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The Spectator

May 21, 2011

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Previous Issues

The Week

Letters

Letters

21 May 2011

The full Scottish Sir: Iain Martin (‘How to save the Union’, 14 May) has an excellent appreciation of the issues, bar one: what Scotland seeks is a return to statehood… Read more

A&M

Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: Philosophy rules

21 May 2011

Most universities have decided to pitch their fees at the maximum allowable of £9,000 a year. One hopes this is one part of a Cunning Plan to ensure that Plato’s… Read more

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Barometer

21 May 2011

Royal reception — The first visit to Ireland by a British monarch in 100 years has focused attention on the last, by George V on his coronation tour in July… Read more

Portrait of the week

21 May 2011

Home Police decided to investigate an allegation that Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, had persuaded someone else to take penalty points for speeding that he should have incurred. In parliament,… Read more

Leading article

Lead article: Charity, not waste

21 May 2011

The British are a generous people. We donate more to humanitarian causes than anyone else in Europe, and by some margin. The average Brit gives twice as much as a… Read more

Features

Never-never land

21 May 2011

A city of debt culture

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Who speaks for the world?

21 May 2011

We are letting Al Jazeera usurp the international role of the BBC

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Our friend in the north

21 May 2011

The last surviving leader of Norway’s anti-Nazi resistance

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A green dark age

21 May 2011

The government’s new emissions target will despoil the countryside, rob the poor – and enrich landowners like me

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Hell hath no fury like a public-spirited ex-wife

21 May 2011

I think we’re all very relieved that Vicky Pryce, the estranged wife of the Cabinet minister Chris Huhne, is not motivated by revenge in writing a book about her ex-husband and dobbing him in to the police.

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IRELAND NOTEBOOK

21 May 2011

You could not mistake the atmosphere in Dublin this week: the state visit of the Queen and Prince Philip has had the full panoply of a historic occasion.

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Obama’s war

21 May 2011

Cameron wants shot of Afghanistan

Welcome to the jungle

21 May 2011

It's not just French politicians, Westminster is full of priapic predators too

Columnists

Vander-Weyer-NEW

Any other business

21 May 2011

Another tale of the Great Seducer and my tip for the woman to succeed him

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Anything but gilts

21 May 2011

In search of the next ‘trade of the decade’

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Nature’s risks and rewards

21 May 2011

A beginner’s guide to investing in commodities

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Grey rights

21 May 2011

Pensioners are at last to be treated like adults

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: The trend is your friend

21 May 2011

The lessons taught by Wall Street genius Jesse Livermore

Hugo Rifkind

Why are men now so despised? I blame Hugh Grant

21 May 2011

I’ve always wondered about the strike-rate of men who, in that fine media phrase, ‘aren’t safe in taxis’.

Matthew Parris

The pathology of the politician

21 May 2011

Politicians are not normal people. They are weird. It isn’t politics that has made them weird: it’s their weirdness that has impelled them into politics. Whenever another high-profile minister teeters or falls, the mistake everyone makes is to ask what it is about the nature of their job, the environment they work in and the hours they work, that has made them take such stupid risks. This is the wrong question. We should ask a different one: what is it about these men and women that has attracted them to politics?

James_Forsyth-80x98

Politics: Cameron in chains

21 May 2011

When Conservative leaders come to address the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, they are required to stand outside Committee Room 14 of the House of Commons until the rest of the agenda is completed.

Books

The nature of evil

21 May 2011

Simon Baron-Cohen has spent 30 years researching the way our brains work.

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Ransacking the world

21 May 2011

Something in the air is arousing an interest in collectors and collections — both private and public — of which the success of The Hare with Amber Eyes and The Children’s Book are perhaps the most visible recent examples.

How do we get to Denmark?

21 May 2011

Francis Fukuyama is rare amongst scholars in being unafraid to ask large questions.

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Dreaming of cowsheds

21 May 2011

In 1999, Adam Nicolson published a very good book called Perch Hill: A New Life, about his escape from London and a break-down, after his divorce and a nasty mugging, to a farm in the Sussex Weald, close to Kipling’s house, Batemans.

A conflict of loyalty

21 May 2011

What was life like in Hitler’s Germany? This question has long fascinated authors and readers alike, as books like Alone in Berlin, The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief bear witness.

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The way to dusty death

21 May 2011

Beryl Bainbridge’s last novel is a haunting echo of her own final years, according to A. N. Wilson

Bookends: The voice of the lobster

21 May 2011

In existence for over 250 millions years, lobsters come in two distinct varieties, ‘clawed and clawless’. Human predators tend to the flawed and clueless as they overfish and — since lobsters must be cooked live — kill them heartlessly.

