The Spectator

16 February 2013

Benedict’s reformation

The Pope’s resignation clears the way for a mission-driven new Catholicism



Benedict’s reformation

The Pope’s resignation clears the way for a mission-driven new Catholicism


Benedict XVI in perspective

The triumphs and tribulations of Pope Benedict XVI


Farewell, Independent on Sunday

One of the founders of the Independent on Sunday mourns its demise


Reshoring: how jobs came flooding back to America

Cheap fuel is bringing jobs back from China to America’s former economic graveyards


Why do Brits seek Eastern spirituality when they have so much of their own?

If you doubt that a building can affect your spirit, try going to church


Lars Hedegaard interview: ‘I may be killed if I write this’

Lars Hedegaard, founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society, speaks from a secret location after an attempt on his life


Where did all the sweet people go?

Is it me, or are we changing our national character for the worse?

The Week

Leading article

Bonfire of the Establishment

In September 1955 The Spectator’s political commentator, Henry Fairlie, coined a term to describe the way in which Britain works which…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week

Home Findus frozen beef lasagne was found to be 100 per cent horsemeat, and Tesco frozen ‘Everyday Value’ spaghetti bolognese…



The Jaipur Literature Festival, which I help to direct, has in just six years grown like some monster from an…



Takes all sports The government is to introduce a new strategy for sport in schools. To what educational ends can…

Ancient and modern

The Stoic stiff upper lip

Last week, Stoics applauded the idea that the doctor might in certain situations give the patient a book, not a…



Militant humanists Sir: Thank God for Douglas Murray (‘Call off the faith wars’, 9 February). It is possible that I…



The horsemeat scandal shows the true extent of Europe’s power in Britain

There’s something gripping about a food scandal. The idea we could be inadvertently eating something taboo exercises a fascination on…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

Pope Benedict is stepping down for conscientious reasons about which he will have thought deeply. But I still fear that…

Rod Liddle

The poor have been sold horse dressed as beef – and they should be compensated

Well at least — so far — no middle-class food has been found to contain large chunks of horsey. It’s…

James Delingpole

How Twitter almost destroyed me

Last year, my old sparring partner George Monbiot got himself into a spot of bother. ‘Why not stick the knife…

Hugo Rifkind

Another good idea goes the way of all wheezes

Coercing the long-term unemployed into work placements is not a stupid idea. Nobody thinks it is. And by ‘nobody’ in…

Any other business

Here’s my strategic review, Barclays: see shareholders right and the rest will follow

Antony Jenkins, the new-broom chief executive of Barclays, has the tone of a junior minister, not long in parliament, who…


Lead book review

Family differences

Sam Leith admires a groundbreaking study of the child who is not a chip off the old block


The tragedy of a hamlet

Jim Crace’s novels have one thing in common, which is that each is set in an entirely original world. None…


Growing up the hard way

Like the gingerbread house, these three novels seem at first to be a delightful and innocent place, entirely suitable for…


Leaving Sussex

I read William Nicholson’s new novel in proof before Christmas. ‘The must-read book for 2013 for lovers of William Boyd…


Pyrrhic victories

In 193 BC, Scipio met Hannibal at Ephesus, and asked him who, in his opinion, were the greatest generals of…


Away with the fairies

There have been plenty of books in recent years in which apparently sane hacks go off in search of loonies…


What price freedom?

One of the best-known contacts for many Western reporters covering Poland and the Solidarity protests of the 1980s was Konstanty…


Arts feature

Ice Age art at the British Museum: Geniuses of 40,000BC

Andrew Lambirth is riveted by the British Museum’s display of Ice Age art, which effortlessly leaps the centuries


Mid-life crisis

This is 40. Or perhaps I should say, is this 40? I haven’t yet reached that rounded age myself, so…


The new seekers

Over the past year or so, art world insiders have queued up to denounce the current state of the contemporary…


Fatal flaw

A new play about the banking crisis at the Bush. Writer, Clare Duffy, has spent a year or two badgering…


Double vision

This week has featured new productions at the Royal Opera and English National Opera of staples of the repertoire, both…


Schoenberg in shorts

For anyone who missed The Sound and the Fury (Tuesday, BBC4) here is a reason — one of many —…


The comfort of strangers

Blink and you would have missed it, but Wednesday was World Radio Day, devoted to celebrating radio ‘as a medium’.…

Culture notes

Kraftwerk at Tate Modern

Quite what it was that was so spellbinding about a quartet of middle-aged German blokes in skintight bodysuits standing at…


High life

Tuesday lunches are an exercise in nostalgia

Hanky-panky is American slang for doing what comes naturally. In this Valentine’s Day week, I offer you Swoon, a book…

Low life

My encounter with a Bond girl

It’s my birthday. Four in the morning and I’m in the back of a cab coming back from a night…

Real life

Discovering a takeaway-ordering rabbit

My ability to almost play the opening bars of Chopin’s Revolutionary Study may seem like a futile skill to have.…

Long life

Excited by finding fairy eggs

One ‘bridge too far’ should have been enough, but it looks to me as if Michael Gove has already embarked…

The turf

Profit and loss

In his days as Foreign Secretary Robin Cook once told me that every politician should have a spell as a…



I feel that we in the bridge community (is there one? Am I in it?) haven’t made enough of a…



Any book by the erudite Steve Giddins is an event and he has now produced a valuable guide to the…

Chess puzzle

No. 253

White to play. This position is from  Hartston-Portisch, Nice  1974. Can you spot White’s most accurate continuation of the  attack?…


Come, friendly bombs

In Competition No. 2784 you were invited to  rewrite John Betjeman’s poem ‘Slough’, substituting the target of your choice. The…


2100: Mask

Each of eighteen clues contains one misprinted letter in the definition part. Corrections of misprints spell a four-word phrase which…

Crossword solution

2097: spaced

1D, 2 40, 12 and 15 36 are PERSONAE (43) that have been adopted by DAVID BOWIE.  Unchecked letters of…

Status anxiety

The indiscreet charm of Julie Burchill

One of the downsides of getting older is witnessing your friends and acquaintances being honoured in various ways. I don’t…

The Wiki Man

Chris Huhne and the £500,000 speed camera

I don’t want to defend Chris Huhne, I really don’t. Apart from anything else, I have always thought the country…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q.  My husband, aged 56, mutters constantly that he is not well.  He has a variety of symptoms and I…


Horse and bourbon

At a club table, a group of us were discussing horse–eating, marvelling at the confusion and sentimentality of our fellow…

Mind your language

Electrification of the ring fence

At the age of 55, Gervase Markham set off to walk from London to Berwick without using any bridge or…