The Spectator

3 November 2012



Whose freedom? Whose press?

Everyone is a journalist now – which makes licensing of newspapers an obsolete idea


What the papers won’t say

The chilling effects of Lord Leveson are already being felt in every newsroom in the country — and it is…


All together now

Spectator editors and writers past and present unite against statutory press regulation


Leveson and Jimmy Savile

Did the press inquiry scare newspapers away from a major story?


What I’m fighting for

Better newspaper regulation isn’t just a cause for lefties and celebrities. Here’s why


Losing the ashes

The Forestry Commission’s carbon fetish is to blame for the failure to act sooner to save our trees


Should Alice marry Bob?

Introducing a new ‘real world’ maths course, designed to engage every sort of pupil


London Notebook

What is a real woman? My difficult client, the Australian gigastar Dame Edna Everage, is seriously miffed at BBC’s cancellation…


Sandy in the suburbs

A New Yorker’s storm story


Markets love lame ducks

Investors do best when US presidents are too weak to fulfil policy promises


Reform at last

New rules should ensure better advice for investors


Turning toxic again

Five years after the crisis began, bank shares look no better

The Week

Leading article

Land of the right

Next week, weather permitting, Americans will go to the ballot to choose between an unpopular Democratic president and an uninspiring…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Hitachi bought Horizon Nuclear Power for £700 million, giving it rights to build nuclear power stations in Anglesey and…



Air Canada has outwitted the superstorm and I am about to return to Canada after my nine-day stay in London…



Objections to gay marriage Sir: Hugo Rifkind (27 October) thinks that religious objections to gay marriage can be ignored because…



The end of the recession, but just the beginning of the PM’s problems

Since the end of the recession was confirmed a few days ago, confidence has returned to at least one part…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

‘England shall bide till Judgment Tide, By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! says Kipling. Possibly we shall have to bide…

Rod Liddle

We journalists can only chase one ambulance at a time

What I really wanted to do for you this week was uncover a totally new story about a racist paedophile…

Matthew Parris

Why a visit to a school persuaded me that young people aged 16 to 18 should have the vote

Let me guess most readers’ reaction to news that Alex Salmond has arm-twisted Westminster into allowing 16- to 18-year-olds in…

James Delingpole

Why on earth do we think badgers are charismatic?

Did you know that the badger is one of the most charismatic creatures in our countryside? It says so on…

Any other business

Branson, Bollywood, Virgin beauties – and a bit less of the usual cynicism

So here I am on a morning flight from Delhi to Mumbai, sitting next to an Englishman in his early…


Lead book review

A family at war

Philip Hensher finds nothing very sinister or sensational about the 9th Duke of Rutland censorsing his own archives


The plight of the Poles

Was a nation ever so beset by calamity as Poland? During the second world war, Polish cities were bombed, fought…


Slippery slopes

Being sent to finishing school in Bavaria in 1936 was a dream for some English girls: there were winter sports…


The worldling’s pleasure

Two women are the only heroes of this book. One is Princess Margaret, whom the author points out was far…


The company of wolves

The 15th century is beginning to supplant the Tudor age in its allure for historians and novelists. It comes replete…


Homage to the Goddess Mother

Cometh the hour, cometh the many men (and women). The 2012 centenary of Captain Scott’s death inspired a series of…


Bionic bore

After wading through 646 pages of narcissistic gush and breathtaking vulgarity in the accents of Dr Kissinger and Dr Strangelove,…


A ladykiller at large

Ever since Sergeant Cuff appeared in The Moonstone in 1868, we English have loved our detectives. Moody Scandinavian fiction might…


Exhibitions of narcissism

The summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, with its overstuffed galleries and motley collection of overblown portraits, twee still lifes…


An exhausting mixture of boredom and concentration

The wartime code-breaking successes of Bletchley Park are deservedly well known.  The story of how they decrypted German and Japanese…


Getting the knives out

It’s odd that this book should be about a cleaner, because it exactly conjures up the emotions I felt when…


Divided loyalties

On his first day at boarding school in Kenya in the early 1950s, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o stood to attention as…


The darker side of Dawn

I like Dawn French when she is playing a sinister nurse much more than when she’s a jolly vicar. As…


Arts feature

Spanish encounter

Andrew Lambirth finds a few gems in the British Museum’s exhibition and discovers what Royal Academicians are up to


The same old story

Hard on the heels of last year’s television adaptation starring David Suchet and Ray Winstone is a new version of…


Bolivian treasure

Every so often in my line of business one reads heartwarming stories about manuscripts from the past turning up in…


Mixed bag

Last year I raved about Birmingham Royal Ballet, their artistic drive, their freshness, their impeccable artistic eclecticism and, not least,…


What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is his first film since There Will Be Blood and although it stars Joaquin Phoenix…


Creeping confusion

The legend of Faust is perhaps the dominant one in post-Renaissance Europe, yet it resists satisfactory artistic realisation. The most…


No more heroes

The Wharf is an unpretentious venue in Tavistock which offers a menu of entertainment whose criteria are difficult to fathom…


Ryans’ daughter

Martina Cole is a rarity among novelists. Her work is set in the ugly, male-dominated world of London’s criminal fraternity…


Sideshow winner

I thought my 27th Wexford Opera Festival since 1972 was going to be one of the best. I had seen…


The American way

To the Americas this week, and first to the land of the free and the home of the brave: Gay…


Hearing voices

It’s business as usual for the BBC’s radio stations. While the boardroom burns, the production teams are busy creating —…

Culture notes

All that jazz

What London can give jazz music — beyond an audience in its concert halls — is a setting to match…


High life

High life

New York Trains and buses have shut down, people have been evacuated from eastern New Jersey and the southern tip…

Low life

Low life

On the Thursday night, my grandson had another asthma attack. Because my boy had had a few drinks before going…

Real life

Real life

Stefano the Albanian was delighted to hear from me. He was really cross when I got myself a builder boyfriend,…

Long life

Long life

Edward Heath may have been one of the most unsuccessful prime ministers in British history, having presided during his four-year…



In this country, Andrew Robson and bridge are practically synonymous: he’s the best known, and probably the best, player we…


Basman forever

Michael Basman is in many ways the most important person in British chess. As a player, he is an International…

Chess puzzle

No. 242

Black to play. This is from Velimirovic-Basman, Student Olympiad 1967. Black has just given up a piece. The justification for…


Masque of Art

In Competition 2770 you were invited to submit a response, in the style of Alexander Pope, to the recently announced…


2087: Golden II

Seven 1D lights are unclued. Across 1 Carnivore longing to enter Gordon’s dining room (5) 6 Female musical figure is…

Crossword solution

2084: The Here and Now

The perimeter quotation is the opening couplet of Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’. Remaining unclued lights in order 12A, 17A,…

Status anxiety

Decadent Brits

I’m currently in Marrakech for half-term and was planning on writing a column about how disappointed my children are by…

Spectator sport

Ugly face of the beautiful game

Football, bloody hell, as that old bruiser Sir Alex Ferguson twinkled bibulously at the turn of the century. But it’s…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. I cannot help but notice an alarming prevalence of disturbing eating habits among the middle-aged. Being 13 years of…


Dog stars

Bubbledogs is a restaurant from cinema. It is violently 1980s, American and flash. The sign Bubbledogs shines neon pink from…

Mind your language


When I heard on the BBC that an organisation in St Petersburg named after St Basil the Great taught teenagers…