Letter from the Foodbank

19 January 2013

It’s our foodbank’s first winter. We started collecting food and giving it to people who haven’t got any in August. Since then we have had to open two more distribution… Read more

Columnists

James_Forsyth-80x98

Cameron’s European moment has come – a year late

19 January 2013

David Cameron should have given his big Europe speech a year ago. Having just threatened to veto a new EU treaty, he had proved that he was prepared to aggressively… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

19 January 2013

David Cameron’s long-awaited speech on Europe this week falls 50 years to the day after the death of Hugh Gaitskell. Gaitskell, who died in harness, was the last leader of… Read more

Rod Liddle

How Moore, Burchill and Featherstone all had a lovely bitch fight

19 January 2013

  ‘Women … are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape — that of a Brazilian transsexual.’ — Suzanne… Read more

James Delingpole

Three decades of blood and horror – just the sort of history I like

19 January 2013

In the church just a few fields from where I live stands the handsome, painted alabaster tomb to Sir Richard Knightley and his wife Jane. Round the sides of the… Read more

Hugo Rifkind

I don’t care whether torture works. It still isn’t worth it

19 January 2013

Torture is wrong. You can tell it’s wrong easily, not by the way it makes you feel, or by the extent to which it does or doesn’t conform to ancient… Read more

Vander-Weyer-NEW

Hardly a hammer blow if 800 jobs have shifted from Swindon to Solihull

19 January 2013

My item last week about brighter prospects for car makers looked forlorn by Friday lunchtime, when news bulletins were leading with a quote from one Tony Murphy of the Unite… Read more

Books

A time of hectic gaiety and abandon: at the height of the Blitz, dancers relax backstage at the Windmill theatre. Its famous slogan, ‘We Never Closed’, was popularly rendered as ‘We Never Clothed’

Love among the ruins

19 January 2013

For a small circle of distinguished writers, the Blitz seemed to act as a powerful aphrodisiac, says Sam Leith

Menuhin And Ryce

Scaling the musical Matterhorn

19 January 2013

This book is an account by the music-loving editor of the Guardian of how he set himself the task of learning to play one of the most daunting virtuoso pieces… Read more

Henry Fonda as Bob Larkin in Firecreek (1968)

Part of the pantheon

19 January 2013

Henry Fonda once said that he had never had any ambition to be a film star. But then how could a man want to become someone who came out of… Read more

D’Annunzio as the soldier poet by Tancredi Scarpelli

Italy’s first Duce

19 January 2013

There is something to be said for a bald-headed gnome with the power, according to his biographer, to seduce any woman he wanted, including the most celebrated and desirable actress… Read more

Bach, the Beatles and back

19 January 2013

Leaping from Paleolithic cave paintings to Egyptian tombs to Gregorian chant in barely half a chapter, as Howard Goodall does in his breezy but effective The Story of Music, requires… Read more

William Price (1800-1893) was a medical practioner, self-proclaimed Archdruid of Wales and pioneer cremationist

The greatest puzzle of all

19 January 2013

A few months before he passed away, responding to a question about his doubts and beliefs, Jorge Luis Borges offered a rapt and potted account of the many cultural and… Read more

Understated elegance

19 January 2013

A man raised by apes is discovered in Africa, recognised as an English lord, and escorted home. At a formal dinner, he raises a bowl of soup to his lips… Read more

Virginia Ironside

Growing old disgracefully

19 January 2013

Virginia Ironside’s novel, No! I Don’t Need Reading Glasses (Quercus £14.99) about a 65-year-old granny who belongs to a local residents’ association and does a fair bit of knitting may… Read more

Arts

Lady in waiting: ‘Draped Seated Woman’ by Henry Moore in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Go with the flow

19 January 2013

Councils should be encouraged to sell public art that has lost its relevance, says Niru Ratnam

Curiouser and curiouser

19 January 2013

A tragicomic curiosity at the Finborough written by Hebridean exile Iain Finlay Macleod. The show opens with James, a young Gaelic-speaker, running an internet start-up in London. Business booms. He… Read more

Acting up

19 January 2013

There was a time when the major objection to operatic performances, by those who were wondering whether or not to give them a try, was the level of acting in… Read more

‘Cloud Study, Hampstead, Tree at Right’, 1821, by John Constable

Line man

19 January 2013

One of the pleasures of the critic’s life is to review exhibitions of work by artists who have been forgotten or overlooked, and to recommend them for general attention. I… Read more

Detmar Blow’s painting of the east end of the chapel at King’s College, Cambridge, showing his reredos and panelling

