The Spectator


22 November 2014

Students of dogma

Free speech is so last century. Today’s undergraduates demand the ‘right to be comfortable’

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Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’

22 November 2014

Student unions’ ‘no platform’ policy is expanding to cover pretty much anyone whose views don’t fit prevailing groupthink

Poor Manager

Deflation: the new spectre haunting Europe (and how to exorcise it)

22 November 2014

It’s a real problem, but the answer has less to do with bond-buying than with applied psychology

The Olympic Stadium and the Orbit Tower seen from Green Way

You’re paying £175 million to give West Ham a new stadium

22 November 2014

The full cost of the 2012 Olympic Games is still far from clear


The Islamic State and the left’s secret love affair with misogyny

22 November 2014

The way they treat women is not the catch – it’s the unspoken main attraction

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2

How America’s right wing is becoming a lot more like Britain’s

22 November 2014

Today’s Republicans talk less about God and more about fighting illegal immigration


Life is full of little endings. We should pay them more attention

22 November 2014

An acceptance of these occasions, surely, is a sign you’ve accepted you’re not immortal. It’s death by a thousand lasts


Steve Jobs’s button phobia has shaped the modern world

22 November 2014

It’s time for those of us with an irrational fear of touchscreens to have a say

Three glamorous guests, 1921

A miracle: French hotels actually like dogs

22 November 2014

Especially those that are stopovers for long-distance drivers rather than destinations in themselves

The Week


Leading article

Spare us a Bob?

22 November 2014

Anyone listening to the BBC this week could be forgiven for thinking that the musician Bob Geldof had just emerged from Africa, like a latter-day Dr Livingstone, the first westerner… Read more


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: ‘Red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.’ He then offered £650 million to a ‘green climate fund’.… Read more

Photo: David Levensen/Getty


Richard Madeley’s diary: Forgetting Tom Conti’s name, and other harrowing experiences

22 November 2014

It’s a sort of self-fulfilling nervous tic — a phobia, almost



Actually, Bob, they do know it’s Christmas (we checked)

Plus: The figures on live animal exports, flood spending and Romanian voters in Portsmouth


Ancient and modern

Aristophanes on Mazher Mahmood

22 November 2014

Solon created a vacancy for the ancient equivalents of the Fake Sheikh

Edward, Prince of Wales, having his first golf lesson, c.1915

From The Archives

From the archives

22 November 2014

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 21 November 1914: We are glad to learn that the laudable persistence of the Prince of Wales has been rewarded, and that he… Read more



Spectator letters: Why we should subsidise weddings

Plus: Leftism is embedded in the establishment; and reasons we listen to Archbishop Welby



Scotland's political earthquake – and what it will do to Westminster

22 November 2014

Unionists thought the SNP would collapse after a ‘no’ vote. They couldn’t have been more wrong

Rod Liddle

Sulking, weeping, throwing tantrums: we’re all toddlers now

22 November 2014

To judge from X Factor and recent Twitter storms, the nation’s mental age is four, and dropping


Why it's uncivilised to sneer at patriotism

22 November 2014

You trust yourself first, your family, then your clan and then, slowly and hesitantly, something bigger

James Delingpole

The Green Blob believes in science – except when scientists disagree with it

22 November 2014

Holding the ‘correct’ view on climate change is one thing, but you also have to swallow the official line on GM crops


I worry about Qatar’s bid for Canary Wharf — even if they deserve each other

22 November 2014

Plus: The maker of Jaffa Cakes is sold to Turkey while Farrow & Ball heads for Hollywood



Matthew Parris on Owen Jones, Alan Johnson on hawks, David Crane on Noah’s Flood: Spectator books of the year

