The Spectator


23 August 2014

The British beheaders

Why we lead the West in exporting jihad

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Previous Issues


National Guard Called In As Unrest Continues In Ferguson

Looking beyond black and white in Ferguson

23 August 2014

Michael Brown's death and the disorder that has followed are being seen through two specious narratives. We won't see the real truth until the trial – if then


Our boys in the Islamic state: Britain's export jihad

23 August 2014

We've become the West's leading producer of 'foreign fighters'. Some day the chickens will come home to roost


Travels in Isis country: priests, Peshmerga and property developers

23 August 2014

From the Kurdish boom city of Erbil to the disputed towns where Kurds fled the Islamic State

Arab Bee Hive Village

The Islamic State is destroying the greatest melting pot in history

23 August 2014

From the dawn of civilisation, the Fertile Crescent has been a cradle to strange and fascinating sects. Not any more


Sorry, Kellie Maloney, but to be a woman you must first be a girl

23 August 2014

I admire the courage of transsexuals, but the defining of a woman solely by what you see when she is or is not dress is the province of Page Three


Revealed: The Pope's war with the Vatican

23 August 2014

Francis is firmly set on dealing with the Curia bureaucrats who did for Benedict XVI


The biggest civil liberties outrage you've never heard of

23 August 2014

'Bubble matches' sound quaint. In fact, they trample all over freedom of movement

The Plaza de España at dusk

Seville: a city to get lost in

23 August 2014

You'll find the youthful vigour amid the grand architecture, as long as you're not looking too hard

The Week

A policeman stands guard outside Tilbury Docks, where one man was found dead alongside 34 other people inside a shipping container Photo: Getty

Leading article

Aid is no substitute for helping refugees

23 August 2014

Our government lets its pious aid target distract it from more difficult – and important – duties


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, writing of the Islamic State in northern Iraq, said: ‘If we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement,… Read more

John Betjeman Photo: Getty


A.N. Wilson's diary: The book that made me a writer – and the pushchair that made me an old git

23 August 2014

Plus: The joys of Finland, and the genius of Betjeman



Who cleans skyscrapers?

Plus: the inflation rate for the job, and a long-term view of prison violence


Ancient and modern

Why the Ancient Greeks didn’t have middle-aged spread

23 August 2014

A different way of looking at a lifespan

Pope Pius X

From The Archives

From the archives

23 August 2014

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 22 August 1914: Pope Pius X died at 20 minutes past one on Thursday morning. In a moment of lucidity, just before his death,… Read more



Spectator letters: India’s forgotten soldiers, James Delingpole’s happy father, and a defence of public relations

Worth the candle Sir: I was saddened by Charles Moore’s account of the Westminster Abbey candlelit vigil marking the centenary of the start of the first world war (The Spectator’s… Read more



David Cameron's fog of war

23 August 2014

The Prime Minister's foreign policy pronouncements are displaying no clear strategy. So far, his party doesn't mind

Romance isn't a religion. Stop looking for The One and join The Queue

23 August 2014

When people don't believe in God, it seems, one of the things they believe in is Mills and Boon

Matthew Parris

The surer we are that machines can think, the less sure we'll be about people

23 August 2014

The march of technology is going to make the mystery of consciousness a puzzle for everyone

Hugo Rifkind

Julian Assange is a narcissist and a nut — and if America comes for him we should take his side

23 August 2014

The big Wikileaks disclosures were callous and brutal. But once you start banging hacks up for being stupid and nasty — well, where will it end?


It’s not just left-wingers who think the bosses’ pay boom is unhealthy

23 August 2014

Plus: A promising house-price fall, and the joy of working older



The biography that makes Philip Larkin human again

23 August 2014

A review of Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love, by James Booth. A far more attractive character emerges from this new biography than the miserable Mr Nasty found in Andrew Motion's


Is America headed for tyranny? It is when the other side's in charge...

23 August 2014

A review of The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America. The presidency's power is increasing ominously – although perhaps not quite as much as this book thinks

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell wearing ‘the George’, by Hans Holbein

Thomas Cromwell: more Tony Soprano than Richard Dawkins

23 August 2014

A review of Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most faithful Servant, by Tracy Borman. More conviction is needed from this otherwise engaging new biography


A novel that will make you want to call social services

23 August 2014

Man at the Helm, Nina Stibbe's first novel, is like What Maisie Knew, but with laughs and four-letter words

Coco Chanel, one of the ‘rackety celebrities’ of the 1920s, with Duke Laurino of Rome on the Lido

A Hello! magazine history of Venice

23 August 2014

A review of Italian Venice: A History, by R.J.B. Bosworth. Informative but clichéd history of the past 200-years with guest appearances by Chanel, Coward and Diana

W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot Photo: Getty

Sorbet with Rimbaud

23 August 2014

A review of Bloomsbury and the Poets, by Nicholas Murray. A delightful guide to the rich literary history of the London district

Peter and Ian Fleming as boys at Joyce Grove (Peter is on the left)

Ian Fleming: cruel? Selfish? Misogynistic? Nonsense, says his step-daughter

23 August 2014

Comparing brothers Peter and Ian Fleming, Fionn Morgan wonders who was the better writer and who the better man

Santiago Carrillo Photo: Getty

Stalin's Spanish bezzie

23 August 2014

A review of The Last Stalinist: The Life of Santiago Carillo, by Paul Preston. Carillo betrayed the Republican cause and was probably responsible for the worst atrocity committed by the Left during the Civil War




Alex Salmond has already lost — if the Edinburgh Festival is anything to go by

23 August 2014

Lloyd Evans’ trawl of Edinburgh will make for unhappy reading for the yes campaign

'Ashtray' Annie, 1956 Photo: Getty

‘Ashtray’ Annie Fischer was a piano giant. Why didn’t more people realise this?

