The Spectator


25 April 2015

‘I have worked my socks off’

An interview with David Cameron

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David Cameron: 'I always manage to portray a calm smoothness or something'

Exclusive interview: David Cameron on what his government has achieved, and what it will take for him to get another one


A 1992 election-day lunch with the young David Cameron

25 April 2015

He was already clearly destined for the top — and in no doubt who would win that day

Patrick Fitzgerald (Photo: Getty)

Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, and the trouble with special prosecutors

25 April 2015

Libby’s conviction looks ever shakier – and the system that produced it ever more worrying


The students tearing down Cecil Rhodes’s statue are still upholding his legacy

25 April 2015

They complain that the university is too ‘Eurocentric’ – but they show no signs of wanting to make any actual changes


The DUP’s Nigel Dodds may soon be propping up the Tories. What does he want?

25 April 2015

The Orangeman with the First in law from Cambridge has found himself suddenly popular with Commons colleagues


Why American psychoanalysts are an endangered species

25 April 2015

Drugs, yoga, CBT and busy lives are occupying the space once reserved for the shrink’s couch


Whose hair are you buying?

25 April 2015

Britain buys £43 million worth of human hair a year. But it’s dismayingly hard to find out who it comes from


‘About time too!’: Joan Collins curtseys to Prince Charles

25 April 2015

Parties, hats and dancing around handbags – everything you need to know about becoming a dame

A portrait of Raymond Carr as Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, by his son Matthew

An education to know: remembering Raymond Carr

25 April 2015

Laughter, bird-watching, jazz and unmatched erudition

A serious business

A wine pro finds himself out of his depth at the Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match

25 April 2015

They thought it would be fun to let a team of journalists compete against the students from Oxford and Cambridge. We didn’t know what we’d be facing…

The Week

Nicola Sturgeon's party is dominating this election campaign (Photo: Getty)

Leading article

Cameron is the only leader who can deliver an EU referendum. Why is he ashamed to say so?

25 April 2015

Labour’s position on an EU referendum is indefensible. Ed Miliband should be made to defend it


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home The prospect of a parliamentary alliance between Labour and the Scottish National Party injected an element of fear into the election campaign. The SNP manifesto promised to increase spending… Read more

Saddam's hangman, Mowaffak al-Rubaie (Photo: Getty)


Justin Marozzi’s diary: Lunch with Saddam’s hangman, and a democratic revolution in Kensington

25 April 2015

Plus: Why it’s wrong to call Daesh Islamic State; and the deeper meaning of Norwich



What happens to politicians who insult the audience? Ask Dan Quayle

Plus: Scotland’s budget deficit, high pay at charities and the facts about postal votes


Ancient and modern

Plutarch and Aristotle vs Lynton Crosby

25 April 2015

The Tory campaign chief has two big ideas. The ancients wouldn’t have liked either

Troops at the Italian Front during World War I (Photo: Getty)

From The Archives

Florence weeps

25 April 2015

From ‘Soldiers of Italy’, The Spectator, 24 April 1915: It is winter in Florence. The sun shines, but snow lies low on Monte Morello, and the tramontana blows cold as ice, out of… Read more



Spectator letters: England’s defining myth, and another forgotten genocide

Plus: Airline pilots answer back, David Starkey and his teeth, and a telling off from a tailor


Rod Liddle

Gunboats are the humanitarian answer to Libya's refugee crisis

25 April 2015

There are two ways to solve this migrant crisis. Either we must let them all in, or we must stop them from attempting the journey

James Delingpole

It really must be a mid-life crisis. I’ve fallen in love with a pony

25 April 2015

Riding a hunter is all very well. But Potato the polo pony makes me feel like Alexander the Great


Why so many bankers secretly like Labour’s non-dom proposal

25 April 2015

Plus: In praise of the well-upholstered director; and the wisdom of the Irish


Dublin’s docks were shelled from the Liffey by the British admiralty gunboat, the Helga, during the Easter Rising

Ireland’s getting ready to forget the real Easter Rising

25 April 2015

It will be a travesty if the Easter Rising is commemorated with jolly fancy-dress parades and hagiographies of dead heroes, says Roy Foster

