The Spectator


28 March 2015

Return to the rose garden

The Prime Minister could never admit it, but he’s dreaming of – and scheming for – another coalition

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Quietly, David Cameron is dreaming of another coalition (and scheming for it)

28 March 2015

A few months ago, the Tories were thinking of a minority government if they didn’t win outright. Now that’s changed


Alex Salmond sets out his terms for Ed Miliband

28 March 2015

‘The alternative to doing a deal is not doing a deal’ – just prop him up and bleed him dry


Lord Freud: the man who saved the welfare system

28 March 2015

Despite Labour’s attempts to have him fired, the welfare minister is a model public servant

Special Representative of the Secretary-

Sweden’s feminist foreign minister has dared to tell the truth about Saudi Arabia. What happens now concerns us all

28 March 2015

Margot Wallström’s principled stand deserves wide support. Betrayal seems more likely

Yoga For Dancers

Belle Gibson and the pernicious cult of ‘wellness’

28 March 2015

We’re too eager to believe in the power of lifestyle change


In praise of messy old kitchens

28 March 2015

Minimalism and obsessive hygiene are killing the heart of the home

Unity Mitford

‘You are always close to me’: Unity Mitford’s souvenirs of Hitler

28 March 2015

Hitler’s adoring notes to Unity Mitford – and her family’s campaign to stop my book


The return of the fountain pen

28 March 2015

They’re not just historical curiosities – the design these days is vastly improved, and sales are increasing

London Black Cab Drivers To Protest Over Uber Taxis

That’s not a ‘sharing economy’: that’s an invitation to sell your whole life

Uber and Airbnb are brilliant at cosy rhetoric, but they’re helping to create a world in which we’re all less secure

Let there be light: Saint Peter’s at dawn

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

28 March 2015

‘Before hours’ tours show you the masterpieces without the crowds – and they’re not that expensive

The Week

Photo: Getty

Leading article

How to fix our defence budget mess

28 March 2015

It’s never a good idea to define achievement purely in terms of spending – but it’s a worse one to guarantee aid spending while not doing the same for defence


Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home David Cameron, who was cutting up lettuce in his kitchen, told James Landale of the BBC that he would not seek a third term as Prime Minister, even if he… Read more

Brian Sewell Photo: Getty


Harry Mount’s diary: Class war with classicists and wisdom from Brian Sewell

28 March 2015

Plus: A trick for lighter packing



A censored hymn to motorway misery

Plus: who benefits from long election campaigns; and Britain’s most indebted streets


Ancient and modern

When Rome’s 99 per cent stood up

28 March 2015

Revolt against the rich can happen — sometimes

President Wilson visits London, 1918 Photo: Getty

From The Archives

Better off out

28 March 2015

From ‘President Wilson’s Mistake’, The Spectator, 27 March 1915: The Americans have a world of their own in which to take sides physically, and are perfectly entitled to say to Europe:… Read more



Spectator letters: who kept us out of the euro, and how to deal with squirrels

Plus: Names for God; the limits of freedom in Nato; and a defence of Stephen Sondheim


Rod Liddle

How Ukip became the incredible disappearing party

28 March 2015

The establishment would just like Nigel Farage to go away — and they’re working on getting their wish

James Delingpole

From teapots to rare meat, my Britain is becoming a lost country

28 March 2015

People of my generation and older are increasingly doomed to feel like strangers in a politically correct land


If you really want to make money from the FTSE100, be a chief executive

28 March 2015

Plus: A ‘challenger bank’ arrives from Spain; and memories of Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore



Wolves in the Lake District get everyone’s pheromones going

28 March 2015

A review of The Wolf Border finds Sarah Hall’s wolves far sexier than her humans

Charles Dodgson

Stolen kisses and naked girls: there is much to wonder about in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland

28 March 2015

Reviewing Robert Douglas-Fairhurst’s The Story of Alice, A.S. Byatt enters the dodgy world of Charles Dodgson

From Tom Brown’s School Days, illustrated by Thomas Hughes

How the public schools survived

28 March 2015

In a review of The Old Boys by David Turner, Eric Anderson reflects on how comprehensives created a golden age for Britain's independent schools


