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The Spectator

7 March 2015

PCs gone bad

We like to think we have the cleanest police in the world. We may no longer be right

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The shocking truth about police corruption in Britain

It’s a growing problem. But they’re hunting whistleblowers instead


Tell Mama and the battle for the future of British Islam

Unless we’re to have a religious underclass, we need activist groups like this one


What Ukip wants: get Farage elected, then prepare for a Labour collapse in the north

It all hinges on Farage winning South Thanet. But what if he doesn’t?


George Osborne interview: smaller government is not enough

The Chancellor on elected mayors, northern cities and the need for ‘a bit of the Michael Heseltine’


It’s Nato that’s empire-building, not Putin

Two sides are required for a New Cold War — and there is no obvious need for an adversarial system in post-Soviet Europe


Shelling, militiamen and shattered villages: welcome to eastern Ukraine’s ceasefire

Here, near the airport, the war has never really stopped. Soon it will resume everywhere

A reliable escape: Mikrolimano

Notes on...

Grim, generous, decaying and hip: the paradoxical charms of Athens

Is a ‘new’ Athens emerging from the smog of ages and the rubble of a collapsed economy? Maybe…

The Week

Leading article

If you really love the NHS, you know it needs to change

No subject inspires more hypocrisy in our politicians

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home The man seen in several Islamic State videos of hostages being beheaded, nicknamed Jihadi John by the British press,…


Miriam Gross’s diary: Why use Freud and Kurt Weill to promote Wagner?

Plus: The library crowd, Oscarphobia, and why fathers with added parental leave are getting off easy


The perils of planespotting

Plus: Who’s really a soft touch on asylum, and the toll of drug driving

Ancient and modern

Cicero’s advice for Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw

The ancients knew what public service meant. Do our MPs?

From The Archives

Too short for the trenches?

From ‘The “Willing” Badge’, The Spectator, 6 March 1915: A final ground for giving badges to those who have offered themselves…


Spectator letters: How to save the Union; who cares for Paolozzi’s murals

Plus: Why the nationalists’ proposals were a sham; thanks to Goldsmith and Major; and how to get the most out of a woodburner


Matthew Parris

Skunk has changed me. But art has changed me, too

How strong experiences imprint themselves on our minds and alter the way we see things

Hugo Rifkind

It’s now clear: David Cameron was never a real moderniser

Perhaps it’s a cynical and tortured switcheroo, in the face of a feared Ukip surge. Only it doesn’t feel that tortured, does it?

Any other business

Watch out: Standard Chartered is even trickier to manage than credit default swaps

Plus: Why the other bank chiefs should be more careful about claiming their bonuses, and the fate of Peter Hambro’s gold mines


‘Orange, Red, Yellow’, 1956, by Mark Rothko


Another enemy within: Thatcher (and Wilson) vs the BBC

A review of Pinkoes and Traitors by Jean Seaton suggests that we take Auntie too much for granted

A print of girls in a gym from 1884


2,500 years of gyms (and you’re still better off walking the dog)

In a review of the Temple of Perfection by Eric Chaline, Mark Mason sees the gym as our modern place of worship

A short-eared owl in the Highlands, one of many predators still being killed by gamekeepers


John Lister-Kaye tracks Highland wildlife through a pair of binoculars as he lies in his bath

Mark Cocker celebrates the vivid poetry of John Lister-Kaye’s Highland diary


Both Belgium and the United States should be called to account for the death of Patrice Lumumba

A review of Death in the Congo by Emmanuel Gerard and Bruce Kuklick reveals the full scandal of a 50-year-old murder


If ‘incorrect’ English is what’s widely understood, how can it be wrong?

The ‘rules’ of English grammar are often just incoherent prejudices, according to Oliver Kamm’s Accidence Will Happen


A Father’s Day tragedy: what exactly happened when a car plunged into a reservoir in Australia in 2005?

