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 November 2005

A Bad Hair Day for Tony Blair at the Chocolate Factory
Rivers of fudge are to be expected from corporate PR people, but the Cadbury factory at Bourneville has an unusually impressive one -- an endless six-feet-wide flow of the soft, brown confection, about to be sliced into ribbons, then chopped into tiny...
Abillionaire at Bay
DIRTY POLITICS , DIRTY TIMES by Michael Ashcroft MAA Publishing, £20, pp. 320, ISBN 1904734111 . £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 In the late 1990s it began to look as if the media were gunning for millionaire Tories in alphabetical order. First...
Abillionaire at Bay
DIRTY POLITICS , DIRTY TIMES by Michael Ashcroft MAA Publishing, £20, pp. 320, ISBN 1904734111 . £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 In the late 1990s it began to look as if the media were gunning for millionaire Tories in alphabetical order. First...
A Disaster Waiting to Happen
THE ASSASSIN 'SGATE : A MERICA IN IRAQ by George Packer Faber, £12.99, pp. 352, ISBN 0571230431 . £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 NIGHT DRAWS NEAR : IRAQ'S PEOPLE IN THE SHADOW OF AMERICA 'SWAR by Anthony Shadid Henry Holt & Co. , $26,...
Band of Brothers
ASHES VICTORY by the England Cricket Team Orion, £12.99, pp. 208, ISBN 0752875175 . £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 BEING FREDDIE by Andrew Flintoff Hodder, £18.99, pp. 315, ISBN 0340896280 . £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 CALLING...
Band of Brothers
ASHES VICTORY by the England Cricket Team Orion, £12.99, pp. 208, ISBN 0752875175 . £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 BEING FREDDIE by Andrew Flintoff Hodder, £18.99, pp. 315, ISBN 0340896280 . £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 CALLING...
Bath on the Brink
When Malcolm Muggeridge recalled the Manchester Guardian he had worked for in the early 1930s and wanted to illustrate its flavour of hand-wringing anguish, he would quote a leader with the sentence, 'One is sometimes tempted to suspect that the Greeks...
Bath on the Brink
When Malcolm Muggeridge recalled the Manchester Guardian he had worked for in the early 1930s and wanted to illustrate its flavour of hand-wringing anguish, he would quote a leader with the sentence, 'One is sometimes tempted to suspect that the Greeks...
Bullying for Charity
Here are three pastimes the government has either banned, is about to ban, or talks about banning some time in the future: hunting with dogs, smoking in pubs and drinking alcohol on public transport. What have they got in common? First, each is enjoyed...
Bullying for Charity
Here are three pastimes the government has either banned, is about to ban, or talks about banning some time in the future: hunting with dogs, smoking in pubs and drinking alcohol on public transport. What have they got in common? First, each is enjoyed...
Chipps with Everything
SEAHORSE ! BETWEEN THE SEAAND THE SADDLE by Chipps Selby Bennett Halsgrove, £16.99, pp. 400, ISBN 1841144819 Commander Chipps Selby Bennett was a traditional officer and a gentleman; a Dorset dandy with a monocle, tartan trews and size 12 shoes. He's...
Chipps with Everything
SEAHORSE ! BETWEEN THE SEAAND THE SADDLE by Chipps Selby Bennett Halsgrove, £16.99, pp. 400, ISBN 1841144819 Commander Chipps Selby Bennett was a traditional officer and a gentleman; a Dorset dandy with a monocle, tartan trews and size 12 shoes. He's...
Cult Following
I've always been amused by certain clubs and cults that people join either to enhance their status and self-importance or merely to be different. The organisations they become members of often strike me as being rather ridiculous -- almost as ridiculous,...
Cult Following
I've always been amused by certain clubs and cults that people join either to enhance their status and self-importance or merely to be different. The organisations they become members of often strike me as being rather ridiculous -- almost as ridiculous,...
Diary
There was a surreal touch to last Sunday's newspapers. The inside sections, which tend to be prepared a little in advance, brimmed, as usual, with pieces about the delights of living in France. The news pages, by contrast, carried pictures of French...
Diary
There was a surreal touch to last Sunday's newspapers. The inside sections, which tend to be prepared a little in advance, brimmed, as usual, with pieces about the delights of living in France. The news pages, by contrast, carried pictures of French...
Elusive Brothers in Arms
THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK by Roger Macdonald Constable, £17.99, pp. 348, ISBN 1845291018 . £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 THE FOUR MUSKETEERS by Kari Maund and Phil Nanson Tempus, £17.99, pp. 223, ISBN 0752435035 . £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p)...
Elusive Brothers in Arms
THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK by Roger Macdonald Constable, £17.99, pp. 348, ISBN 1845291018 . £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 THE FOUR MUSKETEERS by Kari Maund and Phil Nanson Tempus, £17.99, pp. 223, ISBN 0752435035 . £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p)...
Getting to Know Powell
Dancing to the Music of Time: the Life and Work of Anthony Powell Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, W1, until 5 February 2006 Most novel-readers will be aware that Anthony Powell's celebrated romanfleuve A Dance to the Music of Time is named after...
Getting to Know Powell
Dancing to the Music of Time: the Life and Work of Anthony Powell Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, W1, until 5 February 2006 Most novel-readers will be aware that Anthony Powell's celebrated romanfleuve A Dance to the Music of Time is named after...
