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The Spectator

18 November 2017

Corbyn 2.0

Elections are now lost or won on social media – and the Tories have barely logged on

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Politics is now a digital arms race, and Labour is winning

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters live their lives online in a way the Conservatives’ do not


We might not like it, but Donald Trump really is a great global brand

The US President’s tour of Asia has only enhanced his reputation


Real democracy or a tribal bloodbath? Zimbabwe is on the brink

The West is gambling that Mugabe’s likely replacement won’t be worse


Jeffrey Archer: Jeremy Corbyn will be PM because the voters are sick of us Tories

The bestselling novelist on the Labour leader’s good points — and why he’ll keep writing to the end


Don’t delete Kevin Spacey!

After all the sex abuse allegations, it’s as if we are trying to pretend the actor never existed


Might an unearthed letter help explain why Prince Charles is so fond of Islam?

It has long been my belief that whereas the quality of gentiles drawn to Judaism is very high (Marilyn Monroe,…


What if the first world war had ended a year earlier?

The great lost peace my great-great-grandfather proposed in November 1917

Much fun: Usain Bolt and Wenlock the mascot

Notes on...

Which town directly inspired the revival of the Olympics? Clue: it's not in Greece

There were two mascots for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. One was called Mandeville, obviously because Stoke Mandeville’s games…

The Week

Leading article

Britain and its allies are opening the way for yet another Iraq war

After chasing out Isis we’re not even pretending to stabilise the country – our policy is to bomb and go home

Portrait of the week

The Brexit Bill faces 470 amendments on its way through Parliament

Also in Portrait of the Week: The Zimbabwe Army moves against Robert Mugabe and 4,000 Isis fighters are bussed out of Raqqa


Rachel Johnson: The trouble with today’s porn? Older men are terrified by it

Also: My schoolgirl heartache and why my father went to the jungle


If EU nationals are leaving the NHS, why are their numbers going up?

Also in Barometer: the iron bridge at Ironbridge was not the world’s first

Ancient and modern

Fake news is nothing new — it was de rigueur in ancient Greece

Social media is getting a pounding from the liberal press but it doesn’t threaten democracy in the way they claim


To fix this failing government make Gove the CEO and keep May as chairman

Also in Letters: don’t blame the SNP for the state of Scottish schools, living with disinhibited dementia and Macron’s mistake


The Spectator's Notes

Let’s hear more of Parliament and less of pundits

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: Paul Dacre, tax avoidance and the threat posed by Paddington Bear


The Tories urgently need a boost from Philip Hammond’s Budget

But there’s still no money and the Chancellor is already scrabbling to fund the deal with the DUP

Lionel Shriver

Security overkill is terror’s real triumph

The official reaction to attacks in London and New York was hasty and hysterical – but permanent

James Delingpole

Why oh why didn’t I buy more Bitcoin?

I reflect bitterly on how much richer I’d be if only I’d had the courage of my convictions

Any other business

Armageddon is coming – how real-life employers are preparing for life under Corbyn

Also in Any Other Business: The London Stock Exchange is in crisis just when it needs to look world-conquering


Lead book review

More books of the year

A further selection of the best and most overrated books of 2017, chosen by some of our regular reviewers


How can I prevent my husband from burning all my post?

Our own dear Mary wishes Giles wouldn’t automatically assume that everything she’s sent is junk mail

Roman mosaic from the Villa of the Nile, Leptis Magna, Libya (2nd century AD)


Holy mackerel! Civilisation begins with fishing

It wasn’t agriculture and husbandry but the need to fish that shaped society and the modern world, argues Brian Fagan


Sex and sycophancy at Rolling Stone

Its editor, Jann Wenner, was once intimate with Mick and Keith and John and Yoko. Now it’s just sleaze he’s remembered for

Lettice had the same thin face as Queen Elizabeth I, and the same shock of thickly curled, fiery red hair


The great Tudor catfight

Queen Elizabeth I never forgave her cousin Lettice Knollys for marrying the dashing Earl of Leicester


The 67 words that ensured endless bloodshed

Ian Black assesses the havoc created in the Middle East by the short but fatally divisive Balfour Declaration 70 years ago


Horatio Clare breaks the ice with the taciturn Finns

Awed by the huge stillness of the frozen north, Clare learns to deconstruct the ‘different grades’ of Finnish silence

