The Spectator


26 July 2014

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The Week

Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry load the bodies of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Leading article

The democratic deficit at the heart of the Human Rights Act

26 July 2014

Dominic Grieve was a worthy attorney-general whose career was helped by this magazine: nine years ago, he was named Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year, beneath the nose of David Cameron,… Read more


Portrait of the week

The MH17 disaster

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told Parliament that President Vladimir Putin of Russia should end his country’s support for separatists in Ukraine, some of whom it had provided with… Read more

All the golfers in the world or half an hour with Lucinda Green? It's a no-brainer.


Simon Barnes’s diary: A sportswriter is never without a big subject (unless it’s golf)

26 July 2014

Sport is like love: it can only really hurt you if you care. Or for that matter, bring joy. You can’t explain sport, any more than you can explain the… Read more

Hilary Benn (Photo: Getty)


Which party has the most MPs’ children in Parliament?

Commons inheritance Emily Benn, granddaughter of Tony and niece of Hilary, has won the right to stand for Labour in Croydon South. Which party produces the most political dynasties? Current… Read more

(Photo: Carla Miller)

Ancient and modern

Plutarch on smartphone addiction

26 July 2014

Adults, we are told, as much as children, become gibbering wrecks if deprived of their mobiles or iPhones for more than 15 seconds. The 2nd-century ad essayist Plutarch foresaw the… Read more

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Photo: Getty)


Spectator letters: In defence of women ministers, Handel and lefty sex

Give the women a chance Sir: Melissa Kite’s article about the reshuffle seems downright unfair (‘A misogynistic reshuffle’, 19 July). Whatever David Cameron’s motives may be, the women he has promoted… Read more



Are we on the verge of a new credit crunch?

26 July 2014

No one will thank you for talking about it, but in the world's QE-happy stock markets, indicators are flashing red


The EU's right not to slap big sanctions on Russia. Here's what it should do instead

26 July 2014

A considered response to the tragedy of Flight MH17 could start to undo a quarter-century of failed policy


Vladimir Putin’s empire of lies

26 July 2014

His answer to the destruction of Flight MH17 has been more propaganda.In Russia, at least, it seems to be working


What’s wrong with sunglasses

26 July 2014

People who wear shades all the time seem to radiate disdain

Rafferty Law (son of Jude ’n’ Sadie) with ‘close friend and fellow model’ Cora Corre (granddaughter of Vivienne Westwood) Photo: David M Benett

Meet the new faces of nepotism

26 July 2014

The old paths to the top for working-class children – sport, music, acting, writing – are increasingly closed


‘It’s jihad, innit, bruv’: meet the British Muslims going to fight in Syria

26 July 2014

There are two kinds of foreign recruit to Isis: the ‘gangsters’ and the true believers

Switzerland’s loveliest lake lies before you

The loveliness of Lucerne

26 July 2014

A Swiss town where the only bad thing is the exchange rate



Parliament's next crisis: a dangerous shortage of middle-aged men

26 July 2014

When ex-ministers immediately quit the Commons, a vital resource is lost

Spectators notes

The Trojan Horse affair proves Michael Gove right – and MI5 wrong

26 July 2014

Plus: The reshuffle muddle gets deeper, the BBC's Israel problem, and Parliament's crisis of legitimacy

Matthew Parris

Why I’m against posthumous pardons, even for Alan Turing

26 July 2014

Pardoning those convicted under laws we now disagree with is an irrational surrender to the emotional tide


L.P. Hartley’s guide to coping with a heatwave

26 July 2014

Feeling sweaty? Take some tips from The Go-Between


Forecasting is a mug’s game – but I was right about the economic revival

26 July 2014

Plus: A golden generation of British car executives, sympathy for Tony O’Reilly, and good news amid Tesco’s woes


Who’s in, who’s out: George Bernard O’Neill’s ‘Public Opinion’ depicts a private view of the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy

The age of the starving artist

26 July 2014

A review of A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain, by James Hamilton. A brilliant account of learning, or failing, to survive in a market of extraordinary brutality

