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The Spectator

17 January 2015

Let there be light

It’s time to reclaim Islam from the Islamists

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How to save Islam from the Islamists

It's time for Muslims to take a stand. Egypt may be showing the way


'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude

To face Islamist terror, we must face the facts about Islam's history


Only Muslims can stop more terror attacks

Neither they, nor their religion, stand accused. But nor, for all our sakes, can they stand aside


The rise of ‘living apart together’ – and why I’ve stopped doing it

I know it could all be over by springtime. But I think this time I’ll stay


How long will it be before the climate forces us to change?

To judge by the story of the little ice age, there will be decades of terrible suffering before we adapt


Archbishop John Sentamu on why politicians are like men arguing at a urinal

The Archbishop of York on immigration, poverty and persecution

Beauty and exhilaration: hunting in Norfolk

Notes on...

The sheer joy of hunting

It’s the simple pleasure of being out in the field, watching the hounds do what they do best, and discovering the pure beauty of the sport

The Week

Leading article

David Cameron has a very strange idea of freedom

His proposal to ban encrypted web traffic, on the back of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, is a grimly predictable piece of statism

The pen is mightier than the sword

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that he wanted to change the law so that there would be no…


Panic, profiteering and a mysterious girl in a Mini: notes from Moscow

For ordinary Muscovites, the old instincts of self-preservation have surfaced from the 1990s like a sausagey burp


Three people to ask about free speech in Britain

Plus: the real number of Muslims in Birmingham, and which liquids are cheaper than milk at Tesco

Ancient and modern

Ched Evans: law vs people power

By Athenian standards, our justice system has a democratic deficit. But public opinion has ways of closing the gap

From The Archives

From the archives

From ‘Music and the war’, The Spectator, 16 January 1915: The war, so far, has not thrown up any supreme…


Spectator letters: A GP’s cry of distress and a defence of Stephen Hawking

Plus: we aren’t all sneaks; and the brothers of the fictionalised Alan Turing



Why the Greek election could decide Britain's next government

A Syriza win could put the eurozone back into crisis – and push the economy back to the top of the UK agenda

Rod Liddle

Everyone says they’re Charlie. In Britain, almost no one is

Those lining up to defend freedom of speech are all too often the very people who are out to curtail it

Mary Wakefield

The real reason GPs are grumpy: the robots are coming for them

Google is already undermining medical authority. What will things be like when IBM's Watson is up and diagnosing?

James Delingpole

Standing firm is the price of civilisation. Are we still ready to pay it?

Reading some reactions to events in Paris, I’m no longer certain that western values would survive another long war


The Merchant (left) and the Physician from the Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales

Lead book review

A window on Chaucer’s cramped, scary, smelly world

A review of The Poet’s Tale by Paul Strohm describes a pivotal year in the life of the father of English poetry


An ill-waged war against the war on drugs

A review of Johann Hari’s Chasing the Scream finds there are still no clear answers over the benefits of prohibition or legalisation

Mary Anne Disraeli by James Godsell Middleton


Politics as an aphrodisiac: the secret of the Disraelis’ happy marriage

A review of Mr and Mrs Disraeli by Daisy Hay paints a glowing picture of the marriage of two political minds


William Marshal: kingmaker — or just king of the joust?

A review of Thomas Asbridge’s The Greatest Knight suggests that the man considered the ‘power behind five English thrones’ remains a decidedly grey eminence

Narrative feature

The really shocking thing about Michel Houllebecq’s Soumission — he rather likes Islam

David Sexton delights in Soumission, the latest electrifying offering from France’s bad-boy novelist, but warns that an English translation will not be available until the autumn


Time-travel, smugglers, arsenic — what’s not to like in Sally Gardner’s novel for teenagers?

A review of The Door that Led to Where promises adventures and a clever juxtaposition of 19th- and 21st-century worlds

‘Ash tree in Winter, 2010–13


Patrick George: painting some of his best work at 91

Andrew Lambirth finds a stringent radicalism at the heart of one of our most unassuming and decorative artists


‘Exceptionally good’: Alicia Vikander as Vera Brittain in ‘Testament of Youth’

Arts feature

Shirley Williams: Saving my mother from the scriptwriters

On the eve of the release of Testament of Youth, a film adaptation of a celebrated memoir of the Great War by Williams’s mother, Vera Brittain, Jasper Rees talks to the Lib Dem peer about Hollywood, pacifism and the Gestapo


ENB’s Swan Lake: the rights and wrongs of ballet thighs

Plus: a wronged Sylphide from the Royal Danish Ballet


Geometry in the 20th and 21st centuries was adventurous - and apocalyptic

Whitechapel Gallery celebrates 100 years of geometrical utopianism, while at the Gagosian Richard Serra offers something more colossally industrial and bleak


Royal Opera’s Orfeo, Roundhouse: shouts its agenda so loudly the music struggles to be heard

The space is underused, the dancing is distracting, the chorus underpowered, leaving Gyula Orendt’s Orfeo to carry much of the emotional core


Old Vic’s Tree: Beckett plus Seinfeld - plus swearing

Plus: Trafalgar Studios’s Donkey Heart is warm and rich but also contrived


Wild made me want to puke

Still, Reese Witherspoon gives one of her best performances since Walk the Line


Channel 4’s Cyberbully: an unashamedly old-fashioned drama in being both well made and moral

Plus: BBC1’s Death in Paradise - the worst programme I almost never miss


Was Beethoven influenced by yoga?

Plus: a history of love and hate from Ted to Troy


High life

Let’s all become Japanese for a while

It will make for a far better world

Low life

My addiction to literary pilgrimage is akin to masturbation

And here, a mile from the hotel, was my 'everyone gone out, have a soak in the bath first, put some music on' wank of the decade

Real life

I dreamed that my broken mop was borne aloft unto the dustcart of Lambeth environmental services

Then I opened the door and realised the mop was still there, and no binman was ever going to touch it

Long life

Do your patriotic duty and shoot wild boar

They may have a certain primeval beauty. But they're a cannibalistic menace

Wild life

I want to do for field rations what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners

We’re going to make your Red Cross suppers so appetising you will never want to leave that refugee camp



This may sound odd, given its male-only membership, but the Portland is one of my favourite bridge clubs. I’m one…


London Rapid

The exciting American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura compensated for his somewhat lacklustre performance in the London Classic section, held at Olympia…

Chess puzzle

No: 345

White to play. This position is a variation from Williams-van Wely, London Rapidplay 2014. How can White bring his kingside…


Hard sell

In Competition No. 2880 you were invited to provide a publicity blurb for the Bible to sell it to a…


2194: Joe Green

The unclued lights (one of three words and two of two words), individually or as a pair, are of a…

Christmas crossword solution

Christmas crossword: the solution

First prize Roly Harris, London N1  Runners-up Michael Collins, Petts Wood, Kent; Clare Reynolds, London SE24; Tony Mouzer, Shard End, Birmingham…

Status anxiety

David Sedaris was right: litter is a class issue

I've found a new hero. Though I'd prefer a Big Society method for carrying through his obsession

The Wiki Man

The joys and sorrows of two-way ratings systems

It gives both parties something to lose – but it’s not without problems

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Someone told me their extraordinary life story, but I tuned the whole thing out

It featured a famous cast and I have been sworn to secrecy – how can I get her to tell me again?


The battling brilliance of Burgundy

Does it take a great civilisation to produce great wine? In this case, yes

Mind your language

The changing meaning of 'prolific', from Orwell to the Premier League

The original sense – 'producing many offspring' – seems pretty much dead