The Spectator

A weekly, UK-based magazine covering current political, economic, and cultural issues. Articles include interviews, commentary, opinion pieces, essays, and cultural criticism.

Articles from August 2007

A Healthy Enthusiasm for Danger
SUFFER AND SURVIVE : GAS ATTACKS, MINERS' CANARIES, SPACESUITS AND THE BENDS - THE EXTREME LIFE OF J.S. HALDANE by Martin Goodman Simon & Schuster, £14.99, pp. 422, ISBN 9780743285971 £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The picture on the...
A Major Defeat in the War to Defend the Free World
Shortly after the release of Alan Johnston from Gaza the website of Conflicts Forum, a group advocating engagement with Islamists and which is run by the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke, posted a fascinating transcript. Under the title 'Hamas briefing',...
Ancient & Modern
Apparently Gordon is planning another tax raid on savings, this time lifeinsurance companies which have 'too much' money in reserve against rainy days. After his last pension raid, this will not be a popular move. The Romans can help him solve the problem....
Ascot Shows Its Class
The late Jim Callaghan told a few of us one day about life in the House of Lords after being an MP in the Commons. 'In the Commons you wonder if you'll survive the next election. In the Lords you wonder if you'll live until Christmas.' On his first...
Birth of the Seaside
Impressionists by the sea Royal Academy until 30 September Sponsored by Farrow & Ball If we must have frequent Impressionist exhibitions, and it's clear from the public's insatiable appetite for them that we must, then at least let's have good ones....
Boundless Passion
L' Amore dei tre Re Opera Holland Park Macbeth Proms, Albert Hall Montemezzi's L'amore dei tre Re has had a puzzling history. It was first performed at La Scala in 1913 and was quite successful; far more successful under Toscanini at the New York Met,...
Brimming over with Music
'Hello, Gavin. Have you got the sackbuts with you?' Administrative magician Rebecca Rickard is dealing with what is, for her, a fairly ordinary sort of phone call in the greater scheme of things. As it turns out, Gavin (Henderson) has indeed got no...
Brown's Darfur Triumph Is Also His Test
Those who have exchanged fierce views on the invasion of Iraq have a fresh challenge this week: how to react to the UN resolution, tabled by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy with support from George W. Bush, to send 19,000 peacekeeping troops to the...
Dark Heart of the Deep South
END GAMES by Michael Dibdin Faber, £12.99, pp. 335, ISBN 9780571236152 £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Last March, after an unexpected illness, Michael Dibdin died at his home in Seattle. His death came as a shock to fans everywhere of crime...
Diary
I'm in Canada, three hours north of Toronto, up in the great wilderness. Well, wilderness with lattes if I'm being totally honest. I'm on Lake Joe, one of the three Muskoka lakes that are a little bit to Toronto as are the Hamptons to Manhattan. I'm...
Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody
MONDAY I can't take much more of this. Even Daddy says I need a holiday and our family motto is 'Don't Make a Fuss' (it sounds better in Latin). It's just unbearable, non-stop horridness. Every time we think we've got on top of it another Dipwig (Deeply...
Dog Days of Summer
On board S/Y Bushido Sailing away from St Tropez, I felt a bit like Lot; I asked the wife to take one last look, but Alexandra, alas, remained unsalty and very much in command. Portofino was the next stop, probably the most beautiful of tiny ports anywhere...
English Lessons
Sir: Graham Lord ('Is it a tough ask to speak proper English?', 28 July) gives a clue to the increase in use of bad English when he points out that recent immigrants from eastern Europe speak our language much better than many of our own young people...
Fount of All Gardens
The Antique Garden from Babylon to Rome Lemon House, Boboli Garden, Florence, until 28 October According to an Hellenic historian, Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the 6th century BC to make his wife, who was from a mountainous...
Homicidal Urges
During the wettest July since records began, I was completely dry. As usual, not drinking made me angry and withdrawn. As usual, I had homicidal urges and couldn't read. And, as usual, cleaning and polishing was the only way I could distract myself....
How to Feel Young Again
The older I become, the easier I find it to sink into that old-gittish state of believing everything has got worse with the passage of time. In my childhood there was the hippie movement, when young people felt that peace and love and expanding your...
I Don't Mean to Sneer, but Which Is More Important: Equality or Inclusion?
