The Spectator


19 July 2014

A misogynistic reshuffle

The PM doesn’t want the new women in his cabinet to do anything but look nice

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Leading article

Have David Cameron’s Etonians just given up on state school reform?

19 July 2014

During his time as Education Secretary, Michael Gove would often have occasion to quote a passage of Machiavelli: ‘There is nothing more difficult, more doubtful of success or more dangerous… Read more


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: ministerial musical chairs, women bishops, giant snails

Home In a ministerial reshuffle, William Hague, who promised to leave Parliament at the election, was made Leader of the House, being replaced as Foreign Secretary by Philip Hammond, who… Read more



Anthony Horowitz’s Diary: Dinner with Saddam, anyone?

19 July 2014

I have written a play, but a month after it was sent to half a dozen theatres, I have heard nothing. Either they’re being slow or they’re so shocked that… Read more


Ancient and modern

Ancient & Modern: the rumour mill

19 July 2014

Geoffrey Dickens’s ancient dossier of (alleged) paedophiles in high places cannot be found among the 138 miles of government files, and rumour immediately takes wing. The ancients knew all about… Read more



What Germans are worst at

What Germans do worst Some things Germans aren’t very good at: — Making reliable car engines. According to a survey by Warranty Direct last year, Audi came bottom, BMW seventh from bottom and Volkswagen… Read more



Letters: Lord Lawson is not banned from the BBC, and Wales is wonderful

No ban on Lawson Sir: You write that the BBC ‘has effectively banned’ Lord Lawson from items on climate change unless introduced with ‘a statement discrediting his views’ (Leading article, 12 July).… Read more



David Cameron's Stepford ministers

19 July 2014

The PM doesn’t want the new women in his cabinet to do anything but look nice


Women bishops at last

19 July 2014

But there is still a quiet minority for whom this is all very difficult


Israel abandoned

19 July 2014

The anti-Semitic West almost seems to want Israelis to suffer


'We have had so many martyrs, so many injured'

19 July 2014

As long as Gaza feels ignored, isolated and abandoned, Hamas will continue to draw support


Faster, higher, stronger

19 July 2014

A story that has become the stuff of legend in Kenya


My secret lust for right-wing women

19 July 2014

The lust that dare not speak its name


Farewell, Speccie

19 July 2014

After 23 years, The Spectator’s brilliant and much-loved arts editor is leaving

A literary city: Prague

The glorious bohemia of Prague

19 July 2014

A playful city, and above all, a writer’s city.



Gove, gone

19 July 2014

If the Tories win the election, the reshuffle gamble will have paid off

Spectators notes

The Spectator's Notes: this is the worst reshuffle since 1989

19 July 2014

Cameron has punished the ministers who were brave and active, and target-bombed his party’s natural supporters

Rod Liddle

The NHS ‘wellbeing’ monkey deserves to die

19 July 2014

This moronic stuffed simian is being used to instill PC propaganda in children’s tender minds


The ambulance service is in a state of emergency

19 July 2014

Frontline paramedic staff are leaving their jobs in droves

James Delingpole

Fear and libertarianism in Las Vegas

19 July 2014

On the edge of the desert, the drugs began to take hold


Any other business: trouble spots in European banking

19 July 2014

Plus: good and bad encounters with the public sector


‘There is nothin’ like a dame’ — nice songs, shame about the lighting: Mitzi Gaynor in ‘South Pacific’, 1958

Why movie musicals matter – to this author anyway

19 July 2014

A review of Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter, by Richard Barrios, whose commitment to musical cinema you can’t knock, but whose prose style you should

British author and socialite Margot Asquith. Photograph: Sasha/Getty Images

This diary of a prime minister's wife offers a front-row seat to the Great War

19 July 2014

A review of Margot Asquith’s Great War Diary, 1914–1916: The View from Downing Street, edited by Michael and Eleanor Brock. As you’d expect, the cast of characters is worthy of a Shakespearian history play


