The Spectator

14 October 2017

Tech vs Trump

Social media helped Trump take the White House. Silicon Valley won’t let that happen again



Tech vs Trump: the great battle of our time has begun

Social media helped Donald Trump take the White House. Silicon Valley won’t let it happen again


Learn to navigate the elite’s new PC-speak – or else

If you want to work in the public sector only one narrow worldview can be expressed


Robert Harris: We’re living in a Goebbels-style propaganda culture

The award-winning thriller writer on his new novel Munich – and why totalitarianism is in the air again


How we ran for our lives in the Great Storm of 1987

My family and I escaped our home in time to see the roof being ripped off


I love my friends – but I can live without them

Prizing female friendship above all other forms of affection is no way for an adult to live their life

Right track: The trains are cheap and on time

Notes on...

Spain’s trains are fast, cheap and on time... so how do we get it so wrong?

The first railway line in Spain, from Barcelona to Mataro a few miles up the coast towards the French border,…

Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park


In search of Chicago’s artistic past – and present

This is still a city of artists, but perhaps no longer a bohemian one


Lazy bays

Ysenda Maxtone Graham on the lure of blue skies, powder-white beaches and total relaxation

Positano’s sun-bleached terracotta houses are set against rolling hills and an azure sea


Steinbeck’s Eden

The novelist loved Positano’s sleepy beauty and 60 years on it’s no less enchanting, says James Delingpole

The otherworldly Northern Lights


A song of ice and snow

The spectacular scenery of Norway is just a two-hour flight away, reveals Camilla Swift


Stress-free slopes

Skiing with kids doesn’t have to be daunting – or ruinously expensive, says Katherine Forster

The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi, a luxe desert retreat


Desert flocks

Cally Squires finds an eco paradise in the Emirates

The Week

Leading article

The tech giants have become publishing tycoons. Let’s have laws to deal with them

The giants of the internet have long said that they are not publishers but mere platforms — or couriers —…

Portrait of the week

Would Theresa May vote for Brexit now? She’s not saying

Also in Portrait of the Week: film producer Harvey Weinstein is fired as three women accuse him of rape


A spectre of Spanish revenge haunts Boris Johnson and the Brexit gang

Also in Tristram Hunt’s Diary: we need a car-free avenue of culture in Londonrange


How much does a ‘1st quality’ essay cost to buy online?

Also in Barometer: Theresa May’s place in history, how Catalonia measures up as a nation

Ancient and modern

An easy way for the Tories to combat the Corbyn threat? Idleness

Solon’s law would go down well with traditional voters and Labour supporters alike


Letters: Why do you not mention gun control?

Also: capitalism, Hong Kong; Sir Richard Greenbury; ‘tube’; Chinese writing


The Spectator's Notes

It’s time for Britain’s embassies to regain their pomp and grandeur

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: the careful timing of Catalonia’s coup and Clegg’s Brexit solution


The plotters who want Theresa May out think time is on their side

They believe they will slowly creep up to the 48 names necessary to trigger a leadership contest

Rod Liddle

Blame the teachers, not the students, for the Oxford Christian ban

It's the grown-ups who are responsible for the dangerous safe-space tribe

Matthew Parris

Theresa May isn’t destructive, duplicitous or mad. So she’s the Tories best hope

For want of a Lemsip, the Conservatives should not throw everything away

Mary Wakefield

Calling Stephen Paddock a 'lone wolf' isn't racist

It’s an insult to the real victims of racism to see it in places where it’s not

Any other business

Bombardier is not about UK-US trade; it’s about planemakers’ dirty tricks

Also in Any Other Business: a parable of free enterprise in the shadow of Grenfell Tower


Blue and Yellow Macaw, c.1834

Lead book review

Edward Lear: where art and nonsense collide

Jenny Uglow's affectionate biography of the exceptionally gifted painter and writer is one to treasure


In thrall to the Mob on Manhattan Beach

Set in violent 1940s New York, Jennifer Egan’s novel of a threesome caught up with the Mafia is a gripping mystery

Princess Margaret at the races in Kingston, Jamaica in 1955


Princess Margaret: a darkly glamorous tale

It all began so well for Her Royal Highness. But she thought it smart to be rude, and her drinking soon took a dreadful toll


Dinner at the Centre of the Earth: a tragicomic Middle East spy romp

Nathan Englander’s hopscotch narrative of double agents and cloaked allegiances overcomplicates an already tortuous tale

Edward Winslow visits Massasoit


The Pilgrim Fathers: from persecuted to persecutors

Rebecca Fraser describes how, within a generation, love and peace between Puritans and Indians had turned to genocide


Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel is dazzling – and just like all his others

