The Spectator

1 October 2016

The May machine

The PM is likely to reign unchallenged for at least six years. What will she do with her power?





What will Theresa May do with all that power?

The PM has outfoxed her colleagues to reign unchallenged. What will she do next?



Nick Timothy: bearded, mysterious and very possibly running the country

The shadowy figure behind Theresa May clearly doesn’t agree that Britain has reached peak beard

(Photo: Getty)


The rise of Putin’s new puritans

His regime now defines Russia as a moral fortress against western decadence, porn and gay rights



The economist who made a stand against Project Fear

Why Professor Patrick Minford was shocked by the behaviour of his fellow economists before the referendum

gray rat


Let’s hear it for rats

It’s time to abandon our weird fear of these spectacular animals



John R. MacArthur’s New York Notebook: the big Trump and Clinton show

Will the Republican candidate’s hopeless first debate be enough to scupper him?

The Dalmatian coast: old-fashioned glamour

Notes on...


Dubrovnik plays King’s Landing in the TV blockbuster, but Croatia’s island are even more beautiful

The Week

(Photo: Getty)

Leading article

Why is the British government silent about Aleppo?

Post-referendum Britain should be playing a wider role in global affairs


Portrait of the week

Syrian and Russian jets ‘unleash a new hell’ bombing civilians in Aleppo

Also in Portrait of the Week: Sam Allardyce resigns as England manager after newspaper ‘sting’

(Photo: Getty)


Trump’s bad debate performance won’t stop Americans voting for him

Also in Max Hastings's diary: US gun ownership; an encounter with Nevada cops; the rights of veterans; Yahoo



The Lynch who started lynching people

Also in Barometer: did Tories or Labour make us richer?; the fivers worth much more than a fiver


Ancient and modern

The Romans got it right on immigration

No matter where you came from, as long as you adopted the Roman way, you could go right to the top

Stuck in the mud (Photo: Getty)


Letters: like Labour, the Tories will desert the centre ground

Also: keep the north and the south apart; the Tate’s problem; bring back the royal yacht




‘Just managing’ is not enough in No. 10, Prime Minister

What if Mayism isn’t a philosophy, or even a general outlook on life, but merely a way of doing things?

Spectators notes

The Spectator's Notes

Charles Moore’s Notes: meet the German financier who approves of Brexit

And: Marcus Berkmann remembers wrongly – I never owned a pair of red cords


Rod Liddle

Let’s bring the wolves back into Britain

Melissa Kite is wrong, and Monbiot for once is right. We should rewild now

Hugo Rifkind

Hugo Rifkind

We know who Theresa May is against. But who is she for?

The Prime Minister has vowed to help the people in the middle ­­— but does anyone know who they are?

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris

God save Britain’s political parties from their own grassroots

How does one join the Liberal Metro-politan Elite? What should be the qualifications? I must be an LME member because…


Any other business

If Deutsche Bank goes down without a bailout, I really will eat my hat

Also in Any Other Business: what Twitter’s worth, and which Iceland should be suing which?


Portrait of a youthful Patrick Leigh Fermor in Cretan costume, by Adrian Daintrey (oil on canvas), Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Books feature

Dashing for the book: A lifetime of letters from Paddy Leigh Fermor

Justin Marozzi welcomes a feast for admirers of the great man

The Discovery of the Strait of Magellan, by Oswald Walters Brierly (private collection)


The Pacific ocean really was mare incognitum for the early navigators

Harry Kelsey’s fascinating book contains few if any maritime heroes

Hopeless Girl


Transit reviewed – the second of Rachel Cusk’s current trilogy

Cusk withholds concrete explanation and a guiding narrator

(Photo: Getty)


Paul Spike’s memoir of the Civil rights movement of the 1960s re-released

Photographs of my Father examines the still unsolved murder of Spike’s activist father, Revd Spike

Hectically busy: Beckett in 1976


Samuel Beckett’s letters reveal a fiercely private workoholic

The fourth and final volume of Beckett’s letter – 1966-1989

Matthew McConaughey stars as Newton Knight (Photo: Getty)


Seen the film? Now read the book: The Free State of Jones

A window on a little known world – Southern Unionism

Marc Bolan of T. Rex, on Top of the Pops, 1973


Does anyone really want to read 650 pages on glam rock?

A lovely little book on David Bowie nestles within this interminable tome

Theodor W. Adorno (Photo: Getty)


The Frankfurt School was a place of fearsome seriousness

How Marxist social theory and Freudian psychoanalysis fails to explain to failure of socialism

picture of silhouette


Recent crime fiction

The Wicked Go to Hell, Darktown, Dead Man’s Blues, The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor

Nasser carried through the streets of Port Said after the British evacuation, 1956
Carlton House Terrace, where Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan allegedly lived (Photo: Getty)


Why are Egyptian businessmen always falling off balconies in London?