The author’s father didn’t want you to read this book. It’s hard to understand why

19 July 2014

A review of A Dog’s Life, by Michael Holroyd. This thinly veiled portrait of Holroyd's family is more an exercise in self-chastisement than vanity


In the empire stakes, the Anglo-Saxons were for long Spain’s inferiors

19 July 2014

A review of World Without End: The Global Empire of Philip II, by Hugh Thomas. This history of the Spanish Empire seems more interested in the conquerors than the conquered but still makes its argument well

St Enodoc Church overlooking St Enodoc golf course and the sea beyond, Rock, Cornwall. John Betjeman lies buried in the graveyard

The ultimate guide to Cornwall

19 July 2014

A review of Cornwall, by Peter Beacham and Nikolaus Pevsner. Uniting two classic guides by Pevsner and John Betjeman, Beacham has left no fernbanked lane or secret drive unexplored


From slaves' rectums to porn vids, there are few places people haven't tried to conceal secret messages

19 July 2014

A review of Prisoners, Lovers and Spies: The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to al-Qa’eda, by Kristie Macrakis. The ancients hid their intel in hares' bellies; today, jihadis use porn

Joining the old rogue on his 80th birthday, from left to right, Bevis Hillier, Antonia Fraser, Hamilton, James Pope-Hennessy, James Reeve, and the Spectator’s current book editor, Mark Amory

The long and disgraceful life of Britain's pre-eminent bounder

19 July 2014

A review of The Man Who Was Norris: The life of Gerald Hamilton, by Tom Cullen. The great thing about this book is that Cullen rarely makes the mistake of taking Hamilton (once described as ‘the wickedest man in Europe’) at his own word


The Russian literary celebrity who begged Tolstoy to spare Prince Andrei

19 July 2014

A review of Subtly Worded, by Teffi. Her remarkable short stories, full of characters that teeter on the edge of an abyss, deserve to be better known


‘The Goldfinch’, 1654, by Carel Fabritius

The home of Holland’s celebrity paintings gets a makeover

19 July 2014

Vermeers, Rembrandts and Holbeins are among the star attractions in The Hague’s newly refurbished Mauritshaus

Handel's statue in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. Photo: Getty

Is Handel’s Messiah anti-Semitic?

19 July 2014

Baroque scholar Michael Marissen thinks so, but Damian Thompson doesn’t buy it

‘Paul Newman’, 1964, by Dennis Hopper

Had Hollywood not lured him away, Dennis Hopper could have made his name as a photographer

19 July 2014

Plus: the Royal Academy’s Radical Geometry show offers a bit of Op, a bit of clever interior design and a bit of Blue Peter


‘Artmaking is a drug’ - interview with poet Paul Muldoon

19 July 2014

Olivia Cole attempts to get the one part Princeton professor, two parts ageing rocker, to dish on his tricks


Buxton Festival sticks its neck out with two rarities by Dvorak and Gluck

19 July 2014

The musical basics of The Jacobin and Orfeo ed Euridice are worth your while

Billie Piper as Paige Britain: gorgeous, stony-hearted news psycho

Richard Bean doesn’t believe in humans - just weasels, snakes, rats and vultures

19 July 2014

Plus: a new play at the Bush about religious extremism that could have been a popular hit if it had tacked more towards the middle ground


How did a New York nanny become one of the great photographers of the 20th century?

