23/04/2022
23 Apr 2022

The survivor

23 Apr 2022

The survivor

Featured articles

Features
Katy BallsKaty Balls
The survivor: how much longer can Boris Johnson keep going?

On Tuesday night, after apologising again to the House of Commons for breaking lockdown rules, Boris Johnson addressed a private meeting of Tory MPs. He had a message for his critics: ‘This is the beginning of the end.’ ‘For a minute, I thought he was talking about himself,’ says one MP. In fact, the Prime Minister was referring to his belief that the biggest political scandal of his premiership is reaching its finale – one in which he comes out on top.

The survivor: how much longer can Boris Johnson keep going?
Emily Hill
How I finally learned to love my eco-home

Nine years ago, when I invested every-thing I had in a part-rent, part-buy, one-bedroom, government-backed eco-home which proved to be a boiling box in summer, my first instinct was to throw myself out of a window – but I couldn’t because they opened only ten centimetres. My second was to complain about it in The Spectator. Now, I return to update you on my energy bills. Prepare to turn green with envy. Friends who live successful sorts of lives – involving houses, spouses and gardens – exclaim ‘Oh, so you weren’t joking about living in a J.

How I finally learned to love my eco-home
Jonathan Miller
Narcissist vs fantasist: France’s gruesome choice

Something strange is happening in advanced western democracies. In America and France, voters keep finding themselves choosing between candidates for whom they have very little affection. In America, we saw Clinton vs Trump, followed by Biden vs Trump. And in France this week, we have Macron vs Le Pen again. As many French voters now say, this is a choice between la peste (plague) et le choléra. Emmanuel Macron is disliked: arrogant and narcissistic to the point where he has compared himself to Jupiter, king of the gods.

Narcissist vs fantasist: France’s gruesome choice
Jade McGlynn
Why more and more Russians are backing the war

O, do the Russians long for war? Ask of the stillness evermore, Ask of the field, or ask the breeze, And ask the birch and poplar trees. So begins a famous Soviet-era song and poem, written by Yevgenii Yevtushenko during Khrushchev’s Thaw. Volodymyr Zelensky cited the poem in his eve-of-war address to Russians, hoping it would rekindle these pacifistic sentiments and encourage resistance against the Kremlin’s imminent invasion.

Why more and more Russians are backing the war
James Heale
Workshy Whitehall: why can’t the PM get his civil servants back to work?

‘Mother nature,’ says Boris Johnson, ‘does not like working from home.’ The Prime Minister wants workers to return to offices so they can have the ‘stimulus of exchange and competition’. His ministers are just as evangelical. Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, says he favours ‘being able to interact directly’ with colleagues and Rishi Sunak has spoken about how young people need the office space to learn. The nation’s employers should, they say, get their staff back to their desks.

Workshy Whitehall: why can’t the PM get his civil servants back to work?
Sean Thomas
Can you tell which of these artworks was created by a computer?

Take a look at the four paintings on this page. If you are acquainted with modern art, you will probably assume, at a quick glance, that it shows four works by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). However, whatever your knowledge of modern art, I suggest you look again, because not all of these works are by that great pioneer of abstract painting. More than one of them is an original image created by a computer model, which was asked to do a digital artwork in the style of Kandinsky.

Can you tell which of these artworks was created by a computer?
Michela Wrong
Hotel Rwanda: why does Kagame want to take in Britain’s asylum seekers?

If President Paul Kagame has been tracking the furore over Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, he’s been doing it on the hoof. Kagame moves constantly these days: the news broke while he was en route to Barbados after a visit to Jamaica. In the past two months he has been to Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya (twice), Zambia, Germany (twice), Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Mauritania, Senegal and Belgium. How the president of one of Africa’s poorest nations can afford all this travelling is a puzzle, and the fact that his Gulfstream jet is supplied by Crystal Ventures, his Rwandan Patriotic Front’s monopolistic investment arm, raises interesting budgetary questions.

Hotel Rwanda: why does Kagame want to take in Britain’s asylum seekers?
Cindy Yu
The Shanghai lockdown is testing the limits of the CCP’s control

For weeks, Shanghai’s 25 million residents were assured that they would not be locked down. Then when the order came, the lockdown was supposed to last only seven days. It is now almost into its fourth week, and the government is struggling to suppress the chaos. Last week, 82-year-old Yu Wenming called his neighbourhood committee to say he had run out of medicine and food. Rather than reassure him, the local official despaired.

The Shanghai lockdown is testing the limits of the CCP’s control
Next up: Columnists