The Spectator

5 January 2013

The great aid mystery

Our rulers must know that development aid doesn’t work. So why do they throw money at it?



The great aid mystery

Our rulers must know that development aid doesn’t work. So why do they throw money at it?


Greening’s challenge

Can the new Development Secretary convince Cameron to take down the aid ‘ringfence’?


Not-so-special relationship

Dean Acheson and the myth of Anglo-American unity


Wind farms vs wildlife

The shocking environmental cost of renewable energy

Sorry I'm late


Newborn Notebook

Looking back, it’s baffling that someone like me — a lover of pleasure and loather of pain, a woman who…

The Week

Leading article

Over the cliff

There is something about the dying embers of a year which causes the world to concentrate on entirely the wrong…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home On the eve of a speech by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, on the EU, Andrew Duff MEP, the…



I am re-reading D.H. Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia. The opening line runs: ‘Comes over one an absolute necessity to move…’…

Ancient and modern

Seneca on the Church of England

Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, may have to confront this year the possible break-up of the world-wide Anglican…



The Seacole empire Education Secretary Michael Gove says he wants to rewrite the national curriculum in history to concentrate on…



Caught in the ratchet Sir: Melissa Kite (‘Hunting for Dave’, 29 December) wonders why the Prime Minister won’t reopen the…



The Cameron election

One of the first things that the coalition did on taking office was to announce the date of the next…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

‘The rain is ever falling, drip, drip, drip, by day and night… The weather is so very bad, down in…

Rod Liddle

If the mice have to face my wife, they’ll have only themselves to blame

I was in bed by one o clock on New Year’s Day. We did the countdown thing, for the kids,…

Hugo Rifkind

Get the church out of the state, and the state will stay out of the church

So let us return, you and I, warily and wearily, to the topic of gay marriage. Gingerly, in fact, as…

Any other business

Ex-editor sets banking agenda – and £100 says he’ll win the climate debate too

The sun shines warmly in south-west France, and rabbit bouillabaisse is the pièce de résistance of a New Year lunch…


Lead book review

Dirty tricks campaigns

The real scandal of the Profumo Affair, says Lewis Jones, was the rotten state of Britain at the time


Controversial confessions

Stephen Grosz is a psychoanalyst who has worked in the United States and Britain. Over his career he has been…


Horrors too close to home

Reading this new edition of W.G. Sebald’s discursive meditation upon the blanket bombing of German civilians during the second world…


Women, beware these women

When Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider read this review, they’ll exchange a pitying smile and quietly start waiting for my…


A chapter of history

Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel is a lucid critique of how Henry James came to write a book that…


More Lothario than Hamlet

Ronald ‘Trader’ Faulkner is that relative rarity: an unassuming actor. In their memoirs most actors, after the obligatory two or…


The further tragedy of unknowing

Margaret Evison spent Easter 2009 with her 26-year-old son Mark, who was about to go to Afghanistan as a lieutenant…


The Diana effect

My favourite joke of all time concerns Diana Dors, whose real name was Diana Fluck. She was invited back to…


Arts feature

Best in show

Andrew Lambirth looks ahead to treats in store for 2013


Bourne again

While most theatres brace themselves for the annual invasion of prancing Nutcrackers and flying snowmen, Sadler’s Wells offers something that…


Dutch treat

The Flying Dutchman, Wagner’s first masterpiece, has had a rough passage in the UK over the past few decades. I…


Wrong, wrong, wrong

I wasn’t the only one desperate that Viva Forever! would be a blast. There were hundreds of us eager to…


Friends reunited

You know how television is becoming like the movies, more expansive and more expensive? Well, what if the movies were…


If the price is right …

The question of who is going to buy EMI Classics took up most of 2012 and seems destined to run…


What the doctor ordered

I don’t know whose idea it was to put New Year at the beginning of January, but it seems like…


Vision on

Something strange, very strange is going on. Take two sparky young, very young men, watch them launch their media careers…

Culture notes

Magical mystery tour

Pontius Pilate is deciding the fate of Ha-Notsri (aka Jesus) in Herod’s palace. In Stalin’s Moscow, meanwhile, the Devil (aka…


High life

High life

Lanza is a noble Sicilian name which I believe appears in Il Gattopardo, Lampedusa’s immortal tale of changing times in…

Low life

Low life

I’ve been away for three months but now I’m back in my gym shoes, gym glasses and faithful old gym…

Real life

Real life

‘They all have very distinct personalities,’ said my friend Hannah, as she invited me to come to her house and…

Long life

Long life

We have now entered the New Year in which we know that everybody, with the exception of those who have…

The turf

Breaking news

It is all about how you impart bad tidings, I suppose, like the wife who told her husband one night,…



It’s hard to explain to non-bridge players how much the game means to some of us. It’s not just a…


Special Ks

London has seen three World Championship matches in the post-war period, Kasparov-Karpov 1986, Kasparov-Short 1993 and Kasparov-Kramnik 2000. The game…

Chess puzzle

No. 247

White to play. This position is from Kramnik-Kasparov, World Championship, London (Game 2) 2000. Kasparov has been struggling to hold…


Past regrets

In Competition No. 2778 you were invited to express your regret, in verse, for New Year’s resolutions not kept. The…


2094: A little down

Definitions in ten clues are a letter down; missing letters, in clue order, spell out the creator of one unclued…

Crossword solution

Solution to 2092: Attend

Answers to clues in italics are pie (13), as (15), unled (22) and heel (27).  In each case it is…

Status anxiety

A Kenyan education

I’m currently in Kenya with my family where I’m planning to stay for the next seven weeks. The official reason…

The Wiki Man

Life’s secret menus

Supposedly the coffee chain Starbucks will sell you a smaller, 8oz cappuccino even though this size and its price is…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. I have had the misfortune to have broken my foot and was packed off by my GP to a…


Waters of life

Even though they efface the landscape, the snows of midwinter make the deeper symbolism more apparent. The psychic differences between…

Mind your language


Like many, I have just read The Hobbit again, which I hadn’t done since reading it to Veronica as a…