Arts

Big Brother Beeb

21 May 2011

For the past few weeks, unnoticed by all but the most sharp-eyed critics, BBC1 has been running a Celebrate Communitarianism season.

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Object lesson

21 May 2011

What are we supposed to make of those odd pictures of Osama bin Laden sitting crouched in a dingy, undecorated concrete room watching something blurred on a small TV screen? Is this really the face of jihadist evil? These were the questions behind this week’s provoking 15-minute drama in the From Fact to Fiction slot on Saturday (Radio 4).

Crowded house

21 May 2011

In ‘Poetry of Departures’, in which Philip Larkin imagines escaping his existence as a librarian for a life of wild daring and adventure, he writes: We all hate home
And having to be there;
I detest my room,
It’s specially-chosen junk,
the good books, the good bed.

Incomparable Verdi

21 May 2011

Call me biased, but I believe that my illustrious compatriot Giuseppe Verdi composed ballet music like no one else.

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Guilt trip

21 May 2011

Win Win is a comedy-drama that is warm-hearted and compassionate and enjoyable without, alas, being especially remarkable or original, which is a bit of a blow but I think you’ll get over it, with bed rest and time.

Spark of the divine

21 May 2011

With its new production of Janácek’s last and in some ways most intractable opera, From the House of the Dead, Opera North shows once more that it is the most intelligently adventurous company in the UK, using its money where it is most needed: not on elaborate and perverse staging, but on high-class soloists and a small but excellent chorus, and an orchestra that can rival any in the country.

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Wit of a hunter-gatherer

21 May 2011

Over the years Chris Beetles must have made the pencil-wielding fingers of Quentin Blake and Ronald Searle itch with a desire to draw him.

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Family at war

21 May 2011

Edward Albee doesn’t like the word ‘revival’. His plays aren’t dead, he says, just lurking. His 1966 drama A Delicate Balance has been coaxed back into the limelight by James Macdonald in a sumptuous new version starring Penelope Wilton and Imelda Staunton.

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All things bright and beautiful

21 May 2011

Beauty is generally considered old-fashioned by the young and not-so-young bloods of contemporary culture, so an exhibition appealing unashamedly to the aesthetically refined will not seduce the practitioners of sensationalism, bad taste and ever more self-indulgent and feeble art.

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Never say goodbye

21 May 2011

Michael Henderson considers the perennial appeal of Bob Dylan

Read all about it

21 May 2011

As newspapers are consulted increasingly on screen, and newsprint is all set to become a thing of the past, artists are turning their attention to this endangered medium. The Irish Expressionist painter Michael Kane (born 1935) has produced a provocative series of 100 paintings in ink, acrylic paint and collage, done on newsprint magazine pages taken mostly from the Irish Times (see above).

Life

Diversions

Bridge

21 May 2011

Diversions

Chess

21 May 2011

Diversions

Crossword

21 May 2011

Diversions

Competition

21 May 2011

Lucy Vickery presents this week’s Competition In Competition No. 2696 you were invited to submit a dialogue in verse between two body parts, composed on the occasion of a hangover.… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

21 May 2011

Q. May I pass on a tip to readers? Three of my sons are revising for exams at the moment, all in the face of the usual sorts of distractions… Read more

Rory_Sutherland

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Shopping for a self-image

21 May 2011

Judging by the television channels in international hotels, Europeans must think Anglo-Saxons are the most boring people in the world. While Italian, French or German stations show a mixture of… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Status Anxiety: Held captive by Captain Kidd

21 May 2011

I think I may soon have enough material for another comic memoir, this one charting my increasingly accident-prone career as a political campaigner. I’m not talking about setting up the… Read more

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Motoring

Motoring: Company man

21 May 2011

There recently left these shores a benign and fecund angel of the automotive realm, Dr Franz Josef Paefgen, retiring chairman and CEO of Bentley. Benign because he was unfailingly polite… Read more

Low life

Low life

Low life

21 May 2011

‘Come on, man, wake up! What are you doing lying here like this, dressed like this?’ He was a young black man, confident, street-wise, and he sounded let-down, disappointed. I… Read more

High life

High life

High life

21 May 2011

Orlando A neutron bomb hit this place just as I got off the aeroplane, killing all humans but leaving the buildings standing. It was a horrid, unpardonable crime, and for… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Mind your language

21 May 2011

‘Where seldom is heardsworth a discouraging Wordsworth, / And the skies are not cloudy all day,’ sang my husband in the manner, he thought, of Cary Grant in Mr Blandings… Read more