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The Spectator

15 August 2015

Exit the dragon

China’s long boom may finally be ending. The consequences for the world will be profound

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Forget Greece: China's economic slowdown is the biggest story of the year

There’s hardly an industry or a part of the world that isn’t counting on China to keep growing strongly. Soon, that could be a big problem


Cameron’s talking to the wrong Libyan government. He should call my old driver

There are real reasons to worry about Libya Dawn – but also real reasons to try to work with them


The troubled ex-informers neglected by MI5

Agents are essential to the fight against terrorism. But our gratitude sometimes seems to come with an expiry date


Why nothing in sport beats thrashing the Aussies at cricket

It’s not enough to succeed, Gore Vidal said: others must fail — a maxim that works a hundred times better when Australia do the failing


Labour always lurches left when it loses. But this time is worse

Ed Miliband fuelled the left’s ‘great betrayal’ myth – and his changes to the party’s voting system look disastrous


Why MPs have a duty to resist online petitions

Parliaments exist to inject hesitation and circumspection into the legislative process


I’m 43. Why am I still so reluctant to call myself a man?

To use the term, we feel, would imply that we have too much respect for ourselves, that we take ourselves too seriously

The Alster: Hamburg’s centrepiece

Notes on...

Wealthy, cosmopolitan – and sometimes rough: the secrets of Hamburg (and my grandmother)

The devastated city she loved and left now has Germany’s largest population of millionaires

The Week

Leading article

To defend the NHS, stop health tourism

We don't have the capacity to fund a worldwide health service – pretending otherwise just imposes a needless burden on both the NHS and the taxpayer

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home The Metropolitan Police encouraged people to celebrate VJ Day despite reports in the Mail on Sunday (picked up from…


A.N. Wilson’s diary: VJ Day and the Virginia Woolf Burger Bar

Plus: the Vegemite panic and the nostalgic appeal of Jeremy Corbyn


Illegal workers do sometimes get caught (including at the Home Office)

Plus: a Twitter snapshot of the Labour leadership struggle; how much sleep Britain gets; missing planes

Ancient and modern

Tips for Boris from imperial Rome

If you want to make it to the top, sometimes you’re going to need patience

From The Archives

Boy soldiers

From ‘What will they do with it?’, The Spectator, 14 August 1915: It is true that in a good many cases…


Spectator letters: In defence of Islington, football and Zaha Hadid

Plus: Comfort for Meirion Thomas; Michael Foot’s near miss; Gordon Brown’s studies



Labour's already running out of time to regain its lost voters

The leadership candidates are debating plenty of things – but not how to appeal to the southern and Ukip voters they need for power

The Spectator's Notes

Charles Moore’s Notes: A meditation on my son’s marriage

All traces of the celebrations have been cleared away. Were it not for my new Stetson, I might wonder if it had all really happened

James Delingpole

‘Free bleeding’ and the stupidly clever feminists who fell for it

A ludicrous hoax trend that almost makes me pity its enthusiasts

Any other business

The triumph of nuclear weapons – and the defeat of nuclear power

Plus: France’s gift to English taxpayers; and the case for charitable maniacs


Christian Thielemann

Lead book review

The old-fashioned greatness of Christian Thielemann

My Life with Wagner is the conductor’s perceptive and impassioned account of his lifelong devotion to one of the world’s greatest — and most controversial — composers


A remote island community is disrupted by the arrival of a troubled teenager

Benjamin Wood’s The Ecliptic — both mystery story and thoughtful enquiry into the nature of artistic inspiration — will delight fans of Donna Tartt, John Fowles and The Prisoner


Jonathan Galassi’s fictional poet made me doubt my knowledge of American literature

Ida Perkins is alarmingly convincing as the unknown genius of 20th-century American poetry in Muse, Galassi’s lively fiction debut


Rediscover the venerable father of English history

Henrietta Leyser’s brisk journey through the seven kingdoms of Dark Age Britain centres on the Venerable Bede, the Northumbrian monk who famously wrote his Ecclesiastical History of the English People while remaining entirely cloistered for 60 years


Machado de Assis wasn’t the Dickens of Brazil— but he is one of the greats

Described by his biographer David Jackson as ‘the major figure of all time in Latin American literature’, the 19th-century Brazilian novelist has been unjustly neglected in the English-speaking world


John Freeman: polymath or psychopath?

