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The Spectator

Cover_230213_issue

23 February 2013

At war in Eastleigh

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

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Previous Issues

The Week

Leading article

Taxes, taxes, everywhere

23 February 2013

What have obesity, misbehaving banks, unaffordable London housing and farting cows all got in common? They are all problems which, according to various campaigners over the past week or so,… Read more

Portrait23

Portrait of the week

23 February 2013

Home Unemployment fell by 14,000 between August and November to 2.5 million, with the number in work rising by 154,000 to 29.7 million, meaning that 580,000 more people were in… Read more

Diary

Diary

Justin Webb

23 February 2013

Waiting for a match to begin at the gloriously situated Recreation Ground — home of Bath Rugby — I take a moment from shouting ‘Come on you Bath’ at the… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

Hacks vs spads

23 February 2013

A senior civil servant in the Department of Education, having lost a case for ‘bullying’ brought against its special advisers, took her grievance to a tribunal and was promptly awarded… Read more

Letters

Letters

23 February 2013

Benedictions Sir: John O’Sullivan’s summary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘extraordinary contribution’ to Catholic thought was masterful (‘Benedict’s reformation’, 16 February) — and how interesting that the Pontiff’s writings and speeches… Read more

Any-Other-Business

Barometer

23 February 2013

Dyeing and dying A teacher in Harrow complained to his MP that he had been banned from marking pupils’ work in red ink in case it upset them. Some origins… Read more

Features

Eastleigh

Have the Tories lost Eastleigh?

23 February 2013

Monday morning. Grant Shapps, the enthusiastic Tory party chairman, is sitting in a people-carrier, putting the final touches to a scathing press release attacking his Cabinet colleague, the Deputy Prime… Read more

Eastleigh by-election

How Eastleigh will show Labour is working

23 February 2013

Politics offers few greater pleasures than watching a by-election candidate self-immolate. Not a day goes by without Maria Hutchings, the Conservative party’s prospective MP for Eastleigh (so plainly hating the… Read more

BELGIUM-POLITICS-FINANCE-EU-BUDGET-SUMMIT

David Cameron's sex problem

23 February 2013

This week David Cameron lectured a business audience in India on how far Britain has yet to go in getting women into the boardroom. ‘My wife likes to say,’ he… Read more

Good_life

Richard Briers, Thatcherite hero

23 February 2013

Of course there was far more to Richard Briers’s career than a single sitcom. Briers, who died this week aged 79, was an all-rounder, acting in countless films and plays,… Read more

BruceAnderson

Laws, laws everywhere and not a drop of common sense

23 February 2013

It might sound like an Ealing comedy. But it is not funny. It illustrates the fact that law-making in Britain has lost all contact with common sense. The town of… Read more

Royal Sussex County Hospital, UK

Free riding foreigners: the next NHS scandal

23 February 2013

A fundamental and enduring principle of the NHS is that it is ‘free at the point of use’. All major political parties subscribe to this mantra and none dare challenge… Read more

DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID

Pining for the Brecon Beacons

23 February 2013

Pommies, in Australia, are famous for what the Aussies call ‘whinging’. Whether this is born of character or homesickness is debatable but, in the past, I have gone out of… Read more

p33seesaw

Investment: Will bonds crash as shares rise?

23 February 2013

Tim Price: In a normal market, maybe. But not in this one UK base rate squats at 0.5 per cent, its lowest level in history — or since the formation of… Read more

marakech

'Morocco is a diabetic's nightmare'

23 February 2013

Fleeing streets of slush, we touch down in a north African spring, where we are driven through the desert scrub outside Marrakech, passing dusty ochre expanses filled with old plastic… Read more

p62tangier

Travel: Notes from a boom town

23 February 2013

Why hasn’t Morocco had an Arab Spring? On the one hand, history; on the other, the vision of the present king, Mohammed VI. Throughout the colonial era, when France and… Read more

Columnists

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

23 February 2013

People are quite often pilloried for saying the opposite of what they actually said. I have read Hilary Mantel’s London Review of Books lecture, and she is quite clearly not… Read more

