The Spectator

Letters: Rod Liddle is on the side of experts

Work to do Sir: I agree with Kate Andrews’s diagnosis: the nation’s mental health is appalling and a major barrier to our economic prosperity (‘Sick list’, 24 February). I agree with her criticism of the treatment offered by the health service: we are failing to restore people to working health. Antidepressants are handed out like

Which year was the worst for strikes? 

Populist roots Where did the term ‘populist’ come from? The original Populist party grew out of the Farmers’ Alliance, a movement set up to fight corporate interests in the US in the 1880s. It then joined with other minor parties to fight the 1892 presidential election under the Populist banner. Its candidate James B. Weaver

Net-zero targets have hamstrung British prosperity

Britain’s ‘net-zero economy’ is booming, creating more better-paid jobs than any other sector, but it is all being put at risk by the government’s reversal on policies on electric vehicles and heat pumps. That, at any rate, is what the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) wants us

Letters: Rishi’s ‘road tour’ is not a good idea

Navy to the fore Sir: In Eliot Wilson’s stimulating article highlighting the lack of capability within our armed forces (‘Losing battle’, 17 February), he comments on the reduced size of the army and the fact that it would be pressed to contribute a brigade to any conflict in the near future. This reminded me of

2639: Spelling the End – solution

Prospero said ‘I’ll drown my book’ (The Tempest 5.1.56), illustrated by three volumes at the bottom of lake. First prize  Eleanor Morrall, Coseley, West Midlands Runners-up  Peter Marginson, Wilmslow, Cheshire; Roger Sherman, Richmond, Surrey

Citizens’ assemblies are a dreadful idea

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour party is a government-in-waiting desperately searching for ideas. It says much about the leader of the opposition that arguably the biggest proposal he’s put forward comes not from him but from his chief of staff, Sue Gray. She, it seems, is enthused about the idea of citizens’ assemblies, and wants more

Punch and Judy Revisited

for Anna Punch has made up with Judy and put his big stick away. He’s happy to cuddle the baby. He’s a new man as from today. A husband on best behaviour. A loving father restored. But preferring him as raver the audience feels cheated and bored. Bring back the Judge and the gallows the

Letters: no wonder Gen Z-ers don’t want to fight

The many not the few Sir: Your leading article (‘The people problem’, 3 February) fails to get to the heart of this issue. Yes, more needs to be done to reform welfare to encourage people back to work. But nowhere do you mention the need for employers to be more open-minded in their recruitment. There

2638: Capital fellow – solution

The key word is Berliner: 37D/26D said ‘9D Berliner’; 13A, 3D, and 20D are newspaper formats; 26A, 40A and 28D are doughnuts. First prize  Sam Snell, London SE10 Runners-up  Mike Morrison, London N20; Guy Taylor, London EC1

The Tories are too weak to capitalise on Labour’s failings

The polls suggest that Labour is in line for a general election victory later this year which could match or even exceed Tony Blair’s landslide of 1997. Yet the party exudes none of the confidence and maintains none of the self-discipline which it did 27 years ago. On the contrary, were the Conservatives not in

Did Rishi Sunak need to introduce a smoking ban?

To the surprise of some, the Prime Minister used his conference speech in Manchester last year to announce a New Zealand-style lifelong ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after a cut-off date of 31 December 2008. The ban, which has since been announced in the King’s Speech as the Tobacco and

Letters: where did St Blaise go?

Too many not too few Sir: I have to disagree with your article ‘The people problem’ (3 February). There is a ‘people problem’ in the world but it is – globally – not too few, but too many people. In my own lifetime the world’s population has approximately tripled. This rate of increase is manifestly

How many people are switching religions? 

Rough drafts Ian Lavender, who died aged 77, was best-known for playing Private Pike, an out-of-place young man in a group of elderly Home Guardsmen in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Yet in reality Pike was much closer in age to the majority of those who served in the Home Guard. A sample analysed for

2637: Born to sing – solution

The unclued lights are the given names of pop stars. The pairs are 7D/20, 12/11, 25/24, 26/1D and 33/8. First prize Karen Bloom, Allington, Maidstone, Kent Runners-up Bernard Golding, Earsdon, Whitley Bay; D.P. Shenkin, London WC1