The Spectator


20 September 2014

The Union is saved – but at what cost?

The Nos have it, but Britain has been left a divided country. How did our politicians get the referendum battle so wrong?

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Previous Issues


Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty

The fatal mistakes of Sweden's David Cameron

20 September 2014

Here's what he should teach the British one


The Union is saved – but at what cost?

The Nos have it, but Britain has been left a divided country. How did our politicians get the referendum battle so wrong?

Photo: Getty

To catch a killer

20 September 2014

Politicians’ promises to bring those who murder British hostages to justice almost never come true


The wonder of learning to fly

20 September 2014

Nothing beats taking to the air when you’re piloting the plane yourself


Women on Facebook are too bitchy even for me

20 September 2014

I love my Facebook friends. They make me feel young again. But the fighting is preposterous

Photo: Mary Turner/Getty

Conservative Anglicans’ emergency plan to escape women bishops

20 September 2014

The Anglican Mission in England looks like a support group. But if required, it could turn into rather more than that


Henry Kissinger interview: ‘I don’t see the wisdom there once was’

20 September 2014

The former US Secretary of State, now 91, on statesmanship from Richelieu to Obama

Deal: a zoo of domestic architectural styles

Drunkenness, theft, fighting and smuggling: the indiscreet charm of Deal

20 September 2014

It's not as rough as it was in Daniel Defoe's day, but it remains a town for people who won't be told what to do

The Week


Leading article

Alex Salmond's success is just a symptom of our age of rage

20 September 2014

Across Europe, populist anti-politics has gone from being a novelty to knocking on the doors of power


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home People living in Scotland voted in a referendum that asked: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ A great deal of ill feeling had been generated as the referendum campaign… Read more



Mark Amory's diary: Confessions of a literary editor

20 September 2014

Most editors had at least one person they couldn't bear, and one banned poems

(Photo: Stefan Heunis/Getty)


Oscar Pistorius has received a Draconian sentence (yes, really)

Plus: Taxis for Alan Yentob, and some other independence campaigns


Ancient and modern

What Romans would have made of Obama's Syria strategy

20 September 2014

They'd like that he doesn't admit to having one. Apart from that, however...

1914:  Members of the Serbian reserve forces, encamped near Belgrade.  (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

From The Archives

From the archives

20 September 2014

From ‘A review of the war’, The Spectator, 19 September 1914: It is the duty of all English publicists to make people here understand the splendid heroism with which the Servians… Read more



Spectator letters: In defence of the EU, the Welsh and Mary Wakefield

Breaking the unions Sir: By the time this letter appears we shall know whether the land of my birth has separated from the land of my life. I hope not.… Read more


Rod Liddle

Sometimes stereotypes are true – and that includes the ones about the British

20 September 2014

We drink, fight and shag too much. Not all of us, but enough for a Portuguese bestseller

Matthew Parris

Yes or no, I’ll never feel the same about the Scots

20 September 2014

Most English people I know wanted Scotland to stay, but only if the Scots themselves really want to

Hugo Rifkind

The ‘no’ campaign’s problem was that it sounded like me

20 September 2014

Were all Scotland’s credible populist figures in favour of independence? Or were the rest just scared to speak out?


Santander’s secret: to conquer the world, stay like a small-town bank

20 September 2014

Plus: Oil prices and other Scottish questions


Tennessee Williams on the stage set of A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Confused, unbalanced, brilliant: the Blanche Dubois of Tennessee Williams biographies

20 September 2014

Thomas W. Hodgkinson says John Lahr’s ‘standalone’ new account of the life of the playwright, ‘Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh’, would be better if it didn't have to stand alone

John Gielgud, left, as Raskolnikov in a production of Crime and Punishment. (Photo by Alex Bender/Denis De Marney/Getty Images)

This new translation of Crime and Punishment is a masterpiece

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Crime and Punishment’, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Oliver Ready. It sheds new light on an old classic

Oliver Cromwell opening the coffin of Charles I, by Paul Delaroche

Rebellion without a cause: Peter Ackroyd's curious Civil War

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Civil War’, by Peter Ackroyd. There is a fascination in watching the construction of a narrative that accommodates so little analysis

Georges Simenon aged 30 (left) and Jean Gabin (right) in the 1958 film Maigret Tend un Piège — to be shown as part of a season of Maigret films at the Barbican, London (4–26 October). For details visit www.barbican.org.uk.

