The Spectator

2 April 2016

The return of eugenics

Scientists don’t want to use the word. That hasn’t stopped them running ahead with the idea



The return of eugenics

Researchers don’t like the word  – but they're running ahead with the idea, and Britain is at the forefront


Referendum rage: a warning from Scotland

We know all too well how it feels when politics becomes inescapable. The rest of you are about to find out


What I’ve learned reciting poems in the street

The British public’s taste is changing rapidly. And the most poetic people aren’t the ones you’d expect


Confessions of a Saga lout

Today’s fiftysomethings – me included – are pleasure-seeking baby boomers who haven’t ever grown up


I adore sport. I can no longer stomach boxing. Here’s why

In most sports, injury is something going horribly wrong. In boxing, it’s something going horribly right


Your guide to the coming moth invasion

They’ve eaten my best trousers. And thanks to this mild winter, they’re coming for yours

Unchanging: Florence’s skyline and the Arno

Notes on...

Botticelli’s jokes and the quarrelsome, creative spirit of Florence

It was a city in constant turmoil that nurtured the glories of the Renaissance

Advertising Feature

Can the NHS afford the healthcare we want?

The NHS is rarely far away from a crisis. Even so, the last few months have been particularly tough.

The Week

Leading article

How is Britain going green? By shutting down industry

Britain has the highest energy costs  in Europe, thanks to decisions taken not in Brussels but in Whitehall

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home The Indian company Tata decided to sell its entire steel business in Britain, putting more than 15,000 jobs in…


A dispatch from a family of fooshers

Also in Sam Leith’s diary: Prue Leith’s Easter Bonnet Parade, teleporting cats and Little Chef


What Hillary Clinton won’t find in Area 51

Also in our Barometer column: The dangers of bouncy castles; productivity; wet bank holidays

Ancient and modern

Meet the Donald Trump of ancient Athens (he won)

Cleon’s violent but very persuasive rhetoric was precisely the kind of thing the Republican establishment now hates

From The Archives

The road to remembrance

From ‘The “Via Sacra”’, The Spectator, 1 April 1916: When the war is over, France, Belgium, and Britain will be faced with…


Spectator letters: the answers Amber Rudd didn’t have

Plus: visas for Turkish visitors; hot cross buns; low-paid work; asylum seekers; public toilets



Who is the Tories’ ‘Stop Boris’ candidate?

New Welfare Secretary Stephen Crabb is a rising star – but does he have the charisma to beat the Mayor of London?

The Spectator's Notes

The Lahore attacks reflected hatred of Christians. Why must we deny it?

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: Tata Steel; adult social care; farming; the Queen

Rod Liddle

Why I feel compelled to defend Boris

The spiteful attacks come from people fortunate enough to have been employed by him, shagged by him, or both

Matthew Parris

I became a Conservative thanks to a little winged rabbit called Pookie

Reading my favourite picture book 60 years later, I understand why the story thrilled my infant soul

Hugo Rifkind

I have seen the future, and it’s a racist, filthy-mouthed teenage robot

Microsoft’s Tay has something in common with Donald Trump: a cold-blooded quest for the most retweets

Any other business

George Osborne still deserves praise for his Living Wage

Also in Any Other Business: what if the sage of Silicon Valley had stayed in Britain?


‘Like Georgia O’Keefe, Mapplethorpe eroticised flowers — possibly finding them more biddable than his frisky partners in gimp masks and chains.’ Left: Self-portrait, 1982. Right: Calla Lily

Lead book review

Robert Mapplethorpe: bad boy with a camera

The enfant terrible of Seventies New York even turned market-bought flowers into highly-charged photographic images

In 1600 Muhammad al-Annuri arrived in England, as the Moroccan ambassador, to propose an Anglo-Moroccan alliance. Shakespeare probably started writing Othello six months later


Gloriana and the Sultan — England’s unlikely alliance

Jerry Brotton’s study of how Queen Elizabeth I allied herself with Islam against the arch-enemy Spain makes for fascinating reading


Death and retribution in Beersheba

Nordic noir is passé. Welcome to Israeli noir — in Waking Lions, by the clinical psychologist Ayelet Gundar-Goshen


POOF... BOOM... POW! Daniel Clowes’s new graphic novel descends into magic

Time travel — and much unpleasant snooping — might prevent the murder of Clowes’s eponymous heroine Patience