23 August 2014

She played with the freedom of Furtwangler, the command of Schnabel and the safety-last approach of a crazy gambler

‘Futurist Motif’, 1920, by Gerardo Dottori

Futurism’s escape to the country

23 August 2014

While the Estorick explores the Futurist landscapes of Gerardo Dottori, Sladers Yard in Bridport surveys the work of a controversial young figurative painter

Composer Giacomo Puccini; scenes from performances of Tosca in 1956 and 2010 Photo: Getty

In defence of Puccini

23 August 2014

Joseph Kerman’s dismissal of Tosca as ‘a shabby little shocker’ has cast a long shadow over Puccini’s operas

Inhuman being: Scarlett Johansson as Lucy

Lucy: the shoot-outs, car chases and mysteries of the universe

23 August 2014

Luc Besson’s new action thriller is profoundly fun

Pushing 70, but not very hard: Anne Archer as Jane Fonda

An innocent graduate of Operation Yewtree, Jim Davidson, dazzles in Edinburgh

23 August 2014

Plus: Lloyd Evans is amazed at how many performers treat the Edinburgh Festival as a suburb of London

Adeel Akhtar plays Wilson Wilson in Utopia

Eye-gouging within the first half-hour: the edgy new rules of TV drama

23 August 2014

Plus: James Delingpole unveils a brand new episode of Made in Chelsea

A technician mends the broken glass of a landing light at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, during the Berlin Airlift, 1949 Photo: Getty

Ambridge recovers its sense of humour — finally

23 August 2014

Plus: The Reunion relives the Berlin airlift, when British and Russian pilots went toe-to-toe


Anne Seymour Damer: the female Bernini?

23 August 2014

A new Strawberry Hill exhibition reveals a pioneering sculptor whose works are more than just of curiosity value


High life

High life

Six decades and two chat-up lines

23 August 2014

 Gstaad In this freewheeling Swiss village of the 1950s, the unconventional was the norm and monumental drinking commonplace, but the manners of the players were always impeccable. Yes, there were… Read more

Low life

Low life

What I learned working in the lunatic asylum

23 August 2014

In 1984 I was 27. Since leaving school I had done unskilled manual labour, when I could get any. Then l worked as a nursing assistant and then a trainee… Read more

Real life

Real life

Press five to report a funny man on your doorstep with strange tales of dog torture

23 August 2014

Strangely enough, I was in the middle of writing an article about the tactics used by the RSPCA when another animal charity knocked on my door. A young man holding… Read more

Long life

Long life

The Italians are disgusted with us

23 August 2014

As the holidays draw to a close, Italian newspapers have been reporting with perplexity and distaste on the outlandish behaviour of foreign tourists in Italy, by which they mean young… Read more


The turf

Some horses go better for a woman

23 August 2014

Mrs Oakley returned from her latest book club with an uplifting story. The Mother Superior of an Irish convent was 95 and failing. On her deathbed she asked for a… Read more




It’s August — that time of year again — and I am in France, as usual, on my annual holiday. Hot sun, delicious food and drink, yet still the bitter… Read more


Spectator Wine

August Wine Club – FromVineyardsDirect

23 August 2014

It’s very much the last of the summer wine this week, with three whites ideal for quaffing outdoors during the last picnics or barbecues of the year and three reds… Read more



Great wall

23 August 2014

China have won the Olympiad in Tromsø. I believe that we can now look forward to a sustained Chinese dominance in international team events, reminiscent of the Soviets. The Chinese… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 328

23 August 2014

Black to play. This position is from Ivanchuk-Mamedyarov, Tromsø Olympiad 2014. How did Black win material? Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 26 August or via email to… Read more



Tourist misinformation

23 August 2014

In Competition No. 2861 you were invited to submit misleading snippets of advice for British tourists travelling abroad. A previous invitation to unleash a tide of misinformation on unsuspecting foreign… Read more



2176: ,

23 August 2014

The unclued lights (one hyphened, one of two words), individually or as four pairs, are of a kind.   Across   4    Small thief accepting a lead album for… Read more


Crossword solution

to 2173: Men of note

23 August 2014

The unclued lights are COMPOSERS whose surnames start with the letter C.  First prize C.R. Haigh, Hassocks, West SussexRunners-up Kenneth Robb, Linlithgow, West Lothian; Dr R.L.H. Barnard, Emsworth, Hampshire

Toby Young

Status anxiety

The self-delusion that makes people go to festivals – me included

23 August 2014

I wouldn’t describe myself as a veteran of the summer festival circuit, but I’ve been to enough to have a theory about them. Or, rather, discuss someone else’s — in this… Read more


Battle for Britain

The battle for Britain

23 August 2014
Spectator sport

Spectator sport

What does Duncan Fletcher actually do?

23 August 2014

Some years ago, when the last Conservative government was limping towards defeat, someone published a book called 101 Uses for a John Major. It was cruel and fairly funny, the… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Show me the tactful way to pay for a lift

Q. My neighbour is really lovely and always helps me chainsaw trees. He used to be the herdsman at the farm but was laid off last summer when they sold… Read more



Rhubarb has the loveliest, craziest dining room I have ever seen

23 August 2014

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival: the city is full of glassy-eyed narcissists eating haggis pizza off flyers that say Michael Gove: Prick. I saw the Grim Reaper in the Pleasance Courtyard,… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

What’s humanitarian about a humanitarian crisis?

23 August 2014

‘Our first priority,’ David Cameron said this week, ‘has of course been to deal with the acute humanitarian crisis in Iraq.’ One knows what he means, but isn’t humanitarian an… Read more