The Spectator


18 October 2014

How to fix the NHS

A doctor’s prescription

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Previous Issues


Little Ladyship

Meet the bloated, useless General Medical Council

18 October 2014

It used to be little more than a clerk and a disciplinary committee; now it's a nest of power-hungry bureaucrats


How to fix the NHS: a doctor's prescription

18 October 2014

Competition – and ideology – isn't working

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin op

Why the West will surrender in its new cold war with Russia

18 October 2014

Sanctions over Ukraine hurt Germany and France far more than anyone else – Moscow included

Shrien Dewani Murder Trial Begins

At least South Africa has the world’s best murder trials

18 October 2014

First Oscar Pistorius, then Shrien Dewani: at dinner parties, talk has been of little else for months


Does Jonathan Powell really want to negotiate with the Islamic State?

18 October 2014

Or does he just want more people talking about Jonathan Powell?


Brighton has become an object lesson in why it is a disaster to vote Green

18 October 2014

The eco-comrades have experimented with a series of bizarre policies


Why it won’t be Ukip’s fault if Cameron loses

18 October 2014

Lord Pearson, Ukip’s former leader, on the deal that might have saved the Tories from coalition

Quiet, quaint and understated: Cobblers Cove

Chasing the shadows of slavery in Barbados

18 October 2014

History is never far away, even on the Platinum Coast

The Week

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  and First Lady Emine Erdogan visit the Obama's last month

Leading article

If Turkey turns on the West, what hope is there for Syria and Iraq?

18 October 2014

Plus: A deal on the Elgin Marbles for Amal Alamuddin Clooney


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Checks began at British airports for passengers who might have come from west Africa with Ebola fever (even though there are no direct flights from the countries most affected).… Read more



Prue Leith’s diary: I want to be green, but I’ve got some flights to take first...

18 October 2014

And my new eco-home costs more to heat than my old one



David Cameron’s not the only one in trouble over morris dancing

Plus: The best places to complain to Google, and the worst places to commit bestiality


Ancient and modern

Hannibal (and Alexander the Great) vs the Islamic State

18 October 2014

Classical precedents suggest their conquests are unlikely to last


From The Archives

From the archives

18 October 2014

From ‘War and wild life’, The Spectator, 17 October 1914: The siege of Antwerp has been a minor tragedy in a quarter to which few probably gave a thought. The… Read more



Spectator letters: Police snooping, Kevin Pietersen, rogue dogs and Army mnemonics

Nothing to fear Sir: So long as we are not breaking any law, we have nothing to fear from the police being able to access our mobiles (‘Licence to snoop’,… Read more



Ukip is here to stay – especially if Labour wins

18 October 2014

We have entered an age of four-party politics

Rod Liddle

Panic about Ebola in Africa – not here

18 October 2014

The risk of the average Brit contracting Ebola is substantially less than being hit by lightning

Matthew Parris

Reading the comments on my Ukip columns, I finally understand the Nazis

18 October 2014

I was rude about Ukip voters. I can take rudeness in return. But it’s a dark, bilious and resentful world down there…

Hugo Rifkind

Ukip is in the middle of the most cynical political repositioning ever

18 October 2014

You can’t be both more Tory than the Tories and more Labour than Labour. But apparently you can tell people you are and it’ll work


Storm warning: the world economy’s October troubles aren’t over yet

18 October 2014

Plus: Spiritual detox for bankers, and the last business that can make the prefix ‘Euro’ sound good


Cat among the pigeons: Jennifer Fry, the exotic beauty who so disrupted life at Farringdon House in the 1940s

My mad gay grandfather and me

18 October 2014

A review of The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me, by Sofka Zinovieff. Stravinsky, Beaton, Dali, Betjeman, Fonteyn - Berners and his lover 'The Mad Boy' knew everyone who was anyone

Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos is brought to the surface following a 10 week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine Photo: Getty

From working-class heroes to Disney World mascots: the sad fate of the Chilean miners

18 October 2014

A review of Deep Down Dark, by Hector Tobar. The Chilean miners thought they were screwed trapped underground – but they were even more screwed when they got out

Students at the Wartburg festival in October 1817, celebrating the tercentenary of the Reformation and the fourth anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig, cause panic in the courts of Europe

