The Spectator

9 February 2013

Sickness in the health service

The Mid Staffs scandal shows that we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to NHS failings



Sickness in the health service

The Mid Staffs scandal shows that we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to NHS failings


Cameron’s wrong course

The Prime Minister is wasting his talents, and his luck


Lord Bramall’s last stand

Why the former chief of the defence staff is turning his guns on the nuclear deterrent – and Joanna Lumley


'Murdoch betrays everyone in the end'

When journalists can’t protect their sources, everyone’s worse off


Atheists vs Dawkins

My fellow atheists, it’s time we admitted that religion has some points in its favour


Dubai Notebook

François Hollande rolled into town for the World Future Energy Summit here recently, but hardly anyone noticed. There is little enthusiasm for his…

The Week

Leading article

The defender of faith

If the secret of success is to follow failure, then Justin Welby has had the perfect start as Archbishop of…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home  The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was given its second reading in the Commons by 400 votes to 175.…



In a recent exchange of emails, my Member of Parliament, Mr Andy Slaughter, told me he intended to vote in…

Ancient and modern

Stoicism at the doctor’s

It has been proposed that, to deal with certain sorts of emotional problems for which we go to the doctor,…



Respect the RSPCA Sir: You ask whether the RSPCA has ‘gone feral’ (‘The RSPCA’s secret war’, 2 February)? The answer…



The battle of Eastleigh will be bloody

This week’s Cabinet meeting was a deceptively straightforward affair. Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers met as usual, and discussed economic…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

It was rude and impolitic of David Cameron not to sit in on the parliamentary debate on the Marriage (Same…

Rod Liddle

What makes me feel sorry for Chris Huhne

If Chris Huhne hadn’t copped off with that woman who looks remarkably like the late comedian Jack Douglas, I suppose…



Stanley Johnson, replete with energy and charming as ever, is touring the country looking for a safe Tory berth to…

Matthew Parris

A snapshot moment in Old Havana

The Parque Mátires ’71 is pleasant, nothing special, hardly distinguishable from dozens of other little parks in Old Havana. Fairly…

Any other business

Remember the lesson of Shaun of the Dead: some zombies eventually come back to life

Funny how little phrases go viral. Suddenly everyone’s talking about ‘fasting diets’, ‘zombie companies’ and ‘leadership plots’. As to the…


Lead book review

The music man

Rupert Christiansen welcomes a new biography of Benjamin Britten – marking his centenary – which brings all his many complexities satisfyingly and vividly to life


Winning the war with wheezers

The Anfa Hotel in Casablanca has seen better days. Seventy years ago it was the grandest hotel in Morocco, good…


Change of heart

A stomping bestseller is a hard thing to recover from. The author is doomed to see all future works compared…


Indian giver

A 465-page volume of short stories by a Native American author — it’s not, perhaps, the kind of thing everyone…


Love stories

Unfortunately for the reading public, most of Bernadine Bishop’s working life has been spent as a psychotherapist. Having published a…


Beautiful and damned

According to his mother, Neville Heath was ‘prone to be excitable’. He was that all right — and then some.…


A choice of recent crime novels

Many novels deal with unhappy families. But happy families are relatively rare, especially in crime fiction, which is one of…


A hero of folk

‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ was the ambitious slogan that Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) painted on his guitars. By fascists he meant…


Arts feature

Medieval mystery

Alasdair Palmer on how the restoration of a castle in northern Italy could change the established view of 15th-century art history


Finding beauty in junk

Although Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) did not invent the technique or theory of collage, he was one of the greatest practitioners…


From Russia with love

If you want to know what’s so great about John Cranko’s choreography, look at the opening phrase of the final…


Why can’t the British pop industry launch new acts that last?

It’s all been happening in the pop world since I was last here. David Bowie released a new song, arguably…


Making music

Since the birth of the peer-to-peer file-sharing service Napster in the late 1990s, the record industry has been the unwilling…


English eccentrics

Quartermaine’s Terms is a period piece within a period piece. It’s set in that part of the early 1960s which…


Blank canvas

I approach any production of Mozart’s last opera, La clemenza di Tito, in a state of acute trepidation: it’s not…


What kind of film does ‘Hitchcock’ think it is?

Hitchcock is one of those films which would have been much better off if it had taken a moment to…


Old school joy

Let’s not beat about the bush: Howard Goodall’s Story of Music (BBC2, Saturday) is landmark television, a documentary series that…


The sex test

‘We hear women’s voices differently from men’s,’ concluded Anne Karpf at the end of her search back through the radio…

Culture notes

Hall of mirrors

At first glance, Holy Motors is all about one astonishing performance — or several, depending on how you look at…


High life

High life

Gstaad  Sir Roger Moore told the Sunday Telegraph that he enjoys the slow pace of life in Switzerland. As do…

Low life

Low life

I’ve been to Mali. Oh, yes. We went overland from the east, 23 of us in the back of a…

Real life

Real life

Throwing oneself at the feet of the transport secretary at a posh lunch is not a dignified thing to do.…

Long life

Long life

This is a big week for gays on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time you read this, the…



Max, my adorable son-in-law, knew early on he was not cut out for a life of academia. Nevertheless he fearlessly…


Rock solid

The Gibraltar Masters, where I was last week, has been won by a quartet consisting of Vitiugov, Short, Sandipan and…

Chess puzzle

No. 252

White to play. This position is from Adams-Ehlvest, Gibraltar 2013. White’s next essentially destroyed the black position. What was it?…


Short story

In Competition No. 2783 you were invited to submit a short story entitled ‘Death of a Ladies’ Man’. The title…


2099: Lover’s Knot

The unclued lights are presented in the form of the Lover’s Knots below. Each ‘Knot’ can be unravelled into two…

Crossword solution

2096: new world symphony

The unclued lights are six US composers, at 4 and 24,  and the pairs at 9/11, 21A/32, 25/16 and 35/3.…

Status anxiety

Taking on cattle raiders with a Macbook Pro

One of my reasons for coming to Kenya was to visit Tango Maus, the farm of Spectator ‘Wild life’ columnist…

Spectator sport

A classic weekend at the Six Nations

Has there ever been a more wondrous start to a tournament than the first weekend of this term’s Six Nations?…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. I understand that a free version of Eton will be opening in a village near Windsor next year. One…


Tanya Gold reviews Maxim’s, Paris

Maxim’s! The very name is drool from Maurice Chevalier’s lips, as he perved around Gigi and sang, ‘Thank heaven for…

Mind your language


‘I’m a vulnerable adult,’ said my husband when I asked him why he was shouting the other morning. He had…