Why Rubens should go

19 January 2013

The Blow family has had its disasters. There has been madness, murder and suicides. But before those mishaps there was a good man, my grandfather Detmar Blow. In the 1900s… Read more

Bromancing away: Christoph Waltz (Dr Schultz) and Jamie Foxx (Django)

Blow up

19 January 2013

Here is a Quentin Tarantino film that, like all Quentin Tarantino films, is a typical Quentin Tarantino film, in the style of Quentin Tarantino, in that he takes a familiar… Read more

The Empress of Blandings with Timothy Spall (Lord Emsworth)

Wodehouse to the rescue

19 January 2013

I knew this would happen: I’ve been watching season five of Mad Men on DVD and it’s spoiled me for normal telly. If you notice increased levels of toxicity —… Read more

England. 1950. BBC Radio broadcaster MacDonald Hastings is pictured presenting the popular "Women's Hour" programme.

Picking out the plums

19 January 2013

‘How much did you say the TV licence cost?’ asks my American friend. ‘£145.50,’ I reply. ‘One hundred and forty-five pounds,’ she repeats, with astonishment. ‘And everyone has to pay… Read more

Culture_notes

The making of a myth

19 January 2013

When John Kelly was transported from Tipperary to Tasmania in 1841, for stealing pigs, he couldn’t have imagined that 170 years later there’d be an exhibition of paintings of one… Read more

Life

High life

High life

High life

19 January 2013

Gstaad The sub-primate level of conversation, as prevalent as the snow up here in the Alps, took a turn for the better last week while a select few celebrated Prince… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

19 January 2013

I woke in an upstairs room, face down on bare floorboards, my body wedged into a coffin-shaped space between a divan bed (unoccupied) and a chest of drawers — which… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life

19 January 2013

André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu is a Dutch violinist, conductor and composer best known for creating the Johann Strauss Orchestra. So says Wikipedia. But I know better. André Rieu is… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life

19 January 2013

The advent of freezing weather in Northamptonshire is making me worry about my ducks. I have eight of them of four different breeds now sitting on the base of a… Read more

TheTurf

The turf

Ten for effort

19 January 2013

Punting at Kempton Park in winter I have one basic rule. Take a long hard look at anything Nicky Henderson is running before you consider backing anything else. His record… Read more

Bridge_190113

Bridge

19 January 2013

I’m writing this on Monday morning and wow, what a weekend that was. The great and the good of the bridge world flocked to TGRs for its 4th Annual Auction… Read more

Chess

Chess

Gran Fiesta

19 January 2013

Just before the London Classic, Magnus Carlsen and Judith Polgar contested a four-game match under speed and blindfold conditions as part of the Gran Fiesta of chess at UNAM (Universidad… Read more

Chess-Puzzle

Chess puzzle

No. 249

19 January 2013

Black to play. This is from Carlsen-Polgar, Mexico City 2012. Black’s minor pieces seem to be locked out of the game but Polgar’s next move showed that this was not… Read more

Investigation

Competition

Fabulous

19 January 2013

In Competition No. 2780 you were invited to write, in the spirit of Aesop or La Fontaine, a rhymed fable involving animals. Plato wrote in Phaedo that Socrates whiled away… Read more

Crossword-Puzzle

Crossword

2096: New World Symphony

19 January 2013

The unclued lights (two of two words and the remainder when paired) are of a specific kind.   Across 1 Kind, like 7A (11, hyphened) 7 Well-spaced to start with… Read more

Crossword-Solution

Crossword solution

2093: Leading lights

19 January 2013

The unclued LIGHTS are LEADERS, verifiable under the entry for RULERS in Brewer. First prize Sandra Speak, Dursley, Glos Runners-up  P. and R. Dacre, York; Norma Jacobs, Linton, Wetherby

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Real British education lives on in Kenya

19 January 2013

Driving round Kenya, I’m constantly struck by the sheer number of schools. Every 500 yards there’s a hand-painted sign advertising the virtues of some ‘academy’ or other. The truly remarkable… Read more

Dave
Rory_Sutherland

The Wiki Man

My very own 1970s sex pest

19 January 2013

To understand the Jimmy Savile affair, you had to be there. By ‘there’ I mean the late 1970s. At the time my school on the Welsh borders had its own… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

19 January 2013

Q. I worked on the features desk of a newspaper for many years and had a desk in an office with dozens of colleagues around me every day. Now I… Read more

Drink

Drink

Off the wagon

19 January 2013

Like half of London, I gave the new year a surly greeting. It was time to diet. There are two sorts of diets. First, the ones that may work for… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Breaded cats

19 January 2013

I don’t know whether people know what belling the cat means now. In an allusive language like ours, some references sink out of sight. But the old tale is that… Read more