The Spectator


28 February 2015

Divided we fall

A landslide for the SNP will inevitably lead to the end of the Union

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Sir James Goldsmith

Zac Goldsmith: How my dad saved Britain

28 February 2015

If you’re grateful not to be in the euro, it’s James Goldsmith and his ‘rebel army’ you should thank


Why an SNP surge at Westminster could mean the end of Britain

28 February 2015

Scotland’s political earthquake isn’t over, and the rest of the UK doesn’t yet understand the consequences


How liberal Britain is betraying ex-Muslims

28 February 2015

These incredibly brave people are risking their lives for the freedom not to believe. They deserve better from us


The myth of the housing crisis

28 February 2015

We’re destroying green belts and despoiling villages for the sake of a moral crusade based on developers’ propaganda


America’s greatest tradition: inventing spurious traditions

28 February 2015

From the State of the Union address to the marine’s salute as the president leaves his helicopter, we like nothing better than creating complicated little rituals


My wood-burning stove is expensive, trendy – and miserable

28 February 2015

According to Radio 4, wood-burning stoves are a mark of wordly success. Mine is reducing me to a cold, tired, red-eyed wreck

Dramatic mountains and hidden bays

A cruise around Cleopatra's wedding present

28 February 2015

Turkey's Turquoise Coast is beautiful, fertile and relatively unspoilt

The Week

Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw Photo: Getty

Leading article

The real problem with our MPs: they’re obsessed with the super-rich

28 February 2015

Had the public been asked, before Monday morning, to identify two MPs who stood for honesty and decency, the names Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind would have been prominent… Read more


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative foreign secretary, resigned as chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee and promised not to stand for Parliament in May after he and… Read more

Paul Mason Photo: Getty


Paul Mason’s diary: My Greek TV drama

28 February 2015

Plus: a tip-off that could have sparked a bank run, and who won in Syriza’s standoff



Five more MPs making Malcolm Rifkind’s day rate

Plus: Benefit increases; alcohol bans on trains; and cold calling

An Alternative View Of The Labour Party Annual Conference

Ancient and modern

Today’s TV debates are pointless – here’s the real thing

28 February 2015

Modern politicians only really engage with each other behind closed doors


From The Archives

From the archives

28 February 2015

From The Spectator, 27 February 1915: Observers of birds have been much interested by the evidence, which seems to be fairly satisfactory, that pheasants in as remote a part of England… Read more



Spectator letters: Why rural churches are so important, and the best use for them

Plus: How to protect the West from Russia, and is Dear Mary sending coded messages abroad?



No one wants to fight a national campaign. This will be the least general election in years

28 February 2015

With each party uncompetitive in large parts of the country, expect a regionalised campaign in which leaders talk past one another

Rod Liddle

Oh joy! Sean Penn has tried to crack a joke

28 February 2015

The stupidly PC actor has put his foot in it and is being called a racist by the moronsphere


How do bright schoolgirls fall for jihadis? The same way they fall for Justin Bieber

28 February 2015

Isis may seem like bullies to us, but in the skewed light of a smartphone they appear as underdogs, a revolutionary brave brigade taking on the big bad West

James Delingpole

Two shops. Two philosophies. Which side are you on?

28 February 2015

Some things are Aldi. Other things are Lush. I’m Aldi all the way


How Labour’s 50p tax trick has ended up helping George Osborne

28 February 2015

Plus: The lessons of Nick Leeson and a salute to Sir Robert Wade-Gery


A ‘nurse log’ — a tree stump in which a seed has germinated, thereby avoiding browsing herbivores and the overshading of undergrowth. From Uncommon Ground by Dominick Tyler

‘Broadband’ for ‘bluebell’...‘chatroom’ for ‘catkin’: standard vocabulary is being increasingly lost to the new technology, says Robert Macfarlane

28 February 2015

In a review of Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane Adam Nicolson reminds us that the most poetic descriptions of nature were once the everyday speech of ordinary countrymen

