The Spectator

23 July 2016

American horror story

Is civilised society breaking down, or does it just look like that from Donald Trump’s convention?





Donald Trump is Making America Crazy Again

Is civilised society breaking down? Or does it just seem like that from the Republican convention?

Donald Trump Visits His Golf Course in Aberdeen


The brilliant Donald Trump deserves to win

His political achievements are already unprecedented, and his insight amounts to genius

More money in the UK purse after Brexit.


That Brexit apocalypse? It just isn’t happening

Planning to leave the EU isn’t destroying our economy; a hysterical policy response just might



The dream of a European Turkey is drifting away

On Friday night, my country felt more like a chaotic part of the Middle East



Why all civilised people should love wasps

All gardeners, and all readers, have reason to thank them

After the breakthrough: Jack Kerouac photographed by John Cohen, 1959


The picture that captures why Jack Kerouac will last forever

His ambition, his hunger, what was lost when they were sated – it’s all there in a single frame

Passport control at Gatwick Airport


Meet the Remainers scrambling to keep their EU citizenship

By hook, crook or marriage, they are determined to avoid a personal Brexit

Ruins and romance (Monty Don not included)

Notes on...

Meeting Monty Don in the world’s most romantic garden

The ruins at Ninfa provide an incomparable structure for the gardener’s hidden artifice

The Week

(Photo: Getty)

Leading article

Why is Theresa May threatening Britain's EU nationals over Brexit?

Since when did ­Britain treat Polish nurses and German academics as hostages, to be kicked out in extreme circumstances?


Portrait of the week

Theresa May’s new cabinet has no roles for George Osborne or Michael Gove

Turkey in turmoil after failed military coup; French-Tunisian Muslim murders 84 by driving a truck into a Nice crowd

(Photo: Getty)


Dictators’ new argument against free speech

Also in Timothy Garton Ash’s diary: Turkey, Washington, the Garton Ash prize, and reading Browning in Phoenix



How Britannia got her trident

Also in our Barometer column: deaths in US police custody, gun deaths in the G7, and food poisoning in Britain


Ancient and modern

Sophocles vs the luvvie Remainers

Owen Smith’s new allies didn’t get the best of press in the ancient world

July 1916:  A French soldier in a recently captured German trench on the Somme (Photo: Getty)

From The Archives

Over the top

From ‘The Battle of the Somme’, The Spectator, 22 July 1916: What we seldom hear about is what Milton called the ‘raw…



Letters: Lighten up, kids – there’s always hope

Plus: Radical Joe; our newfound sovereignty; the way of the pilgrim; eating marmot; Muslims and Jerusalem; Hunt and May




Why Theresa May’s honeymoon will come to an abrupt end

She has five months to redefine the Tories. And her new enemies are already licking their lips


Rod Liddle

Why the liberal left has declared war on TripAdvisor

Don’t you dare see what other customers think... you must consult an expert on chewing and eating

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris

Of course Tony Blair made a ‘secret deal’. That’s what good PMs do

Are we really saying we don’t want Theresa May and Angela Merkel to develop an understanding?

Hugo Rifkind

Any other business

The Arm deal is definitely good for Softbank. For Britain? Not so much

Also in Any Other Business: Britain’s surviving unicorns, house-price falls, and Falstaff as an investment banker


Heath addresses a Tory party conference at Blackpool, while Margaret Thatcher looks on


Ted Heath: still a surly man of mystery

Vain, rude, penny-pinching — and apparently not even musical — the ‘Grocer’ was more peculiar than most, says Richard Ingrams

Mary Gaitskill (Photo: Getty)


The Mare: a story of longed-for children and what children long for

Mary Gaitskill’s redemptive novel of horses, country living and two characters desperate for affection brings much welcome fresh air

Cricket player hitting ball


It’s cricket, not football, that’s the beautiful game

Jon Hotten captures perfectly the essence of the English summer: a village green, and the sound of leather on willow

The lymphatic system of the human head, from a medical textbook of 1883


The enduring mystery of the human body

This Mortal Coil explores the history of anatomy over the centuries —and finds that we still don’t really know how we work

Beach murder antique illustration


Murder most foul in Victorian Greenwich

We still revel in the stuff of penny dreadfuls — as Paul Thomas Murphy’s latest account of the brutal 1871 killing of a young servant girl shows

Novelist Helen Oyeyemi (Photo: Getty)


The latest African authors take on globalisation

Instead of famine, war and disease, it’s smart phones and money transfers that preoccupy this year’s Caine Prize winners

‘The Road to Siberia’ by Sergei Dmitrievich Miloradovich

Books feature

Siberia: always a byword for despotism

Long before Stalin’s gulags, the Tsars used Siberia’s frozen wastes to bury even the most harmless ‘disreputables’, as Daniel Beer shows in horrific, gripping detail

