23/04/2016
23 Apr 2016

The great pretender

23 Apr 2016

The great pretender

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Features
Simon Barnes
The fairytale factory

It’s one of the oldest stories of them all, deeply embedded in our nature and our culture. In some ways it’s the story that defines our humanity and we have told it a thousand times in a thousand different ways. It’s in the Bible with Joseph and his coat of many colours, it’s King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, it’s the ugly duckling, Cinderella, Great Expectations, Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre.

The fairytale factory
Fraser Nelson
How to save Conservatism

Iain Duncan Smith may have lost his job, but he has found a new whisky. It’s called Monkey Shoulder, and they became acquainted when he went to lie low in the Highlands after his resignation. When he went to buy a new bottle from Robertsons of Pitlochry he was told he’d have to wait a few days. ‘I told them not to worry, that I had more time on my hands. The man behind me said: “Yes, we know all about that — you were the talk of the town here for days.

How to save Conservatism
Douglas Murray
A poem for Erdogan

At the end of last month, a German comedian appeared on German television and read a poem mocking Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. Jan Böhmermann’s satire was directed, among other things, at the laws President Erdogan has been using to lock up his critics. Turkey — which David Cameron is still fighting to bring into the EU — now has some of the world’s most repressive speech laws. Numerous journalists have been arrested for ‘insulting’ President Erdogan and he has even been known to ban Twitter in the country when corruption allegations against him and his family have surfaced online.

A poem for Erdogan
Anne Applebaum
He speaks for America

[audioplayer src="http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/260046943-the-spectator-podcast-obamas-eu-intervention-the-pms.mp3" title="Janet Daley and Freddy Gray discuss Obama's overreach" startat=27] Listen [/audioplayer]You don’t like Barack Obama’s foreign policy? Fine, I don’t either. You are impatient to know who the next president will be? Me too. But if you think that the current American president’s trip to the UK this week is some kind of fanciful fling, or that his arguments against Brexit represent the last gasp of his final term in office, then you are deeply mistaken.

He speaks for America
Tim Montgomerie
Obama’s overreach

[audioplayer src="http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/260046943-the-spectator-podcast-obamas-eu-intervention-the-pms.mp3" title="Janet Daley and Freddy Gray discuss Obama's overreach" startat=27] Listen [/audioplayer]Nobody could describe Donald Trump as lacking in self-confidence, but the billionaire egomaniac is emotional jelly compared with King Barack. Even before he won the Nobel peace prize, Obama was telling America that his elevation to the presidency would be remembered as ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow’.

Obama’s overreach
Germaine Greer
My wild place

When I suggested that I might build a little tin house in the subtropical rainforest of south-east Queensland, I was advised by well-meaning folk that this probably wasn’t a very good idea. The forest would close in over the house; mildew and algae would grow on everything including me; the sun would not get above the surrounding scarps on the eastern side till mid-morning, only to plummet out of sight behind the scarps on the western side halfway through the afternoon — not that I’d notice, being penned in perpetual gloom under the forest canopy.

My wild place
Liam Mullone
Stress point

In the 1920s, the anthropologist Margaret Mead studied the people of New Guinea. She noticed that they hunted birds and squirrels but not flying squirrels. The tribesmen explained that they didn’t like flying squirrels: a thing should be either a bird or a squirrel. They wanted nothing to do with the dirty things. And while New Guineans of the 1920s were not leaders of scientific inquiry, Mead concluded that they were quite unstressed at work.

Stress point
Mark Mason
The game of the name

You have to pity the Welsh woman who was last week prevented by the Court of Appeal from naming her daughter ‘Cyanide’. An unusual choice, admittedly. And the mother’s defence — Cyanide is a ‘lovely, pretty name’ because it was the drug Hitler used to kill himself ‘and I consider that this was a good thing’ — didn’t help. But given some of the names being foisted on kids these days, Cyanide almost seems sensible.

The game of the name
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