The Spectator

14 March 2015 Aus

The end of childhood

When the state excuses underage sex, what chance do our children have?



The end of childhood - what we lost when we dropped the age of consent

For a society obsessed with paedophilia, we're disturbingly comfortable with sexualising childhood


Why Hillary Clinton always seems to have an inbox full of scandal

Hillary’s presidential race will be over an obstacle course


Andy Burnham interview: 'I wanted a different approach, because I'm mainstream Labour'

The shadow health secretary on NHS scandals, Hillsborough and his party's leadership


Ten years after the ban, why are there still hunt saboteurs?

It’s clearly not about animal welfare. But then it never was


When Isis destroy ancient monuments, it’s not always true that ‘people are more important’

Civilised people balance the short-term interest of one generation against the values enshrined in the past, and the right of future generations to share that past


Why I’m thankful that Atos found me fit to work

When my Employment Support Allowance was stopped, I was angry and upset. But looking back, it was a turning point in my life


Exciting new ways of not writing a novel

Procrastination used to be an honest business – cleaning the bath, putting CDs back in their cases. Now we have Google


The teachers who (quietly) miss Michael Gove

Yes, he’s unpopular – except with the people who can see the results


Jawaab explained

It is not easy to be young, British and Muslim. Since the atrocities of 9/11 and 7/7, the media has…

Manet would recognise it: the Jardin des Tuileries

Notes on...

Seeing Paris through Impressionist eyes

The National Gallery gave me a new perspective on a familiar city

The Week

Leading article

James McAvoy is wrong – the arts are better off without subsidy

If state schools are being pushed away from the arts, how did 76,000 of their pupils end up taking drama GCSE last year?

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said that ‘a huge burden of responsibility’ lay with those who acted as apologists…


Jeffrey Archer’s diary: a pirate at the traffic lights, and other Indian wonders

Plus: Disaster in the rugby – and a lucky escape from the cricket


How (not) to poison a dog

Plus: What police do with CCTV; most popular royal burial grounds

Ancient and modern

The Green party isn’t nearly tough enough on Ancient Greece

Environmentalists such as Theophrastus and Plato were well ahead of them

From The Archives

Officers’ off hours

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 13 March 1915: We are glad to note that officers in uniform have been…


Australian letters

Praise indeed Sir: Congratulations on the best arguments, articles and editorial I have personally witnessed so far in the history…


James Delingpole

I have the right to raise my monsters as I wish

And if as a result they have a sick sense of humour and a seething contempt for authority, then all well and good

Rod Liddle

It’s dark days for dogs and their owners

Banned from parks, banned from beaches, and now poisoned at Crufts. It seems like Britain has stopped loving dogs


Wanted: a party leader willing to talk about defence

In this election campaign, no one wants to mention the bear in the room

Any other business

Won’t someone please unleash the challenger banks?

Plus: Why Rona Fairhead should leave HSBC (but stay at the Beeb); and a charming alternative to automation at Bond Street station


Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr earns the Victoria Cross in the Great Uprising of 1857

Lead book review

British India — the scene of repeated war crimes throughout the 19th century

William Dalrymple’s review of The Tears of the Rajas by Ferdinand Mount reminds us that the British empire was erected on the dead bodies of hundreds of thousands of its Indian subjects

A world beyond Grafton ‘Merriecolour’ beckons...


Sex, rebellion, ambition, prejudice: the story of 1950s women has it all

A review of Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes by Virginia Nicholson reveals that it wasn’t just men blocking female emancipation: women themselves were equally to blame


Anders Brievik: lonely computer-gamer on a killing spree

A review of One of Us by Åsne Seierstad reveals a lonely misfit set on a murderous mission to purify the Nordic race

The dreadful prospect of taking up agriculture in old age


Ancients on oldies: tips on ageing from the Romans are all Greek to Richard Ingrams

Reviewing the Ancient Art of Growing Old by Tom Payne, Richard Ingrams remembers sweating blood at school translating the smug, self-satisfied Cicero


Hock and partridge help fascism go down in 1930s London

A review of Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn celebrates London’s gay 1930s society where much is shrouded in secrecy


First novel choice: do you prefer your author on a skateboard, or in a vineyard?