A boy named Marion: John Wayne pictured on the set of Stagecoach (1939)

John Wayne, accidental cowboy

26 July 2014

A review of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, by Scott Eyman. It borders on hagiography but for Wayne fans that’s no flaw

A derelict building in Jaffna – part of the legacy of Sri Lanka's years of civil war. Photograph: Luis Ascui/Getty Images

Tip-toeing through Sri Lanka

26 July 2014

A review of Noontide Toll, by Romesh Gunesekera. One of the most delicate contemporary prose stylists tackles one of the most intractable conflicts

Dean Inge, one of the last Victorians. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Daring? No. Well written? Yes

26 July 2014

A review of The Last Victorians, by W. Sydney Robinson. Ignore the misleading blurb and revel in the research, writing and bizarre characters in this portrait of four 20th-century eccentrics

Left: ‘Blackbere’ from Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary, c. 1500. Right: Common Hoopoe, c. 1789, by William Lewis

The British countryside in prints and paper-cuts

26 July 2014

A review of Of Green Leaf, Bird and Flower, by Elizabeth R. Fairman. The images are mostly astounding but the essays are a mixed bag

The eyes of a killer? Vincent Poklewski Koziell relates, in his reminiscences, the story of a chimpanzee stabbing a butler during a dinner party. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Lenin, Hitler, Sloane Square – a Polish noble's 20th-century Odyssey

26 July 2014

A review of The Ape Has Stabbed Me: A Cocktail of Reminiscence, by Vincent Poklewski Koziell. A hilarious tale of hats, hous­es, drinks and direc­torships

A pea-souper in Covent Garden. Perfect for murder. Photograph: Lacey/General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Main villain: the aftermath of war

26 July 2014

A review of The Reckoning, by Rennie Airth, a thriller that leaves your nerves unshredded but thoughts haunted


The many lives of Richard Nixon

26 July 2014

A review of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority, by Patrick J. Buchanan. Tricky Dicky’s time in the wilderness was key to his success

‘A Sounding Line’ (2006–7). Detail of de Waal’s 66 porcelain vessels in white and celadon glazes, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

How good an artist is Edmund de Waal?

26 July 2014

A review of Edmund de Waal, by A.S. Byatt, Colm Toibin, Peter Carey, Emma Crichton Miller and others. A book of discursive essays, short stories and photographs that explores the potter’s many paths and influences


Neville Marriner: still going strong at the age of 90

How conductors keep getting better at 90

26 July 2014

Sir Neville Marriner, 90, Sir Roger Norrington, 80, and Sir Andrew Davis, 70, on the secrets of growing old very gracefully

Still from 'The Lunchbox'

The Lunchbox: a love story based on food and free postage

26 July 2014

It’s one of three cracking new summer DVD releases

Natalia Osipova in the Royal Ballet’s ‘Connectome’, choreographed by Alastair Marriott

Natalia Osipova interview: ‘I'm not interested in diamond tiaras on stage’

26 July 2014

The Royal Ballet principal on her new showcase, Solo for Two

Darren Strange and Dan Copeland in Invincible at St. James Theatre

When Mr and Mrs Clever-Nasty-and-Rich met Mr and Mrs Thick-Sweet-and-Poor

26 July 2014

Plus: the first professional production of Noel Coward’s banned This Was A Man is a real find

‘The Scyther (Mower)’, 1912, by Kazimir Malevich

Malevich: Are Tate visitors ready for this master of modernism?

26 July 2014

We will not see the like of this vast and impressive exhibition again during our lifetimes – but it's far from an easy, populist show

La Traviata, Glyndebourne

I can’t see the point of Glyndebourne’s La traviata

26 July 2014

Plus: Opera Holland Park’s Norma is clunkiness personified

Obstacle on the footballing front: Natascha McElhone as Georgie’s mother

The problem with Believe is you simply won’t believe any of it - unless you’re a child

26 July 2014

Anne Reid and Brian Cox can’t rescue this pile-up of clichés, easy sentiment and predictable plot twists

Otherworld, Comedy Feeds
Roger Wright Photo: Getty

Does Radio 3 need a new controller?