The highly gifted Freeman emerges a very odd, elusive fish from Hugh Purcell’s dogged biography, written without its subject’s co-operation


An epic study of trauma and friendship in the age of self-invention

New York’s contemporary gay community is the setting for Hanya Yanaghira’s controversial A Little Life — but this vast novel highlights in general the ‘unfreedom’ of life in the free world


The eyes have it: Andy Warhol’s gift for second sight was preternatural

Arts feature

What I learned from reshooting the dullest film ever made

On release people had to be bribed to watch it, but Andy Warhol’s Empire has cast a long shadow


Sylvie Guillem’s better than ever in her final, final Coliseum farewell

Plus: Carlos Acosta gets his kit off in Cubiana at the Royal Opera House

Animal magic: François Piolino as the Frog in ‘L’enfant et les sortilèges’


Glyndebourne’s Ravel double bill comes close to perfection

The clocks and the costumes make Michael Tanner want to climb up on stage


Trainwreck wastes Amy Schumer’s talents

To say that this film lacks the courage of its convictions doesn’t get near it — I’m not sure it had any in the first place

‘Turning Road (Route Tournante)’, c.1905, by Paul Cézanne


I can’t stop thinking about the Courtauld’s Unfinished exhibition

Plus: jumbled heads, limbs and torsos at the John Soane Museum: Drawn from the Antique reviewed


The stars of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe: Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage

Ukip! The Musical makes a hero of Farage, while Boris: World King will be lucky to make the West End with the talented David Benson still on board


Is medical screening bad for your health? Michael Mosley dons a pair of ‘dignity shorts’ to find out

Plus: why does British self-deprecation sound so like boasting?: Channel 4’s Very British Problems reviewed


As the Hindenburg burned, you could hear radio news being born

Plus: the World Service’s slick Inquiry into talking to Isis


High life

Mykonos has turned into hell (I still blame Jackie Kennedy)

But further east, poor craggy Aegean islands are having it far, far worse

Low life

Have I killed my friend’s Jack Russell? Time to check Google

It started calmly enough but then all hell broke loose on my three-night dog-sit

Real life

My local hospital is ‘listening to its staff’ – but not, apparently, the patients

It took two years of effort to reach Effort Street, and all I got was a wad of paperwork

Long life

Jeremy Corbyn’s debt to Silvio Berlusconi

Tony Blair’s cavorting with a right-wing billionaire mired in scandal epitomises what the Labour party is now trying to leave behind



I hadn’t realised quite what a thriving bridge scene Manchester has until spending a weekend there recently. I went with…


Buried treasure

Jonathan Hawkins has emerged as the winner of this year’s British Championship, which finished last week at the University of…

Chess puzzle

No. 374

Black to play. This is a variation from Osborne-Hawkins, British Championship, Coventry 2015. Black is a piece down. What is…


Pet hate

In Competition No. 2910 you were invited to submit a poem by a pet who is cheesed off with its…


2224: All here

The unclued lights (two of two words), individually or as pairs, are of a kind. Elsewhere, ignore one accent.  …

Crossword solution

To 2221: Shielded

The unclued lights are heraldic terms. First prize Simon Horobin, Kidlington, Oxon Runners-up Mick O’Halloran, Dunsborough, Australia; John Roberts, Cheltenham,…

Status anxiety

If the bombing of Hiroshima was a moral obscenity, blame Emperor Hirohito

As a realist, I don’t have the luxury of certainty – but I’d rather be on Harry Truman’s side

The Wiki Man

The real power of free markets: not efficiency, but innovation and dumb luck

Communism might be able to build a boring bridge, but it could never have created Red Bull

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: I don’t want perfumed people to hold my baby

Plus: the mounting costs of having children’s school friends to stay; and how to probe politely about the neighbours’ party


The missing ingredient for a perfect gazpacho

I can understand why restaurants go easy on the garlic. But they shouldn’t

Mind your language

Why Liz Kendall isn't close to qualifying as 'Taliban New Labour'

How a seeker of knowledge became a finder and destroyer of forbidden things