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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

Liverpool The payday loan shop in Breck Road erupts from its grey surroundings. Everything is painted yellow, black and red — colours that in the natural world mean ‘do not… Read more

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Who speaks for the world?

21 May 2011

In the field of public diplomacy, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has become a mouse that roars. According to Hillary Clinton, the Emir of Qatar’s television network, Al Jazeera,… Read more

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Our friend in the north

21 May 2011

The last surviving leader of Norway’s anti-Nazi resistance Oslo Even in the glare of a crisp spring day the execution ground at Akershus Fortress is a chilling place. Snow still… Read more

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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 ‘Greener food and greener fuel’ is the promise of Ensus, a firm… Read more

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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… Read more

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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. It was… Read more

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Obama’s war

21 May 2011

One of the first things David Cameron will tell Barack Obama when they meet during the American President’s state visit to Britain next week is that hundreds of British soldiers… Read more

Welcome to the jungle

21 May 2011

Shortly after I began my working life, on the edge of the Westminster jungle, I landed a job with a political ‘big beast’; an alpha male, in very much the… Read more

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 When I was young I knew a man whose opening gambit with any pretty girl… Read more

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Anything but gilts

21 May 2011

In search of the next ‘trade of the decade’ Imagine you were sitting in St Paul’s at the 1981 royal wedding, waiting for the mismatched bridal couple to arrive and… Read more

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Nature’s risks and rewards

21 May 2011

A beginner’s guide to investing in commodities The arrival on the London Stock Exchange of the Swiss-based mining and commodities behemoth Glencore, valued at £40 billion, has provided a rare… Read more

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: Grey rights

21 May 2011

Like sinister Siamese twins, the words ‘pension’ and ‘scandal’ seem to have become joined at the hip. So perhaps it is no surprise that some very good news — perhaps… Read more

INVESTMENT SPECIAL: The trend is your friend

21 May 2011

In the 1983 comedy Trading Places, two unscrupulous commodity brokers wagered that they could take a vagrant off the street and turn him into a successful trader. The film was… Read more

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’. I’ve always wondered about the strike-rate of men who, in that fine… Read more

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… Read more

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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… Read more

Books

The nature of evil

21 May 2011

Simon Baron-Cohen has spent 30 years researching the way our brains work. His study of autism led to The Essential Difference, which asked, ‘Are you an empathiser or a systemiser?’… Read more

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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… Read more

How do we get to Denmark?

21 May 2011

Francis Fukuyama is rare amongst scholars in being unafraid to ask large questions. He first achieved fame, if not notoriety, by his thesis that, with the collapse of communism, we… Read more

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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,… Read more

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… Read more

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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 Some writers die years before bodily demise. They lose their grip. In… Read more

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… Read more

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. The first programmes were: Envy of the World!!!, in… Read more

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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?… Read more

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… Read more

Incomparable Verdi

21 May 2011

Call me biased, but I believe that my illustrious compatriot Giuseppe Verdi composed ballet music like no one else. It is a pity he never felt like penning a full… Read more

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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… Read more

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… Read more

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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. He presents a vigorously compact figure,… Read more

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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… Read more

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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,… Read more

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Never say goodbye

21 May 2011

Michael Henderson considers the perennial appeal of Bob Dylan Bob Dylan turns 70 next week, and from Duluth to Derby they will blow out the candles. The Minnesotan troubadour, who… Read more

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… Read more

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

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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

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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