22 November 2014

Plus choices from Jane Ridley, Marcus Berkmann, Sam Leith, Molly Guinness, Melanie McDonagh, Christopher Howse, Charlotte Moore, Philip Hensher, Lewis Jones, John Preston, Martin Gayford, Susie Dent, Ian Thomson, Piers Paul Read, Mark Mason, Bevis Hillier, Allan Mallinson, Peter Parker, James Walton, James McConnachie, William Leith, Philip Ziegler and Cressida Connolly

‘Exquisitely dressed and groomed, Stefan Zweig looks simply terrified’

Stefan Zweig: the tragedy of a great bad writer

22 November 2014

A review of The Impossible Exile by George Prochnik. Contemporaries sniped at his success, but for a Jewish novelist in Austria in the 1930s, the possibilities of remaining a comic figure were few

Retreat of the Highlanders from Perth after the Jacobite Rising, C. 1745

Scotland’s miraculous century (it started with the Union)

22 November 2014

A review of Michael Fry’s A Higher World examines the long 18th century, in which the Union of England and Scotland was consolidated

The divine mask slips: Queen Elizabeth I in old age, weary after a lifetime of inaction (English school)

Elizabeth I, queen of the waiting game

22 November 2014

A review of Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton argues that the queen’s true greatness lay in her inactivity and stalling tactics

From Stephen Collins’s Some Comics

The 10 best loo books of 2014: why we sing so much better in the shower and what became of Queen Victoria’s children’s milk teeth

22 November 2014

Marcus Berkmann’s round-up of the year’s best humorous books includes gems from Michael Frayn, Nora Ephron, QI, Peter Jones, John D. Barrow, Stephen Collins and Peanuts

Neil Young and Billy Idol Photo: Getty

Songs for the road: through his music and his classic car collection Neil Young hopes to escape his childhood traumas

22 November 2014

In a review of Special Deluxe, not much is given away about Neil Young — except that he toured with his band in a souped-up hearse named ‘Mort’

Bing and Bob on the Road to Singapore. One had talent; the other tried harder

Did anyone ever really love Bob Hope?

22 November 2014

A review of Hope by Richard Zoglin suggests that the ‘entertainer’, who lived to be 100, was a mean womaniser and neglectful father, who was never even very funny


The Anonymous ghost in the machine

22 November 2014

A review of Hacker, Hoaxer Whistleblower, Spy by Gabriella Coleman penetrates the chaotic world of the mysterious non- collective that hacked the Pentagon and the government of Tunisia for starters


Emmanuel Carrère: a poet and psychopath doing his best to further destabilise Ukraine

22 November 2014

In a review of Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère, a one-time poet, now full-blown psychopath, emerges as one of the most controversial characters of contemporary Russia

Vita as ‘Lady with a Red Hat’ by William Strang

Vita in her ivory tower: a portrait of a lonely, lovelorn aristocrat who yearned to be mistress of her own ancestral home

22 November 2014

A review of Behind the Mask by Matthew Dennison reveals that in Vita Sackville-West’s copious writings, she generally cast herself as a man

‘Harvesting’ by Adrian Allinson. 1939 From Of Cabbages and Kings by Caroline Foley

Is there anything new left in gardening books?

22 November 2014

A round up of the year’s best gardening books takes in Madison Cox’s The Gardener’s Garden, George Plumptre’s The English Country-House Garden, Roy Strong’s The Laskett, Sarah Raven’s Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst, Ursula Buchan’s The Garden Anthology, Charles Dowding’s Gardening Myths and Misconceptions, Thomas J. Mickey’s America’s Romance with the English Garden and Caroline Foley’s Of Cabbages and Kings

French journalist Eric Zemmour Photo: Getty

Is France now the sick man of Europe? It is if it’s taking Eric Zemmour seriously

22 November 2014

The bestseller Le Suicide français reveals a political thinker in the Jeremy Clarkson league, says Graham Robb