How a clumsy drummer started the 1848 revolutions

18 October 2014

A review of Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty, 1789 – 1848, by Adam Zamoyski. This masterful history shows how secret policing arrested the development Europe

Philip Marsden gets close to the impenetrable secrets of Tintagel (left) and Bodmin Moor (right), among many other mysterious sites

The bonkers (and not-so-bonkers) theories of what the pre-historic people of Cornwall believed

18 October 2014

A review of Rising Ground: A Search for the Spirit of the Place, by Philip Marsden. A fascinating book about the human endeavour to make meaning of life

'Jack' in his St John’s Wood studio, his portrait of Luisa Casati on the easel

The Etonian peer who became an assistant to a Mexican commie

18 October 2014

A review of The Red Earl: The Extraordinary Life of the 16th Earl of Huntingdon, by Selina Hastings. A daughter's biography characterized by a beguiling mix of tenderness and puzzlement

English novelist Margaret Forster, 1964 Photo: Getty

A woman who wears her homes like garments

18 October 2014

A review of My Life in Houses, by Margaret Forster. It’s a book that feels like it’s being told over a cup of tea

Director Nora Ephron Photo: Getty

Why everyone wants what Nora Ephron was having

18 October 2014

A review of The Most of Nora Ephron, by Nora Ephron. A greatest hits album that includes several masterpieces of comic construction


Detective drama Dostoevsky-style

18 October 2014

A review of The Buddha’s Return, by Gaito Gazdanov, translated by Bryan Karentnyk. The existentialist fiction of this 1920s Russian émigré speaks to our time

Grade II-listed Phoenix prefabs in Moseley, Birmingham

Why prefabs really were fab

18 October 2014

A review of Prefab Homes, by Elisabeth Blanchet. In 1946 you had to be very posh to have a house with an inside toilet

The theatrical Constance Markewicz founded the military boy scouts, who would later staff the IRA

When Irish nationalism meant sexual adventure

18 October 2014

A review of Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890 – 1923, by R.F. Foster. There will be many accounts of the Easter Rising but few will be as enjoyable as this

Ezra Pound in the early 1920s

Ezra Pound – the fascist years

18 October 2014

A review of Ezra Pound: Poet, Volume II: The Epic Years, by A. David Moody. This was also the period in which the controversial poet talked himself into madness

A still from 'A Few Days in the Life of I, I, Oblomov', based on the novel Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov Photo: Getty

Tolstoy’s favourite novel is a guide to being idle

18 October 2014

A review of Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov, translated by Stephen Pearl. But like many apparent idlers, Oblomov isn’t really lazy – he just spends a lot of time in bed


Is it boring being the god of the sea?

18 October 2014

Ces Nooteboom asks lots of presumptious questions like this in his Letters to Poseidon, translated by Laura Watkinson – but he’s more than a match for the trident-bearing earth-shaker



Timothy Spall as the eponymous painter in Mike Leigh’s new film ‘Mr Turner’

Mike Leigh interview: 'A guy in the Guardian wants to sue me for defamation of Ruskin!'

18 October 2014

Hermione Eyre talks to the filmmaker about Turner, Hollywood and making films his own way

'Supermarkets' (1976), by Sigmar Polke. Picture: The Estate of Sigmar Polke

Tate Modern’s latest show feels like it’s from another planet

18 October 2014

William Cook finds a German extraterrestrial, Sigmar Polke, exhibiting at the Tate

Composer Alexander Glazunov Photo: Getty

The drunk conductor who ruined Rachmaninov’s career

18 October 2014

The disastrous first performance of Rachmaninov’s First Symphony has cast a long shadow over the work

Hye-Youn Lee as Violetta in ‘La traviata’

Opera North’s Coronation of Poppea: a premium-rate sex-line of an opera

18 October 2014

Plus: a Traviata intoxicated by modernity and swimming in bacteria

Turning feral: Lord of the Flies

Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies: when boys turn feral

18 October 2014

Plus: more atavistic children from Scottish Ballet's The Crucible and some pow-zap hip hop from Boy Blue Entertainment

Harriet Walter as King Henry

Donmar’s Henry IV: Phyllida Lloyd has nothing but contempt for her audience

18 October 2014

Plus: to call Notes from Underground an artistic catastrophe would be to praise it too highly

Tissues at the ready: James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan in The Best of Me

The Best of Me is more of a sleepie than a weepie - especially when our old friend No Sexual Chemistry makes an appearance

18 October 2014

Compared to The Best of Me, Northern Soul may be a masterpiece - which is not saying much

Mackenzie Crook's Detectorists

Fellow saddoes rejoice: BBC4 has made a comedy-drama about metal detecting

18 October 2014

Plus: James Delingpole has spotted some eco propaganda on BBC2

The man in charge: Alan Davey

Can Radio 3 escape the digital squeeze?