26 July 2014

If the BBC decides it does, there’s no better model than Radio 4’s current chief Gwyneth Williams


Alexander Pope, inventor of celebrity

Depictions of the poet were ubiquitous in the 18th century. The finest have now been brought together for a show at Waddesdon Manor


High life

High life

My love for that heroic country Poland

26 July 2014

One event I regretted missing on my last visit to London was a party at the Polish Club, which has been refurbished and has a new Polish prince as its… Read more

Low life

Low life

My grandson’s Great Leap Forward

26 July 2014

‘Oscar!’ cried Miss Herd as I arrived. She was standing at the classroom door releasing her charges one by one as the parent, or in my case the grandparent, arrived… Read more

Real life

Real life

One day I was always going to have to eat quinoa. It might as well be now

26 July 2014

As a rule, I tend not to frequent places where there is a sign on the door saying ‘no sharps’. But I thought I would make an exception for the… Read more

Long life

Long life

Freedom for my chickens! All it took was a man with a gun

26 July 2014

If I haven’t mentioned my poultry for a while, it’s because the subject has been too depressing. I had been very fond of my ducks and chickens until the constant… Read more


The turf

A day with the West Ilsley trainer Denis Coakley

26 July 2014

Through a stormy July weekend our task was to prevent four feisty grandchildren from murdering or mutilating each other before being returned to their parents, so we gave them £3… Read more




Richard Selway was one of the first friends I made in the bridge world. Long-standing ‘host’ at TGR’s, he was hilariously funny, irreverent, kind, a sensational natural player, and totally… Read more


Spectator Wine

Spectator Wine Vaults

26 July 2014

Mark Pardoe MW, Buying Director of Berry Bros. & Rudd, was in charitable mood last week. Not only did he put up a particularly mouth–watering selection of wines, he also… Read more



Witsch craft

26 July 2014

The ever reliable Steve Giddins has just published a new book on that great strategist Aron Nimzowitsch. This is the third tome on Nimzo in the last few years, and… Read more


Chess puzzle

no. 324

26 July 2014

White to play. This is from Storey–Jarmany, -British Championship, Aberystwyth 2014. White’s position is overwhelming but what is the quickest win? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 29 July… Read more



Spinning Jenny

26 July 2014

In Competition No. 2857 you were invited to take the first line of Leigh Hunt’s mini rondeau ‘Jenny Kissed me’, substitute another word for ‘kissed’ and continue for up to… Read more



2172: Para

26 July 2014

In June we lost a popular 40. Clockwise round the grid from 3 run the titles of two of his works (2,5,2,4,4,5,9 and 4,3,4,2,8). A third title (three words) appears… Read more


Crossword solution

to 2169: Land

26 July 2014

The grid represents Germany, with six bordering countries round the edge, and four cities in the interior, positioned roughly appropriately in relation to each other. 21 across is an anagram… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Do-gooders neglect their children. Just look at my dad – and me

26 July 2014

A few years ago, a family friend described my father as being a bit like Mrs Jellyby in Bleak House, by which he meant that he neglected his own family… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

26 July 2014
British Open winner, Rory Mcllroy Photo: AFP/Getty

Spectator sport

Alastair Cook is world class. Steven Gerrard isn’t

26 July 2014

This time last year, England’s cricketers were 2-0 up against Australia, two thirds of the way towards their third consecutive series victory in sport’s longest-established international contest. Not quite top… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I tame my brother’s savage table manners?

Q. I live far away from my brother and his family, but went to stay with them recently for the first time in many years. Having supper was like eating… Read more



Does the Duke of Devonshire really want to be my friend – or is he just after my bank details?

26 July 2014

The Chatsworth estate, Derby-shire. I am overwhelmed by marketing literature. I am prostrate. I am weeping. I am staying in one of the Duke of Devonshire’s barns, renovated into a… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Does 'autonomy' mean anything any more?

26 July 2014

My husband is constantly amused by talk of patient autonomy — for people who want to have a limb lopped off to solve their feeling of body dysmorphia and so… Read more