The two victory towers at Ghazna, Afghanistan, with the citadel in the background. To the left are the remains of the tower commissioned by Sultan Masud III ibn Ibrahim (r. 1099–1115). The tower on the right was built on the orders of Bahram Shah (r. 1117–1157)


Conquest and vandalism in Central Asia

The third volume of Christoph Baumer’s magnificent history covers the age of Islam, Genghis Khan and the deeply destructive Mongol hordes


Igor Stravinsky’s body being carried through Venice to the Basilica of San Zanipolo, where, by papal dispensation, a Russian Orthodox service was held

Arts feature

Southbank’s ‘Belief and Beyond Belief’ series is beyond parody

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s forthcoming festival is a wasted opportunity and exposes the anti-religious mindset of Britain’s art’s establishment

‘Apple Blossoms’, 1873, by Charles-François Daubigny


The man who who invented impressionism

Plus: there’s some fun to be had with the surrealists at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art but the revelations are to be found across town at Inspiring Impressionism

The Creation (Photo: Johan Persson)


This Creation puts brain before heart: Rambert at Garsington Opera reviewed

Plus: cartoon sentimentality and classic-lite dancing in Australian Ballet’s Swan Lake

Jenufa (Photo: Matthew Williams Ellis)


The opera for opera sceptics: Jenufa at Longborough reviewed

Plus: Opera Holland Park treats Rossini’s La Cenerentola with exactly the right amount of seriousness

Andrea Hart, James Bolam, Anne Reid & Freddie Meredith in Fracked! (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)


This fracking ‘satire’ can frack off

Plus: Gilliam Wright offers a slow-burn performances that steals up on you in Alan Ayckbourn’s groundbreaking – if reactionary – How the Other Half Loves at the Duke of York’s



An awkward alliance between Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg: The BFG reviewed

The film is held aloft by the loamy charm of Mark Rylance, who would make a great Scrooge or Prospero or God

Ross Kemp: The Fight Against ISIS (Photo: Dave Williams / Sound Ltd)


In Ross Kemp the Kurds have found their Byron: Sky 1’s The Fight Against Isis reviewed

For the Guardian’s reviewer, however, Kemp was engaged in some kind of macho death urge as he heroically lay his arse on the line in northern Syria

Primo Levi in his studio. Turin, 1981 (Photo: Getty)


Radio 4’s dramatic disruption of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table is unforgivable

Plus: an offensive Moral Maze on Radio 4 and how gospel music spread to Oslo and Pakistan



High life

La France as I knew her n’existe plus

What was once a great military and intellectual powerhouse is now just a tourist attraction ruled over by dwarves


Low life

A bush fire nearly took our house - and our lives

Drinking gin and tonic as the flames encroach


Real life

Why Cydney the spaniel loves France

Sunflowers, wheat fields and gizzards —oh, the gizzards!


Long life

Sacking isn't easy – even for Theresa May

She has dispensed with 11 members of the previous cabinet - many more than usual


The turf

What Brexit means for horse-racing

Racing is one of the first extravangances to be cut back by the well heeled when the future looks murky




Summer finally appeared like magic on Saturday, 16 July. Did I fire up the barbie? Did I relax with a…



Karjakin’s complaint

Sergey Karjakin, the challenger for Magnus Carlsen’s world title later this year, has announced in Bilbao, where he is contesting…


Chess puzzle

No. 418

White to play. This position is from Najer-Buhmann, Dortmund 2016. How did White make the most of his g7-pawn? Answers…




In Competition No. 2957 you were invited to submit a poem with a title that is a twist on that…



2270: Hard

Seven unclued lights (all real words) are names of 22 (hyphened) minus one letter. The missing letters give GROWN-UP.  …


Crossword solution

2267: Double-edged Swords

The unclued lights are anagrams of words meaning ‘blessing’, hence 43A MIXED BLESSINGS. The words are 11A AGREEMENT, 31A BENISON, 34A…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

The best way to bring back grammar schools

Expansion of existing grammars and new ‘super grammars’ wouldn’t help working-class children as much as my idea

Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Athletics is going to Rio on life support

Also in Spectator Sport: the remarkable Chris Froome; and the mysteries of England cricket selection

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: On being an unappreciated patron of the arts

Plus: saving a marriage with earplugs; thanking a generous host; phone etiquette



Is that waiter fat-shaming us? Tanya Gold dines naked at the Bunyadi

I summon an expression of wifely tolerance and try not to wish that I were in Wiltons with my clothes on

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Words the Oxford English Dictionary struggles to define

Can you tell your well-known hardy evergreen from your well-known delicacy of the table?