The Spectator

18 February 2017

‘Isis? Bomb those suckers’

Trump is determined to crush the Islamic State. He should beware: what comes next could be worse



Trump really could crush Isis. But what happens next could be worse

Returning fighters and online radicals will pose a potent threat to the West

Ingrid Bergman, Getty


How the stress industry is gaslighting Britain

We’re being encouraged to see normal emotional responses to real problems as a form of madness


Britain under Corbyn? Just look at Venezuela

The hard-left policies of his idol Hugo Chavez have left a once-rich nation brutalised, devastated and with 2,200 per cent inflation


An obituary for the Bullingdon Club, by one of its old boys

In my day it was just mildly embarrassing; when Cameron and Osborne made it famous, it died of overexposure


Famous people don’t need personal publicists. But they all have them

Practitioners of these dark arts are now a sine qua non for celebrity


I’ve got Mick Jagger’s lost memoir

It’s a little masterpiece, a 75,000-word time capsule. But you may never see it


Why do people think it’s OK to order me to dance?

I love music. It’s just that I feel no need to dance to it

Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’: more than 300 figures, including a panther-like Eve

The Week

Portrait of the week

Labour third behind Tories and Ukip among working-class voters, says poll

Also in Portrait of the Week: Brexit Bill approved; Donald Trump’s travel ban overturned; Lloyds of London bans drinking


Hippy Neil took over my life... even my mum thought I was veggie like him

Also in Nigel Planer’s Diary: I’m still big in Catalonia; why ‘The Old Ones’ is a crap idea; my apology to Neils everywhere

Ancient and modern

Justin Welby is the victim of some very old-fashioned dirty tricks

The sort of rhetoric being used to besmirch his reputation has a history stretching back to the historian Tacitus

From The Archives

1917: War is no excuse for theft

We have to concentrate all our energies on beating our enemy in the field and on the sea


As lettuce grows scarce, who’s growing our fruit and veg

Also in Barometer: Britain’s private police forces; how wrong is Wikipedia


Ignore Sajid Javid — Britain has bags of room for more houses

Also in Spectator Letters: give Andrew Strauss a knighthood for swearing; burning desire for a crazy posh girl


The Spectator's Notes

What Vladimir Putin said to the Eton boys

Also in the Spectator’s Notes: James Fairfax remembered, affirmative action in Twelfth Night, and the language of psalms


For the sake of Britain’s constitution, will everyone please shut up?

The Speaker, Prince Charles and opinionated judges are all treading on dangerous ground

Hugo Rifkind

I went to see Disney World — and saw a dying country

Florida used to be where Americans came to die. Now it smells of national decay

Matthew Parris

In (conditional) defence of John Bercow

He’s pompous, vain and silly – but deposing him would leave a poisonous legacy

Any other business

One good thing about bank closures: they could give the Co-op a new job

Also in Any Other Business: Greece’s latest crisis, Luis Dominguez remembered, and a melodramatic debut


Magic lantern slides from the mid-19th century

Lead book review

The importance of being frivolous

In his delightful Wonderland, Steven Johnson demonstrates that having fun is the key to human progress


Simon Callow tries (again) to get inside Wagner’s head

But Wagner was a notoriously unreliable source, and Callow himself is a mine of misinformation

Ezra Pound as a young man


Was Ezra Pound mad?

No, says Craig Raine. He was excitable, eccentric and politically unacceptable, but he was far from crazy

The game butcher, with dead rabbits and live, caged ones beneath. (Scene from the 1840s)


How many slaves existed in George V’s Britain?

You’d be surprised by the number listed in the 1911 census — and by the numerous prostitutes calling themselves seamstresses


Nothing happens, but everything changes in Sara Baume’s new novel

Almost every page of A Line Made By Walking has a sentence that I’d gladly record and remember, says Stuart Kelly


Althea Altemus: a single mother in the Roaring Twenties

Life as a divorcée was distinctly precarious in the age of Jazz and Prohibition — especially with a young son in tow

Cardinal Richelieu is transformed from villain to ‘physical and moral genius’ in Dumas’s sequel to The Three Musketeers


There’s swash and buckle galore in Dumas’s sequel to The Three Musketeers

The Red Sphinx may be as subtle as a Verdi opera worked over by the Daily Mail — but who cares, when it’s so enjoyable?

Cosette, by Emile-Antoine Bayard. Illustration for Les Misérables


Victor Hugo speaks volumes for the outcast and the destitute

We don’t presume to translate the title Les Misérables because it so obviously embraces all that is wretched and forlorn


How LSD saved my marriage — and my life

Microdosing on the drug transformed Ayelet Waldman from bipolar harridan to happy, productive writer, mother and wife


How to improve bedside manners

Danielle Ofri hopes her latest book will persuade doctors to have more patience with their patients


Three’s a crowd in James Lasdun’s The Fall Guy

An uneasy trio — husband, wife and besotted hanger-on — holiday in the Catskills — with fateful consequences


High life

Did I lock up a princess? She says I did

And the Mother of My Children agrees. I don't believe a word of it, but I'm never going near another keyhole

Low life

Up close and personal with Marine Le Pen

Just as I was puckering up, a camera was rudely inserted between me and her downy cheek

Real life

My kitchen kink is causing merry hell

The floor plan doesn’t match the flat, and the Land Registry doesn’t do kinky, so the sale’s off

The turf

Here are your bankers for Cheltenham

Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle produced vital clues for the forthcoming Festival



What can be more regrettable than picking up a huge hand and landing in the wrong contract?   It happened…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 18 February

Tanners have been around since 1842 and certainly know their onions. Both Decanter and the International Wine Challenge named them…


Cui Bono

The cause célèbre at the Tradewise tournament in Gibraltar, which finished earlier this month, was the extraordinary protest by Hou…

Chess puzzle

no. 444

White to play. This position is a variation from Hou Yifan-Ju, Gibraltar 2017. Hou lost this game to her compatriot.…


Trigger point

In Competition No. 2985 you were invited to provide a poetic preview of the day Article 50 is triggered.  …


2297: Thoroughly

Each of nine clues contains a misprinted letter in the definition part. Corrections of misprints spell a two-word phrase. Clues…

Crossword solution

to 2294: Times Square

Perimeter words are names of the most recent GEOLOGICAL PERIODS.  First prize J.P Green, Uppingham, RutlandRunners-up Paul Jenkinson, Zollikon, Switzerland;…

Status anxiety

Can I bear to sack the digital babysitter?

Another parent banned screens at half term... we tried it once and there was talk of divorce

Spectator sport

The breathtaking brilliance of England rugby’s new golden generation

Owen Farrell’s long pass in the final moments against Wales was a true masterpiece


What do Ralph Lauren’s imaginary aristocrats eat? Now we know

Real English aristocrats shop at Tesco and do not brush their hair for fear of dislodging small animals

Dear Mary

Noisy neighbour? Just download a crying baby from the internet...

Also in Dear Mary: how can I stop my artist husband sketching during concerts; advice for one-eared insomniacs

Mind your language

Rocket the salad leaf has more to do with hedgehogs than fireworks

An etymology lesson to distract my husband from the lack of a rocket lettuce shortage