A salute to Georges Simenon

20 September 2014

Patrick Marnham praises Penguin Classics for republishing the Maigret novels

The first suicide bomber was probably Samson, who died while pulling down the temple of the Philistines

Religion does not poison everything - everything poisons religion

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence’, by Karen Armstrong. The former nun makes a convincing case that religions are corrupted by success

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Hugo Williams's new poems confirm his national-treasure status

20 September 2014

A review of ‘I Knew the Bride’, by Hugo Williams. A marvellous, memorious collection drawn to the second world war and family heartache

Bobby Moore in 1966 — so far the only Englishman to lift the World Cup

‘Like Superman stopping a runaway train’: when Bobby Moore tackled Jairzinho

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Bobby Moore: The Man in Full’, by Matt Dickinson. Moore was born to be England captain


Going for a Song, by Bevis Hillier - extract

20 September 2014

An Anthology of Poems about Antiques, compiled and introduced by Bevis Hillier

Always a better novelist than her husband: Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1949

Literature's least attractive power couple

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Pamela Hansford Johnson: Her Life, Works and Times’, by Wendy Pollard, which takes this spiky novelist – and her dreadful husband, C.P. Snow – at their own inflated valuation

Cambridge spy Kim Philby giving a press conference at his mother's home after his name was mentioned in the House of Commons in connection with the Burgess and Maclean affair. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Hugh Trevor-Roper: the spy as historian, the historian as spy

20 September 2014

A review of ‘The Secret World’, by Hugh Trevor-Roper. The future Lord Dacre's early work for MI6 shaped the rest of his life

‘Me as Dorothy’ by Grayson Perry —but what’s with the frocks?

If you hate art-world show-offs, Grayson Perry, what's with the frocks?

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to be Understood’, by Grayson Perry. Perry’s Reith Lectures asked pertinent questions but didn’t bother with serious answers

A group of boys riding in an army tank on the roundabout at the Hampstead Heath Fairground in 1944.  (Photo by Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Beer and skittles and Lucian Freud and Quentin Crisp – a Hampstead misery memoir

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Slideshow: Memories of a Wartime Childhood’, by Marjorie Ann Watts. It’s at it’s best when chanelling the voice and mind of a child


And one more for the road – excerpts from Roddy Doyle’s latest

20 September 2014

‘Two More Pints’, by Roddy Doyle

Cecil Beaton, self-portrait, 1936

Cecil Beaton, the bitch

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles’, edited by Hugo Vickers. Katherine Hepburn had ‘rocking horse nostrils’; Mae West was a ‘nice little ape’. The photographer was a natural writer – and snob

The front door of 10 Downing Street. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Marr thinks he’s a novelist. I don’t

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Head of State’, by Andrew Marr. Fantastical, cumbersome and unentertaining, Marr’s debut suggests he should definitely stick to his day job

David Hockney, photographed by Christopher Simon Sykes

David Hockney, our most popular and hardworking living artist, returns to the easel

20 September 2014

A review of ‘Hockney: The Biography, Volume II’, by Christopher Simon Sykes. He’s got grumpier with old age, but still Hockney retains his youthful curiosity and energy

The six books shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013. Will there be more books by American novelists in future years? Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Keep the Man Booker Prize British

20 September 2014

Matthew Walther believes his fellow Americans should be excluded from our famous prize – for the sake of British ‘identity’


‘Interior (Innenraum)’, 1981, by Anselm Kiefer

'I like vanished things': Anselm Kiefer on art, alchemy and his childhood

20 September 2014

Martin Gayford talks to a surprisingly jolly Kiefer in advance of a major new Royal Academy retrospective

‘Moonrise and Pale Dancer’ by Derek Hyatt

The man who brought Cubism to New York

20 September 2014

Plus: new shows of work by Derek Hyatt, Anthony Caro, George Kennethson and Eileen Agar


Wedding music lives or dies at the hands of the organist

20 September 2014

Bach’s ‘St Anne’ Prelude and Fugue is the ultimate test, says Damian Thompson

The Play That Goes Wrong. Photo: Alastair Muir

If you have teenage boys who loathe the very idea of theatre, send them to The Play That Goes Wrong

20 September 2014

Plus: a new play set in south Wales that overuses Alan Bennett’s trick of forcing laughs by getting senior characters to swear

Eloquent: Allan Clayton as Cassio in Otello

Is Anna Nicole’s absurd life worth our while? Not as much as Otello’s

20 September 2014

The Royal Opera House made the bigger splash with their opener but the ENO threw the best party - by far


20,000 Days On Earth: is Nick Cave the missing link? Or the next stage in evolution?