The story of the ‘Angel’, the spy Ashrat Narwan who worked for Mossad

Author Ann Patchett (Photo: Getty)
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, arrives at Birla House in Mussoorie, India, after fleeing from Tibet, April 1959 (Photo: Getty)


How the Dalai Llama escaped Tibet in 1959

The Chinese occupation of Tibet has destroyed the country’s traditional culture

Author Emma Donoghue (Photo: Getty)


Emma Donoghue’s novel The Wonder reviewed

This powerful and eerie evocation of potato-famine Ireland has none of the charm and humour of much contemporary Irish writing

Best of friends: George, Matt and.... Solange (Photo: Getty)


Marie Darrieuuecq’s novel Men reviewed

A Novel of Cinema and Desire – and mixed-race ‘romance’


‘An indefinite, half attained, unimaginable sublimity ...that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant’: ‘Blue Poles’, 1952, by Jackson Pollock

Arts feature

Majestic, exhilarating and overpowering: Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionism reviewed

Instead of being a little window through which you look at the world, the paintings of these New York artists envelop you – but how abstract really are they?

No Man's Land


Hilarious, puzzling, boring: No Man’s Land at the Wyndham’s reviewed

Plus: John Malkovich directs a newish play at Rose Theatre Kingston and the result is a dim muddle

Engraving composer Johann Sebastian Bach


Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

While popular opinion suggests that there is nothing wrong with playing Bach on the piano, everything feels right about playing his music on the harpsichord

Performance as therapy on a grand scale: Björk pours her broken heart out at the Albert Hall

Live Music

Performance as therapy on a grand scale: Björk at the Royal Albert Hall reviewed

Anything resembling a good tune was hard to find but I did spot a man with an alarming whole-head tattoo

Ben Baur’s stylish designs for ‘Così fan tutte’ at the Royal Opera House


Stylish designs undermined by elderly tempi: Royal Opera’s Così fan tutte reviewed

Plus: let’s hope Oliver Mears’s new production of Macbeth for Welsh National Opera is a lapse from an operatic risk-taker, not a portent of things to come at the Royal Opera House

Our Lady of Gualalupe


Why are so many composers drawn to the Stabat Mater?

With this 13th century Marian hymn, a composer enters into a particularly painful world of loss, violence and spiritual desolation

Elle (Eleven) in Stangers Things


Nostalgic, compulsive, edge-of-seat entertainment: Netflix’s Stranger Things reviewed

Plus: BBC2's Fleabag is an impressively depraved comedy but I'm not sure a male scriptwriter would have got away with such one-dimensional female characters

Newtown school massacre newspaper collage


Hear the real impact of guns on America

Plus: it might seem counterintuitive but programmes about art on radio often work really well

Goodfella: Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight in ‘Free State of Jones’


No ambiguity, character development or psychological insight: Free State of Jones reviewed

Matthew McConaughey brings more gravitas and intensity to the role of Newton Knight than the role probably deserves



High life

Turning 80 is a disaster but it was a helluva party all the same

Hitting four score is like the final beautiful gleam of light before you lose consciousness during a boxing bout


Low life

Should I take a hooker to Taki’s 80th birthday party?

The reason I didn’t was not that the great man would have objected but that I was hoping to get lucky once I was there


Real life

NHS GPs never, ever have the answers I am seeking

Which is why my heart sank when Balham Footcare suggested I see a doctor about my crippled appendages


Long life

Mutilating old pianos won’t help African elephants

Prince William may have a point about the ivory trade but stripping old piano keys is a waste of time


The turf

The Last Lion is one of next season’s stars-in-waiting

In one of the key indicators of future form, the two-year-old stormed to victory in a stiff headwind




TGR’s rubber bridge club is a bit like the set of your favourite soap. You have the regulars, of varying…



Rigan wizard

Mikhail Tal, the Wizard from Riga, was one of the most devastating tacticians in the history of chess. His rise…


Chess puzzle

No. 428

Black to play. This position is a variation from Gelfand-Mamedyarov, Tal Memorial Blitz 2016. Black has various strong moves but…




In Competition No. 2967 you were invited to submit an article written by the author of your choice under the…



2280: Acorns

The unclued lights are of a kind, verifiable in Brewer. Ignore one apostrophe.   Across   1     Top for…


Crossword solution

to 2277: Royalty

The theme word is KING and the pairs are 4/41, 14/1A, 19/27, 34/16 and 38/24.  First prize C.V. Clark, London…

Toby Young

Status anxiety

I know a broad-left anti-Tory pact won’t work, and here’s why

I tried to organise something similar back in 2014, except what I planned was an anti-Labour pact

Spectator sport

Spectator sport

Memo to FA: Eddie Howe is in a league of his own

Don’t judge native-born managers by Sam Allardyce — most have more talent than they are given credit for

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: what to do about exorbitant tipping demands at shoots

Plus: a novel solution to no buffet on a long train journey



Bronte: soulless, stylish, and nothing to do with novel-writing

It is named for Lord Nelson, and should have been called almost anything else

Mind Your Language