Rod Liddle

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

23 February 2013

I got a text message the other day, inviting me to a party. This is a nice thing to happen, and not an everyday event. I have become used to… Read more

Steerpike

23 February 2013

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

Matthew Parris

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

23 February 2013

Showering the other day, I noticed a visitor had left his shampoo behind. Going through the familiar ablutions I stared glassily, half-focused on the immediate foreground, in the way you… Read more

Vander-Weyer-NEW

Privatisation is the only solution for Royal Mail

23 February 2013

We have had a very high failure rate in deliveries of the catalogues for Emily Patrick’s exhibition,’ says an email from the painter’s husband. ‘Over 50 per cent have been… Read more

Books

calcutta-2

Oh, Calcutta!

23 February 2013

The Chandan Hotel is not a bit like the Exotic Marigold Hotel. It occupies, not a rambling rundown mansion, but a piece of pavement, about six feet by six feet,… Read more

Destroying angel in the ether

23 February 2013

A few years ago, James Lasdun wrote The Horned Man, a novel about Laurence Miller, an English lecturer in an American college who descends into paranoia. At first, he thinks… Read more

Portrait of Thomas Day by Joseph Wright

Male-order bride

23 February 2013

If you want to learn how to create the perfect wife, you should not read this book. You should make an emergency appointment with reality and remain under self-imposed house… Read more

The boys’ brigade

23 February 2013

British schoolboys doubtless have quite different fantasies nowadays, but for much of the last century most of them liked to imagine themselves leading their friends in guerrilla warfare against the… Read more

A selection of postcards advertising various places and products dating from 1900-1930

Wish you were here

23 February 2013

It’s just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 60p first-class stamp has finally done for the postcard as a useful or desirable means of communication. Receiving one… Read more

Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge, East Sussex, was restored by Lord Curzon,  
who considered it too ‘rare a treasure to be lost to our country or desecrated by irreverent hands’

An enduring romance

23 February 2013

In the Pevsner volume on Sussex, the otherwise sane topographer Ian Nairn, harrumphed of Arundel ‘that anybody, duke or banker, could as late as 1890 have embarked on the pretty… Read more

Be careful what you wish for

23 February 2013

Are things getting better? In some ways, undeniably. Progress is not altogether a fiction, or ‘modern myth’ in John Gray’s terminology, if we focus on such ultimately important ideas as… Read more

Arts

Benjamin Britten could dish out criticism but even as a mature adult he had a thin skin

The dark side of Benjamin Britten

23 February 2013

We are only two months into the Britten centenary year and already books, articles and talks (and, of course, performances) swell the flood of existing biographical studies and the six… Read more

David Dawson, The Vortex

Sheer torture

23 February 2013

Ever been to a ‘promenade performance’? Barmy, really. The audience is conducted through a makeshift theatre space — often a disused ironworks — where the show is performed in disjointed… Read more

Moving heaven and earth

23 February 2013

Although I’ve some doubt — and this would be applauded by Galileo — whether in everyday life it matters very much to know whether the sun goes round the earth… Read more

Classic image: ‘Ithell Colquhoun’, 1932, by Man Ray

In the thick of it

23 February 2013

Man Ray, born Michael Emmanuel Radnitzky (1890–1976) in Philadelphia, was a maker of images par excellence. He made sculptures, paintings and photographs, but the medium was always secondary to the… Read more

Mixed blessings

23 February 2013

Last week, Sergei Polunin’s powerful entrance in Marguerite and Armand was saluted with a wave of electrically charged silence: not a cough, not a sound, all eyes glued to the… Read more

Pamela Helen Stephen as Dido and Philip Rhodes as Aeneas

Spurned women

23 February 2013

I saw three operas this week, all centrally concerned with spurned women. That’s not surprising, given the general subject matter of the art form, but it sometimes makes me wonder… Read more

Going nowhere: Tom Hanks (Zachry) and Halle Berry (Meronym) in ‘Cloud Atlas’

Only disconnect

23 February 2013

Cloud Atlas is part-sci-fi, part-thriller, part-romance, part-comedy, part-action flick, part-this, part-that and it all adds up to? A whole lot of not very much. Based on David Mitchell’s novel, this… Read more

One of the greatest: library at the Monastry of Montserrat, Barcelona

New word order

23 February 2013

‘Don’t be evil.’ Google’s unofficial motto. ‘Evil men don’t get up in the morning saying, “I’m going to do evil.” They say, “I’m going to make the world a better… Read more

HB2001-001

Is radio succumbing to the greed of the internet?