Scallops with seaweed butter, from The Sportsman


Menus on the wild side

The latest cook books celebrate the smallholder and forager, with recipes for berries and every sort of seaweed


Susie Boyt neatly skewers the self-help trends

Her Love & Fame, about failure, dashed hopes and grief counselling, is clever, wise, funny and often sad — but never bleak


More menace - and magic - on the moors

Andrew Michael Hurley’s new novel revolves around death and devilish rites in the lonely Lancashire fells

Michael Caine in Get Carter


Ted Lewis: the great British crime writer you’ve never heard of

His gritty fiction inspired Get Carter and the birth of Brit Noir. But only now is he receiving his due


‘A Cellar Dive in the Bend’, c.1895, by Richard Hoe Lawrence and Henry G. Piffard

Arts feature

A short history of flash photography

Flash gets a bad press for its invasiveness – yet it brings a form of democracy to the material world

The head of Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832


What can we learn from Jeremy Bentham’s pickled head?

UCL’s new exhibition Curating Heads is full of ‘death positivity’


Christian Slater is mesmerising: Glengarry Glen Ross reviewed

Plus: a bull’s eye from Kathy Burke and the writer of Peep Show Sam Bain at Park Theatre

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar


The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

He was proud to be the first costumier to make an outfit entirely from lamé – but his costumes, so sexy on the page, never look quite so good on


Why local radio is thriving

In local radio’s early days, callers would turn up at the local station and be put behind the mike

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson


A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

Her early work as a graphic artist are striking and her illustrations for The Hobbit and Lewis Carroll are a revelation in this Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibition


Sun readers will be disappointed – E.M. Phwoar-ster it is not: Howards End reviewed

Plus: I still can’t decide about BBC2’s Motherland – but then I don’t think it can quite decide about itself either

The Listener

She is a severely limited songwriter – and singer: Taylor Swift's Reputation reviewed

This is music built not upon compelling melody but upon the exploitation of the image she has built for herself (cleverly enough, it has to be said)


Reducing the heroine to a demented rape victim is just what ballet needs: The Wind reviewed

But this underwhelming Royal Ballet programme got off to a strong start with Twyla Tharp’s The Illustrated ‘Farewell’


If Annette Bening isn't Oscar-nominated, I'll eat my hat and also yours

Older women, it seems, can be interesting, complicated, vital, attractive and sexual. Who knew? Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool reviewed


Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

Sincerity often is embarrassing. But Marin Alsop overcame the cringe factor in her performances of Bernstein’s Third and First symphonies

Before the larp: ‘Just the two of us’, 2013, by Klaus Pichler


The art of larp

Live-action role-play is much more than Dungeons & Dragons. It's even starting to infiltrate the art world


High life

Despite everything, America is beautiful — especially at West Point

A day among the country’s brightest and best has restored my faith in the Home of the Depraved

Low life

Was there pleasure at Passchendaele?

I can’t bear to think about the lads as terrified lambs to the slaughter; were there some who enjoyed themselves before they were blown to bits?

Real life

Life is tough at the bottom of the equality heap

The only answer, it seems, is for me to take more offence than the person I’ve inadvertently offended



I spent last weekend glued to Bridge Base Online, watching the 16th European Champions Cup taking place in Latvia, and…


Alekhine’s anniversaries

Alexander Alekhine was one of the two world champions (the other being his fellow native Russian Mikhail Botvinnik) who won,…

Chess puzzle

no. 483

White to play. This position is from Alekhine-Supico, Blindfold Simultaneous, Lisbon 1941. Can you spot White’s remarkable finish, which is…


Brown studies

In Competition No. 3024 you were invited to submit a short story in the style of Dan Brown. This comp,…


2336: Irrelevant

Each of four unclued lights is the result of an action that may be described as 7 (hyphened), a definition…

Crossword solution

to 2333: Unchangeable

Answers to clues in italics are SET IN STONE (38). Resulting entries at 1, 2, 14, 25 and 43 (in…

Status anxiety

It's a jungle in there, Stanley

Can Boris Johnson’s dad avoid saying anything inflammatory on I'm A Celebrity?

Dear Mary

Mary solves your problems: My husband’s started working from home – and he’s driving me crazy

Also: how to avoid making unwanted purchases from traders you know socially


Gender comes in fluid form

The two Pichons have been locked in sexual rivalry since 1855