Fraser Nelson

Highlights from the latest Spectator | 15 October 2010

Highlights from the latest Spectator | 15 October 2010
Text settings

I thought CoffeeHousers might appreciate a selection of a half a dozen pieces in the new edition of The Spectator. I know it is, in many ways, a tough task persuading online audience to part with cash for a magazine (or our new iPad edition, available for free to subscribers) - but this week's issue really is the perfect something for the weekend.


1. The Coming Dutch Explosion. Tensions in Amsterdam are at bursting point - with Geert Wilders on trial soon, the English Defence League sending their skinheads out to aid him, and jihadism on the rise. We did the best thing we could to defuse the situation: dispatched Rod Liddle. His cover story tells of a place where the police send people out disguised as Jews, to catch anyone who gives them abuse. “This follows a strategy where they disguised people as grannies to see if they’d get mugged,” writes Rod. “I’d have paid to see that.”

2. The Hard Boiled Lib Dems. James Forsyth’s political column argues that the party is rapidly moving rightwards. Being in power has focused them on the facts - and, as Thatcher liked to say, the facts of life are Conservative. This explains Vince Cable’s U-turn on tuition fees, Huhne buckling on nuclear, etc. Tim Montgomerie previewed this yesterday, and concluded that Pete Hoskin has turned us all into Nick Clegg fans.

3. Will Hutton’s latest book, reviewed by Simon Heffer. “By the time one has waded to p.22 of Them and Us through what may be politely described as a stream of consciousness, assailed by random thoughts and plangent expression larded with clichés, one starts to wonder what the point is in going on.”

4. Imagine there’s no Lennon. Last weekend’s Lennonfest, to celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday, was too much for Michael Henderson. He asks: why the big fuss? Sure, he wrote some nice songs. But he’s also responsible for inspiring a great deal of today’s fatuous pop-star posturing. “What Lennon needed was a sympathetic housemaster telling him to pull his socks up,” Henderson writes. “Instead, he got Yoko Ono.” (As a huge Beatles fan, it pained me to publish this.)

5. Neil MacGregor and 99 other objects. Mary Wakefield interviews the director of the British Museum, whose addictive Radio Four series has just come to a close. “He’s universally admired - but what are his politics? What does he do for fun? No one seems to know.”

6. Facebook: the movie. It’s actually surprisingly good. Deborah Ross expected to hate The Social Network but she was blown away. “This is a superbly clever sure-footed film which grips from the word go, and you’d be a fool not to catch it. Go today, right now, this minute. I can’t imagine you’re doing anything better.”

This is a tiny sample of what we have in the mag. There’s also James Delingpole about that appalling 10:10 climate change video (anyone who hasn’t seen it, click here); Pete Hoskin raves about the Australian bluesman C.W. Stoneking (yes, he’s serious); Alain de Botton about his addiction to twitter; Charles Moore on Downton Abbey; Taki, Hugo Rifkind, and much more besides. So do pick it up this weekend.


The Spectator: £3.20 in the newsagent, £2 direct, £5.99/month on iPad (free to subscribers), or become one of those subscribers from £12.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

Topics in this articleSocietyspectator