The Spectator

23 February 2013

At war in Eastleigh

The most important by-election in a generation pits the government parties against each other



Have the Tories lost Eastleigh?

The most important by-election in a generation pits the government parties against each other


How Eastleigh will show Labour is working

Labour is serious about winning in the south


David Cameron's sex problem

Does the Prime Minister really believe in equality?


Laws, laws everywhere and not a drop of common sense

The controversy in Kent shows what’s wrong with our legal system


Pining for the Brecon Beacons

I didn’t realise how much I’d miss England


Investment: Will bonds crash as shares rise?

Two investment experts debate the prospect of a ‘Great Rotation’


'Morocco is a diabetic's nightmare'

Marrakech is a strange carnival, says Victoria Lane


Travel: Notes from a boom town

Tessa Codrington on Tangier’s transformation

The Week

Leading article

Taxes, taxes, everywhere

What have obesity, misbehaving banks, unaffordable London housing and farting cows all got in common? They are all problems which,…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Unemployment fell by 14,000 between August and November to 2.5 million, with the number in work rising by 154,000…



Waiting for a match to begin at the gloriously situated Recreation Ground — home of Bath Rugby — I take…

Ancient and modern

Hacks vs spads

A senior civil servant in the Department of Education, having lost a case for ‘bullying’ brought against its special advisers,…



Benedictions Sir: John O’Sullivan’s summary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘extraordinary contribution’ to Catholic thought was masterful (‘Benedict’s reformation’, 16 February)…



Dyeing and dying A teacher in Harrow complained to his MP that he had been banned from marking pupils’ work…


The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

People are quite often pilloried for saying the opposite of what they actually said. I have read Hilary Mantel’s London…

Rod Liddle

Forget Eastleigh, Tatchell vs. Hughes was a real by-election

I got a text message the other day, inviting me to a party. This is a nice thing to happen,…



Dave’s a listener. He listens to women in particular. That’s the sub-text of his recent disclosure that Sam keeps urging…

Matthew Parris

What’s in a brand name? From Beechams to Brasso

Showering the other day, I noticed a visitor had left his shampoo behind. Going through the familiar ablutions I stared…

Any other business

Privatisation is the only solution for Royal Mail

We have had a very high failure rate in deliveries of the catalogues for Emily Patrick’s exhibition,’ says an email…


Lead book review

Oh, Calcutta!

Now a byword for poverty, the former capital of British India makes for a fascinating study, says Ferdinand Mount


Destroying angel in the ether

A few years ago, James Lasdun wrote The Horned Man, a novel about Laurence Miller, an English lecturer in an…


Male-order bride

If you want to learn how to create the perfect wife, you should not read this book. You should make…


The boys’ brigade

British schoolboys doubtless have quite different fantasies nowadays, but for much of the last century most of them liked to…


Wish you were here

It’s just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 60p first-class stamp has finally done for the postcard…


An enduring romance

In the Pevsner volume on Sussex, the otherwise sane topographer Ian Nairn, harrumphed of Arundel ‘that anybody, duke or banker,…


Be careful what you wish for

Are things getting better? In some ways, undeniably. Progress is not altogether a fiction, or ‘modern myth’ in John Gray’s…


Arts feature

The dark side of Benjamin Britten

Composers have made an art form of being uncharitable about other musicians and Benjamin Britten was no exception, says Michael Kennedy


Sheer torture

Ever been to a ‘promenade performance’? Barmy, really. The audience is conducted through a makeshift theatre space — often a…


Moving heaven and earth

Although I’ve some doubt — and this would be applauded by Galileo — whether in everyday life it matters very…


In the thick of it

Man Ray, born Michael Emmanuel Radnitzky (1890–1976) in Philadelphia, was a maker of images par excellence. He made sculptures, paintings…


Mixed blessings

Last week, Sergei Polunin’s powerful entrance in Marguerite and Armand was saluted with a wave of electrically charged silence: not…


Spurned women

I saw three operas this week, all centrally concerned with spurned women. That’s not surprising, given the general subject matter…


Only disconnect

Cloud Atlas is part-sci-fi, part-thriller, part-romance, part-comedy, part-action flick, part-this, part-that and it all adds up to? A whole lot…


New word order

‘Don’t be evil.’ Google’s unofficial motto. ‘Evil men don’t get up in the morning saying, “I’m going to do evil.”…


Is radio succumbing to the greed of the internet?

‘Young people under 16 don’t want to listen to the radio unless there’s a picture to look at,’ said Annie…

Culture notes

The cult horror of The Room

The Room is an awful film. Plot lines are picked up and forgotten in seconds, stock footage is repeated continuously,…


High life

High life

Gstaad The Alps are aglow as never before. A record snowfall and an abundance of sun have turned the region…

Low life

Low life

Last week I drove an elderly car-less neighbour to the city hospital to visit her ailing husband. I was glad…

Long life

Long life

I am pleased to report that my eight ducks have survived the great chill, when their pond was frozen over;…

Real life

Real life

The new rabbit is turning into a bit of a slob. The other day I caught her trying to order…

Wild life

Wild life

Rift Valley I am training for a half-marathon on the slopes of Mount Kenya in June and I must prepare…



Professional bridge players should not need motivating, but the fact is that sometimes it would appear they are sleepwalking and…



The Bride and the Bachelors is an impressive exhibition of the work of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and related artists…

Chess puzzle

No. 254

White to play. This position is a variation from Duchamp-Feigins, Folkestone 1933. Can you spot White’s most accurate continuation of…


Love rules

In Competition No. 2785 you were invited to submit poetic advice on how to woo a member of either sex.…


2101: Hewn vaguely

Unclued across lights combine with down ones to form anagrams of four works (one of four words, one of three…

Crossword solution

2098: Song IX

The song was ‘MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY’ (4D/18/13) (Cole Porter). A word for ‘father’ is the centre of four…

Status anxiety

The treasure house of knowledge

I can’t quite believe the number of professional historians who have denounced Michael Gove’s new history curriculum. Richard Evans, for…

Spectator sport

All hail the headmaster

Two down, three to go. The Six Nations reaches the halfway point this weekend and only one team can aim…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. A friend, well known for having a dusty wallet, brought a bottle of champagne to our house. We were…


Tanya Gold reviews Planet Hollywood

It’s Oscar time! I know this because the British media, usually so prudent, has transformed itself into naked advertorial for…

Mind your language


The centenary of George Barker’s birth was mentioned in the Times Literary Supplement recently. His ‘first two books — one…