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The Spectator

Cover_issue_092013

9 February 2013

Sickness in the health service

The Mid Staffs scandal shows that we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to NHS failings

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Previous Issues

The Week

Leading article

The defender of faith

9 February 2013

If the secret of success is to follow failure, then Justin Welby has had the perfect start as Archbishop of Canterbury. He was appointed at a time when the Church… Read more

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Portrait of the week

9 February 2013

Home  The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was given its second reading in the Commons by 400 votes to 175. Of Conservative MPs, 127 voted for it, and 136 against.… Read more

Diary

Diary

Piers Paul Read

9 February 2013

In a recent exchange of emails, my Member of Parliament, Mr Andy Slaughter, told me he intended to vote in favour of same-sex marriage. No doubt by now he has… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

Stoicism at the doctor’s

9 February 2013

It has been proposed that, to deal with certain sorts of emotional problems for which we go to the doctor, we should be given an improving book to read. Quite… Read more

Letters

Letters

9 February 2013

Respect the RSPCA Sir: You ask whether the RSPCA has ‘gone feral’ (‘The RSPCA’s secret war’, 2 February)? The answer is ‘no’. Since its founding, the society has promoted kindness… Read more

Features

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Sickness in the health service

9 February 2013

A former editor of this magazine, Nigel Lawson, once described the NHS as ‘the closest thing the English have to a religion, with those who practise in it regarding themselves… Read more

Key Speakers At The CBI Annual Conference

Cameron’s wrong course

9 February 2013

Never has a government been better at exasperating its own supporters; rarely has a government been so politically inept. The Tories have formidable advantages. Even in the miseries of an… Read more

Falklands War - Returning Soldiers

Lord Bramall’s last stand

9 February 2013

Retreat to your bunkers. Repeat: this is not a drill. Field Marshal Lord Bramall, former chief of the defence staff and veteran of the Normandy landings, has delivered a parting… Read more

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

'Murdoch betrays everyone in the end'

9 February 2013

My guard goes up when people in power say that they believe in investigative journalism. Everybody says they do, of course. Then everyone says they have a sense of humour,… Read more

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"The twins I saw will spend their lives staring at ceilings": Bulgaria's abandoned children

9 February 2013

It was something about the twins that got to me; after seeing so many baby institutions and children’s homes, I had almost grown used to abandoned children in ranks of… Read more

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Atheists vs Dawkins

9 February 2013

Sometimes a perfectly good argument can be stretched too far. I heard the resulting snapping noise last week in Cambridge during a debate with Richard Dawkins. We were meant to… Read more

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Dubai Notebook

9 February 2013

François Hollande rolled into town for the World Future Energy Summit here recently, but hardly anyone noticed. There is little enthusiasm for his thoughts on clean energy deployment. In any case, in Dubai we… Read more

Columnists

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The battle of Eastleigh will be bloody

9 February 2013

This week’s Cabinet meeting was a deceptively straightforward affair. Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers met as usual, and discussed economic competitiveness and their priorities for the next Queen’s speech. It… Read more

Spectators notes

The Spectator’s Notes

9 February 2013

It was rude and impolitic of David Cameron not to sit in on the parliamentary debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The whole thing was his idea and… Read more

Rod Liddle

What makes me feel sorry for Chris Huhne

9 February 2013

If Chris Huhne hadn’t copped off with that woman who looks remarkably like the late comedian Jack Douglas, I suppose we would have been deprived of all the tumultuous glee… Read more

Steerpike

9 February 2013

Stanley Johnson, replete with energy and charming as ever, is touring the country looking for a safe Tory berth to ease himself into at the next election.No takers so far, I’m… Read more

Matthew Parris

A snapshot moment in Old Havana

9 February 2013

The Parque Mátires ’71 is pleasant, nothing special, hardly distinguishable from dozens of other little parks in Old Havana. Fairly safe, reasonably clean, shabby, some tatty greenery and a few… Read more

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Remember the lesson of Shaun of the Dead: some zombies eventually come back to life

9 February 2013

Funny how little phrases go viral. Suddenly everyone’s talking about ‘fasting diets’, ‘zombie companies’ and ‘leadership plots’. As to the first, the idea of the ‘5:2 intermittent fasting diet’, I… Read more

Books

Working at the Old Mill, Snape, December 1946

The music man

9 February 2013

When Humphrey Carpenter published the first major biography of Benjamin Britten in 1992, many of the composer’s associates were still alive and breathing down his neck. Carpenter’s knowledge of the… Read more

Fighter pilots under instruction, June 1943.

Winning the war with wheezers

9 February 2013

The Anfa Hotel in Casablanca has seen better days. Seventy years ago it was the grandest hotel in Morocco, good enough to house Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt when… Read more

Change of heart

9 February 2013

A stomping bestseller is a hard thing to recover from. The author is doomed to see all future works compared and found wanting. Is his new book vivid? Certainly. Funny?… Read more

Alexie: ‘If you want a woman to love you, you have to dance’

Indian giver

9 February 2013

A 465-page volume of short stories by a Native American author — it’s not, perhaps, the kind of thing everyone would automatically reach for, if they hadn’t already heard about… Read more

Love stories

9 February 2013

Unfortunately for the reading public, most of Bernadine Bishop’s working life has been spent as a psychotherapist. Having published a couple of early novels, she put aside her pen, first… Read more

Mono Print

Beautiful and damned

9 February 2013

According to his mother, Neville Heath was ‘prone to be excitable’. He was that all right — and then some. In the space of two weeks in the summer of… Read more

A choice of recent crime novels

9 February 2013

Many novels deal with unhappy families. But happy families are relatively rare, especially in crime fiction, which is one of the many interesting features of Erin Kelly’s third book, The… Read more