A lost American classic to rival anything by Faulkner

28 March 2015

John Ehle's The Landbreakers contains one of the most frightening passages in American literature

Leonid Yakobson in Leningrad c. 1926

Leonid Yakobson: the greatest ballet genius you’ve never heard of

28 March 2015

A review of Janice Ross’s Like a Bomb Going Off brings the neglected choreographer Leonid Yakobson firmly back centre stage

Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, Leslie Hore-Belisha , Secretary of State for War and Lord Hankey. Front Row, Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary, Sir John Simon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, Sir Samuel Hoare, Home Secretary and Lord Chakfield, Co-ordination of Defence Photo: Getty

The war within: some of Churchill’s toughest challenges came from his own jealous colleagues

28 March 2015

As if fighting the Nazis wasn’t enough, Winston Churchill faced fierce dissension in his own ranks, as a review of Jonathan Scheer’s Minister’s of War reminds us

'Warning! Someone is listening' Photo: Getty

Baiting the trap with CHEESE: how we fooled the Germans in the second world war

28 March 2015

Alan Judd recalls how an inventive MI6 agent continued  to bamboozle the Germans from prison in a review of Double Cross in Cairo by Nigel West

‘The Giantess’ by Leonora Carrington, currently on show at Tate Liverpool

A mad menage — and menagerie - in Mexico: the life of Leonora Carrington in fictional form

28 March 2015

The crazy life of the rich young girl looking for a surrealist adventure makes for a sadly unexciting novel, says Cressida Connolly

Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961

Lesley Blanch: a true original on the wilder shores of exoticism

28 March 2015

Lesley Blanch was incapable of writing a bad or boring sentence, says Philip Ziegler, reviewing On the Wilder Shores of Love

Money making schemes in Sierra Leone

Things fall apart in Denis Johnson’s latest novel of madness and anarchy in Sierra Leone

28 March 2015

Denis Johnson’s splendidly unreliable spy-narrator in The Laughing Monsters makes for an equally unpredictable, uproarious plot

Miranda July Photo: Getty

Miranda July may be a film director, performance artist, sculptor and designer — but she is no novelist

28 March 2015

In a review of The First Bad Man by Miranda July Robert Collins enters a surreal world of sex and love and loneliness

Sir Michael Barber Photo: Getty
Although Keynes hated his appearance, he was much painted by the Bloomsbury Group, including by Roger Fry (above)

John Maynard Keynes: transforming global economy while reading Virginia Woolf

28 March 2015

In a review of Universal Man by Richard Davenport-Hines, Matthew Walther finds the great economist practically perfect in every way


Head of a Man with Kausia, third century BC

Reimaging the lost masterpieces of antiquity

28 March 2015

Martin Gayford visits two tantalising - and jaw-dropping - new surveys of Greek and Roman sculpture at the British Museum and Palazzo Strozzi

‘Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington’, 1829, by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Wellington's PR machine

28 March 2015

As this National Portrait Gallery show reveals, it took a while for portrait painters to get the public image of Wellington right

A still from the indie game Monument Valley

How gaming grew up

28 March 2015

A slew of artistic independent games are supplanting the big studio brands. Peter Hoskin reports on this boardroom-versus-bedroom battle

Portrait of Handel by Balthasar Denner

Why we should revel in the empty virtuosity of Handel's pasticcios

28 March 2015

Gesamtkunstwerk be damned. Long live the Baroque jukebox. Alexandra Coghlan on two Handel pasticcios, Giove in Argo and Catone in Utica, at the London Handel Festival

Zoë Wanamaker as Stevie Smith

Shrapnel at the Arcola works for the slayers, not the slain

28 March 2015

But Lloyd Evans encourages you to catch Stevie at the Hampstead Theatre - especially if you're old and female

Ella (Lily James) with her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett)

Lily James's Cinderella is more of a doormat than my actual doormat

28 March 2015

Kenneth Branagh's live-action remake of the Disney classic, while beautiful, is also dreary and insipid

Serial producer Dana Chivvis Photo: Meredith Heuer

Does the future of radio really lie in podcasts?

