The Spectator


30 August 2014

999 emergency

Britain’s ambulance services are in crisis. When will the government notice?

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Previous Issues



Revealed: The hidden crisis in Britain's ambulance services

30 August 2014

Paramedics are fleeing. Needless callouts are mounting. When will the government notice?


Igor Strelkov: the face of Russia's frightening future

30 August 2014

Ultra-nationalists like the bizarre Igor Strelkov are the force that Putin feels most need to bend to


The real scandal in Rotherham is that social work doesn't work

30 August 2014

This profession resistant to empirical evaluation may harm as much as it helps


Switching on to a new generation gap

30 August 2014

As YouTube and Netflix replace the telly, we're losing a set of shared references between age groups

28 Days Before The Independence Referendum

The SNP’s “cybernats” are a modern political scourge – with the zeal of converts

30 August 2014

If – and probably when – Yes Scotland loses, where will all that frantic energy go?


The wars that really are about the oil

30 August 2014

You can’t understand any of the world’s crises without understanding petropolitics

(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

The nun who took down an Isis flag – and stands up for east London's Muslims

30 August 2014

Sister Christine Frost on why young men from Tower Hamlets are going to fight in Iraq and Syria


Radek Sikorski’s notebook: Goose-steppers in Oxford, and a drone in my garden

30 August 2014

A college reunion can bring back some strange stories. Plus: My house and the people who photograph it

Candida Lycett Green

The wonderful and unpredictable Candida Lycett Green

30 August 2014

Something always happened when we met, nothing was ever straightforward or everyday, and whatever it was led to laughter-till-we-cried

It was unlike any whisky any of them had tasted…

The quest for the perfect malt

30 August 2014

It was a poker night. Glenmorangie won

The Week


Leading article

Who will be held to account for the horror in Rotherham?

30 August 2014

A child abuse scandal on this monstrous scale demands more than just the council leader's resignation


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said that Britons who went to Syria or Iraq to fight could be stripped of their citizenship, if they had dual nationality or were… Read more

Martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane Photo: AFP/Getty


Andrew Marr’s diary: Seeing shadows of Syria in Limousin’s ghost village

30 August 2014

Plus: Scotland’s real ruling class, the best kind of holiday cottage, and my malice-laced first novel



Six rivals for the name Isis

Plus: the faiths of Britain’s forces, and what doctors have to be sorry for


Ancient and modern

Horace still understands happiness better than the LSE

30 August 2014

The art of matching pleasure with purpose

Young Example

From The Archives

From the archives

30 August 2014

From ‘Left behind’, The Spectator, 29 August 1914: In the poorer streets a kind of holiday atmosphere prevails, and a sort of excitement which is in a measure pleasurable fills the… Read more



Spectator letters: Indian soldiers, wigs, PR and 1984

We do remember them Sir: I applaud Tazi Husain’s defence of the role played by Baroness Warsi at Westminster Abbey during the first world war and his own role in… Read more



David Cameron's next big European mistake

30 August 2014

EU summits haven't been kind to our Prime Minister. That's not about to change

James Delingpole

Frankie Boyle is a cowardly bully, and I’m ashamed I ever stood up for him

30 August 2014

I believe that it’s part of comedy’s job to test the bounds of decency. But to judge by his attack on Jeremy Clarkson, Frankie doesn’t


Europe's leaders worship Mario Draghi. They should listen to him instead

30 August 2014

Plus: France, Scotland and the graduate circus


A romanticised portrait of Goethe by J.H.W. Tischbein

Germans see the best of their soul in Weimar. Everyone else, on the other hand...

30 August 2014

A review of Weimar, by Michael H. Kater. An absorbing history about the corruption of a once great artistic centre


This thriller is as good as anything by Hilary Mantel

30 August 2014

Andrew Taylor’s historical crime novel, The Silent Boy, is so good it makes you rethink all your high-low prejudices. It reminds me of Dickens

Peter Levi Photo: Getty

Peter Levi – poet, priest and life-enhancer

30 August 2014

A review of Peter Levi: Oxford Romantic, by Brigid Allen. A loving biography of a poet priest who went from emaciated El Greco to fat country squire

Triumph of Apollo and Sign of Gemini, ca 1470, by Francesco del Cossa Photo: Getty

Ali Smith's How to be Both: warm, funny, subtle, intelligent – and baffling

30 August 2014

You may have to read this fictional account of a 15th-century painter at least one-and-a-half times to understand it, but it's worth it

A member of the London Home Guard demonstrates the use of old wallpaper as camouflage (1942)

The real Dad’s Army was no joke

30 August 2014

A review of Operation Sealion: How Britain Crushed the German war Machine’s Dreams of Invasion in 1940, by Leo McKinstry. Civil liberties went out the window when the Nazis threatened

American heavyweight champion Joe Frazier kept his title at the end of the fight called the "match of the century" against Muhammad Ali Photo: Getty

When boxing ruled the world

30 August 2014

A review of Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier, Foreman and an America on the Ropes, by Richard Hoffer. Boxing was as much about politics, money and race as fighting

‘Flying Rock’

Floating bodies, seeing hands, rippling skies - is Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontage a tragic dead-end?

30 August 2014

A review of Uelsmann Untitled: A Retrospective, by Jerry N. Uelsmann. There's no denying that these strange images are part of a venerable tradition – or that a teenager with Photoshop could have done it quicker

1920s Jewellery

In love with the lodger

30 August 2014

A review of The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters. The sex is blazingly described but then, alas, the Plot raises its boring head

‘La Guingette à Montmartre’ by Van Gogh (1886)

Exactly how much fun was it being an impoverished artist in Paris?