Like a good many of you, I imagine, I was worried that hosting the 2012 Olympic Games in London might send out the wrong sort of message, especially to our young people. The games have traditionally been an appallingly elitist and singularly competitive...
'Keep All on Gooing'
Francis King's new novel was published a few weeks ago. Nothing, you may say, remarkable about that. He is among the most professional of authors; writing novels is what he does. Well, yes, of course, but it is certainly worth remarking that his first...
Making the Stones Speak
FAREWELL BRITANIA : A FAMILY SAGA OF ROMAN BRITAIN by Simon Young Weidenfeld, £16.99, pp. 286, ISBN 9780297852261 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The current must-see exhibition at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2 (The Missing...
Midnight's Children
Yet another rash of programmes has erupted marking the anniversary of yet another of Britain's disastrous foreign policy decisions. At midnight on 14 August it will be 60 years since Nehru, as the prime minister of newly independent India, pronounced...
Misleading the Public
I was fascinated to watch the low-key struggle the other day between BBC and ITV executives, and members of the Commons culture committee. The television people said they were appalled by the chicanery revealed in various programmes -- premium-rate...
On the Road with Gordon in the Search for Hearts and Minds
It was a gamble, more than Gordon Brown's aides had cared to admit. Every last detail of the new Prime Minister's press conference at Camp David had been planned, from the tone of the Prime Minister's voice to the colour of his tie. The President's...
Rare Stamps in a Class of Their Own
Stamps, it is said, are the most valuable commodity on earth by weight. An 1868 Benjamin Franklin stamp, for example -- a standard-sized stamp weighing a fraction of a fraction of a gram -- was bought recently for $2.97 million by an American investor....
Reasons for Mr Cameron to Be Cheerful as the Summer Holidays Begin
Gordon Brown will not holiday abroad this summer. Not for him the allure of a Tuscan palace or the sunbeds of Sharm el-Sheikh. The Prime Minister has instead created perfect happiness inside his home in Fife: a room wired up to the 10 Downing Street...
Sick A-Hoy!
Iam not a sailor, but a couple of years ago I was invited to help crew a racing yacht across the Atlantic. The voyage home took 27 days, and I spent 26 of them hanging off the back of the boat throwing up. 'I suggest you never set foot on a boat again,...
Snap Shots
Always keen to buff up its romantic aura, Lord's this summer inaugurated a 'tradition' by nominating a different cricketing notable to toll the umpires' bell before each day's play. At last week's Test an old friend did the honours, fittingly because...
The Invisible Woman
THE ORDEAL OF ELIZABETH MARSH : A WOMAN IN WORLD HISTORY by Linda Colley HarperPress, £25, pp. 363, ISBN 9780007192182 £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Elizabeth Marsh was an undistinguished member of an unremarkable dynasty. She was neither famous...
The Promise Boris Must Make If He Is to Become Mayor of London
Boris Johnson could make a great Conservative candidate for the London mayoralty, and a great mayor of London. But he'll need to get the pitch right. I'm afraid the first thing he'll have to do is steer well clear of The Spectator. This splendid and...
The School of Hard Knocks
LIFE CLASS by Pat Barker Hamish Hamilton, £16.99, pp. 248, ISBN 9780241142974 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The Slade of the years immediately before the first world war has always been fertile ground for novelists. As Sarah MacDougall pointed...
The Spectator's Notes
Enoch Powell once said to me, 'I love the humbug of the English. I worship it. But I reserve the right from time to time to point it out.' I thought of this last week when I took part in Radio 4's Any Questions? , set up in the nave of Dorchester Abbey,...
View from the High Ground
It was, I think, Governor Winthrop, one of the founders of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who said that politicians must think of themselves as a house on a hill. I have never been sure if he meant that they had the advantage of being 'looked up...
Why Europe May Soon Split along Religious Lines
I wouldn't care to estimate how many words have been written so far on the draft EU reform treaty. If and when it becomes a legal document, the English language will have been near exhausted for new terms to express the fundamental theme of almost every...
Wired, Retired and So Hip It Hurts
Almost 200 years ago a grassroots movement began in Nottinghamshire close to Sherwood Forest -- the Luddite movement. The Luddites wreaked havoc for a short but intense period of time in a vain attempt to hold back the tides of technological change....
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.