Nora-Guthrie-Collection

A hero of folk

9 February 2013

‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ was the ambitious slogan that Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) painted on his guitars. By fascists he meant the entire American capitalist establishment during the Great Depression and… Read more

Arts

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Medieval mystery

9 February 2013

Medieval castles are generally dark and forbidding places that look as if they were built to prove the proposition that ‘form follows function’: the function was to be impregnable, and… Read more

‘Untitled (Quality Street)’, 1943, by Kurt Schwitters

Finding beauty in junk

9 February 2013

Although Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) did not invent the technique or theory of collage, he was one of the greatest practitioners of it, raising it in his work to the level… Read more

From Russia with love

9 February 2013

If you want to know what’s so great about John Cranko’s choreography, look at the opening phrase of the final duet in Onegin (1965). The male dancer encircles the ballerina… Read more

Mumford and Sons

Why can’t the British pop industry launch new acts that last?

9 February 2013

It’s all been happening in the pop world since I was last here. David Bowie released a new song, arguably his best in several decades. Wilko Johnson announced that he… Read more

Making music

9 February 2013

Since the birth of the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Napster in the late 1990s, the record industry has been the unwilling poster child for entire businesses being overthrown by the march… Read more

Sweet-natured nerd: Rowan Atkinson as St John Quartermaine

English eccentrics

9 February 2013

Quartermaine’s Terms is a period piece within a period piece. It’s set in that part of the early 1960s which was still effectively the 1950s. St John Quartermaine, a shy… Read more

La Clemenza di Tito; OPERA NOTH,

Blank canvas

9 February 2013

I approach any production of Mozart’s last opera, La clemenza di Tito, in a state of acute trepidation: it’s not pleasant sitting bored through nearly three hours of one of… Read more

Wasted: Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh in ‘Hitchcock’

What kind of film does ‘Hitchcock’ think it is?

9 February 2013

Hitchcock is one of those films which would have been much better off if it had taken a moment to sit down and decide on its own sensibility. Before a… Read more

Howard Goodall's Story of Music

Old school joy

9 February 2013

Let’s not beat about the bush: Howard Goodall’s Story of Music (BBC2, Saturday) is landmark television, a documentary series that deserves to rank with such unimpeachable classics as Kenneth Clark’s… Read more

The sex test

9 February 2013

‘We hear women’s voices differently from men’s,’ concluded Anne Karpf at the end of her search back through the radio archives to seek out the first women newsreaders on the… Read more

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Hall of mirrors

9 February 2013

At first glance, Holy Motors is all about one astonishing performance — or several, depending on how you look at it. The performance in question is by Denis Lavant, who… Read more

Life

High life

High life

High life

9 February 2013

Gstaad  Sir Roger Moore told the Sunday Telegraph that he enjoys the slow pace of life in Switzerland. As do I. One cannot have too much of a snowy peak… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

9 February 2013

I’ve been to Mali. Oh, yes. We went overland from the east, 23 of us in the back of a Bedford truck, via the Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger. And… Read more

Real life

Real life

Real life

9 February 2013

Throwing oneself at the feet of the transport secretary at a posh lunch is not a dignified thing to do. I realise that. But since my parents found out that… Read more

Long life

Long life

Long life

9 February 2013

This is a big week for gays on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time you read this, the House of Commons will have voted to permit gay marriage,… Read more

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Bridge

9 February 2013

Max, my adorable son-in-law, knew early on he was not cut out for a life of academia. Nevertheless he fearlessly sat an A-level, after which, exhausted, he went on holiday.… Read more

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Chess

Rock solid

9 February 2013

The Gibraltar Masters, where I was last week, has been won by a quartet consisting of Vitiugov, Short, Sandipan and Vachier Lagrave. In the final knockout to determine who would… Read more

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Chess puzzle

No. 252

9 February 2013

White to play. This position is from Adams-Ehlvest, Gibraltar 2013. White’s next essentially destroyed the black position. What was it? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 12 February… Read more

Investigation

Competition

Short story

9 February 2013

In Competition No. 2783 you were invited to submit a short story entitled ‘Death of a Ladies’ Man’. The title — shared by an unadmired, Phil Spector-produced album by Leonard… Read more

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Crossword

2099: Lover’s Knot

9 February 2013

The unclued lights are presented in the form of the Lover’s Knots below. Each ‘Knot’ can be unravelled into two words which are connected only for the purposes of this… Read more

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Crossword solution

2096: new world symphony

9 February 2013

The unclued lights are six US composers, at 4 and 24,  and the pairs at 9/11, 21A/32, 25/16 and 35/3. First prize Jed Brignal, Nottingham Runners-up Alan Hook, York; Lewis… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Taking on cattle raiders with a Macbook Pro

9 February 2013

One of my reasons for coming to Kenya was to visit Tango Maus, the farm of Spectator ‘Wild life’ columnist Aidan Hartley. I’ve read so much about this mystical place… Read more

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Spectator sport

Spectator sport

A classic weekend at the Six Nations

9 February 2013

Has there ever been a more wondrous start to a tournament than the first weekend of this term’s Six Nations? In any sport for that matter. England playing like the… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

9 February 2013

Q. I understand that a free version of Eton will be opening in a village near Windsor next year. One of my boys is already at School, but for financial… Read more

Food

Food

Tanya Gold reviews Maxim’s, Paris

9 February 2013

Maxim’s! The very name is drool from Maurice Chevalier’s lips, as he perved around Gigi and sang, ‘Thank heaven for little girls/ And hebephilia generally.’ Myths sprout up around Maxim’s,… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Vulnerable

9 February 2013

‘I’m a vulnerable adult,’ said my husband when I asked him why he was shouting the other morning. He had spilt some water from the hot kettle on his slippered… Read more