Colin Robinson, biographer of the sage who so influenced Thatcherism, says that Seldon has no counterpart now — the Tory party is no longer receptive to such challenging ideasArthur Seldon deserves greater recognition as a central figure in a small group of economic policymakers which started the transformation of the British economy in the last two decades of the 20th century. Seldon, who was born in 1916 in London into an émigré Russian Jewish family, was orphaned early in life and brought up by his adoptive parents in the Jewish East End in a community in which hard work, self-help and caring for the disadvantaged were the norms.
John Kampfner unveils the ignominious truth about Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq inquiry and reveals Peter Mandelson’s demand, when Brown’s future hung in the balance in early June, that the hearings be held in private. Even now Mandelson’s priority is to protect Brand BlairThe charge sheet is long and yet the dock is empty. One of the most extraordinary aspects of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war has been the ability of those responsible to evade any form of reckoning.
‘Who would ever have thought,’ asked David Hockney, ‘that drawing would return via the telephone?’ It is a typical Hockney point, wry, unexpected, connecting high-tech with low — and in this case undeniably true. Lately he has taken to drawing on his iPhone, with results that are luminous, and wonderfully free in draughtsmanship. ‘I must admit,’ he says, ‘that the iPhone technique took me quite a while to develop — I do them mostly with my thumb.
The next election will present voters with two distinct futures, says Irwin Stelzer: Labour’s rising taxes and love of the EU, or the Tories’ spending cuts and plans for the ‘broken society’Where is the clear blue water? MPs in both the Labour and the Tory parties have engaged in behaviour that is illegal, or tawdry, or both. Both parties are responsible for the dire financial condition in which the country finds itself, Labour by spending and spending during the fat years, the Tories by promising to spend just as much if given the chance, instead of calling for restraint.
Rod Liddle says that the French President may be right about Islam’s ideological content but that his proposal is shockingly illiberal and wrong-headedI’ve been in the Middle East for the last three or four days — just trying to help out, you know, anything one can do — and staying in a hotel which is renowned for its profusion and diversity of whores. Stick a pin in one of those United Nations lists of comparative prosperity, healthcare, life-expectancy rates etc, and I guarantee that a female representative of that country will be — as the Bangladeshi bellhop put it — ‘slinging pussy’ in the lobby or the late-nite bar, or as you are forlornly requesting hot coffee at breakfast time.
Peter Hoskin and Matthew d’Ancona count down the first 25 of The Spectator’s 50 Essential FilmsThe studio logo fades. The opening credits roll. And so we come to the main feature: The Spectator’s 50 Essential Films — a selection of the very best that cinema has to offer, and all in glorious Technicolor.This isn’t just a celebration of motion pictures — though it’s certainly that — but also a testament to The Spectator’s own passion for the medium.