St George as depicted in The Golden Legend

St George: patron saint of England, patronised by all

25 April 2015

Not much is known about St George, says Christopher Howse, reviewing Samantha Riches’s biography, except that he had many lookalikes (including Islamic) — and his dragon was a bit of an afterthought

Snooker World Champion Steve Davis (Photo: Getty)

What did Steve Davis do to succeed at snooker? Everything his dad told him

25 April 2015

Steve Davis was so boring Spitting Image nicknamed him Interesting — giving him the title for his third autobiography to date

Fatal attraction: a four-year-old picks her favourite handgun at the NRA’s annual meeting in Milwaukee, 2006

An inalienable right to bear arms in the States: the enduring mystique of the Second Amendment

25 April 2015

Americans have an almost mystical belief that guns are synonymous with freedom, says Michael Moorcock, reviewing Gun Baby Gun. Every time there’s a call for stricter arms control, the sales of guns rocket

(Photo: Getty)

Monopoly is fascinating – as long as you don’t try to play it

25 April 2015

I lose the will to live if forced to play Monopoly. But the story of the game’s invention, as related in Mary Pillon’s The Monopolists — now there’s a thing...

Bigger mouths and longer legs—all the better to bite you with, and run away

Bigger, better bedbugs bite back with a vengeance

25 April 2015

However hard we try to eradicate bedbugs, they constantly outwit us, according to Brooke Borel’s Infested — and from Horace to Henry Miller they infest literature too

Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas (Photo: Getty)

Social comedy Peruvian-style

25 April 2015

Two innocent men face kidnapping, death threats and haunting by the devil — and The Discreet Hero is Llosa-lite — a mere jeu d’esprit

Gore Vidal (Photo: Getty)

Brothels, hashish, a poisonous scorpion, a cursed necklace: all excuses for macho antics in the Valley of the Kings

25 April 2015

Gore Vidal’s deservedly forgotten pulp thriller, now resurrected after 60 years, is so bad it’s good

Charity Storeroom

Working is good for you — even if it’s unpaid, in a charity shop — or writing book reviews for The Spectator

25 April 2015

You don’t want to end up like those sour-faced children of the idle rich who invariably go to the bad, says Julie Burchill, reviewing All Day Long, by Joanna Biggs

Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell

There’s something about Mary (Wollstonecraft and Shelley)

25 April 2015

If only Charlotte Gordon's Romantic Outlaws would let Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley speak for themselves

Bernard Berenson (Photo: Getty)

Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark: pen friends, not true friends

25 April 2015

The 34-year correspondence between Bernard Berenson and Kenneth Clark was a substitute for a friendship that didn’t happen, says Duncan Fallowell, reviewing My Dear BB, edited by Robert Cumming

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung (Photo: Getty)

Carl Jung meets David Icke (and writes a book of bonkers business-speak)

25 April 2015

Move Up is a torrent of random words arranged into perfectly focused falsehood


‘I find my comfort zone in the wilderness’: Barbara Hannigan

Classical music doesn't need to change. It just needs more performers like Barbara Hannigan

25 April 2015

The celebrated conductor/soprano talks to Philip Clark about her forthcoming tour with the Britten Sinfonia and how atonal music is like a deep tissue massage

Il Turco in Italia (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Il turco in Italia, Royal Opera House, reviewed: bring sunglasses

25 April 2015

Plus: a Classical Opera revival of J.C. Bach’s Adriano in Siria that’s entertaining, absorbing and much more than a scholar’s pet

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

25 April 2015

Plus: the Duke of Wellington’s London home reopens to the public

Vadim Muntagirov and Laura Morera in ‘La Fille mal gardée’

La Fille mal gardee at the Royal Opera House reviewed: light, lithe and tender

25 April 2015

Plus: Kirov goddess Diana Vishneva shows what happens when Russian ballerinas disappear up their own mythology

Back to black: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Avengers: Age of Ultron reviewed - confusing, undramatic, repetitive and loud

25 April 2015

But the set pieces are impressive - if that’s what impresses you

Gruesome twosome: Jason Watkins as Mr Twit and Monica Dolan as Mrs Twit

Measure for Measure at the Barbican reviewed: a charity show for homesick non-doms

25 April 2015

Plus: the Royal Court’s adaptation of The Twits doesn’t belong on stage but Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London offers an illuminating slice of history

BBC's Head of Values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) and Will Humphries (Hugh Skinner) (Photo: BBC)

W1A reviewed: so pitch-perfect as to be profoundly depressing

25 April 2015

Plus: did Top of the Pops realise how weird it was?

