The Spectator

3 December 2016

Brexit in the balance

What, exactly, is at stake as Theresa May’s government squares up to the judiciary?





Brexit in the balance: exactly what is at stake in the Supreme Court?

Britain’s senior judges must persuade the public that they are deciding this case according to the law, not politics

(Photo: Getty)


A guide to the Supreme Court justices

All 11 will sit in the Article 50 case. They differ in in philosophy, temperament and in how they understand their role

(Photo: Getty)


How Donald Trump saved a brutal new sport from extinction

After saving the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he became the Godfather of mixed martial arts



Why Next boss Simon Wolfson is stepping into the ‘vicious game’ of politics

A passionate Leaver, he wants to forge an alliance with the Remain side to achieve a liberal Brexit

CEO of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix (Photo: Getty)


The British data-crunchers who say they helped Donald Trump to win

Are Cambridge Analytica brilliant scientists or snake-oil salesmen?

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Photo: Getty)


How Algeria could destroy the EU

When President Bouteflika dies, the Islamists will try to seize power, and Europe will face another refugee crisis

(Photo: Getty)


Save the pub landlord!

It’s a great landlord that makes a great pub

Herbal tea bag in glass cup


A curse on silky teabags

How do you take an item so simple, so perfect, and make it go so wrong?

‘Hello… can you put Nigel Slater on the line?’

The Week

(Photo: Getty)

Leading article

Revealed - Theresa May's Brexit strategy

Mrs May’s plan seems to be to leave the EU, but opt back into European laws on a sector-by-sector basis


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Paul Nuttall, aged 39, was elected leader of the UK Independence Party. He said: ‘I want to replace the Labour…

Richard Spencer (Photo: Getty)


The suddenly world-famous Nazi whose job I stole

Also in Freddy Gray’s diary: my Trump obsession, and Viktor Orban’s diplomacy



Sorry, Philip Hammond, autumn Budgets aren’t a new idea

Also in our Barometer column: rail fares and whole-life tariffs


Ancient and modern

Aristophanes had Donald Trump’s number

But he couldn’t stop the ancient Athenian equivalent from winning his election

Food on the frontline (Photo: Getty)

From The Archives

Let food prices rise! The Spectator’s answer to shortages, 1916

If we artificially cut down prices here, we sterilise instead of stimulating the impulse to feed us from abroad



Expect an easy Brexit? Then you mistake the EU for something rational

Also in Spectator Letters: the number 13; prisons and care homes; cycle lanes; BBC drama; Vermin Clubs; embarrassing names


Spectators notes

The Spectator's Notes

François Fillon’s Thatcherism is both respectable and brave

Also in Charles Moore’s Notes: Supreme Court judges want it both ways; the reality of Cuba’s health service; the BBC


Rod Liddle

The sexy new face of cigarette packaging

Another set of hypocritical petty restrictions on smokers at least open up the prospect of a fun game


James Delingpole

How I learned to embrace my inner toff

I guess I did get the Land Rover for snob reasons. It's all just a front, though


Jenny McCartney

Can sweet seven-year-old Bana Alabed emerge alive from Aleppo’s rubble?

Twitter followers around the world send emojis and prayers, but they cannot protect her from the bombings and chaos


Any other business

Why workers on boards is a stale red herring

Also in Any Other Business: beware the revenge of clubland, Chancellor; blame bankers for London property prices


Happy days: Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in the late 1970s, photographed in the garden of Tversky’s house in Stanford, California

Lead book review

The great intellectual bromance of the last century — between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky

In the 1970s, two brilliant Israeli psychologists changed our understanding of the way we think and the choices we make — with momentous consequences

(Photo: Getty)


Rifling through Elena Ferrante’s writing desk

As a sop to the media, the reclusive author gives us Frantumaglia — a deafening Neapolitan jumble of stories, letters and stories within letters, guaranteed to keep us quiet

The garden at Thenford, Northamptonshire


The best gardening books of 2016

Michael Heseltine invites us to his spectacular garden at Thenford — complete with the ‘perfect helipad for a former defence secretary’, as he’s at pains to point out

‘The Cheesemonger’ by Eric Ravilious.


Round and ripe: the role of cheese in global history

The wonderful new Oxford Companion covers ever aspect of cheese — in sex, war, the Bible, Shakespeare, diplomacy, superstition and magical thinking

‘... and of course I can’t leave clever Bill Davis and my purse.’
From William Nicholson’s Clever Bill


Children’s books for Christmas

One brave mouse, two feisty girls, three bad monkeys — and a coming-of-age novel reminiscent of To Kill a Mocking Bird — make for captivating stories this year

Storm and lighthouse


Cynan Jones’s Cove is an unforgettable adventure

The story of his Crusoe-like hero, adrift on the ocean and reborn after a lightning strike, makes for a wildly rewarding and utterly exhilarating read

Julie Harris in the 1963 film The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House


Shirley Jackson, high priestess of horror, finally gets the recognition she deserves

Though not widely known outside the US, she’s become a talismanic writer for Julie Myerson — who’s a braver reader than Jackson’s own husband

Background of famous social media icons


Is Jarett Kobek the Michel Houellebecq of San Francisco?