18 October 2014

Plus: if only they ploughed their money into shows like The Verb - rather than doing grandstanding live relays


High life

High life

The battle for decency has been lost

18 October 2014

An intelligent letter from a reader, Stanislas Yassukovich CBE, warms my heart. It’s nice to know there are others as appalled as I am by today’s so-called elite’s ghastly manners.… Read more

Low life

Low life

The karmic rewards of becoming a vegetarian

18 October 2014

 ‘Is that you, Sister?’ It was Tom misdialling again with those thick, stubby fingers of his. ‘No, it’s me: Jerry,’ I said. I held the phone away from my ear… Read more

Real life

Real life

I tried to escape the confines of Balham in Oxshott

18 October 2014

My London flat now has so little space in it I’ve begun storing stuff at the dry cleaners. Back in May, I checked a huge winter quilt in at Viking’s… Read more

Long life

Long life

Here’s how to remain cheerful in the face of such a multitude of scares

18 October 2014

I don’t think I can remember a time when there have been so many scares about. They come at us from every direction, and even sometimes from out of the… Read more


The turf

My first Arc de Triomph was a triumph

18 October 2014

Aboard our coach from Rouen to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe our lady guide put it succinctly: ‘The only polite Parisians are the ones who are asleep.’… Read more




The EBU’s Premier League is upon us again, the pain of relegation ever-present as my team battles it out in the second division to try to finish in the top… Read more


Spectator Wine

October Wine Vaults

18 October 2014

It’s back to basics this week and pretty darn delicious basics at that. Corney & Barrow’s house selection has an almost fanatical following among Spectator readers and it’s a real… Read more



Tigran Tigran

18 October 2014

Tigran Petrosian seized the world championship from Mikhail Botvinnik in 1963, defended the title against Boris Spassky in 1966 and only relinquished it against the same dangerous opponent three years… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 336

18 October 2014

White to play. This is from Petrosian-Rosetto, Portoroz 1958. White’s knight is threatened and appears to lack a safe escape square. What did Petrosian have in mind? Answers to me… Read more



Spooner verse

18 October 2014

In Competition No. 2869 you were invited to submit a poem on any theme as it might have been written by the diminutive, myopic warden of New College, Oxford Revd… Read more



2184: Airline

18 October 2014

Nine unclued lights each contain a different 20 from the same source. The title suggests a further such 20. Elsewhere, ignore an accent.   Across   1    First off clochards… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2181: Obit II

18 October 2014

The END (19) of Rameau, a great COMPOSER (1A) of OPERAS (6) and for the CLAVECIN (1D), occurred in PARIS (37) CCL (25) years ago, on 12th September 1764. Born… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

I nearly missed out on The Walking Dead. You shouldn’t

18 October 2014

I’m ashamed to say it took me a while to watch an episode of The Walking Dead, the fifth season of which has just begun. I was put off by… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

18 October 2014
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Pietersen’s unlikely Passage to India

18 October 2014

A typical Merchant-Ivory film, their biography informs me, features ‘genteel characters’ whose lives are blighted by ‘disillusionment and tragic entanglements’. No surprise then that Kevin Pietersen is proudly revealed as… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Can I ask for a lift on my friend's private jet?

Q. We have moved to the country and my husband often prefers me to drive — not because he wants to drink, but just because he’s quite a lazy fellow by… Read more



Gymkhana is morally disgusting – and fortunately the food’s disgusting too

18 October 2014

Gymkhana is a fashionable Indian restaurant in Albemarle Street. It was, according to its natty website, ‘inspired by Colonial Indian gymkhana clubs, set up by the British Raj, where members… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

What’s good for the goose is bad for the proverb

18 October 2014

‘Goosey, goosey gander,’ my husband shouted at the television, like someone from Gogglebox. It’s not so much that he thinks the television real as that he thinks himself an unreal… Read more