The Spectator

25 April 2015

‘I have worked my socks off’

An interview with David Cameron



David Cameron: 'I always manage to portray a calm smoothness or something'

Exclusive interview: David Cameron on what his government has achieved, and what it will take for him to get another one


A 1992 election-day lunch with the young David Cameron

He was already clearly destined for the top — and in no doubt who would win that day


Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, and the trouble with special prosecutors

Libby’s conviction looks ever shakier – and the system that produced it ever more worrying


The students tearing down Cecil Rhodes’s statue are still upholding his legacy

They complain that the university is too ‘Eurocentric’ – but they show no signs of wanting to make any actual changes


The DUP’s Nigel Dodds may soon be propping up the Tories. What does he want?

The Orangeman with the First in law from Cambridge has found himself suddenly popular with Commons colleagues


Why American psychoanalysts are an endangered species

Drugs, yoga, CBT and busy lives are occupying the space once reserved for the shrink’s couch


Whose hair are you buying?

Britain buys £43 million worth of human hair a year. But it’s dismayingly hard to find out who it comes from


‘About time too!’: Joan Collins curtseys to Prince Charles

Parties, hats and dancing around handbags – everything you need to know about becoming a dame

A portrait of Raymond Carr as Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, by his son Matthew


An education to know: remembering Raymond Carr

Laughter, bird-watching, jazz and unmatched erudition

A serious business

Notes on...

A wine pro finds himself out of his depth at the Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match

They thought it would be fun to let a team of journalists compete against the students from Oxford and Cambridge. We didn’t know what we’d be facing…

The Week

Leading article

Cameron is the only leader who can deliver an EU referendum. Why is he ashamed to say so?

Labour’s position on an EU referendum is indefensible. Ed Miliband should be made to defend it

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home The prospect of a parliamentary alliance between Labour and the Scottish National Party injected an element of fear into…


Justin Marozzi’s diary: Lunch with Saddam’s hangman, and a democratic revolution in Kensington

Plus: Why it’s wrong to call Daesh Islamic State; and the deeper meaning of Norwich


What happens to politicians who insult the audience? Ask Dan Quayle

Plus: Scotland’s budget deficit, high pay at charities and the facts about postal votes

Ancient and modern

Plutarch and Aristotle vs Lynton Crosby

The Tory campaign chief has two big ideas. The ancients wouldn’t have liked either

From The Archives

Florence weeps

From ‘Soldiers of Italy’, The Spectator, 24 April 1915: It is winter in Florence. The sun shines, but snow lies low on Monte…


Spectator letters: England’s defining myth, and another forgotten genocide

Plus: Airline pilots answer back, David Starkey and his teeth, and a telling off from a tailor


Rod Liddle

Gunboats are the humanitarian answer to Libya's refugee crisis

There are two ways to solve this migrant crisis. Either we must let them all in, or we must stop them from attempting the journey

James Delingpole

It really must be a mid-life crisis. I’ve fallen in love with a pony

Riding a hunter is all very well. But Potato the polo pony makes me feel like Alexander the Great

Any other business

Why so many bankers secretly like Labour’s non-dom proposal

Plus: In praise of the well-upholstered director; and the wisdom of the Irish


Dublin’s docks were shelled from the Liffey by the British admiralty gunboat, the Helga, during the Easter Rising

Lead book review

Pitfalls on the road to the Rising

It will be a travesty if the Easter Rising is commemorated with jolly fancy-dress parades and hagiographies of dead heroes, says Roy Foster

St George as depicted in The Golden Legend


St George: patron saint of England, patronised by all

Not much is known about St George, says Christopher Howse, reviewing Samantha Riches’s biography, except that he had many lookalikes (including Islamic) — and his dragon was a bit of an afterthought


What did Steve Davis do to succeed at snooker? Everything his dad told him

Steve Davis was so boring Spitting Image nicknamed him Interesting — giving him the title for his third autobiography to date

Fatal attraction: a four-year-old picks her favourite handgun at the NRA’s annual meeting in Milwaukee, 2006


Americans and their gun culture: attached at the hip

Americans have an almost mystical belief that guns are synonymous with freedom, says Michael Moorcock, reviewing Gun Baby Gun. Every time there’s a call for stricter arms control, the sales of guns rocket


Monopoly is fascinating – as long as you don’t try to play it

I lose the will to live if forced to play Monopoly. But the story of the game’s invention, as related in Mary Pillon’s The Monopolists — now there’s a thing...

