The Spectator


27 September 2014

The Cameron way

The PM signals left while turning right. But now it’s time for clarity

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Cameron is, deep down, a Tory radical cutting back the state. It’s time he admitted it

27 September 2014

It's time for the Prime Minister to make up his mind. Will he seize the chance to reshape British politics?

British Treasury Secretary Danny Alexand

How an Oxford degree – PPE – created a robotic governing class

27 September 2014

Most of our prominent politicians studied the same subject at Oxford. Is it any wonder we’re so badly governed?


Vaclav Klaus: the West’s lies about Russia are monstrous

27 September 2014

An interview with the former Czech president, possibly the West’s last truly outspoken leader


The Manchester dogs’ home fire has shown up our strange attitude to animal suffering

27 September 2014

There is a glaring double standard in our adoration for our pets and our tolerance for intensive farming


Do adults really need to be taught about the moment of ‘consent’ in sex?

27 September 2014

They should be left in their digs to learn on the job


Michael Fallon: after Iraq, we need to think about bombing Syria.

27 September 2014

An interview with the new, hawkish Defence Secretary

Barbara Hepworth’s St Ives garden

Artists’ houses

27 September 2014

I’m not sure what took me to Salvador Dalí’s house in Port Lligat, but it sure as hell wasn’t admiration. As a public figure, I hold him alone responsible for… Read more

The Week


Leading article

The Arab world wants to help America defeat ISIS. Do they want or need the RAF?

27 September 2014

Islamic State must be defeated by supporting its enemies in the Middle East


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Cameron visits UN HQ, Scotland checks its bruises, and a Swede sells his submarine

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited New York for talks at the United Nations; he said Britain supported the American air strikes on the Islamic State. ‘These people want… Read more



Tom Bower’s Diary: Resuming hostilities with Richard Branson

27 September 2014

Plus: My unlikely friendship with Simon Cowell

A cannabis plant growing in a garden in Cologne, Germany. (Photo: OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)


How does your cannabis grow?

The strange places where marijuana plants have sprung up; plus, what would an English parliament look like?


Ancient and modern

The ancient roots of Alex’s Salmond’s demagoguery

27 September 2014

He doesn’t like the verdict of the people, so he threatens to declare independence anyway



Spectator letters: The best ‘never’ ever is in the Declaration of Arbroath Plus: BST for England, the problem for social workers, and C.P. Snow was not cold

Never say never Sir: Dot Wordsworth (Mind your language, 20 September) quotes various telling usages of ‘never’ for rhetorical or theatrical effect. But she missed one of the earliest and… Read more



Cameron must reunite the Tories or lose the next election

27 September 2014

Some Conservatives pine for a leader who can bring the family back together -- and look wistfully towards Boris

James Delingpole

The greatest joy of playing Grand Theft Auto V? It lets you give the finger to the PC brigade

27 September 2014

It’s condemned for its outrageous sexism, racism, misogyny and violence. But it’s damn good fun


Is the US using bank fines to bring allies into line against Russia?

27 September 2014

Plus: How far and how fast will Tesco fall?

Rod Liddle

If we won’t talk to John Cantlie’s captors, then why not have Qataris to do it for us?

27 September 2014

We may pretend we don’t negotiate, but in private we natter away like there’s no tomorrow


Can brutalised jihadis be saved by forgiveness?

27 September 2014

A former Liberian warlord persuaded me that it is possible to rehumanise monstrous men


Vladimir and Véra: in love for life

Nabokov’s love letters are some of the most rapturous ever written

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Letters to Vera’, by Vladimir Nabokov. Most love letters would not be worth reading. But Nabokov turns what he sees into sentences of pure magic

In the dialogue in front of Raphael’s ‘Madonna della Sedia’, Martin Gayford takes the lead

This former head of the Metropolitan finds Rembrandt boring

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Rendez-vous with Art’, by Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford. It’s a minor miracle that this book doesn’t lapse into self-indulgent meandering