French mathematician Cedric Villani Photo: Getty

How could anyone enjoy Cédric Villani’s ‘Birth of a Theorem’? I think I’ve worked it out

28 February 2015

Alexander Masters finds a great mathematician’s ‘popular’ book impenetrable from page four

Sonic Youth in happier days in 2003. Left to right: Lee Ranaldo, Jim O’Rourke, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley

Tracey Thorn on Kim Gordon’s wounded marriage memoir

28 February 2015

Tracey Thorn is surprised that Kim Gordon, once the embodiment of cool, should be sounding off so publicly about her husband’s infidelity

Kazuo Ishiguro Photo: Getty

Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, set in a mythical fifth-century Britain, may try the patience of even his most devoted fans

28 February 2015

James Walton, reviewing The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro finds it more admirable than enjoyable


Reading one book from every country in the world sounds like fun - until you come to North Korea

28 February 2015

A review of Reading the World by Ann Morgan finds a year-long blog also makes a brilliant, unlikely book


Michael Arditti is the Graham Greene of our time

28 February 2015

A review of Michael Arditti’s Widows and Orphans suggests that we are all waifs and strays now in our broken society

Portrait of Lord Dufferin, 1893

The first Lord Dufferin: the eclipse of a most eminent Victorian

28 February 2015

A review of the Lost Imperialist by Andrew Gailey wonders how Queen Victoria’s distinguished proconsul, who met everyone from Sitting Bull to Bismarck, could have slipped so far into oblivion

After the driverless car — will airplanes be next?

Don’t buy The Glass Cage at the airport if you want a restful flight, warns Will Self

28 February 2015

Will Self,  reviewing Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage, predicts the inexorable rise of the computer in a defiantly soulless society


Crazy horses: Andy Scott’s Kelpies at sunset

The Spectator declares war on bad public art

28 February 2015

Stephen Bayley announces the launch of The Spectator’s inaugural What’s That Thing? Award for the worst piece of public art of 2015

Don’t mock the schlock: from left to right: Taking Care of Business Ring designed by Elvis and Priscilla Presley; presidential cufflinks; gold phone

Don’t mock Elvis’s style - he was ahead of the curve

28 February 2015

In his overconsumption of food, money and clothes, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll showed the way, as a new exhibition of Elvisiana at the O2 proves

‘The Great Elm at Lacock’, 1843–45, by William Henry Fox Talbot

Sculpture Victorious at Tate Britain reviewed: entertainingly barmy

28 February 2015

Plus: Salt and Silver, also at Tate Britain, is an exhibition that proves that some of the earliest photographs ever taken were the best

‘Two Figures in a Room’, 1959, by Francis Bacon

The dos and don’ts of the Russian art scene

28 February 2015

Mark Hudson travels to St Petersburg to see how the nihilism of Bacon goes down in Russia

Jennifer Lopez sets her sights on the boy next door

The Boy Next Door reviewed: a terrible new J-Lo movie that's disturbingly enjoyable

28 February 2015

Plus: Hinterland - an ethereal, dreamy, innovative, coming-of-age tale that only cost £10,000 to make

How I Learned to Drive at Southwark Playhouse

Muswell Hill reviewed: a guide on how to sock it to London trendies

28 February 2015

Plus: a much-needed corrective to paedophile hysteria in How I Learned to Drive at the Southwark Playhouse

Flamenco Festival at Sadlers Wells Photo: Josep Aznar

A legendary piece of iconoclastic dance returns. Does the piece still stand up?