30 August 2014

A review of In Montmatre: Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris, 1900 – 1910, by Sue Roe. This rollicking read is at its best when describing the bacchanalian squalor


Kafka goes to Dubai

30 August 2014

A review of The Dog, by Joseph O’Neill. This riff on Kafka’s The Castle is dominated by a creep but we stay with it because the satire is absurdly funny


In defence of the Jacobins

30 August 2014

A review of A People’s History of the French Revolution, by Eric Hazan. A riveting piece of revisionist history by a died-in-the-wool communist


Herculean feat: hauling a steamship over a mountain for ‘Fitzcarraldo’

The enigma of Werner Herzog

30 August 2014

A new box set from the BFI reveals the full extent of the German director’s genius — and insanity

The Immortal Hour

The small rewards of small-scale opera

30 August 2014

Neither OperaUpClose’s La traviata nor Finborough Theatre’s production of Boughton’s The Immortal Hour quite cut it

Second coming: Kate Bush is now regarded with almost universal awe

Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo review: Still crazy after all these years

30 August 2014

Would a few more hits have been such a terrible thing?

‘I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policies’, 2011,by Coral Stoakes

Agitprop, love trucks and leaflet bombs: the art of protest

30 August 2014

The V&A's Disobedient Objects. Plus: an exhibition in Suffolk dedicated to the map-mad younger brother of Eric Gill

Angry young man: Jesse Eisenberg as Josh in ‘Night Moves’

Night Moves – the opposite of a Dan Brown film

30 August 2014

It's unjudgmental, unforced, elusive and a joy

Crazy love, Dogfight

Dolts, Doormats and FGM: theatre to make you physically sick

30 August 2014

But Theatre 503’s unflinching look at the practice of genital mutilation is sophisticated and unpreachy

Showing up to your prom in a tank is a bit 2013

BBC2’s Hotel India: slums? What slums?

30 August 2014

Plus: ITV’s Prom Crazy, a documentary that’s heroically unafraid of stereotyping


Who needs drugs when you have Radio 3?

30 August 2014

Kate Chisholm immerses herself in the dream logic of Words and Music


A wooden UFO lands in Yorkshire Sculpture Park

30 August 2014

Fifty of Ursula von Rydingsvard’s monumental sculptures are now on show in this largest ever exhibition of her work


High life

High life

You can't make friends with Uncle Sam and survive for long

30 August 2014

Can somebody tell me when America last got it right? Uncle Sam’s track record in selecting leaders in faraway places reminds me very much of my own where libel is… Read more

Low life

Low life

Glazed tiles, a barred window: it must be another morning in a police cell

30 August 2014

In my late twenties, it was not unusual for me to wake up in a police cell wearing a paper suit. Waking to glazed tiles and a high barred window,… Read more

Real life

Real life

Why won't my cleaner leave me the Watchtower?

30 August 2014

‘Hi I did Put it on It needed more’ is the pleasingly obscure haiku I find on my kitchen table. It is from Denise, one of the most wonderful people… Read more

Long life

Long life

Wedding receptions make me wonder about the point of marriage

30 August 2014

Back from holiday in Italy, I look out of my kitchen window in Northamptonshire to find the country view blocked by an enormous marquee with red pennants flying from the… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

It's time for Kenya to put aside dreams of singing wells and dancing bulls

30 August 2014

Laikipia   ‘Good morning, sir!’ The warrior strides up to me on the high plains and shakes my hand. ‘May I traverse your farm? I thought it impolite not to… Read more




I was talking to the brilliant 27-year old Israeli player Alon Birman at the recent Brighton Congress, when suddenly there was a loud crash: a pane of glass had fallen… Read more



Olympiad highlights

30 August 2014

To round off my coverage of the chess Olympiad in Tromsø, which saw a total of 313 teams in the open and women’s sections, thus making it the greatest chess… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 329

30 August 2014

White to play. This position is from Lee-Croes, Tromsø Olympiad 2014. White’s position is overwhelming and he now found a nice finish. Can you see it? Answers to me at… Read more



Dark thoughts

30 August 2014

In Competition No. 2862 you were invited to submit a poetic preview of when the lights go out. Submissions were impressively varied this week, and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable… Read more



2177: Amaze

30 August 2014

The titles of four of an artist’s works (9,7; 6,6; 6,2,4; 12) read clockwise round the perimeter from a square to be deduced. In eleven clues, cryptic indications omit reference… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2174: Difficulty

30 August 2014

The key phrase is KNOW WHERE THE SHOE PINCHES (12 38 43). Each of the partially indicated answers is pinched by a shoe, creating entries at 1D, 20, 21, 24… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

We both want to democratise knowledge, Michael Rosen. The question is which knowledge...

30 August 2014

I first locked horns with Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate, on Sky News about four years ago. We were debating the merits of trying to teach all children the… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

30 August 2014

The Wiki Man

Why don’t more non-smokers try e-cigarettes?

30 August 2014

I was waiting on an office forecourt recently puffing on an e-cigarette when a security guard came out. ‘You can’t smoke here,’ he shouted. ‘I’m not, actually,’ I replied. He… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Is it an insult to be given anti-ageing cream?

Q. When someone gives you anti-ageing cream as a present, is that an insult or a compliment? — A.O., Provence A. It is both, but such creams make pointless presents.… Read more



Horse racing, Sancerre and escaped lobsters

30 August 2014

A stint in dry dock — the ‘dry’ literally — has one advantage. There is time for lots of long reading. After many decades since the last opening of Middlemarch,… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

A bitter struggle with the dictionary

30 August 2014

‘Don’t mind if I do,’ is one of husband’s stock phrases — jokes he would think them — in this case trotted out if anyone says, of the weather, ‘Bitter’.… Read more