Fraser Nelson

In this week’s Spectator | 27 January 2011

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The new issue of The Spectator is out in the shops today – subscribers can read it online, or on Kindle/iPad – and here are a few pieces that I thought might interest CoffeeHousers.


1. The death of meritocracy. Social mobility - or the lack thereof - is a subject that no political party feels comfortable with. And why? For the very good reasons that Andrew Neil outlines in the cover story of this week's Spectator. One vignette is that when Cameron's inner circle convened to discuss the recent school sports fiasco, the conversation turned to who played which positions in the Eton Wall game. If you missed his documentary last night, and even if you didn't, it's a must-read.


2. Why Cameron should adopt a King's Speech strategy. In his Status Anxiety column, Toby Young says that the Oscar bound film is laden with lessons for Cameron. As he puts it, "If the leaders of the government are in danger of seeming a bit aloof in virtue of their privileged upbringing perhaps the answer is to manufacture some endearing weaknesses. George Osborne, for instance, could adopt an Ed Miliband-style lisp, while Nick Clegg could start subtly removing his hair, creating the impression of male pattern baldness. Cameron could begin to walk with a limp."


3. Warsi Wars: Peter Oborne vs Rod Liddle. In her notorious speech, Warsi singled out a piece Rod Liddle wrote, headlined "Islamophobia? Count me in". The subject is acceptable dinner party talk, she said. Rod replies this week by pointing out that, chez Liddle, they always save Islamophobic talk "between the dessert and the cheese board". Peter Oborne rides to Warsi's defence, and says Islamophobia is a horribly serious subject that David Cameron ignores at his peril.


4. Where's Osborne's growth strategy? Our leading article lists how the coalition's warm words for business have been accompanied by a barrage of regulations and strictures which threaten the recovery. Osborne is planning to detail his growth strategy in March. We rather needed it last summer.


5. "The closer you get to God, the more the devil wants you." Our Arts lead is a fascinating interview with Peter Howson, the artist who recently painted St John Ogilvie.


6. How to hack a phone. Rory Sutherland on the ease of voicemail hacking: "I altered colleagues' telephones so that, instead of boring and worthy numbers such as 'Home', their phones displayed more interesting names like 'Spearmint Rhino, Prague' or simply 'Monique'. It is impossible for anyone to have an innocent relationship with someone called Monique."


This is a tiny sample; the full edition is choc full of gems. To subscribe from £1 a week, click here.

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.