The Rose (IV), by Cy Twombly

The Duke of Wellington also invades Christmas art books

22 November 2014

Apart from Charles Wellesley’s study of the Iron Duke’s victorious portraits, a round-up of the year’s art books inlcudes Judith Zilczer’s A Way of Living, Nicola del Roscio’s The Essential Cy Twombly, David Dawson’s A Painter’s Progress, Jan Verwoert’s Wolfgang Tillmans, Joanna Cannon’s Religious Poverty, Visual Riches, Judith Collins’s Sculpture Today,  Michael W. Cole’s Donatello, Michelangelo, Cellini, Emily Braun’s Cubism, Sheila R. Canby’s The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp and The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Toronto


God, aliens and a novel with a mission

22 November 2014

In a review of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange Things the inhabitants of the planet Oasis embrace the King James Bible and begin numbering themselves Jesus Lover One, Two and Three ...

Chilean writer Roberto Ampuero Photo: Getty

Forget Poirot, Holmes or Marlowe: there is nothing urgent or even logical about Chilean detective work

22 November 2014

In a review of The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero, Cayetano Brulé takes his time digging deep into his client’s past

A dressing room in London designed by Nicky Haslam, inspired by Dorothy Draper’s lobby at the Carlyle Hotel in New York

An armchair voyeur gets a glimpse into Nicky Haslam’s vast address book

22 November 2014

As well as nose-diving into the tasselled damask of Nicky Haslam’s A Designer’s Life, a round-up of the year’s design books delves into Room by Nach Alegre, Rock Covers by Julius Weidemann, Studio, by Tom kelley,  and 100 Buildings - 100 Years by Gavin Stamp


David Hockney at work in his studio, c.1967

David Hockney interview: ‘The avant-garde have lost their authority’

22 November 2014

A new film on Hockney opens next week. At Pace Gallery New York his latest paintings are on show. Martin Gayford talks to the celebrated Yorkshire artist about 60 years of ignoring art fashion

‘Sunrise’, 1938, by John Armstrong

Are the British too polite to be any good at surrealism?

22 November 2014

Possibly. That said, the best of the Pallant House Gallery's Spanish civil war show, Conscience and Conflict, are a revelation

Conservator Johanna Puisto dusts the cast of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ post-conservation, November 2014

The reopened V&A Cast Courts are a fabulous spectacle of Victorian theft and reverence

22 November 2014

These newly refurbished rooms pose several questions about the nature of great art and what the difference is between a copy, reproduction, fake and facsimile


Why are students of curation being taught to ignore the public and be suspicious of enterprise?

22 November 2014

Mark Irving laments how students of curation start off as lively citizens of the world and end up as dulled parrots of ideological cant

‘Portrait of Juan de Pareja’ by Velázquez

The story of the first painting to sell for over a million pounds

22 November 2014

Richard Cork relives the extraordinary moment in 1970 when a Velazquez’s portrait smashed the world auction record at Christie’s

The erotic Mary, left, by Gregor Erhart (c.1515–20) and the penitent Mary, right, by El Greco (c.1577)

No one in the Bible has been as elaborately misrepresented as Mary Magdalene

22 November 2014

A bogus history book and a new John Adams oratorio turn Mary of Magdala into the wife of Jesus and a human rights activist. Damian Thompson feels sorry for the poor woman

Soloman and Marion

Norman Mailer’s wife comes out of the shadows

22 November 2014

Solomon and Marion, a new play at the Print Room set in South Africa, whose emotional impact is potent and long-lasting

Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones star in The Homesman

Just because The Homesman has a few women in it doesn’t make it a ‘feminist western’

22 November 2014

But the film’s major problem is that it goes all John Wayne on us midway through

"Gulf Stream" by Winslow Homer Photo: Getty

Why radio is a surprisingly good medium for talking about art

22 November 2014

Radio has always been a picture-inducing medium as these programmes on poet William Soutar and artist Winslow Homer prove

Confessions of a Copper: Stephen Hayes

Jaw-dropping confessions of a very un-PC Plod

22 November 2014

If this new Channel 4 documentary is to be believed, policing in the 1970s was every bit as sexist and unprofessional as programmes like Life on Mars suggest it was