20 September 2014

This surreal biopic of the punkish Australian musician is domestic life as Kubrick would have shot it


The sofa that became a work of art

20 September 2014

Plus: the restless life of high priestess of soul, Nina Simone

Status Quo. Photo: BBC

I love that people assume I’m gay

20 September 2014

James Delingpole on the evidence that he hasn’t totally lost his fashion edge


High life

High life

What is to be done about a world where everything is for sale?

20 September 2014

Next time you read about an auctioneer’s gavel coming down on a $150 million painting bought by some flunkey representing the ruling family of Qatar, don’t ooh or aah, but… Read more

Low life

Low life

A game of dominoes turns ugly

20 September 2014

I’m round at Amy and Bill’s for Sunday afternoon tea. Amy and Bill are my in-laws, kind of. When I was courting their daughter, I used to spend most of… Read more

Real life

Real life

If the RSPCA can prosecute you, why shouldn't it take Freedom of Information requests?

20 September 2014

After a rush of blood to the head, I decided it might be a good idea to ask some awkward questions of the RSPCA. Oh no, I hear you cry.… Read more

Long life

Long life

Reasons for feeling Scottish

20 September 2014

Sometimes I say I’m Scottish, a claim often greeted with understandable derision. I was born in England, in Hertfordshire, went to school and university in England and, apart from some… Read more


The turf

When jockeys earn so little, temptation is not surprising

20 September 2014

While Mrs Oakley was patrolling the aisles in Waitrose one day recently, I slipped off into my local betting shop. There, too, fresh from the pub, was Mr Knowall on… Read more




Many top bridge players are also keen poker fans, and when a poker star infiltrates their backyard there is a definite ripple of excitement. So it was at the hugely… Read more


Spectator Wine

September Wine Club I

20 September 2014

For the second Wine Club running, we’ve six great wines all for under a tenner. This time, though, we’re heading to Spain and Portugal where a mix of traditional and… Read more



Double trouble

20 September 2014

The importance of pawn structure cannot be overestimated when planning chess strategy. Although Philidor (18th century) understood the importance of pawns in chess, in the 19th century the health and… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 332

20 September 2014

White to play. This position is from Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein, Berlin 1928. White’s passed pawn and active pieces guarantee a winning advantage. Can you spot Nimzowitsch’s fine coup to conclude? Answers to… Read more




20 September 2014

In Competition No. 2865 you were invited to compose a poet’s elegy for him or herself. This challenge took you down a path trod by poor Chidiock Tichborne, who wrote… Read more



2180: Superfluous

20 September 2014

Each of nine clues contains a superfluous word. Initial letters of these words spell a word which can be read as an indicator of the unclued lights in each of… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2177: Amaze

20 September 2014

Songs by KATE BUSH include WUTHERING HEIGHTS, HAMMER HORROR, HOUNDS OF LOVE and CLOUDBUSTING in the perimeter, and (defined by the puzzle’s title) WOW.  First prize Chris James, Ruislip Manor,… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

My electrifying 'Führer Kontakt' with Alex Salmond

20 September 2014

It was just after the Tory party conference last year that I met Alex Salmond. Not alone, obviously, but as one of a group of about 15 people. The group… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

20 September 2014
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Roy of the autobiographers

20 September 2014

It has become a weary cliché to say that a book’s publication is eagerly awaited, but when an event is this momentous — the October arrival, thanks to the good… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Is there anything that can stop companies throwing away my CV?

Q. I graduated this year (I got a first) and have written more than 70 letters to potential employers. Those who deigned to reply just sent formulaic acknowledgements and regrets.… Read more



Rextail: a restaurant for billionaire children

20 September 2014

Rextail is a restaurant for billionaire children, such as Richie Rich. Its owner, Arcady Novikov, has already opened a restaurant for billionaire men and their spindly billionaire wives — the… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

The rhetorical power of ‘never’, from Ian Paisley to King Lear

20 September 2014

He won’t be remembered as Lord Bannside, but Ian Paisley will be remembered for shouting: ‘Never, never, never, never.’ The fourth never was hardly a shout, by his standards, but… Read more