Alan Davey: the new controller of Radio 3 (Photo: Getty)

‘Ratings aren’t a pressure for me,’ says the new controller of Radio Three

25 April 2015

Plus: Private Passions celebrates its 20th birthday and did Simon Armitage’s new play The Raft of the Medusa need an online visual accompaniment?


The Heckler: Curators were once donnish scholars. Now they’re hip illiterates

25 April 2015

Jonathan Meades sees today’s growing curatocracy as a ‘conspiracy against the laity’


High life

High life

Neither London nor New York will be livable in ten years’ time

25 April 2015

A recent column in the FT made me mad as hell. The writer, Simon Kuper, calls Vienna a backwater, which is a bit like calling the Queen a busted flush… Read more

Low life

Low life

What’s On in South Devon gave me three choices: functioning psychotic preacher, bingo or a poetry evening

25 April 2015

I’m such a constitutional lightweight lately that I’ve started looking on the website What’s On in South Devon for things to do of an evening that don’t involve total annihilation.… Read more

Real life

Real life

Maybe it is time to hang up my fighting boots

25 April 2015

As a wise person once said (or if they didn’t, they should have), there is only one thing worse than being wrong and that is being right. I always get… Read more

Long life

Long life

The birth of a royal baby is hardly an exciting event

25 April 2015

There are already people camping outside St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, to await the birth shortly of another royal baby, the second child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

I am grateful to my surgeon for saving one of my limbs when a mob of Samburu tribesmen attacked me

25 April 2015

 Laikipia When I was a boy in Devon we had an orchard. On a string of autumns, as the fruit ripened, the orchard became a battlefield of apples between my… Read more




Congratulations to the Welsh women’s team, who staged one of the most spectacular comebacks I’ve ever seen at last weekend’s Lady Milne (the women’s home internationals). They were languishing in… Read more



So there

25 April 2015

Hikaru Nakamura has won the US Championship in convincing style with 8/11, ahead of Ray Robson and Wesley So. Things might have turned out differently had So not been disqualified… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 359

25 April 2015

Black to play. This position is a variation from Troff-Nakamura, US Championship 2015. How can Black conclude his kingside attack with a standard tactic? Answers to me at The Spectator… Read more



Verses on horses

25 April 2015

In Competition No. 2894 you were invited to submit a paean to a famous racehorse. Thanks to David Pearn, who suggested what proved to be an excellent competition. P.C. Parrish,… Read more



2208: Mort

25 April 2015

Two words form the name of a fictional 28, described by his creator as a ‘22A/31/26’. Remaining across unclued lights are associated with the first word and down ones with… Read more


Crossword solution

To 2205: In shape

25 April 2015

Unclued lights were set out in the form of two squares in the grid (shown here in red). The theme word was 18. 1, 10, 12 and 38 are defined… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

Fatherhood is killing me

25 April 2015

Not a day passes when I don’t look on my father’s record with shock and awe. I’m not talking about his authorship of Labour’s 1945 manifesto, his invention of the… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

25 April 2015

The Wiki Man

Sod hard-working families: let’s have a four-day week

25 April 2015

Whenever I hear the phrase ‘hard-working families’ a little voice in my head asks ‘what about the lazier, chilled-out families? Shouldn’t we think about them too?’ If Cameron simply abandoned… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How to give a dinner party and still get an early night

Q. I socialise in Shropshire every weekend and regularly give dinners which end at 2 a.m., but it’s a different matter in London, where I have to leave the house by… Read more



The greatest wine I’ve ever drunk

25 April 2015

The supermarket chains are not always blameworthy. Their missionary efforts have helped to ensure that wine drinking in Britain is much less bedevilled by social anxiety than it used to… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Does the English language need a Norwegian lesson?

25 April 2015

‘Ten Norwegian phrases that don’t exist in English but should,’ said the headline. So I had a little look, as the writer on the internet, one Kenneth Haug, intended. Here’s… Read more