Keith Miller is impressed by the latest first novels - but deplores the way publishers oversell them


John Aubrey and his circle: those magnificent men and their flying machines

A review of Ruth Scurr’s biography of John Aubrey tells how the distinguished scholar and antiquarian, friend of Pepys and Hobbes, died in penury and was buried in an unmarked grave

Mary Portas: anything but ordinary


Madly Modern Mary overcomes childhood hardships to become the Queen of Shops

Nicky Haslam admires the thoroughly extraordinary Mary Portas, monarch of the malls


All change: everything metamorphoses in Aquarium, including its author, who takes on the persona of a 12-year-old girl

Fish become humans, humans fish in the fairy-tale world of David Vann’s poetic novel, Aquarium


The dramatic centrepiece to McQueen’s 2001 spring/summer collection set in an asylum

Arts feature

Alexander McQueen may have been a prat but at least he was an interesting one

As the current V&A exhibition, Savage Beauty, should show, the British bad boy of fashion really did have imagination and vision

Left: ‘Dream of a good witch’, c.1819–23, by Goya Right: ‘Bajan niñendo (They descend quarrelling)’, c.1819–23, by Goya


Flying witches, mad old men, cannibals: what was going on in Goya’s head?

Plus: a Serpentine Gallery survey of Leon Golub’s large scale compositions on the atrocities of war that are occasionally memorable but often show a lack of skill


Suite Francaise review: what is this film playing at, when it comes to Jews in attics?

The end is so sentimental and so Hollywood you'd be far better off reading the original Irène Némirovsky novel

Simon Darwen as Peter and Siubhan Harrison as Eloise in ‘The Armour’


The Armour at Langham Hotel reviewed: three new playlets that never get going

Plus: a new Mugabe drama at the Gate Theatre that, amazingly, doesn’t offer a single piece of data about the play’s subject

Identity crisis: Rachele Gilmore as Alice


Alice in Wonderland at the Barbican reviewed: too much miaowing

But there’s dynamism and excitement aplenty in The English Concert’s performance of Hercules at the Barbican


What it’s really like to live in India today - stressful

Plus: after a month away without radio, Kate Chisholm didn’t expect to hear that half of Ambridge had been destroyed

Should he stay or should he go: Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark


Poldark review: drama by committee

Plus: BBC2’s new sitcom, Nurse, suggests that Paul Whitehouse is a bit of a genius


High life

Where Alcibiades once walked, amateur tax spies are trying to entrap poor pistachio-sellers

The glories of Ancient Greece are a long way from the present mess

Low life

Lunch with Max Beerbohm’s brother’s grandson

He was the man who coined the phrase ‘P-p-p pick up a Penguin!’

Long life

It’s a pointless waste of time for David Cameron to resurrect the hunting debate

Hunting survives in defiance of the will of Parliament and of the people



Why do men always yell at the television or keep up a running commentary while watching sport? My husband does…


Bright blues

The boat race for the brain, as it has become known, took place at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall,…

Chess puzzle

No. 353

Black to play. This is from James-Sugden, -Cambridge 1972, as featured last week. It’s a win by the Cambridge player…



In Competition No. 2888 you were invited to submit a poem in the style of a well-known poet, the first…


2202: Problem XI

Seven unclued lights (one hyphened) are 23: 7A + 17 + 40 + 5 + 6 + 31 = 36.…

Crossword solution

To 2199: TV Comedy

The unclued lights can be arranged to give: ‘I decided to sell my Hoover … well, it was just collecting…

Status anxiety

Could my son Charlie become a Premier League footballer?

Admittedly it’s early days, but watch this space

The Wiki Man

How to make Ukip supporters love green policies

We judge ideas more on who they annoy than on what they do

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: When is it all right not to bring something to a dinner party?

Plus: An avocado dessert recipe and another way of seeing off handsy hosts


A dog to remember (and the wine he inspired)

The Great Hector was well worthy of a glass or two