Paul Merton. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Paul Merton’s is the most boastful autobiography in years

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Only When I Laugh: My Autobiography’, by Paul Merton. He writes candidly about his psychiatric incarceration but, elsewhere, there’s too much swanking

Ottolenghi’s tomato and pomegranate salad

Yotam Ottolenghi: the Saatchi brothers of vegetable PR

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Plenty More’, by Yotam Ottolenghi. If you can make sense of this cook’s unpronounceable ingredients, you should have a delicious meal

Comforting domesticity: Alan Johnson with his stepdaughter Natalie and daughter Emma

Boy, can Alan Johnson write

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Please, Mister Postman’, by Alan Johnson. This second instalment of the former minister’s autobiography takes us from the urban jungle of Notting Hill to the cusp of political power

The end of The End of History. Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images

What’s that I hear? Francis Fukuyama back-pedalling frantically

27 September 2014

A review of ‘Political Order and Political Decay’, by Francis Fukuyama. This excellent volume of comparative history and political science should be read by politicians and public alike

Dr Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury, waits to greet the Pope in 2010. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Rowan Williams has been reading too much Wittgenstein

27 September 2014

A review of ‘The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language’, by Rowan Williams. Atheists have nothing to fear from this attempt to find a proof for God in linguistic philosophy

A figure of envy for much of male Middle England: Michael Rudman, with Felicity Kendal

I’m disappointed this director didn’t plunge the knife into Dustin Hoffman

27 September 2014

A review of ‘I Joke Too Much: The Theatre Director’s Tale’, by Michael Rudman. Despite the dearth of score-settling, there’s a good laugh on almost every page

Edmund Burke. Scruton argues, like him, ‘that a society is ‘a partnership… between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born’. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Passion, authority and the odd mini-rant: Scruton’s conservative vision

27 September 2014

A review of ‘How To Be A Conservative’, by Roger Scruton. He ends with a passionate, romantic appeal on behalf of western society

October 1984:  Firemen inspect the shell of the Grand Hotel in Brighton, destroyed by an IRA sleeper bomb which was intended to kill Margaret Thatcher. Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images

Hilary Mantel’s fantasy about killing Thatcher is funny. Honest

27 September 2014

A review of ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories’, by Hilary Mantel. There’s a lot of horror, plenty of wraiths and a fair bit of humour in these contemporary short stories


Julius Shulman: Case Study House #22, 1959 (architect: Pierre Koenig)

The Camera Always Lies

27 September 2014

Stephen Bayley explores how the camera shapes our relationship with architecture

‘Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railway’, 1844, by J.M.W. Turner

Tate Britain’s Turner show reveals an old master - though the Spectator didn’t think so at the time

27 September 2014

It also reveals a painter more concerned with the world around him than with formal abstraction

‘14.11.65’ by John Hoyland

Is John Hoyland the new Turner?

27 September 2014

And will Hoyland-obsessive Damien Hirst’s most lasting achievement be as a curator?

Quiet nobility: David Kempster as William Tell

Robo-Tell hits Welsh National Opera

27 September 2014

Plus: more satisfying Rossini at the Royal Opera House

Rosamund Pike and family (L-R) Harriet Turnbull, Emilia Jones and Bobby Smalldridge

Outnumbered: The Movie (But Crap)

27 September 2014

The duo behind the hit BBC sitcom have had a disastrously off day with What We Did On Our Holiday

‘Modern Family’, 2014, byEd Fornieles,at Chisenhale Gallery

‘Likes’, lacquered cherry pies and Anselm Kiefer: the weird world of post-internet art

27 September 2014

The work of Austin Lee and Ed Fornieles embodies what culture might be were it filtered entirely through social media

Portrait of a couple as Isaac and Rebecca, known as ‘The Jewish Bride’, c.1665, by Rembrandt

Why everyone loves Rembrandt

27 September 2014

Whether with subject matter, paint or the palette knife, the 17th century Dutch master was a magician