19 July 2014

Finding Vivian Maier does not find Vivian Maier conclusively, but it still keeps you drilled to your seat

A series of indisputable masterpieces: Nile Rodgers of Chic

The quest for the perfect guitar riff is a noble one – if not quite the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe

19 July 2014

Ignore the touches of hyperbole and the feminist politicking, BBC4’s The Joy of the Guitar Riff rescued Friday night TV

The Bay City Rollers (Photo: Getty)

The two men who walked barefoot to the capitals of the four nuclear powers on a peace pilgrimage

19 July 2014

Plus: five short essays on Scottishness, full of detail and absurdity, by A.L Kennedy


A celebration of Scottish artistic success over the past 25 years

19 July 2014

Since spring this year, art venues across Scotland have been dedicating themselves to a gigantic project called Generation. Involving more than 100 artists and 60 venues, the programme is a… Read more


High life

High life

I’ve just met the future Mrs Taki — again

19 July 2014

 Gstaad I write this on 14 July, France’s big day and the 25th anniversary of my father’s passing. He died at dawn, on the bicentennial of the uprising, as if… Read more

Low life

Low life

I am walking to the Spectator party — sober, clean and in all my finery

19 July 2014

They do love a party at The Spectator. I was invited to four in ten days last week: the Apollo Summer party, the Spectator ‘At Home’ Summer party, the annual… Read more

Real life

Real life

I bought a tin of dog food and paid £67.50

19 July 2014

‘Cydney,’ I have just told the spaniel, ‘you had better enjoy this tin of dog food because it cost me £67.50.’ I hear you ask, ‘How on earth is this… Read more

Long life

Long life

Assisted suicide is too close to murder to be legal

19 July 2014

How amazing to have two former Anglican archbishops, George Carey of Canterbury and Desmond Tutu of South Africa, supporting Lord Falconer’s bill to legalise assisted suicide! It has always been,… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

Climbing Mount Kenya with my 13-year-old daughter

19 July 2014

 Kenya Highlands I’ve just descended Mount Kenya with Eve, my 13-year-old daughter, and her class of school leavers from Pembroke House. Afterwards our guide Steve, an ex-Grenadier guardsman, emailed me… Read more




The recent Open European Championship was won by Israel — but right up to the end, Monaco and England were snapping at their heels (they won silver and bronze respectively).… Read more



Final flame

19 July 2014

I am very sorry to report the death of International Master Andrew Whiteley, a friend of mine for half a century and a well-loved character in British chess. Andrew represented… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 323

19 July 2014

Black to play. This is from Litsberger-Whiteley, Harrachov 1967. This position also emanated from the Dragon Variation. What was Black’s killing blow? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday… Read more



Soccer lesson

19 July 2014

In Competition No. 2856 you were invited to recruit a well-known author of your choice to give Phil Neville a masterclass in the art of football commentary. After his commentary… Read more



2171: 31 Across

19 July 2014

Seven identical two-by-two squares in the completed grid must be highlighted to depict the unclued entries, each of two words.   Across   1    Eyesores left out of designs… Read more


Crossword solution

to 2168: History exam

19 July 2014

Initial letters of superfluous words in clues give nightingale, quail and cuckoo, specimens of AVIFAUNA (5) represented by FLUTE (43), OBOE (40) and TWO CLARINETS (27 18) in the SIXTH… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Cameron was right to move Gove

19 July 2014

I tried to reach Michael Gove on Tuesday shortly after the news broke that he’d been moved to the Whips’ Office. I’m quite relieved he never called back, because my… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

19 July 2014

The Wiki Man

Why we’ll never go back to smoking indoors

19 July 2014

What would happen, I wonder, were we to rescind the smoking ban as Nigel Farage wants? My guess is not much. Most restaurants would keep the existing rules. Some pubs… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do I train my husband not to shout for me from far-flung rooms?

Q. My former cleaner has now retired and lives nearby. I visit her with clockwork regularity and always enjoy seeing her, but the problem is that although we may have… Read more



A toast to all bottles

19 July 2014

Where two or three British males are gathered together, the agenda often includes a glass or two. One thing can lead on to another. To facilitate the supply of glasses,… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Origins of the toe-rag

19 July 2014

‘I am glad to say that I have never seen a toe-rag,’ said my husband, assuming, as unconvincingly as one would expect, the demeanour of Gwendolen from The Importance of… Read more