23 February 2013

‘Young people under 16 don’t want to listen to the radio unless there’s a picture to look at,’ said Annie Nightingale on the Today programme. It was Saturday morning and… Read more

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The cult horror of The Room

23 February 2013

The Room is an awful film. Plot lines are picked up and forgotten in seconds, stock footage is repeated continuously, actors and names change without explanation, doors are never closed… Read more

Life

High life

High life

High life

23 February 2013

Gstaad The Alps are aglow as never before. A record snowfall and an abundance of sun have turned the region into a postcard of long ago. From afar, that is.… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

23 February 2013

Last week I drove an elderly car-less neighbour to the city hospital to visit her ailing husband. I was glad to oblige because I hadn’t visited a city for a… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life

23 February 2013

I am pleased to report that my eight ducks have survived the great chill, when their pond was frozen over; for during all that time no fox ever ventured across… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life

23 February 2013

The new rabbit is turning into a bit of a slob. The other day I caught her trying to order a takeaway. I had opened the rabbit enclosure to let… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

Wild life

23 February 2013

Rift Valley I am training for a half-marathon on the slopes of Mount Kenya in June and I must prepare myself for failure. I may not even make it to… Read more

Bridge_230213

Bridge

23 February 2013

Professional bridge players should not need motivating, but the fact is that sometimes it would appear they are sleepwalking and need a veritable kick up the backside. Our latest Gold… Read more

Chess-Column2013aaaa

Chess

Duchamp/Cage

23 February 2013

The Bride and the Bachelors is an impressive exhibition of the work of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and related artists which is on at London’s Barbican Centre until 9 June.… Read more

Chess-Puzzle2013

Chess puzzle

No. 254

23 February 2013

White to play. This position is a variation from Duchamp-Feigins, Folkestone 1933. Can you spot White’s most accurate continuation of the attack? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday… Read more

Investigation

Competition

Love rules

23 February 2013

In Competition No. 2785 you were invited to submit poetic advice on how to woo a member of either sex. What better instructor can there be than Ovid, whose Ars… Read more

Crossword-Puzzle2013

Crossword

2101: Hewn vaguely

23 February 2013

Unclued across lights combine with down ones to form anagrams of four works (one of four words, one of three and two of two) from the same nd. Elsewhere, ignore… Read more

Crossword-solution

Crossword solution

2098: Song IX

23 February 2013

The song was ‘MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY’ (4D/18/13) (Cole Porter). A word for ‘father’ is the centre of four unclued lights: E[POP]T (1A), MIS[GOV]ERN (4A), SU[PERE]GO (22) and SKE[DAD]DLE… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

The treasure house of knowledge

23 February 2013

I can’t quite believe the number of professional historians who have denounced Michael Gove’s new history curriculum. Richard Evans, for instance, the Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge. Scarcely… Read more

dave
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

All hail the headmaster

23 February 2013

Two down, three to go. The Six Nations reaches the halfway point this weekend and only one team can aim for the Grand Slam and Triple Crown. The championship is… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

23 February 2013

Q. A friend, well known for having a dusty wallet, brought a bottle of champagne to our house. We were pleasantly surprised but, though it looked exactly like a real… Read more

Food

Food

Tanya Gold reviews Planet Hollywood

23 February 2013

It’s Oscar time! I know this because the British media, usually so prudent, has transformed itself into naked advertorial for films that usually — not always — tell America the… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Release

23 February 2013

The centenary of George Barker’s birth was mentioned in the Times Literary Supplement recently. His ‘first two books — one of verse, the other prose — were released in 1933’.… Read more