Doctor Scroggy’s War (Photo: Mark Douet)

Charles III is made for numbskulls by numbskulls

27 September 2014

Plus: no less dramatic illiteracy is to be found in Howard Brenton’s Doctor Scroggy’s War at Shakespeare’s Globe


Marriage and foreplay Sharia-style

27 September 2014

Plus: James Walton finds a cunning combination of familiar elements in BBC1’s drama The Driver


High life

High life

My ghosts of Athens; a shooting and a royal wedding

27 September 2014

Athens This grimy semi-Levantine ancient city has its beauty spots, with childhood memories indelibly attached. There is a turn-of-the-century apartment building across the street from my house where in 1942… Read more

Real life

Real life

Melissa Kite: a crazy woman is living inside my head.

27 September 2014

A crazy woman is living inside my head. It’s not just the normal crazy woman who camps out there from time to time and argues about parking tickets. It’s a… Read more

Low life

Low life

A visit to a drugs den above a fishmongers with Miss South America

27 September 2014

‘Stand outside the fishmongers in 20 minutes and call this number,’ she said, ‘and I can arrange it.’ On Saturday evening I was scrubbed up for a big night out.… Read more

Long life

Long life

Winslow Hall shows you don’t need fancy sets to make opera enjoyable

27 September 2014

Winslow Hall is a large and handsome country house in Buckinghamshire, built in 1700 by Sir Christopher Wren, which Tony Blair nearly bought in 2007 when he was looking for… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

From Burma — or maybe Saigon — to Manchester via Calcutta

27 September 2014

England   We dropped off our daughter Eve at her new school in the Midlands and started the long journey home to Africa. On the train we sat down and… Read more




There aren’t many instantly recognisable stars in the bridge world, but Andrew Robson is definitely one — as he was made only too aware on a flight to Tangier recently… Read more



Scotch miss

27 September 2014

This week, a tribute to the one major Scottish contribution to chess, the invention of the Scotch game, later to become a favourite of Garry Kasparov. The following game, one… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 333

27 September 2014

White to play. This position is from Yu–Ganguly, Indonesia 2012. This encounter also started with the Scotch Game opening. Both sides have a bishop en prise. How can White turn… Read more



Prose poem

27 September 2014

In Competition No. 2866 you were invited to pick a well-known poem and write a short story with the same title using the poem’s opening and closing lines to begin… Read more



2181: Obit II

27 September 2014

The 19 of a great 1A of 6 and for the 1D occurred in 37 25 years ago this month. He was born in 21 and was a friend of… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2178: Saint and playwright

27 September 2014

In Vanity Fair (18/2), George Osborne is associated with 6/30 and 10/31. As Chancellor, he was preceded by 8, 26 and 29. First prize Stephen Gore, Seer Green, Bucks … Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

My hormones are all over the place. It must be the manopause

27 September 2014

Women spend ten days a year in a grumpy mood, according to the Daily Mail. The top triggers include being overweight, feeling undervalued, having a bad hair day, breaking a… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

27 September 2014

The Wiki Man

Was the phrasing of the Scottish referendum question designed to create division?

27 September 2014

It is a trick which often works on children. Do not tell them to eat vegetables; instead ask whether they want broccoli or spinach. Question such as ‘Red or white?’… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I sneak into a talk my son is giving without him seeing me?

Q. The Idler Academy is within walking distance of my house and I note from the programme of autumn events that my own son is due to give a talk… Read more



In praise of the Loire - cradle of civilisation, and wonderful wines

27 September 2014

Rivers are the cradles of civilisation and the Loire is an outstanding example. It is one of the head-waters of modern France. By the 7th century, the region had emerged… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Dot Wordsworth on language: Why do we call it ‘Islamic State’?

27 September 2014

I’m puzzled by the dropping of the one part of the name of the Islamic State that seems certain. That it is Islamic, many dispute. That it is a state… Read more