Bigger mouths and longer legs—all the better to bite you with, and run away


Bigger, better bedbugs bite back with a vengeance

However hard we try to eradicate bedbugs, they constantly outwit us, according to Brooke Borel’s Infested — and from Horace to Henry Miller they infest literature too


Social comedy Peruvian-style

Two innocent men face kidnapping, death threats and haunting by the devil — and The Discreet Hero is Llosa-lite — a mere jeu d’esprit


Brothels, hashish, a poisonous scorpion, a cursed necklace: all excuses for macho antics in the Valley of the Kings

Gore Vidal’s deservedly forgotten pulp thriller, now resurrected after 60 years, is so bad it’s good


Working is good for you — even if it’s unpaid, in a charity shop — or writing book reviews for The Spectator

You don’t want to end up like those sour-faced children of the idle rich who invariably go to the bad, says Julie Burchill, reviewing All Day Long, by Joanna Biggs

Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell


There’s something about Mary (Wollstonecraft and Shelley)

If only Charlotte Gordon's Romantic Outlaws would let Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley speak for themselves


Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark: pen friends, not true friends

The 34-year correspondence between Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark was a substitute for a friendship that didn’t happen, says Duncan Fallowell, reviewing My Dear BB, edited by Robert Cumming


Carl Jung meets David Icke (and writes a book of bonkers business-speak)

Move Up is a torrent of random words arranged into perfectly focused falsehood


‘I find my comfort zone in the wilderness’: Barbara Hannigan

Arts feature

Classical music doesn't need to change. It just needs more performers like Barbara Hannigan

The celebrated conductor/soprano talks to Philip Clark about her forthcoming tour with the Britten Sinfonia and how atonal music is like a deep tissue massage

Il Turco in Italia (Photo: Tristram Kenton)


Il turco in Italia, Royal Opera House, reviewed: bring sunglasses

Plus: a Classical Opera revival of J.C. Bach’s Adriano in Siria that’s entertaining, absorbing and much more than a scholar’s pet

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine
Vadim Muntagirov and Laura Morera in ‘La Fille mal gardée’


La Fille mal gardee at the Royal Opera House reviewed: light, lithe and tender

Plus: Kirov goddess Diana Vishneva shows what happens when Russian ballerinas disappear up their own mythology

Back to black: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow


Avengers: Age of Ultron reviewed - confusing, undramatic, repetitive and loud

But the set pieces are impressive - if that’s what impresses you


Measure for Measure at the Barbican reviewed: a charity show for homesick non-doms

Plus: the Royal Court’s adaptation of The Twits doesn’t belong on stage but Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London offers an illuminating slice of history


W1A reviewed: so pitch-perfect as to be profoundly depressing

Plus: did Top of the Pops realise how weird it was?


‘Ratings aren’t a pressure for me,’ says the new controller of Radio Three

Plus: Private Passions celebrates its 20th birthday and did Simon Armitage’s new play The Raft of the Medusa need an online visual accompaniment?

The Heckler

The Heckler: Curators were once donnish scholars. Now they’re hip illiterates

Jonathan Meades sees today’s growing curatocracy as a ‘conspiracy against the laity’


High life

Neither London nor New York will be livable in ten years’ time

The solution? Move to Vienna or Warsaw or Krakow

Real life

Maybe it is time to hang up my fighting boots

But then who will fight on behalf of all those normal people who don’t get off on arguing like I do?

Long life

The birth of a royal baby is hardly an exciting event

Two occasions to remind us how lucky we are to have a proper royal family



Congratulations to the Welsh women’s team, who staged one of the most spectacular comebacks I’ve ever seen at last weekend’s…


So there

Hikaru Nakamura has won the US Championship in convincing style with 8/11, ahead of Ray Robson and Wesley So. Things…

Chess puzzle

No. 359

Black to play. This position is a variation from Troff-Nakamura, US Championship 2015. How can Black conclude his kingside attack…


Verses on horses

In Competition No. 2894 you were invited to submit a paean to a famous racehorse. Thanks to David Pearn, who…


2208: Mort

Two words form the name of a fictional 28, described by his creator as a ‘22A/31/26’. Remaining across unclued lights…

Crossword solution

To 2205: In shape

Unclued lights were set out in the form of two squares in the grid (shown here in red). The theme…

Status anxiety

Fatherhood is killing me

If you’ve over 40, dignity goes out the window the moment your first child arrives. But that’s not the real problem…

The Wiki Man

Sod hard-working families: let’s have a four-day week

People are often more productive when they work fewer hours


The greatest wine I’ve ever drunk

One would need Wagner to orchestrate the fanfare of trumpets it deserved

Mind your language

Does the English language need a Norwegian lesson?

On the evidence presented by Kenneth Haug, probably not