The Spectator

23 June 2018

The diversity trap

Britain is succumbing to the same madness as America



The diversity trap

Quotas mean discrimination. We must not repeat America's mistake


The #MeToo movement could be the saviour of sex

After decades of anything-goes liberalism, a period of repression is just what we need

Photo: Getty


What does the British government know about Trump and Russia?

Many trails in the Mueller inquiry lead straight to the UK


The bad science of cannabis oil

The Billy Caldwell case is being exploited by the pro-legalisation lobby for its own ends


The joy of bird-listening

The focus is often too much on sight

The real America: NJ’s clapboard houses

Notes on...

Big cities are all alike – it's in New Jersey’s small towns that you feel like you’re really travelling

When my American friends invited us to stay with them in New Jersey, my 13-year-old daughter was thrilled. She’d never…

The Week

Leading article

Turning back boats may be the most humane response to the migrant crisis

The photographs of children in cages at US migration centres, apparently separated from the parents with whom they illegally entered…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Theresa May unveils £20 billion in NHS spending

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that spending on NHS England would increase by £20 billion a year by…

Winston Churchill painting beside Lake Geneva (Photo: Getty)


Andrew Marr's Diary: In praise of David Dimbleby

At Chequers last week to interview the Prime Minister, I hear some sad news of Churchill’s mouse. The story goes…


Barometer: Trespassing, healthcare and David Dimbleby’s retirement

Well oiled The government last week ordered a review into the medical use of cannabis. Some cannabis oil available on…

Ancient and modern

The ancients would have understood Trump’s chaotic leadership

Peace with his enemy Kim Jong-un on the one hand, conflict with his European allies on the other: what sense…


Letters: Being treated as a ‘disabled writer’ would be an affront

Song of myself Sir: As a disabled writer, I thoroughly despise the idea of being the beneficiary of a publisher’s…


The Spectator's Notes

The government’s pledge to increase NHS spending is disgusting

Seen from almost any point of view, the government’s decision to increase spending on the NHS is disgusting. It is…


How the NHS cash bung is being hijacked by Remainers

The cabinet’s trip to Chequers next month will be a tense affair. Things always are when Brexit is the only…

Rod Liddle

‘Virtual referees’ are turning the World Cup into a farce

Flies, millions of them, vast swarms of them, spawned in the filthy Volga river: mutant flies, probably. Gathering in clouds…

Matthew Parris

How does anyone manage to navigate the maze of our second-rate NHS?

Next month the National Health Service turns 70. The institution is greatly loved, and not for nothing. The fear of…

Martin Vander Weyer

The myth and menace of cryptocurrencies

‘So, Professor Shin, tell us what you really think about cryptocurrencies.’ I’m guessing that’s the brief the Bank for International…


View of a drawing room, c. 1780 by Philip Reinagle

Lead book review

The short step from good manners to lofty imperialism

Keith Thomas describes how English notions of civility and consideration turned into a mission to civilise the world

Steven Spurrier at the launch of Wine — A Way of Life. Credit Getty Images


How Steven Spurrier enraged the French — and was never forgiven

Memories of the ‘Judgment of Paris’, his notorious blind wine tasting of 1976, still rankle in France to this day

Don Quixote is often referred to as the ‘first’ novel, though Javier Cercas disagrees


From Don Quixote to My Struggle — a survey of the novel in 160 pages

Javier Cercas’s The Blind Spot is a charming, thoughtful essay — but you’ll need to be steeped in his own fiction to follow the argument

An agent from the Freedman’s Bureau separates freed slaves from an angry mob at the end of the American civil war. Credit Getty Images


A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers, reviewed

The American civil war and the horrors of slavery are the principal themes of this harrowing, deeply moving novel

The pain of scorching her own face exorcises the helplessness Fontaine feels at her mother’s suffering


Death-defying acts and the dark side of the circus

Tessa Fontaine describes the physical and psychological toughness needed to hack it as a circus artist

Female Nazi supporters greet Hitler after his election as chancellor in 1933. Credit: Getty Images


Swept away by Hitler’s charisma: German women gush over the Führer

Konrad H. Jarausch’s Broken Lives, about coming of age in Nazi Germany, shows women of all ages describing their belief in Hitler in mystical terms

Sally Bayley. Credit: Alice Sholto-Douglas


Dickens and Agatha Christie made my childhood bearable

To escape her deeply dysfunctional family, the young Sally Bayley retreated into library books and preserved her sanity

Campaigners protest against government plans to build huge new windfarms in Wales in 2011. Credit Getty Images


When trendy ideas capture the ruling elite, democracy can go hang

Timothy Snyder and David Runciman join a score of recent authors tackling the theme of democracy in crisis

A rare photograph by Bernice Abbott of Lucia Joyce dancing in the 1920s


Lucia, by Alex Pheby, reviewed

In his novel about the troubled daughter of James Joyce, Pheby rails against her nephew for destroying a cache of precious letters


The reluctant frontman: Ray Davies

Arts feature

‘I think The Kinks could have found a better frontman’: Ray Davies interviewed

Michael Hann talks to the singer-songwriter about his latest album, his love-hate relationship with America and how he was once thrown out of a groupie for being too kind

