My arrival was marked by a memorandum: ‘LIBEL. Mr Christopher Fildes and Mr Auberon Waugh have joined the staff of The Spectator. As from today, The Spectator is no longer insured against libel. Gatley’s Libel and Slander may be consulted in my office. Nigel Lawson, Editor.’ We survived that, and in time Algy Cluff, as chairman, suggested that I should write a column on matters City and suburban.
James Bartholomew on why bravery, kindness, modesty, generosity and restraint are fast disappearing from Britain — but not from George Bush’s AmericaThose who depend on the BBC for news are still puzzling over why America voted for that bad George Bush. One reason that got little or no airtime was that they liked his domestic policy. Our state broadcasting station gave the impression that this policy consisted mainly of being anti-abortion.
Rocco Buttiglione talks to Daniel Hannan about homosexuality, homophobia and ‘the morbid totalitarianism of the Left’Martyrdom often seems to bring, at the end, a sense of elation. Thomas More was plainly on a high as he was led to the block, getting off a couple of memorable quips to the headsman. Rocco Buttiglione is in a similar mood. Buoyed up by the unwonted attention that followed his exclusion from the European Commission, he is launching a pan-European campaign for liberty of conscience.
The first recorded political act of Iyad Allawi — now the interim prime minister of Iraq, then the student organiser for Saddam Hussein’s Baath party — struck some as a little extreme, even by the standards of Sixties campus politics. ‘We were at medical school in [pre-Saddam] Baghdad together,’ said his contemporary and, more recently, colleague on the Iraqi governing council, Raja al-Khuzai. ‘When we turned up for our exams, we found Iyad at the door of the examination hall, wearing combat gear and holding a machine-gun.
It sometimes seems as if we no longer know how to think about our soldiers, or how to treat them. Last week, three men of the Black Watch fell in battle in Iraq. A sad event certainly, but it was hardly a reason for national mourning. Yet much of the media became hysterical. Some of the men’s relatives, who could hardly be expected to reason clearly in such circumstances, were interviewed as if their grief had turned them into experts on military deployment and the Middle East.
Boris Johnson says that the end of Yasser Arafat — the man who brought so much suffering to his own people — could be the opportunity for lasting peaceBut why did he do it? I asked the dark and bony young man in the yarmulka, still clearing up the scene of the murders. We were standing at the blackened steel counter of Shimmi’s cheese and olive shop, where three people had yesterday been killed by a suicide bomber and 13 seriously injured.