The Spectator


25 July 2015

Caught on the net

Going online does not make you invisible – as the adulterers who used the hacked site Ashley Madison are discovering

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Previous Issues



François Hollande could still win. And this is why

25 July 2015

If the right stays split, the unpopular Monsieur Flanby could walk straight back into the presidency


You can do anything (but you shouldn’t): the brave new world of internet morality

25 July 2015

Online services have streamlined potentially shameful acts as never before – but don’t ever believe the promise that no one will find out

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 09.14.50

Why housing associations are the true villains of the property crisis

25 July 2015

They are not doing their job – while paying themselves handsomely

Members of Baader-Meinhof terrorist group: Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin (Photo: Getty)

I can understand those seduced by Isis; once, it could have been me

25 July 2015

I think I can understand the young people seduced by Isis– because once upon a time, it could have been me


British economics graduates have left a trail of misery around the world

25 July 2015

From Nehru’s India to Varoufakis’s Greece, the trendy doctrines of our universities have much to answer for

Death online

The brave thing now: don’t write about your death

25 July 2015

In the age of social media, ‘breaking the final taboo’ is becoming de rigueur. But death is taboo for good reason


Is popping bubble-wrap like sex – or just like killing ticks?

25 July 2015

We need releases for our nervous energy, and resistance-followed-by-surrender sensations do seem to work

Please don’t faint: Florence at sunset

The first things you should do in Florence

25 July 2015

Once you’ve been, you’ll be back. But everyone needs somewhere to start

The Week

A RAF plane lands carrying the coffins of Britons killed in the Jihadist attack in Tunisia (Photo: Getty)

Leading article

If you want military interventions, Prime Minister, you'll need more of a military

25 July 2015

“Whether it’s in Iraq, Syria, Libya or elsewhere — as Prime Minister, if I believe there is a specific threat to the British people, would I be prepared to authorise… Read more


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Parents would be able to have their children’s passports removed if they were suspected of planning to travel abroad to join a radical group, under provisions outlined by David… Read more

Ten Pieces at The Royal Albert Hall


Tony Hall’s diary: the Proms, my walking obsession, and why the BBC is like James Bond

25 July 2015

Plus: A worthy successor to the BBC Micro; and a behavioural science project at KCL graduation day



Even Nazis weren’t quite sure how to do the Hitler salute

Plus: Water cannon in Northern Ireland; what truancy can save in holiday costs; and the odds of an official message on ET


Ancient and modern

Vespasian’s Middle East policy (it should be ours, too)

25 July 2015

Let these suicidal lunatics get on with slaughtering each other — why invite disaster by plunging into battle?

The War Effort

From The Archives

Profiteering in the pits

25 July 2015

From ‘Coal and its problems’, The Spectator, 24 July 1915: Instead of attempting to regulate prices, the government ought to have contented themselves with taxing profits, and by that phrase we… Read more



Letters: The Assad option, and a pre-nup for Taki

Plus: A defence of Christopher Lee; Americanisms; Nick Kyrgios; and croquet



The SNP surge at Westminster might just accidentally save the Union

25 July 2015

The SNP has given the Conservative and Labour parties a lot to think about

Rod Liddle

Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian, is the victim of a secular inquisition

25 July 2015

This is why we do not see more ordinary people in politics: the elite do not approve of their opinions

Matthew Parris

My new addiction: road-building

25 July 2015

I’m out in all weathers with my pick and barrow, and when I come in I just want to go back out and do one more rock


Why the City might yet miss stroppy regulator Martin Wheatley

25 July 2015

Plus: BT’s bigness problem; interesting times for metal-traders; and Franz Lehár’s take on the euro crisis


A Sikh member of the Indian Army Services Corps at Dunkirk, 1940

Britain didn’t fight the second world war — the British empire did

25 July 2015

Yasmin Khan’s superlative The Raj at War finally does justice to the crucial contribution of the Indian army to Hitler’s defeat, says William Dalrymple

Anxious young mother — Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby

The opposite of a self-help book

25 July 2015

Francis O’Gorman’s Worrying: A Literary and Cultural Guide finds not much hope for the human race — but at least worriers, being sensitive to others, apparently make good team mates


Helen Vendler is full of condescending waffle (and not just when she’s attacking me)

25 July 2015

Daniel Swift takes ‘the Queen of Formalism’ to task over her scientific approach to poetry in her spiky new collected essays, The Ocean, the Bird and the Scholar


Bletchley Park was decades ahead of Silicon Valley. So what happened?

25 July 2015

Two new books on intelligence — Intercept by Gordon Corera and Why Spy? by Brian Stewart and Samantha Newbery — find that had Britain been less hidebound by secrecy it could have led the world in computer science


Rory McEwen: man of many talents — and among the greatest of all flower painters

25 July 2015

McEwen’s extraordinary botanical works, beautifully illustrated in this volume from Kew, glow with life and individuality that repay the closest scrutiny

Author Harry Mount

Harry’s Homer — a humorous history

25 July 2015

Harry Mount scatters alpha anecdotes as he swelters up Mediterranean hillsides (in a slightly silly hat) on the track of his legendary hero, in Harry Mount’s Odyssey


A crime novel so incompetent it might have been written by a child

25 July 2015

Nigel Williams’s editor should have returned R.I.P. with the words ‘do it again’

William Waldegrave (Photo: Getty)

William Waldegrave: too nice ever to have been PM

25 July 2015

In his memoir A Different Kind of Weather, the gifted Tory politician and man of letters William Waldegrave comes across as a noble soul full of misplaced self-reproach


An adventure playground in 1966. Photo: William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images