Volcano of invention: Alexander Calder at Hauser & Wirth Somerset


Alexander Calder was a volcano of invention

This selection at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is charming and modest – a taster menu of bonnes bouches

Eagles of Death Metal performing at the Bataclan theatre in 2015 a few moments before the attack by Islamic terrorists. Photo: AFP / Marion Ruszniewski / Getty Images


More gripping than any scripted thriller: November 13 – Attack on Paris reviewed

What kept you watching was the desperate hope that a whole group would get away unharmed. Too often they didn't

The Listener

The best album of the year so far, by some margin

There is not a bad track on Father John Misty's latest God's Favourite Customer

The Empire Windrush arriving from Jamaica, 1948, at Tilbury docks. Photo: Daily Herald Archive / SSPL / Getty Images


The excitement of emigrating on your own as a child

Plus: the indigenous tribe considered too strange and remote even for other indigenous tribes

‘Prostitute and Disabled War Veteran. Two Victims of Capitalism’, 1923, by Otto Dix


Sorrow and pity are no guarantee of artistic success: Aftermath at Tate Britain reviewed

The British art is mild compared with the rage and grief of Beckmann, Dix, Kollwitz and Grosz

The ENO Chorus in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Dani Harvey
Vanessa Kirby as Julie and Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean in Julie at the National Theatre. Photo: Richard H Smith


This adaptation of Miss Julie is a textbook lesson in how to kill a classic

Plus: Almeida’s Machinal struck me with the force of something larger than drama, something beyond art even, something real, magnificent and exquisitely painful to observe

Wilde at heart: Colin Morgan as Bosie and Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde in The Happy Prince


Happy Prince is a ravishingly sad film

Hereditary is the horror film that has been described as a ‘ride of pure terror’ and likened to The Exorcist…

Pianist Clifford Curzon, composer Sir Arthur Bliss and musicologist Hans Keller at the very first Leeds International Piano Contest. Photo: Erich Auerbach / Getty Images


You vote for my pupil, I’ll vote for yours – the truth about music competitions

Who will break the stranglehold of the Fifa-style music professors?

Modern-day Heath Robinson and YouTube star Simone Giertz. Photo: Simone Giertz / YouTube

The YouTuber

Meet ‘the queen of shitty robots’

These days, inventors call themselves makers, live and work on YouTube, are covered in tattoos and the best of them, like 27-year-old Simon Giertz, are women


High life

The Bible’s #MeToo problem

Our sacred stories are now up for graps: King David’s reputation is already in the mud

Low life

Cancer? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world

After the shock of diagnosis and the prospect of an early death there followed a surprising joy

Real life

The hidden costs of dogging

Private firms will issue parking tickets as car owners cavort in the undergrowth

The turf

How to handle fickle racehorse owners

The trainer Marcus Tregoning could have given his mentor a lesson in how to hang on to Lady Beaverbrook’s horses



Ostend has been host to hundreds of bridge players representing their various countries in the European Teams Championships. The ten-day…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 23 June

Readers will, I’m sure, remember the excellent Merlot-rich Sang du Sanglier from Ch. de Fayolle that we offered here with…



Fabiano Caruana has won the elite Altibox tournament ahead of world champion Magnus Carlsen. This result might appear to give…

Chess puzzle

Puzzle no. 511

White to play. This position is a variation from So-Carlsen, Norway Chess 2018. The world champion suffered a reverse in…


#MeToo lit

In Competition No. 3053, an assignment prompted by Anthony Horowitz’s reflections on creating female characters for his latest Bond novel,…


2364: Frolicsome Threesome

2/11/12 is a four-word quotation in Chambers. Remaining unclued lights (all appropriate to the language the quotation is in) are…

Crossword solution

to 2361: Snoot

The unclued lights are anagrams of the names of Scottish towns. Dalry (12), Dundee (14)), Brechin (27), Kelso (1D),  Peterhead…

No sacred cows

This junk study proves nothing about helicopter parenting

An academic paper by a group of child psychologists caused a stir earlier this week. ‘Helicopter parenting is bad for…

The Wiki Man

Is taste all in the mind? Louse crap says it is

An Iranian friend of mine recently brought me some gaz from Isfahan. Commonly known as Persian nougat, gaz is perhaps…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: I’m a freelancer – how do I get people to return my calls?

Q. Being professionals in trade, we find ourselves increasingly being asked by friends, who could well afford to use our…


Weak but stable, Theresa May is the opposite of a good claret

It is enough to make a man turn to drink. On a distinctly non-abstemious day, I was sitting in one…

Mind your language

‘Iteration’ has escaped from the computer shops

‘They should say, irritation, not iteration,’ exclaimed my husband as a voice on the wireless spoke about men’s fashion and…

The Best of Coffee House

Brexit has become England’s white whale

Brexit must happen. Of course it must, for the people have decreed it should and, in this instance, their command…

The Best of Coffee House

Trump is ‘vice-signalling’ over immigration – and it’s going to work

The stories are filed, the pictures are posted, and the media verdict is almost unanimous: separating children from their parents…

The Best of Coffee House

Tariq Ramadan and the integrity of French justice

For the last four months, Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan has been rotting in a French jail, like Jean Valjean. He…

The Best of Coffee House

The true cost of the Stepford Students

It has become abundantly clear in recent years that becoming a Social Justice Warrior (SJW) is bad for your health.…