The Spectator

12 January 2013

The accidental exit

David Cameron may have inadvertently set Britain on a path out of the EU



The accidental exit

David Cameron may have inadvertently set Britain on a path out of the EU


America’s strategic stupidity

Obama’s new foreign policy team must beware of generals bearing predictions


Stop the drugs war

Legalisation is Mexico’s only hope



A hit man at 13

After a long wait in the visiting room of the maximum security wing of the ‘Gib Lewis Unit’, Rosalio Reta…


Paying Osborne’s bills

I now have to spend more on taxes than I do on my family


Wedding hells

The gay rights movement should run a mile from marriage

The Week

Leading article

Troubles ahead

If the Belfast riots were happening in any other city in the United Kingdom, there would be uproar. For almost…



There is a lesson to be learned from the Francis Report into the NHS in Mid-Staffordshire, and from the police…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that, for the ‘coalition government with a full tank of gas, it’s full…



Welfare state The government was attacked for wanting to increase benefits by less than inflation. How have benefits changed in…

Ancient and modern


The government is having its annual fit about the fat. In the ancient world, most of the population worked the…



The aid argument Sir: ‘The great aid mystery’ (5 January) presents the development sceptics’ case — which in five years…


Rod Liddle

How did Mary Seacole come to be revered as a black icon?

Isn’t it time, just out of perversity, that we all signed the petition on the Operation Black Vote website to…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

Poor Nick Clegg keeps trying to change the constitution and keeps being balked (the Alternative Vote, Lords reform). At last,…

Matthew Parris

The ineffable sadness of Franco’s ruins

The end of an old year cast me into a portentous frame of mind as I descended a couple of…

Any other business

Gnomes of Zurich will fall like skittles before US investigators finish with them

So farewell, Wegelin & Co, the oldest bank in Switzerland and the one with the simplest strategy for growth —…


Nick Clegg’s pallor, Murdoch’s revenge, and Lord Strathclyde’s champagne

Has Nick Clegg seen a ghost? The pallor of the Lib Dem leader continues to excite comment in Westminster. At…


Lead book review

An almost perfect catastrophe

William Dalrymple has found some vivid new sources for his history of the First Afghan War, but the whole sorry story remains essentially unchanged, says Philip Hensher


Her fighting soul

The subtitle of Deirdre David’s life of Olivia Manning, ‘A Woman at War’, has a resonant double meaning. She was,…


How not to steal a million

‘You’re not going to believe this,’ crackled the voice over the Buckinghamshire police radio in the pre-dawn light of Thursday…


Taking a pop at the Queen

On 10 June 1840 an 18-year-old out-of-work Londoner named Edward Oxford cocked his pistol and fired two shots at Queen…


Apocalypse now

In his introduction, James Fergusson apologises for the title of his book. Somalia, he writes, may no longer be the…


Pig in the middle

With nice ecumenical parity, Peter Somerville-Large derides equally both Ireland’s principal Christian churches as they compete for the soul, or…


Chills, but no thrills

‘Mary and Geordie have lost a child …Why should they feel they are entitled to grieve? It’s so commonplace.’ Paul…


His own man

Acquainted with Stravinsky, friend of Ravel and Poulenc, prolific composer and well-loved man, Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989) remains an enigma to…


A consummate craftsman

It is rare to encounter a writer whose work can be so neatly divided into two halves. George Saunders is…


Novel ways of writing

If you consider ‘gripping metafiction’ a self-contradictory phrase (surely metafiction disables tension through its wink-at-the-audience style?), Nicholas Royle’s First Novel…


Arts feature

Sex and sensibility

Will Gore talks to the director and writer Ben Lewin about his latest film


Wielding the axe

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling a bit sorry for Mike Harding. The long-serving host of BBC Radio 2’s…


Nexus of opposites

Francesco Clemente (born Naples 1952) began his rise to prominence in this country with two exhibitions at the Royal Academy…


Trojan triumph

Opera has naturally made no start at all in 2013 in the UK, the month surrounding Christmas being a culture-free…


The monotony of Les Misérables

Les Misérables is one of the longest-running, most popular stage musicals in history, having been seen by 60 million people…


Decline and fall

Filmic structures are always tricky on stage. David Mamet, an exception, can get away with writing long chains of scenes…


Death watch

Some people say TV is a bad thing for families but I say don’t knock it. It was thanks to…


All in the mind

Radio 4’s Book of the Week sounded so promising, pertinent, perfect for these gloomy first days of January. Maybe listening…

Culture notes

Insomniac’s heaven

If I wake up at too rude an hour to get up — before four o’clock, let’s say — Through…


High life

High Life

Friends who were among the last to leave Palataki at New Year tell me there were stragglers waiting to be…

Low life

Low life

Waiting at a country bus stop in a downpour. Not sure if I’ve just missed one. No raincoat. No phone…

Real life

Real life

The Bupa Blooper. In years to come, that is how I shall refer to what happened when I inadvertently cancelled…

Long life

Long life

William Rees-Mogg, who has died, the Oxford-educated member of an old Somerset family, was widely seen as the archetypal ‘gentleman…



Here is my eagerly awaited New Year’s List of the most infuriating things partner can do: 1. Bid ridiculously to…


London Classic

The fourth London Classic at Olympia, organised by the indefatigable Malcolm Pein, was the strongest of the series including, as…

Chess puzzle

No. 248

White to play. This position is a variation from Kramnik-McShane, London Chess Classic 2012. How can Kramnik finish off the…


Answering back

In Competition No. 2779 you were invited to submit Maud’s reply to Tennyson. It was Joyce Grenfell’s magnificently ball-breaking riposte…


2095: Getting around

The unclued lights (one of three words, one of two words and three doubly hyphened) might be named in a…

Crossword solution



Status anxiety

Deep-sea fiasco

I’m currently in Kenya with my wife and four children and have just returned from the coast where we spent…

Spectator sport

Just not cricket

Sad times for The Times, and for the game of cricket, with the passing within days of each other of…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. Just before Christmas I ran into a senior executive at a rival firm to the one where I currently…


Tanya Gold reviews Hawksmoor

How many restaurants make a chain? If the number is four, then Hawksmoor, the superb chop-house named for the Baroque…

Mind your language

Coffee house

In the series of radio programmes on culture, a guest of Melvyn Bragg’s declared that the distinction between high and…