The new adventures of the adventure playground

25 July 2015

Health and safety laws and New Labour targets put paid to the visionary original adventure playgrounds, but they seem to be making a comeback, says Maisie Rowe

Disc jockey Anne Nightingale, 1964 (Photo: Getty)

Compiling my greatest hits (and my Twitter trolls')

25 July 2015

Compilation albums are a big deal these days – especially if you're negotiating over 50 years' worth of music, says Annie Nightingale

Christopher Turner as Artemidoro, the romantic lead transformed into a raving hippy in Trofonio’s ‘cave’

Don’t listen to Amadeus - this Salieri opera is better than Mozart

25 July 2015

Plus: too much injudicious filleting undermines Garsington Opera’s enterprising staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Mendelssohn’s complete incidental music

Portrait photograph of Richard Dadd painting Contradiction (c.1857) in Bedlem

The artist who only turned into a major painter once he became a homicidal maniac

25 July 2015

Plus: the night Francis Bacon booed Princess Margaret off stage and Lucian Freud met his second wife

Stephen Merchant in The Mentalists (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

BNP supporters will enjoy this new play from the Bush Theatre

25 July 2015

Plus: a play starring Stephen Merchant at the Wyndham’s Theatre that makes a compelling case against Richard Bean


The Legend of Barney Thomson reviewed: comedy is sought but, alas, never properly found

25 July 2015

As the bodies pile up, the plot’s plausibility flies out of the window in this dodgy debut from Robert Carlyle

Pluto (right) and Charon (Photo: Getty)

Why it would be absurd to sell off Radio 2 - even if it could do with a refresh

25 July 2015

Plus: the frightening new facts about Pluto and the strangest sounds of the week

Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley’s 100 Years of the WI

Lucy Worsley reveals - yet again - that there’s more to the WI than jam and Jerusalem

25 July 2015

Plus: the man who did more than anyone else to popularise art and culture in Britain gets his first full TV profile


High life

High life

The Greece I once knew is now just a myth

25 July 2015

I think back to my Greek childhood and longing for the once cosiest and most romantic of cities overwhelms me. Actually it’s too painful to think back: all the blood… Read more

Low life

Low life

Safety tip: don't try to steal Trev's phone

25 July 2015

‘I’ve lost my phone,’ yells Trev. We’re in a club. He’s come charging on to the dance floor to tell me. He’s always forgetting where he’s left his phone and… Read more

Real life

Real life

Challenging parking tickets is my crack cocaine

25 July 2015

‘Cydney, we are not moving to Cobham!’ I told the spaniel in my best outraged Margot Leadbetter voice. What a sad moment. All my adult life I have worshipped Cobham… Read more

Long life

Long life

Smartphones are wonderful – until they take over your life

25 July 2015

The smart phone is a wonderful thing. We are never out of touch anymore, neither with friends nor with the world at large. But increasingly we read of the harm… Read more


The turf

The man who takes the stress out of training horses

25 July 2015

For all their formidable physical presence, racehorses spook easily. A sudden gust of wind flapping a plastic sack, a page from yesterday’s Racing Post blowing across the stable yard can… Read more




Moving house is traumatic but moving bridge club is worse. Young Chelsea left Barkston Gardens, its home for over 30 years, exactly two years ago, and since then we have… Read more


Spectator Wine

July Wine Club

25 July 2015

We seem unusually focused this week — never an easy task after one of our Wine Club tastings — with all six wines coming from France. We didn’t plan it that way.… Read more




25 July 2015

Sadly, Michael Adams, for many years Britain’s leading grandmaster, will not be playing in the British Championship, which starts next week. Michael is often referred to as ‘Spidey’ because of… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 371

25 July 2015

Black to play. This is from Williams-Hawkins, -British Championship 2014. How can Black finish off his attack with a fine flourish? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 28… Read more



Tube lines

25 July 2015

In Competition No. 2907 you were invited to imagine that poets, living or dead, had been recruited to compose verse discouraging antisocial behaviour on the underground. This challenge was prompted… Read more



2221: Shielded

25 July 2015

The unclued lights are of a kind, verifiable in Brewer. Elsewhere, ignore two accents.   Across   1    Transfers year-groups (7) 11    Mushroom in cooker and much of… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2218: Fab!

25 July 2015

The unclued lights are all preceded by GREAT to form the phrases that can be confirmed in Brewer. (The clue at 40A suggests GREATEST LIE, also listed in Brewer). First… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Why I was right to vote for Jeremy Corbyn

25 July 2015

Is the ‘Tories for Corbyn’ campaign politics at its most infantile? As one of the few conservative commentators willing to defend it in the media, I’ve been doing my best… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

25 July 2015
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Australia’s amazing, exhausting sporting comebacks

25 July 2015

I have never met an Aussie I didn’t like, but, crikey, their sporting indefatigability is exhausting. Don’t they ever give up? In the past few days, they have pulled one… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I flirt on the train when a man who knows my old habits is watching?

Q. Travelling on a train recently I happened to notice two former acquaintances, sitting together and very nearly opposite me, neither of whom have I spoken to for several years.… Read more



Venetian restaurants know I’m English from the back

25 July 2015

The Gatto Nero — or ‘Black Cat’ — is in Burano, a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon. It is close to ‘haunted’ Torcello, with its ancient campanile and its… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Pluto’s moon Charon is secretly a Charlene

25 July 2015

‘What about the moon Tracey?’ asked my husband facetiously when an astronomer on the wireless, talking of Pluto’s moon Charon, pronounced it ‘Sharon’. As usual, things turn out not to… Read more