China’s growing empire is a story which continues to fascinate us at The Spectator. They have very different priorities to the old British colonialists in Africa. Our Wild Life correspondent, Aidan Hartley, has investigated how hundreds of kilos of bloody tusks from poached elephants are being smuggled out of Tanzania each year. He interviews one seller, who says his largest clients are the Chinese and one government official. “The new illegal ivory trade is booming,” he says, “because China’s middle classes want to buy ivory trinkets like chopsticks.” He presents a Channel Four documentary about it tonight.
As CoffeeHousers might have seen, our next Spectator debate is about Cameron – and picks up on a question Trevor Kavanagh raised in his column for us: is he a Heath or a Thatcher? Bruce Anderson gives a preview of his debate, making an impassioned defence. “As a governing doctrine, Thatcherism was gradualist. She took her time to achieve her objectives; she did not fight her domestic battles until she knew that she could win them. Everyone remembers the miners’ strike of 1984-85: a transforming victory. But in 1981, Mrs Thatcher had backed away from confronting the miners, because she was advised that the coal stocks were inadequate. She was Montgomery, not Prince Rupert. Cameron, he says, “has more intellectual self-confidence than Mrs Thatcher had, and a clearer mind. He does share two other vital attributes with the Iron Lady. He is stubborn and he does not like losing. Like her, he would weigh up everything carefully before committing his troops to action. Like her, he would hate to sound the retreat.” As you’d expect from Bruce, it’s a beautifully-argued and impassioned defence. Peter Hitchens has a no less impassioned attack. To hear both of them battle it out – along with Kelvin MacKenzie, Tim Montgomerie, Simon Wolfson and Simon Heffer then do come join us for the debate on 7 April.
Other pieces in the magazine: Obama’s seismic victory in healthcare reform has led Ross Clark to exclaim something he’d never thought he’d say: Thank God for the NHS! Our system has its faults, he says, but by all accounts it is better than the disaster which Obama now seems set to nationalise. Elsewhere, Allister Heath charts a course for the Tories to follow if they’re likely to return to fiscal sanity – the first serious piece I’ve seen about what needs to happen. And on our books pages, Mark Seddon praises a new work on North Korea for giving us a “photographic description” of life under Kim Jong-Il.
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