28 February 2015

Plus: tin-ear Flamenco from Sadler’s Wells and deft circus choreography from Cirkopolis

Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi Photo: Bill Cooper

Opera North's Gianni Schicchi and La vida breve reviewed: a flawless double helping of verismo

28 February 2015

Both the music and stage direction are powerfully realised in this Puccini / de Falla double bill


There’s nothing wrong with getting into Thomas Tallis on the back of Fifty Shades of Grey

28 February 2015

Peter Phillips doesn’t care how people come across Tallis’s mathematical masterpiece ‘Spem in alium’ as long as they do

The cast of Critical

Critical on Sky1 reviewed: a new medical drama where everyone radiates an unusual degree of competence and concern

28 February 2015

Plus: a heretical documentary about trains on BBC4 and a dazzling new sitcom from Channel 4 that makes it embarrassingly hard to avoid the words ‘instant’ and ‘classic’

US President Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear Photo: Getty

The pleasures and perils of podcast listening

28 February 2015

Don't always believe the phrase 'We have something special for you'. But also beware of that some podcasts will temporarily blind you – by making you cry


High life

High life

Once upon a time I was very proud to be Greek. But no more

28 February 2015

Gstaad A naked, very good-looking young man skied down the mountain evoking shrieks of laughter and admiration from the hundred or so skiers lining the slopes. He turned out to… Read more

Low life

Low life

The day an ancient and very wonderful sport died

28 February 2015

Last week was the tenth anniversary of the last running of the English hare-coursing classic, the Waterloo Cup. I shan’t start raving on about the perversity of banning a so-called… Read more

Real life

Real life

My request to see my medical notes has sparked all-out panic at my GP surgery

28 February 2015

My request to see my medical notes has sparked all-out panic at the GP surgery. ‘What do you mean?’ said the receptionist who answered the phone when I called to… Read more

Long life

Long life

You can’t force low-income people to go to an art gallery or the theatre if they don’t want to

28 February 2015

I went last week to see the justly praised production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers at English National Opera, and I didn’t see a single black face there, nor even much… Read more




Bridge players never get bored of each other’s company for one simple reason: interesting hands are like juicy bits of gossip, and there is an endless supply to discuss and… Read more




28 February 2015

The elite tournament at Zurich, which finished last week, has adopted a system for determining the ultimate trophy winner which seems to me virtually impenetrable. Zurich consisted of three separate… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 351

28 February 2015

White to play. This position is from Nakamura-Karjakin, Zurich classic 2015. White’s knight seems trapped but he can rescue it with a fine tactical idea. Can you see how? Answers… Read more



Londoner’s Diary

28 February 2015

In Competition No. 2886 you were invited to submit a Pepys’-eye view of modern life. Pepys’s candid and minutely observed diary entries hum with a seemingly inexhaustible lust for life… Read more




28 February 2015

The unclued Down lights (individually or as a pair) are of a kind in short, as are the unclued Across lights (one of two words) all paired. In short together,… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2197: Missing

28 February 2015

The unclued lights are some of the words highlighted in Chambers 2011 which were unfortunately omitted from the 2014 edition of the dictionary owing to a printing misunderstanding.  First prize… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

If you think Britain’s corrupt now, watch what happens if we ban second jobs for MPs

28 February 2015

Last year, I had an exchange with Hugo Rifkind on Twitter in which I bet him dinner at Clarke’s that his father would stand down before the next election. My… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

28 February 2015

The Wiki Man

Want more diversity? Hire groups, not individuals

28 February 2015

If I were to give you a budget to choose your perfect house, you would quickly have a clear idea of what to buy. And typically your perfect house will… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I lie about my age and still use my Senior Railcard?

Q. I was not brought up in England and don’t appear in Who’s Who. This means that there is no printed record of my date of birth. I’m not vain,… Read more



France, England and the tragedy of DSK

28 February 2015

When we consider poets who perished before their day, thoughts turn to the Romantics or the war victims: Burns, Keats, Shelley: Owen, Keith Douglas. (Had both lived, Douglas would have… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

‘Robust’, busted

28 February 2015

‘Heart of Oak are our ships, Jolly Tars are our men,’ shouted my husband unconvincingly. He has taken to doing this every time someone on air says robust, and that… Read more