The Spectator

29 December 2012



The hunt for Cameron

Why won’t our PM stand up for the hunting lobby?


Blood oath

Why pro-life activists have high hopes for the Twilight generation


A badger killer confesses

How I did it, and how I suffered for it


This old House

India’s parliament may be about to move out of its rickety old building. Can anyone imagine ours doing that?


Who killed Newsweek?

Tina Brown can’t just blame the internet


Amalfi: This blessed plot

The intoxicating beauty of the Amalfi coast has inspired conspicuous artistic achievements, and a legacy of sensuality. Petronella Wyatt knows why


Menton: The garden of France

Giles Waterfield enjoys the charm of a forgotten gem


Aeolian joys

It’s 5 a.m., a splashy grey dawn, and we’re out of here on easyJet. Palermo is another world of heat…


Marseilles: Tough love

Sophia Martelli hopes the port city’s makeover won’t diminish its raffish charm


Holidays with the ancients

For most Romans, there were no such things as ‘summer holidays’. Holidays were for the rich, who went to their…


Aegean Greece: Eternal bliss

Rachel Howard says civil unrest in Greece has not spoiled the perfect idyll of its islands


Andalucia: A culinary odyssey

Michael Jacobs is enchanted by the food of southern Spain

The Week

Leading article

Unholy war

To attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve in parts of Nigeria is to take your life in your hands. For…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Banks should erect a protective ring-fence round their high-street operations, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recommended, and moreover…



Well, what a year it has been. Another one full of financial doom and gloom. I’ve never known such a…

Ancient and modern

Rome vs the EU

On the eve of the first day of 2002, when the euro became the official EU currency, this column turned…



Counting the years 2013 might look an uninteresting number for a year but it is in fact a mathematical rarity:…



Distinguished Wardens Sir: Contrary to Dennis Sewell’s statement (‘Assault on the Ivory Tower’, 15/22 December), Wadham College did not ‘elect’…


Rod Liddle

2013: good news for werewolves, bad news for Belgium

So the wassailing and drinking and pigging out has been done. The relatives have mercifully left. You have taken many,…

Matthew Parris

Gay marriage the easy way

‘The next time we want to import a horse to Russia,’ wrote Laura Brady, Second Secretary in our Moscow embassy,…

James Delingpole

I’m proud to come out as an Eton parent

I was just traipsing across the fields towards Common Lane, there to collect Boy en route to his St Andrews’…

Any other business

Neither catharsis not cataclysm, but a year of mobile money and digital books

In a recent Spectator panel debate titled ‘Review 2012, Preview 2013’, Matthew Parris startled an expectant audience by observing that…


Lead book review

A master of tactical retreat

The tsar who defeated Napoleon had a surprising amount in common with Charles de Gaulle, according to John Laughland


From the playing fields of Eton to El Alamein

The fascination with the last of the cavalry is enduring, perhaps partly because of the horseman’s apocalyptic links: one of…


Musical rivalries

Donald Greig’s first novel is a fluent knitting together of three distinct worlds: American musical academia, London professional singing and…


Renaissance superwoman

In 1471 Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, led a brash entourage of wine-swilling, jewel-bedecked courtiers into Florence. It was…


Torn between ideology and compassion

On 1 September 1978, the then prime minister Jim Callaghan invited six leading trade unionists to dinner at his Elizabethan…


The Wiggins streak

As the first British winner of the Tour de France and a gold medalist at London 2012, Bradley Wiggins is…


Arts feature

New dawn for Newlyn School

Laura Gascoigne reports on the resurgence of the Cornish art colony


Talk of the devil

In one of his finest essays, Gore Vidal recalls that when he worked as a scriptwriter for MGM the Wise…


Particularity of place

John Sell Cotman (1782–1842) is a key figure in the great tradition of English watercolour painting. A prominent member of…


Trading places

The trouble with this adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Booker prize-winning Midnight’s Children, aside from the fact it is a mess…


Age limit

Michael Grandage is homeless. After a near-faultless decade in charge of the Donmar Warehouse, he now reinvents himself as a…


On the bias

It must be ten years now since I risked life and limb to brave the Cresta Run, go fox hunting…


Heart of the matter

Looking back can be fatal and is usually ill-advised, inducing a nostalgia that can only blight what lies ahead. Let’s…

Culture notes

Special K

There’s a K-Pop Academy in London. Students go through a 12-week course and learn not only the finer points of…


High life

High life

The horror at Newtown, Connecticut put a damper on the unending rounds of end-of-year parties. And that includes my own…

Low life

Low life

My grandson turned three last week. His mum blew up balloons and laid on a sumptuous spread of artificial colourings,…

Real life

Real life

‘What do you mean, your ex-ex-boyfriend is still living with his ex-girlfriend?’ said my friend Sarah, pulling a disgusted face.…

Long life

Long life

At the time of writing, a few days after the school massacre in Connecticut, the National Rifle Association remains creepily…



Up to Solihull again (I might as well move there) to play the Gold Cup finals. We sailed through the…


London calling

In my series of homages to great masters in London, this week an outstanding win by Anatoly Karpov, who took…

Chess puzzle

No. 247

White to play. This position is from Alekhine-Yates, London 1922. White has conducted a brilliant strategic game, exposing Black on…


Excuse me

In Competition No. 2777 you were invited to take inspiration from pupils at a Cambridge school who may escape punishment…


2093: Leading lights

The unclued lights (all verified in Brewer 18th and 19th editions) are of a kind. Elsewhere, ignore three accents.  …

Crossword solution

2091: plain and simple

The unclued Down lights are PLAIN Janes and the unclued Across lights are SIMPLE Simons. First prize Di Arbuthnot, Hungerford,…

Status anxiety

I think I might have a condition that no longer exists

One of the things we’ll have to say goodbye to in 2013, if the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has its…

Spectator sport

2013: A year of sporting gloriously

This journal’s gongs are, rightly, recognised the world over, and justly so of course. Sadly, however, this column’s Sporting Awards,…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

From Francis Boulle At a recent speaking engagement at a school fundraiser I had the eerie experience of giving my…


Tanya Gold reviews Goldeneye, Jamaica

Goldeneye is the house in Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote James Bond, and spanked his wife; that is why Fleming…

Mind your language


‘Serious fellows, these Americans,’ said my husband, applying stereotypes with a broad, patronising brush. He had a point, though, for…