South Africa’s Heart of Darkness

Kurtz becomes Koert — an impressively disturbing figure — in this reworking of Conrad’s story, set on a run-down former Afrikaner homestead

George Bell in his study at Chichester Palace in 1943


George Bell: witness to the truth

Charles Moore strenuously defends the reputation of the former Bishop of Chichester— who dared to criticise the carpet-bombing of Germany, and may have been unjustly accused of child abuse

‘Beachy Head’ by Eric Ravilious


Let there be light

Ann Wroe enlists naturalists, poets and painters — especially her abiding Sussex genius Eric Ravilious — in some engaging meditations on the effects of light


Was 1971 really the best ever year for music?

The claim has been made for other years — but David Hepworth’s argument in Never a Dull Moment actually seems rather convincing


Arts feature

With the release of Oculus Rift, cinema will never be the same again

Virtual-reality headsets like Oculus Rift are a game changer, with movies possibly becoming participatory in ways that not only porn will exploit

Wooden model of a brewing and baking workshop, Egypt, c.2000 bc, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


Ancient Egypt’s obsession with death was in fact a preoccupation with life

As is the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition of portraits of Russia’s greatest 19th century writers and composers


First Dates is perfectly formed TV

The Channel 4 reality TV show satisfies a primal yearning of telling and repeating the boy-meets-girl story


The greatest British opera after Dido and Grimes? Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea

At least, Birmingham Conservatoire’s production made it seem a masterpiece. Plus: we shouldn’t have to rely on students (however fine) to hear Rimsky-Korsakov’s delightful May Night

Leading the party, two brilliant showmen: Kenneth Branagh (Ralph) and Rob Brydon (Brian) in ‘The Painkillers’


Slapstick enthusiasts will love this Branagh and Brydon farce: The Painkillers reviewed

Plus: With a dozen writers rather than one NotMoses at the Arts Theatre might have been an excellent revue


Downton Abbey on skis: Eddie the Eagle reviewed

Cheerful cliches, cheap laughs and novelty jumpers: I can’t remember a more enjoyable afternoon at the cinema


A new dance piece in which race definitely matters: Ballet Black’s Triple Bill reviewed

Plus: Royal Ballet's enthralling 30-year-old production of Giselle remains a living treasure, especially now that a thrilling partnership has emerged between Muntagirov and Nunez


Could radio save Syria?

Plus: should national borders matter and life advice from Marilynne Robinson


High life

Ray Moore lost his job for telling the truth

My old mate and one-time tennis partner is right in what he says about professional tennis

Low life

Walking, and praying, in the hills of Provence

An encounter with holiness in an old stone monastery

Real life

I knew my reasonably priced car insurance couldn’t last

So it’s not just Aviva who have it in for me - all the insurance companies are at it

Long life

A glimpse of an older, kinder Chelsea

St Luke's church hails from a very different time

The turf

I managed to miss out on the glory of Cheltenham - financially anyway

A memorable festival of great horses, riders and trainers



Tom Townsend, my esteemed teammate and the Telegraph’s bridge correspondent, did the double last weekend at the London Easter Festival…


Bellum sociorum

The internecine but friendly annual rivalry between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, generously hosted last month by the Chess Circle…

Chess puzzle

No. 402

Black to play. This is from Pichot-Khismatullin, Moscow 2016. What was Black’s killing blow? Answers to me at The Spectator…


Short story

In Competition No. 2941 you were invited to supply a short story entitled ‘Diary of a Superfluous Man’. Turgenev’s Tchulkaturin;…


2254: Ecofriendly

Answers to clues in italics must become 15 (hyphened) to create grid entries. Definitions of these entries are supplied by…

Crossword solution

To 2251: Animal track

WILD HORSES, the title of a track on STICKY FINGERS (1D) by the ROLLING STONES (12), defines the other unclued…

Status anxiety

Why I’m uneasy about academies for all

This is the use of socialist means to achieve Conservative ends in schools

Spectator sport

Reasons to be cheerful about cricket, football and the Grand National

Never let anyone tell you that the T20 World Championship isn’t cricket at its finest

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How to stop a host turning his dinner party into a debate

Plus: I can’t stand be in the same county as my ex-wife, so what should I do when my daughters get married?


Bellanger review: a posh Islington restaurant for semi-ordinary people

If there is another restaurant-homage to Strasbourg in north London, I have yet to find it