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 Vol. 297, No. 9211, 2005

Ancient & Modern
All lovers of elective oligarchy will applaud last month's ballot in Iraq, but that will not stop debates about America's role there. Athenians of the 5th century BC, committed like America to the idea of freedom, obsessively debated how to justify the...
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Baby, it's cold outside LEAVING HOME by Anita Brookner Viking, £12.99, pp. 168, ISBN 0670915688 £11.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848The very title of Leaving Home announces a quintessential Brookner theme. A heroine in her novels will always face...
Back in Business
Gingembre, former winner of both the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Scottish Grand National, is a natural show-off. He is a quality act and he knows it. Had he needed an alternative career, says his trainer Lavinia Taylor, male model would have suited. Stepping...
Birthday Treat
Four o'clock on the morning after my birthday and I was lying under an evergreen bush in somebody's front garden with my face buried in crisp leaf litter. I didn't know whose front garden I was in. Nor did I know what kind of bush it was. But I was very...
Brain Power
DURING a recent bridge tournament, I found myself unable to concentrate when faced with difficult contracts. My thoughts kept stalling: I couldn't form a plan. In fact, the only lucid thought I had all afternoon was: if my brain were an engine, I'd replace...
Champions Chelsea?
Not that soccer's ubiquitous hurly-burly has remotely gone away, but its yawping volumes are even increased next week with the resumption of serious international stuff and the two-leg frenzies of the Champions League. Setting sail with various degrees...
Defeat and Betrayal
Defeat and betrayal THE VOTE: How IT WAS WON AND HOW IT WAS UNDERMINED by Paul Foot Viking, £25, pp. 505, ISBN 067091536XWhen Paul Foot died last July, he was more widely and deeply mourned than any other journalist for years past, apart perhaps from...
Double Dutch
One of the most fascinating nuggets of information to emerge from the computer revolution in chess has been the realisation that it takes quite a lot to lose a game of chess. In the past it was thought that one tiny error - imperceptible to the non-grandmasterly...
Dull but Odd
TelevisionDull but oddWe tend to import American television as seen - comedies and cop shows, mainly - whereas they create their own versions of ours: The Weakest Link, The Office and, perhaps apocryphally, a Fawlty Towers which omitted the Basil character...
It Is a Constitutional Absurdity That Camilla Should Not Be Queen
I wonder whether our Prime Minister is historically minded enough to have compared himself lately with Stanley Baldwin? When Mr Blair was told that the Prince of Wales intended to marry Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles, would his first thought have been of...
Just Say No
GstaadFar be it from me to give advice to the Queen - last I heard she is one wise and experienced lady - but she's dining this week with the 13-member IOC evaluation commission, which is charged with judging the various bids of cities trying to land...
Letters
Safer in the StatesFrom Jeremy MoodeySir: James Bartholomew's article ('Die in Britain, survive in America', 12 February) brought back painful memories for me. Four years ago my otherwise healthy father died of a massive heart attack after several weeks...
Micawber with a Touch of Skimpole
Micawber with a touch of SkimpoleTHE WIT IN THE DUNGEON by Anthony Holden Little, Brown, £20, pp. 448, ISBN 0316859273 £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848FIERY HEART by Nicholas Roe Pimlico, £14.99, pp. 428, ISBN 0712602240 £12.99 (plus £2.25 p&p)...
Pigtails among the Haystacks
Pigtails among the haystacks THE DANGEROUS EDGE OF THINGS by Candida Lycett Green Doubleday, £18.99, pp. 336, ISBN 038560677X £16.99 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848During the bitter winter that seized Britain in earnest at the end of January 1947,...
Respectful Boredom
OperaRespectful boredomLa Clemenza di TitoColiseumCandideRoyal Festival HallThe new production of Mozart's penultimate opera La Clemenza di Tito (why is the title not translated?) by ENO generates an atmosphere of resigned, dignified and respectful boredom....
Restaurants
RESTAURANTSI go abroad for a week and what do I find when I get home? That Ikea has been stormed by large chunks of Edmonton! I was absolutely livid, not least because I'm one of the people who, some time ago now, not only campaigned against the storming...
Save Us from Charity
LaikipiaWhile out and about I encountered several groups of excited people walking through the bush near the farm. There were old men in blankets, women in beads with freshly applied red ochre on their scalps and youths with plastic flowers wound into...
Speaking Out
Now that the law lords appear to care more about the rights of alleged terrorists than they do about protecting the public I suppose we'll just have to hang around and wait until someone commits a terrorist outrage. It's difficult to know what to make...
