The Spectator

21 January 2017

A renewed special relationship

Donald Trump has pledged to reward Britain for leaving the EU, and the signs are promising





Why Donald Trump looks like just the friend Britain needs

The new President has pledged to reward Britain for leaving the EU, and the signs are promising



Will Donald Trump be assassinated, ousted in a coup or just impeached?

As the president-elect takes office, all Washington can talk about is how badly it will end

Distant overview of Stonehenge against stormy skies


The Stonehenge tunnel is monumental folly

At a cost of half a billion pounds, it will deprive millions of motorists of a small but profound pleasure

Tristram Hunt visits Stoke-on-Trent (Photo: Getty)


In Labour’s old heartlands, MPs are staring into the abyss

Could the party’s support dissolve in northern England and the Midlands as it has in Scotland?



Real-life killers can have even sillier ideas than Bond villains

A criminal defence QC reminisces about some of his more creatively foolish clients



For really ethical fur, hunt it yourself

The newly fashionable excuses don’t wash

Cityscape with a sunset in the background


The hateful whispers that make me want to move from London to Tel Aviv

As a Jew, the city where I grew up and have always lived feels less and less comfortable

Going off-piste: some people just can’t wait

Notes on...

In praise of late-season skiing

Snow is virtually guaranteed and the slopes will be deserted

The Week

Theresa May presenting her upbeat vision of Brexit – with a hint of menace. Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool /Getty Images

Leading article

The right way to do Brexit: positive – but tough

Theresa May’s speech is an excellent start to the battles and negotiations ahead


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Britain will leave the single market on leaving the European Union, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said in a…

Who's who? Donald Tusk with Jean-Claude Juncker. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images


Donald Trump's quite right to be confused about the EU's presidents

Also in Michael Gove’s Diary: why does the left want Britain to suffer? What I really said about experts

German torpedo craft and submarines with their supply ship, 1917 (Photo: Getty)

From The Archives

1917, and Britain doesn’t quite rule the waves

A vintage Spectator view on the first world war’s sea struggle


Ancient and modern

A Roman emperor’s inauguration to rival Donald Trump’s

Julianus arrived amid scandal and was rapidly dispatched



Why does America inaugurate its presidents in January?

Also in our Barometer column: longest and shortest addresses, the cost of Trump’s wall, and advertising in Piccadilly



What physicists understand that economists don’t

Also in Spectator letters: cash from the EU was Britain’s in the first place; the illiberal left


Spectators notes

The Spectator's Notes

Theresa May’s Twelve Steps programme for national recovery

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: Mr Trump’s EU pronouncements; the origins of ‘snob’



Theresa May has taken control – this is a Brexit plan the EU can't stop

She can’t unilaterally guarantee a good deal for Britain, but her approach is careful and sensible


Rod Liddle

Stupidity takes hold of another students’ union

At Soas, non-white students have been complaining of a lack of ‘cultural familiarity’ with their white tutors

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris

From safaris to cups of tea, our motives are seldom what they seem

To get the pleasure we really want we pretend it’s about something else

Hugo Rifkind

Hugo Rifkind

Piers Morgan is a shameless brown-noser but maybe he’s on the right track

Trump could be headed for a meltdown and he sees an opportunity to be David Frost


Any other business

Oxfam don’t understand the rich — but they still have a point

Also in Any Other Business: explaining the FTSE 100’s movements, and President Trump’s exciting ambassadors



Lead book review

Why is the world crumbling in anger and terror?

Does our present climate of violence date back to the 18th century? Or has America’s global hegemony been largely to blame?

An elegant curiosity: Thomas Telford’s Pontycysyllte Aqueduct in north-east Wales, completed in 1805, is the longest and highest in Britain and a World Heritage Site


Thomas Telford: a man, a plan and 17 canals

But this brilliant Georgian engineer was born at the wrong time, and his greatest projects were scuppered by the railways

Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi in the 1994 film Bandit Queen


Wild warrior women — from the Wrestler Princess to the Bandit Queen

Jason Porath’s tales of history’s fiercest viragos come with warning icons of rape and self-harm

Hundreds of people march to demand an end to US trade policy that threatens countries accessing essential medications, Washington 1999 (Photo: Getty)


How we overcame Aids against all the odds

Peter Tatchell salutes the dedicated US activists who finally tamed the greatest threat to public health in living memory

Spouses having their first disagreement


Middle-class marriage — and an apologia for adultery

William Nicholson’s women are open and selfless, while his men are immature egoists. It all makes for enjoyable reading

Donald Trump keeps an eye on wife Melania at the polling station (Photo: Getty)


Siri Hustvedt’s thoughts on art, science and the human condition

As her latest essays show, the American novelist is prepared to take on anything, from sculpture to cybernetics

SIS (Secret Intelligence Service or MI6) Building in London


There’s no spy like an old spy

A menacing snippet of internet chatter relates to an unresolved MI6 case from 30 years back, in Alan Judd’s latest novel

Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson at The Band’s ‘The Last Waltz’ concert in San Francisco in 1976


Reading Robbie Robertson's memoir is like stumbling into a name-droppers’ convention

Perhaps Testimony did need a ghost writer. Robertson is not a sympathetic or credible narrator of his own life

Ronald Knox (Photo: Getty)


The piety and wit of Monsignor Ronald Knox

At last this reticent, inventive and quietly holy figure is getting the recognition he deserves

Fanny Cornforth’s mouth comes under Kathryn Hughes’s scrutiny. The Pre-Raphaelite muse is seen here in Rossetti’s ‘The Blue Bower’


Why did Darwin grow a beard? And what was George Eliot so keen to hide?