High life

High life

Snobbery, sneering and secret sniggers: the sad truth about the so-called 'special relationship'

22 November 2014

To the grand Herrera house on the upper east side of Manhattan for lunch in honour of Lord and Lady Linley. David Linley is over here to receive an award… Read more

Low life

Low life

‘Are you going out tonight, Frasier? If you are, don’t leave without me’

22 November 2014

An hour earlier I had stepped off a plane from Dublin and I was three-quarters deaf in one ear. I had a drink in the bar at Boisdales Canary Wharf… Read more

Real life

Real life

If the tofu munchers had their way, horses would sleep on mattresses in bespoke tents like a Glastonbury VIP area

22 November 2014

Before I go any further, I would like to make clear that no animals were harmed in the making of this column. You might think that goes without saying, but… Read more

Long life

Long life

Lottery winners are strikingly unimaginative about spending money

22 November 2014

I thought that this week I might write about memory loss, but couldn’t remember if I’d written about it last week. Then I remembered that I had written about it,… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

There are echoes of Turkey and Armenia in the revisionist view of the Rwandan genocide

22 November 2014

Kenya It’s a long time since I thought of Thaddee, our Kigali stringer when I was covering Rwanda for Reuters. I remembered him because a recent fashion in western universities… Read more




It’s one of the burning political issues of the day: why don’t more MPs play bridge? Two weeks ago, the 40th annual bridge match between the House of Lords and… Read more


Spectator Wine

Spectator Wine

22 November 2014

We’ve a really peachy quartet of wines this week courtesy of FromVineyardsDirect, all at extremely attractive prices. Messrs Johnstone and Campbell of FVD are dogged in their pursuit of bargains… Read more



Comedy of errors

22 November 2014

For reasons unknown, the world championship in Sochi between Carlsen and Anand is turning into a catalogue of disastrous blunders by both sides. Last week we witnessed Anand’s instantaneous implosion… Read more


Chess puzzle

No: 341

22 November 2014

Black to play. This is from Korchnoi-Karpov, World Championship (Game 17), Baguio 1978. Can you spot Black’s winning coup? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 25 November or via… Read more



Problem child

22 November 2014

In Competition No. 2874 you were invited to submit a scene written by a well-known children’s author of the past in which a character grapples with a 21st-century problem. Pamela… Read more



2189: Offering

22 November 2014

One unclued light is the name of a 15A activity requiring the 4A of three things. Answers to clues in italics must be treated before entry in the grid in… Read more


Crossword solution

2186: From the off

22 November 2014

Unclued lights (11/1D, 12/35, 15, 18/1D and 22/17) are fences of the Grand National course, together with two famous winners (19 and 29). First prize Barry Butler, Birmingham Runners-up Mrs… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Pity I’m a Celebrity’s token old guys

22 November 2014

I had thought that my days of being approached by reality show producers hoping to put together a cast of D-list celebrities were behind me. Apparently not. A couple of… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

22 November 2014

The Wiki Man

Why does Amazon think my friend is a kidnapper?

22 November 2014

About four years ago, an irate father in Minneapolis walked into his local Target shop with a complaint. He wanted to know why they were sending his daughter, who was… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Dealing with your old friends now you’re a big success

Q. Success has come to me in later life with an unfortunate side effect. Since my career has taken off, I cannot see my friends as much as I used… Read more



The real French embassy is a restaurant

22 November 2014

Semper eadem. There is some basement in a Mayfair street that is forever France. It is not far from the American embassy, a strong candidate for the all-time monstrous carbuncle… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Does Joey Essex know what ‘reem’ actually means?

22 November 2014

Joey Essex is a celebrity who appeared in the ‘scripted reality’ programme The Only Way is Essex, named not after him but the well-known county. He is 24, born in… Read more