Quietly, David Cameron is warming to Nick Clegg’s proposed plans for voting reform — even though it could bind the two parties together for a decade or more. James Forsyth on a Tory gamble that dares not speak its nameOn the Monday after the election, David Cameron summoned his front bench for not one but two meetings as he frantically tried to put together a government. In the second one, he asked them for their support in offering the Liberal Democrats a referendum on electoral reform.
Theo Hobson is depressed by the media’s rapturous welcome for Grindr, a new software device that helps gay men locate each other for impromptu sexI am not a homophobe. But I suppose I might be a pinkophobe. I do not think that homosexuality is wrong, bad, inferior, hateful in the eyes of God. And yet I find male homosexual culture objectionable. I think, especially in the last decade or so, that it has come to have a corrupting influence on sexual culture generally.
For almost three decades the novelist Beryl Bainbridge, who died last week, wrote book reviews and diaries for The Spectator. They were, without exception, brilliant. It has been said over the last week that she was the best novelist of her generation, but she was also (though a life-long Labour voter) the best sort of conservative: ‘What a mistake change is!’ she wrote in a diary in 2000: ‘Who needs those ghastly new buildings which have taken over Swiss Cottage? Why was Peter’s bookshop in Camden Town done away with, and the off-licence and the pet shop and the Delancey Café?’ Which Spectator reader would disagree? In one diary she confessed to taking a carving knife with her during her long midnight walks, ‘in case anyone is out there aching to do a spot of mugging.
With preparations for the Pope’s visit to Britain in disarray, the government called in Lord Patten to smooth things out. He tells Damian Thompson why he is up to the taskPrime Ministers do not always enjoy reading The Spectator and a month ago we ran a cover story that was — I am told — a ‘real eye-opener’ to David Cameron. We revealed that the Catholic hierarchy in England was hopelessly out of its depth organising the Pope’s visit to Britain and that the event was out of control.
Will Steve Jobs go down as the saviour of the British newspaper industry? Quite possibly, if iPads are the big Christmas hit this year. That would mean they are becoming essential gadgets for business people, commuters, air travellers and the reading classes in general. They might just mark a turning-point for the fortunes of a British industry grappling desperately with dramatic declines in sales, defection of advertisers and woeful returns on the huge investments made in glitzy websites and marketing budgets.