19/02/2022
19 Feb 2022

Theatre of war

19 Feb 2022

Theatre of war

Columnists

Columns
Katy BallsKaty Balls
No one has done more to save Boris than Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson has a lot of people to thank for his survival in 10 Downing Street, but Keir Starmer should be at the top of the list. The Labour leader whipped his MPs to side with the government when lockdown votes looked tricky. Labour even saved Johnson from a defeat in the Commons over vaccine passports. But Starmer’s greatest service came last month, on a day that could have finished Johnson for good. Members of the 2019 crop of Tory MPs had met to discuss their problems with the Prime Minister.

No one has done more to save Boris than Keir Starmer
Rod Liddle
We blew our chance to befriend Putin

You have the advantage over me. It may be that you are reading this now in your makeshift fallout shelter, hair falling out and bleeding from the gums as the nuclear winter descends. More likely you are saying, rather smugly, to your neighbour: ‘I knew he was taking the piss. He’s a right one, that Putin.’ Or perhaps Vlad’s forces are already in London, having swept through western Europe in about eight hours, the Germans for once outdoing the French with their alacrity to surrender.

We blew our chance to befriend Putin
Douglas Murray
Work is no place for your ‘whole self’

One of the few things I have learned in this life is that Dante Alighieri was wrong. In the Inferno portion of The Divine Comedy (the only part most people read), the great Florentine poet describes hell as having just nine circles. Whereas whenever I survey matters it has always seemed me that this figure is on the low side. In fact I would go further. I would say that if you look down there is always a circle below every circle.

Work is no place for your ‘whole self’
Matthew Parris
Taking Ukraine would finish Putin

‘Never interrupt your enemy,’ said Napoleon, ‘when he is making a mistake.’ A Russian invasion and occupation of Ukraine would prove (perhaps, by the time this Spectator is published, ‘will’ prove) a terrible mistake. Were it not for the death and despoliation such a mistake would bring — an outcome one could never welcome — the response to Vladimir Putin’s implicit threats should surely be: bring it on! When we told Russia they’d only be hurting themselves, did we not mean it? For the free world, an invasion would be a dark cloud; but, though I hate to speak of silver linings, the ultimate downfall of Putin, the severing of prospective Russian gas supplies to Germany and the kicking of Westminster into finally squaring up to the City’s dirty trade in money-laundering would be a silver lining.

Taking Ukraine would finish Putin
Lionel Shriver
Our monetary bubble is about to burst

OK, I finally watched Netflix’s Don’t Look Up. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it — especially before its effective subtitle for us thickos, THIS IS A METAPHOR FOR CLIMATE CHANGE, YOU F-ING MORONS. Otherwise, the film might have playfully dramatised the more general phenom of fiddling with celebrity bodices while Rome burns. The comet at which I’m looking up could arrive far more immediately than perilous global warming. Money is in trouble.

Our monetary bubble is about to burst
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