His latest book, I Hate the Internet, is more of a rant about tech barons than a novel. But he leaves you inspecting the carnage with a grin on your face


Painting with light: a Polaroid shot on vintage film by photographer Alex Cad

Arts feature

The magic of Polaroid – and how I rescued it from oblivion

Florian Kaps celebrates the unique magic of instant photography, which transformed the worlds of science and art, as well as our sex lives

Greece is the word: Teyonah Parris as Lysistrata in ‘Chi-Raq’


A tragicomic lecture about deadly penis extensions: Chi-Raq reviewed

For all its contrived silliness, Spike Lee’s latest is a far more potent intervention in the gun debate than the fuzzy-revenge dramas of Quentin Tarantino

Endlessly watchable: Mark Rylance as Ron in ‘Nice Fish’


An undemanding and underwritten frivolity: Nice Fish at the Harold Pinter Theatre reviewed

Plus: with The Sewing Group – a ponderous homily on culture and society – the Royal Court has ceased to be a theatre at all

Priscilla Presley introduces Elvis (Photo: Getty)


Elvis would have loved it: Elvis in Concert at the O2

The technical achievement was remarkable, synchronising the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with a patchwork of recorded vocals. It was emotional too

Robert Leonard's 1949 film In the Good Old Summertime (Photo: Getty)


Chilly noirs, kinky Cluedo & John Wayne as a gun-toting Wise Man: an alternative Xmas film canon

Not everything has to be about comfort and joy this Christmas – certainly not our film choices

‘Bed’, 1955, by Robert Rauschenberg


The first half is essential – the second much less so: Tate's Robert Rauschenberg reviewed

His early silk-screen paintings were marvellous but he never had another idea nearly as good again

Les Coutes d'Hoffman (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)


A noble flop: Royal Opera's Les Contes d'Hoffmann reviewed

Plus: I didn’t see Jonathan Kent’s Manon Lescaut first time round, and won’t mind not seeing it again

The Missing


Would BBC1’s The Missing blow it in the concluding episode – like so many thrillers before it

Plus: a programme brave enough to suggest that MPs do a tricky job with impressive decency

Will Self (Photo: Getty)


What drives the yearning for the return of the ghastly GDR?

Plus: the dangers black travellers faced in 1930s America and a female riposte to all those aggressive male drivers who want us off the road



High life

Are white nationalists about to take over the US? Not bloody likely

Thanks to the internet, the numbers who follow Richard Spencer and his like are vastly exaggerated


Low life

Rats and flying slugs: what the world is like on Parkinson’s drugs

If only the bores my mother attracts would stop for a moment and listen to her accounts of her strange hallucinations


Real life

The middle-class future is thousands of pounds worth of fines

And there is nothing we can do about it, except perhaps invent a religion that requires us to enter yellow boxes


Long life

27 exotic ways with the ashes of your deceased

Pencil filings; bullets; firework displays: you’d be amazed at the range of choices out there




It was the best hand I’d had all year — and what’s more, I picked it up while playing rubber…




Game eight of the World Championship in New York broke the deadlock of hard-fought draws in the first seven games.…


Chess puzzle

Chess puzzle

White to play. This position is from Rubinstein-Johner, Carlsbad 1911. How did Rubinstein gain a winning position with a standard…



The long view

In Competition No. 2976 you were invited to submit an extract of a speech in which a well-known figure from…



2289: I don’t believe it!

The unclued lights, as a singleton and four pairs with one unclued light doing double duty, are of a kind,…


Crossword solution

to 2286: B

The unclued lights are provinces or areas of BELGIUM.  First prize C.R. Haigh, Hassocks, West SussexRunners-up Frank McDonald, Carron, Falkirk;…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Prepare to tiptoe around generation snowflake in the workplace

Companies need to get prepared for young employees who will take offence at anything



The Odd Bottles now have a paramilitary wing

One is 13 and already a miraculous shot; the other is getting her first gun this Christmas


The Wiki Man

The secret of a perfect crime: be boring

Technology makes it dangerously easy for people to claim they don’t know what’s going on

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: I want a nuclear-family Christmas, but my cousin is on his own

Plus: How to get invited to a party which your friends are going to

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Why I’m a convert to singular ‘they’

Those more annoyed by bad grammar than by sexism will suffer till things settle down