Stand Up to America
The war on terror will be concluded, George W. Bush has suggested, when citizens of the free world no longer live in fear. Everyone, that is, except Britons accused of crimes in America. Last week, three former investment bankers with the NatWest, David...
Take the Yellow Brick Road
Ever since W.S. Gilbert's Lady Jane lamented, 'Oh, South Kensington!' in Patience, 1881, the place has carried a regretful quality. Owing to the extraordinary lack of confidence shown by successive governments and Treasury officials in the educational...
The Decline of the West?
The decline of the West? THE WHOLE EQUATION: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD by David Thomson Little, Brown, £22.50, pp. 433, ISBN 0316848603 £20.50 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848David Thomson is one of a handful of highbrow film critics writing today, along...
The Dogs Have Had Their Day
The scene in the ballroom at the Prince of Wales hotel at Southport last Sunday night belonged more readily to a Surtees novel than the 21st century. The cream of British coursing - landowners, gypsies, dog-trainers, Irish raiders - were present to hear...
The End of Part of England
As soon as I see Bertha's rear end backing down the tailgate towards me, I think there has been some mistake. They told me they would find a nice quiet mare, given that I have never been riding before. Advancing upon me are the towering bay buttocks...
The Limits of Post-Mortem Knowledge
The limits of post-mortem knowledge BODY PARTS: ESSAYS ON LIFE-WRITING by Hermione Lee Chatto, £20, pp. 224, ISBN 0701177594 £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Not many collections of old reviews and lectures make worthwhile books, no matter how skilfully...
The Misery and Malevolence of Bad Bishop Galzaran Sacosta
Manresa, CataloniaGalzaran. The very name has a Gothic sound. It could have been dreamed up by some latter-day Tolkien for a malevolent goblin-in-chief.Here in Manresa, in inland Catalonia, you could imagine yourself in such a world: overshadowed by...
There Shone One Woman
There shone one woman MADAME DE STAËL by Maria Fairweather Constable & Robinson, £25, pp. 522, ISBN 1841198161 £23 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848In January 1798 Talleyrand gave a magnificent ball designed to honour Josephine, who had married...
There's No Place like Home
Is Hackney the future of the world? You may find it a horrifying thought, but many on the Left hope that it is. I don't mean the extortionate taxes, the crushingly bloated public sector, the government-by-political-correctness, the bankrupt school system,...
The Spectator's Notes
Tony Blair (who has introduced the most divisive law in modern times) thinks that George Bush 'owes him one' for his support over the Iraq war. But what form could the payment of the debt take? Bush's backing, after all, might make Blair even more unpopular...
The Stock Exchange Sells the Family Silver, So I May Have to Step in and Buy It
It may not be too late for me to bid for the Stock Exchange. Open season has now been declared, Deutsche Borse (Frankfurt) and Euronext (Paris and Amsterdam) are manoeuvring for position, and there must be room for one more contender. I could even offer...
To the Rescue
MG Rover almost committed industrial suicide late last year by prematurely trumpeting its anticipated joint venture with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. Indeed, it may yet be shown to have damaged itself irreparably, because it's not quite...
Uneasy Questions
DanceUneasy questionsNelken: Tanztheater WuppertalSadler's Wells TheatreNelken (Carnations) is rightly considered to be one of the most significant works both in the history of German Tanztheater and also, more specifically, in Pina Bausch's oeuvre....
Visitations of Delight
Neville Cardus died on 28 February 1975 at the age of 85. He was famous throughout the English-speaking world for his cricket writing (schoolchildren in India were required to recite his essay on Ranji), and his music criticism won the acclaim of a wider,...
Visual Poetry
ExhibitionsVisual poetryTurner Whistler MonetTate Britain until 15 MaySponsored by Ernst & YoungIt could so easily not have worked, this bold (some might say foolhardy) juxtaposition of three such dissimilar artists. Particularly if one of them was...
Why Bush Won't Back Howard
When George W. Bush arrives for his European visit next week, a special ceremony will be laid on in Brussels: the discreet burial of hatchets. Dinner with Jacques Chirac will start the rapprochement with Old Europe while other leaders wait in line, olive...
Why Labour Does Not Need the Jews
There is no 'Jewish' vote in Great Britain any more. There used to be, back in the time of Cable Street and Mosley and even up to 20 or so years ago. Jews used to vote, en masse, for Labour. But not now. At the last general election, the Jewish vote...
You Can't Go Home Again
You can't go home again MAXIMUM CITY: BOMBAY LOST AND FOUND by Suketu Mehta Review, £20, pp. 498, ISBN0747221596 £18 (plus £2.25 p&p) 0870 800 4848Bombay, the biggest city on the planet, is built on a combination of palm fronds, fish entrails and...
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