These and other puzzles are explained in Kathryn Hughes’s survey of embarrassing Victorian bodies

(Photo: Getty)


Robert Olen Butler’s anguished hero is haunted by the wrong war

Perfume River is an interesting and highly accomplished novel. But for all its beauty and skill, it does feel a bit dated

Author László  Krasznahorkai (Photo: Getty)


Beastly tales from Hungary

Two novellas by László Krasznahorkai skilfully analyse the relationship between the hunter and his prey

Children in Rose Town in 2008, one of the poorest areas of Kingston, Jamaica , with one of the highest crime rates in the world


The hellish paradise of the Caribbean

The islands’ history of slavery means violence is always erupting amid the music and the poetry, says Joshua Jelly-Schapiro


Paradise regained: Milton Keynes shopping centre (now called thecentre: mk) in 1972

Arts feature

Milton Keynes is 50 years old. Should we celebrate?

We may snigger at the roundabouts and the concrete cows but let’s not forget this new town’s utopian spirit

Simon Rattle and the LSO perform Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at Barbican Centre. Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for the London Symphony Orchestra


A memorable evening, though not one I’d want to repeat: Le grand macabre reviewed

The LSO was on staggering form under Simon Rattle and the cast impressive but Ligeti’s opera could do with a cut

The Kite Runner (Photo: Robert Workman)


A hymn to a vanished era when immigration worked: The Kite Runner at Wyndham’s reviewed

Plus: the Royal Court’s mission to depress Belgravia and fetishise the underclas continues with Wish List

Sadiq Khan and Revolting  reporter Dale Maily


‘Real Housewives of Isis’ is dark and courageous – but the rest of Revolting is lamentable

It’s as if two teams were involved in making the show: Team Bold, and Team Utter Predictable BBC Crap

‘Breakwater’, 1994, by Sandra Blow


Sandra Blow's paintings hold their own with Sixties stars like Hockney and Riley

Her unclassifiable, energetic works — on show at the Fine Art Society till 30 January — demonstrate she is certainly worth remembering

Visitors outside the Royal Festival Hall in with London Eye


Does Radio 3 really need to tiptoe around every controversy?

Topics they would rather avoid talking about: Rattle's Great Hall of the People, the humiliation of ENO, the Faber cartel, the cult of Muhly...

Maradona on his way to score his second goal during the World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and England, 1986 (Photo: Getty)


Why does sport work so well on radio?

Plus: the music that the prosecuting lawyers at Nuremberg and Hitler’s lawyer shared a passion for

We see what she is but never why: Natalie Portman as Jackie Onassis


We see what she is but never why: Jackie reviewed

Natalie Portman commands your attention but she can't shapeshift – she's always Acting with a capital 'A'



High life

Acts of heroism are wasted on Davos Man and generation snowflake

The war hero Kostas Perrikos would surely turn in his grave if he could see the state of the world today


Low life

The healing power of gin

A visit to an old friend's sickbed. I knew just what to bring


Real life

If Donald Trump doesn’t cause market meltdown the sale of my London flat will

One more ludicrous question from my buyer and I swear I am going to pull out


Long life

My night with Brigitte Bardot

Most things I dream about actually happen but on that occasion — disappointingly —  I woke up


The turf

Can ITV save horse-racing?

Horse-racing’s survival depends on the success of the channel’s coverage of the sport




The Friday night IMPs game at the Young Chelsea is still the best game around. Some of yesterday’s internationals may…


Spectator Wine

Wine Club 21 January

I don’t know about you but my cellar took a pounding over Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. Yes, yes,…




Richard Réti is one of the most fascinating figures in the history of chess thought. The author of two seminal…


Chess puzzle

no. 440

White to play. This is from Réti-Tartakower, Vienna 1910. Can you spot White’s beautiful tactical coup? Answers to me at…



Fashion statement

In Competition No. 2981 you were invited to submit a poem about a politician and an item of clothing.  …



2293: Topping

The unclued lights (one of two words and one hyphened) are of a kind, all verifiable in Chambers.   Across…


Crossword solution

to 2290: Timely II

Perimetric trios combine to suggest HOG/MAN/AY: SHILLING, MALE, INDEED; SWINE, ATTENDANT, YES; MOUND, EMPLOYEE, EVER. The relevant activity is FIRST-FOOTING…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Schools are desperate to teach ‘growth mindset’. But it’s based on a lie

‘Growth mindset’ requires children to believe something demonstrably false

Spectator sport

Spectator sport

If you can see top games for free, where will footie’s millions come from?

Any teen can connect you to a streaming website, and if that doesn’t work there are five others

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: how should you deal with having your face flecked with spittle?

Also: my son’s academic rival is pretending he isn’t revising for mocks

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

A misspelt star of the FTSE 100

Carillion is but one part of a collection of surprisingly random names