A review of This House of Grief by Helen Garner recounts how an ex-husband exacted the ultimate revenge

Poster for Pulgasari, Shin’s answer to Godzilla


The Dear Leader’s passion for films — and the real-life horror movie it led to

The plot of A Kim Jong-il Production by Paul Fischer would rival one of Ian Fleming’s own


When two young Britons go camping in Yosemite their lives are changed for ever

A review of The Faithful Couple by A.D. Miller recounts how one youthful ‘incident’ can permanently affect a friendship


John Gray’s great tour-guide of ideas: from the Garden of Eden to secret rendition

In a review of The Soul of the Marionette Tibor Fischer celebrates the vast scope of John Gray’s reading

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in 1946


Jean-Paul Sartre was perhaps the 20th century’s most famous thinker - if you can get beyond the verbiage

The thrill of violence was key to Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy, says his latest biographer


Staying power: Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in ‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’

Arts feature

How Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, foresaw the way we live today

On the eve of the re-release of Scott's 'Final Cut' at the BFI, William Cook explores the thoroughly modern riddles at the heart of this cult movie


Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery reviewed: a mixed bag of sometimes magnificent paintings

The art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel didn’t invent Monet or Degas; they did that for themselves


Why you should never trust songwriting credits

Marcus Berkmann predicts Ed Sheeran’s future: co-writing the hits of someone much younger and prettier


Why George Bernard Shaw was an overrated babbler

Plus: a revival of Patrick Marber’s modern classic Closer, in which Rufus Sewell looks like a Botticelli angel on crack


Still Alice review: you can see why Julianne Moore won an Oscar but the film’s still boring

The writers display an amazing failure of nerve and crushing levels of good taste


ENO's Indian Queen reviewed: Peter Sellars's bold new production needs editing

Plus: when do we stop hoping for better and start admitting that the technological experiments of Silent Opera just don’t work?


The Great European Disaster on BBC4 reviewed: propaganda worthy of Leni Riefenstahl

Plus James Delingpole assesses two more whiny, right-on programmes from BBC4: the dreary Arts Question Time and devious Climate Change By Numbers


All radio drama should be as good as this Conrad adaptation

Plus: a Bloomsbury satire that, in its silliness, heralds a comic genius

The Heckler

The Heckler: Tate Britain is a mess. Its director Penelope Curtis must go

There’s a serious scholarship deficiency now at the gallery, as the abysmal current Sculpture Victorious exhibitions shows, and the blame for this lies with Curtis - and Nicholas Serota


High life

Old age is not for sissies

Fear of death should make one defiant, not cooperative

Low life

Mahler’s Fifth is the perfect soundtrack to a tooth extraction

From start to finish, it mirrored the dentist’s battle to get my molar out

Real life

My life in ailments

My medical notes were my biography in ear infections and rashes

Long life

I’ve been sacked more times than I can exactly remember. It teaches you nothing

I should know; I have been hired and fired more times than I can remember

The turf

Racing’s biggest issue is the decline in field sizes

There are too many fixtures and too few horses



What a week it’s been. On Thursday night the incomparable Terry Hewett held her annual charity bonanza Night of the…

Spectator Wine

March Wine Vaults

For some inexplicable reason, the Loire remains a woefully underrated area. The longest river in France, its banks are home…



On Saturday 7 March the annual Varsity Match between the teams of Oxford and Cambridge takes place. The contest is…

Chess puzzle

No. 352

Black to play. This is a variation from Chandler-Whiteley, Brighton 1979. Here Black can bring his attack to a successful…


Heaven and hell

In Competition No. 2887 you were invited to describe your idea of heaven or hell in verse. Nietzsche famously said…


2201: Facility

In each of eleven clues there is an added letter in the definition part. These letters, in clue order, spell…

Crossword solution

To 2198: Tuck in

Corrections of misprints in clues give BETWEEN THE SHEETS, the name of a COCKTAIL (1A) whose contents (11, 18/34, 29…

Status anxiety

My plan for Question Time: mug up and fail anyway

All you can do is prepare, and hope you don’t fall flat on your face

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: I know an interior designer socially, but is it acceptable to ask her advice?

Plus: How to find out secret recipes and how to stop people calling you by a diminutive


Is the Dorchester the designated grand hotel for fat people? The portions at its new grill say so

And, in the manner of a retirement community, everything is in large print, from the cars in the forecourt to the groups wandering the corridors

Mind your language

How long is it since anniversaries stopped being measured in years?

When the BBC feels the need to talk about a ‘25th anniversary’, you know a change has occurred