Centring around the gay art world, The Sparsholt Affair is masterly in scope. But it’s becoming overfamiliar territory


Nicola Lagioia puts the boot into modern Italy

Ferocity, his prize-winning novel, is a fierce indictment of the south: of a society, and family, rotten to the core


The problem with Hungary’s toothless opposition

Viktor Orbán is invariably portrayed as a dictator. In fact he’s openly criticised at home - but it remains a war of words


How Joseph Conrad foresaw world trade and terrorism

Maya Jasanoff reveals how revolutionary politics and global commerce shaped the brave sea captain’s life and best works

Richard Nixon in September 1968


Richard Nixon: the nightmare president of his age

His fans never realised how dark, scheming and vengeful he was. And, astonishingly, he got away with many of his crimes


The best recent crime fiction reviewed

Benjamin Black, Gabriel Tallent, Luke Jennings and Pascal Garnier provide murder and mystery from the 16th century onwards


‘Pastry Cook of Cagnes’, 1922, by Chaïm Soutine

Arts feature

The painter who devoted himself to turning kitchen-weary men into kings and popes

Chaïm Soutine uncovered the below-stairs world of George Orwell’s Hôtel X of snob waiters, sodden plongeurs, scheming soubrettes and pastry chefs


One of the best shows we’ve seen in ages from the ETO: Giulio Cesare reviewed

But that's all the fun you'll be getting from the English Touring Opera this season – I blame Brexit


Good as it is, the material is highly perishable: Labour of Love reviewed

Plus: a fascinating play about Enoch Powell at the Park Theatre

‘Self Portrait’, 1984, by Jean-Michel Basquiat


Where did it go wrong for Basquiat?

His images dance but his ingredients are uncooked. You can’t say the same of Dubuffet

Guess who’s coming to dinner: Timothy Spall (Bill), Cillian Murphy (Tom), Emily Mortimer (Jinny) and Patricia Clarkson (April) in Sally Potter’s The Party


Half the length of Blade Runner 2049 and 676 times as entertaining: The Party reviewed

I can’t tell you what it adds up to exactly but it’s fun getting there, wherever it is...


Stop whatever you’re doing and watch Suburra

Plus: ITV2’s Bromans is the most accurate reflection on TV of what young men and women are still really like


I’d rather miss a season of Proms than the London Piano Festival

The recitals are a tribute not just to the performances but also to the special thrill of music for two pianos


The real reason why the Today programme is losing its edge

Plus: why the Today team should listen to Vanessa Feltz's show on Radio London and the extraordinary force of nature that was Catherine the Great


High life

What was the New York Times’s real motive for exposing Weinstein?

I smell a rat when it comes to Harvey Weinstein. Let’s take it from the start. The telephone rang very…

Low life

Stepping (literally) into my girlfriend’s ex-husband’s shoes

My presence at his daughter’s wedding with his ex-wife on my arm was bad enough; this might be a provocation too far

Real life

Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put Melissa on the top?

If they want a papist agitator to burn, the village bonfire association could do a lot worse than me

The turf

The phenomenal Eve Johnson Houghton

Big owners with hefty cheque books take note: Accidental Agent was her 48th success of the season



Somewhere between 1 and 3 a.m., I turn off the lights but I can’t turn off my whirring brain. Cards…



Twelve-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa scored a sensational result in the recent Isle of Man Masters. At the age of ten years…

Chess puzzle

no. 478

White to play. This position is from the above game, Praggnanandhaa-Howell, Masters. What is the accurate move White needed…


Officially amazing

In Competition No. 3019 you were invited to submit a limerick describing a feat worthy of inclusion in Guinness World…


2331: Anagrams

Unclued lights suggest nine different words, each made up of the same five letters. These letters will appear in the…

Crossword solution

Solution to 2328: Second coming

The suggested title is Brideshead Revisited, HEEDS/RABID (6A/42) being an anagram of BRIDESHEAD. The six characters, all members of the Flyte…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 14 October

As readers know, The Spectator is a famously broad church. All manner of opinions are held and expressed here, and…

Status anxiety

The Harvey Weinstein scandal threatens to engulf Hollywood

If the accusations are true, this scandal will confirm the deepest suspicions of American conservatives about Hollywood liberals

Spectator sport

Why is England’s football team so unexciting?

Decent club players seem to shrink when they pull on the Three Lions shirt


Elle Decoration meets pub food: The Mandrake reviewed

Serge et le Phoque is a sequel to a celebrated Hong Kong restaurant, but how can it survive without fashion hags?

Mind your language

Did Buffy the Vampire Slayer invent this irritating phrase?

‘Kiss me mucho,’ sang my husband with a revolting leer, ‘and we’ll soar. And we’ll dance the dance of love…