28 March 2015

Plus: the sweet sounds of the Kalahari desert - and drunk Geordie clubbers - courtesy of Chris Watson

David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)

Channel 4's The Coalition reviewed: heroically free of cynicism

28 March 2015

Plus: Trevor McDonald sits down with the Mafia and hears of the sad decline of the Mob


Wine Club

March Wine Club

28 March 2015

Chateau Musar is one of those delightful oenological quirks – a remarkable wine of great style produced under extraordinarily difficult conditions in the most unlikely of places: Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.… Read more

High life

High life

Make no mistake: the Top Gear brouhaha is cultural warfare

28 March 2015

It’s a famous quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one that Elton John should ponder (when he’s not out shopping, that is): ‘The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability… Read more

Low life

Low life

Football in front, infibulation behind

28 March 2015

I’m watching Manchester City being taken to the cleaners by Barcelona on the telly, while at the table behind me my Parisian feminist intellectual hostess Natalie is discussing female genital… Read more

Real life

Real life

I gave the blasted Paltrow method a go and allowed a bit of conscious uncoupling to creep in

28 March 2015

The builder boyfriend has a new girlfriend. I suppose he was bound to move on eventually. I just never thought he would move on this quickly. From the day I… Read more

Long life

Long life

Be different, be original: that’s what makes a popular politician

28 March 2015

I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like being a political leader. I find this difficult because I would be so utterly ill suited to the role. I’m… Read more

Wild life

Wild life

The warrior arched his body, readying to sling his spear at my chest

28 March 2015

 Laikipia With a shriek, the warrior arched his body, readying to sling his spear at my chest. The tear-dropped javelin point flashed in the sun. In the heat, dust swirled… Read more




Janet de Botton and I decided to spice things up a bit at the Young Chelsea heat of the nationwide Portland Pairs on Sunday by having a small bet about… Read more



Caro can

28 March 2015

The Caro-Kann Defence, 1 e4 c6, has always appealed to me. It has the advantage of staking a claim in the centre by means of … d5, without the disadvantages… Read more


Chess puzzle

No. 355

28 March 2015

Black to play. This position is a variation from Ganguly-Vitiugov, Gibraltar 2014. The game started as a Caro-Kann and is mentioned in Houska’s book. Although Black is a pawn down… Read more



End paper

28 March 2015

In Competition No. 2890 you were invited to imagine that one of the major newspapers has ceased publication and provide a verse lament for it. In his 2004 book The… Read more



2204: Security

28 March 2015

In nine clues, cryptic indications omit reference to parts of answers; these parts must be highlighted, to reveal a definition applicable to each of the five members of the perimeter… Read more


Crossword solution

2201: Facility

28 March 2015

The words FAST FORWARD (given by letters added to definitions in clues) define 42 and 11, both indicating the way in which loans (1, 13, 18, 25, 32 and 43)… Read more

Toby Young

Status anxiety

How (and why) we lie to ourselves about opinion polls

28 March 2015

A strange ritual takes place on Twitter most evenings at around 10.30 p.m. Hundreds of political anoraks start tweeting the results of the YouGov daily tracker poll due to be… Read more


Battle for Britain

Battle for Britain

28 March 2015

The Wiki Man

A lesson in decision-making from the world’s worst road sign

28 March 2015

Driving from Dover on the M20 a year ago I missed the turning for the M25. A month later I did it again. Then again. ‘You bloody idiot — you… Read more

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. When sending wedding invitations, does one put the full titles on the card, or can one just put, for example, Jane and John having addressed the envelope to Mr… Read more



Wines to toast a warrior saint

28 March 2015

Towards the chimes at midnight, a few of us left a — respectable — establishment near Leicester Square. Eight or nine youngsters were brawling vigorously, boots and fists. 999 was… Read more

Mind Your Language

Mind your language

Where ‘poop’ came from

28 March 2015

Danny Alexander recounted in the Diary last week his daughter’s efforts in making unicorn poop. This is something of a historic marker. Most members of the cabinet in previous generations… Read more