The Spectator

23 February 2013

At war in Eastleigh

The most important by-election in a generation pits the government parties against each other

Features

Have the Tories lost Eastleigh?

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Monday morning. Grant Shapps, the enthusiastic Tory party chairman, is sitting in a people-carrier, putting the final touches to a…

How Eastleigh will show Labour is working

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Politics offers few greater pleasures than watching a by-election candidate self-immolate. Not a day goes by without Maria Hutchings, the…

David Cameron's sex problem

23 February 2013 9:00 am

This week David Cameron lectured a business audience in India on how far Britain has yet to go in getting…

The Good Life - how a 70s sitcom became a Conservative lodestar

23 February 2013 9:00 am

When the writers John Esmonde and Bob Larbey came up with the idea for The Good Life, they were looking…

Laws, laws everywhere and not a drop of common sense

23 February 2013 9:00 am

It might sound like an Ealing comedy. But it is not funny. It illustrates the fact that law-making in Britain…

Free riding foreigners: the next NHS scandal

23 February 2013 9:00 am

A fundamental and enduring principle of the NHS is that it is ‘free at the point of use’. All major…

Pining for the Brecon Beacons

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Pommies, in Australia, are famous for what the Aussies call ‘whinging’. Whether this is born of character or homesickness is…

Investment: Will bonds crash as shares rise?

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Tim Price: In a normal market, maybe. But not in this one UK base rate squats at 0.5 per cent, its…

'Morocco is a diabetic's nightmare'

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Fleeing streets of slush, we touch down in a north African spring, where we are driven through the desert scrub…

Travel: Notes from a boom town

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Why hasn’t Morocco had an Arab Spring? On the one hand, history; on the other, the vision of the present…

The Week

Leading article

Taxes, taxes, everywhere

What have obesity, misbehaving banks, unaffordable London housing and farting cows all got in common? They are all problems which,…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Unemployment fell by 14,000 between August and November to 2.5 million, with the number in work rising by 154,000…

Diary

Diary

Waiting for a match to begin at the gloriously situated Recreation Ground — home of Bath Rugby — I take…

Ancient and modern

Hacks vs spads

A senior civil servant in the Department of Education, having lost a case for ‘bullying’ brought against its special advisers,…

Letters

Letters

Benedictions Sir: John O’Sullivan’s summary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘extraordinary contribution’ to Catholic thought was masterful (‘Benedict’s reformation’, 16 February)…

Barometer

Barometer

Dyeing and dying A teacher in Harrow complained to his MP that he had been banned from marking pupils’ work…

Columnists

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

People are quite often pilloried for saying the opposite of what they actually said. I have read Hilary Mantel’s London…

Rod Liddle

Forget Eastleigh, Tatchell vs. Hughes was a real by-election

I got a text message the other day, inviting me to a party. This is a nice thing to happen,…

Steerpike

Steerpike

Dave’s a listener. He listens to women in particular. That’s the sub-text of his recent disclosure that Sam keeps urging…

Matthew Parris

What’s in a brand name? From Beechams to Brasso

Showering the other day, I noticed a visitor had left his shampoo behind. Going through the familiar ablutions I stared…

Any other business

Privatisation is the only solution for Royal Mail

We have had a very high failure rate in deliveries of the catalogues for Emily Patrick’s exhibition,’ says an email…

Books

Oh, Calcutta!

23 February 2013 9:00 am

The Chandan Hotel is not a bit like the Exotic Marigold Hotel. It occupies, not a rambling rundown mansion, but…

Destroying angel in the ether

23 February 2013 9:00 am

A few years ago, James Lasdun wrote The Horned Man, a novel about Laurence Miller, an English lecturer in an…

Male-order bride

23 February 2013 9:00 am

If you want to learn how to create the perfect wife, you should not read this book. You should make…

The boys’ brigade

23 February 2013 9:00 am

British schoolboys doubtless have quite different fantasies nowadays, but for much of the last century most of them liked to…

Wish you were here

23 February 2013 9:00 am

It’s just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 60p first-class stamp has finally done for the postcard…

Missing

23 February 2013 9:00 am

What are so noticeably lacking in Mathew Brady’s interviews with the dead are the smells; likewise in Ambrose Bierce’s corpses…

An enduring romance

23 February 2013 9:00 am

In the Pevsner volume on Sussex, the otherwise sane topographer Ian Nairn, harrumphed of Arundel ‘that anybody, duke or banker,…

Be careful what you wish for

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Are things getting better? In some ways, undeniably. Progress is not altogether a fiction, or ‘modern myth’ in John Gray’s…

‘The Isabella Plantation’ by Ruth Stage is the winner of this year’s Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize

Books and Arts

23 February 2013 9:00 am

Life

High life

High life

Gstaad The Alps are aglow as never before. A record snowfall and an abundance of sun have turned the region…

Low life

Low life

Last week I drove an elderly car-less neighbour to the city hospital to visit her ailing husband. I was glad…

Long life

Long life

I am pleased to report that my eight ducks have survived the great chill, when their pond was frozen over;…

Real life

Real life

The new rabbit is turning into a bit of a slob. The other day I caught her trying to order…

Wild life

Wild life

Rift Valley I am training for a half-marathon on the slopes of Mount Kenya in June and I must prepare…

Bridge

Bridge

Professional bridge players should not need motivating, but the fact is that sometimes it would appear they are sleepwalking and…

Chess

Duchamp/Cage

The Bride and the Bachelors is an impressive exhibition of the work of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and related artists…

Chess puzzle

No. 254

White to play. This position is a variation from Duchamp-Feigins, Folkestone 1933. Can you spot White’s most accurate continuation of…

Competition

Love rules

In Competition No. 2785 you were invited to submit poetic advice on how to woo a member of either sex.…

Crossword

2101: Hewn vaguely

Unclued across lights combine with down ones to form anagrams of four works (one of four words, one of three…

Crossword solution

2098: Song IX

The song was ‘MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY’ (4D/18/13) (Cole Porter). A word for ‘father’ is the centre of four…

Status anxiety

The treasure house of knowledge

I can’t quite believe the number of professional historians who have denounced Michael Gove’s new history curriculum. Richard Evans, for…

Spectator sport

All hail the headmaster

Two down, three to go. The Six Nations reaches the halfway point this weekend and only one team can aim…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. A friend, well known for having a dusty wallet, brought a bottle of champagne to our house. We were…

Food

Tanya Gold reviews Planet Hollywood

It’s Oscar time! I know this because the British media, usually so prudent, has transformed itself into naked advertorial for…

Mind your language

Release

The centenary of George Barker’s birth was mentioned in the Times Literary Supplement recently. His ‘first two books — one…