Hotspot
New York When Jean-Marie Le Pen democratically won the right to challenge the incumbent Jacques Chirac for the presidency in 2002, I wrote in this here space that happiness was to wake up and find Le Pen president of France. By the reaction I had, you'd...
Hotspot
New York When Jean-Marie Le Pen democratically won the right to challenge the incumbent Jacques Chirac for the presidency in 2002, I wrote in this here space that happiness was to wake up and find Le Pen president of France. By the reaction I had, you'd...
How Does Tony Survive? Eloquence, Unction and the Abuse of Power
No prime minister, with the debatable exception of Anthony Eden, has been held in such low private esteem by senior civil servants as Tony Blair. Cabinet secretaries Robin Butler and Richard Wilson have delivered withering public verdicts on the slipshod...
Japs
The Shiva Naipaul memorial prize is awarded annually to the contestant best able, like the late Shiva Naipaul, to describe a visit to a foreign place or people. It is not for travel writing in the conventional sense, but for the most acute and profound...
Japs
The Shiva Naipaul memorial prize is awarded annually to the contestant best able, like the late Shiva Naipaul, to describe a visit to a foreign place or people. It is not for travel writing in the conventional sense, but for the most acute and profound...
King and I
We are walking across a long bridge, shallowcurved and strumming with cars that skim past us on flat planes of water, fish-belly silver. Alongside the path that drops away from the bridge a fresh white line has been painted and where it comes to an...
King and I
We are walking across a long bridge, shallowcurved and strumming with cars that skim past us on flat planes of water, fish-belly silver. Alongside the path that drops away from the bridge a fresh white line has been painted and where it comes to an...
Listen and Learn
The Midsummer Marriage Royal Opera House Il diluvio universale Drury Lane Michael Tippett's first opera The Midsummer Marriage is so great that one can afford to admit that it isn't perfect. He tries to do too many things in it, and so despite its considerable...
Listen and Learn
The Midsummer Marriage Royal Opera House Il diluvio universale Drury Lane Michael Tippett's first opera The Midsummer Marriage is so great that one can afford to admit that it isn't perfect. He tries to do too many things in it, and so despite its considerable...
Making Hatred History
From Sher Khan Sir: Alasdair Palmer, in his article 'Muslims are an ethnic group' (5 November), asserts that the supporters of the government's Bill to prohibit incitement to religious hatred have just not looked at its details carefully enough. It...
Making Hatred History
From Sher Khan Sir: Alasdair Palmer, in his article 'Muslims are an ethnic group' (5 November), asserts that the supporters of the government's Bill to prohibit incitement to religious hatred have just not looked at its details carefully enough. It...
Norman Wisdom
As a child I would stand looking in fascinated horror at the enormous polar bear pinning down an unfortunate seal. Then on to the equally immense tiger 'shot by King George V', roaring and prowling in its glass case. Followed by the mummy, donated in...
Norman Wisdom
As a child I would stand looking in fascinated horror at the enormous polar bear pinning down an unfortunate seal. Then on to the equally immense tiger 'shot by King George V', roaring and prowling in its glass case. Followed by the mummy, donated in...
Playing with Shakespeare
The notion of updating Shakespeare always strikes me as a curious one. For a start it assumes that the audience is stupid. Do we say, 'I hadn't realised that Julius Caesar contains universal themes of ambition and betrayal until I saw it set on the...
Playing with Shakespeare
The notion of updating Shakespeare always strikes me as a curious one. For a start it assumes that the audience is stupid. Do we say, 'I hadn't realised that Julius Caesar contains universal themes of ambition and betrayal until I saw it set on the...
Portrait of the Week
Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, insisted on pressing ahead with a Bill to allow police to hold anyone suspected of a terrorist offence for 90 days without charge. The government prepared legislation to allow terrorists who had fled Northern Ireland...
Portrait of the Week
Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, insisted on pressing ahead with a Bill to allow police to hold anyone suspected of a terrorist offence for 90 days without charge. The government prepared legislation to allow terrorists who had fled Northern Ireland...
Profiles in Courage
Have you ever escaped from captivity by removing from your boot the serrated surgical wire cunningly disguised as a shoelace and sawing through the windpipe of your hapless, squirming guard? Me neither, but I know someone who has. He's a lovely old...
Profiles in Courage
Have you ever escaped from captivity by removing from your boot the serrated surgical wire cunningly disguised as a shoelace and sawing through the windpipe of your hapless, squirming guard? Me neither, but I know someone who has. He's a lovely old...
Reignited Spark
Any moment now it will be 25 years since John Lennon died. Twenty-five years! How did that happen? I can remember exactly where I was when I heard about it: lying in bed at home, listening to the radio in an early-morning haze. I immediately went downstairs...
Reignited Spark
Any moment now it will be 25 years since John Lennon died. Twenty-five years! How did that happen? I can remember exactly where I was when I heard about it: lying in bed at home, listening to the radio in an early-morning haze. I immediately went downstairs...
Restaurants
I've been looking forward to the new restaurant Roast for ages. It's the brainchild of Iqbal Wahhab, of Cinnamon Club fame, who, as far as I can gather from what I've read, wants to 'vault British cooking back on the international stage' if it was ever...
Restaurants
I've been looking forward to the new restaurant Roast for ages. It's the brainchild of Iqbal Wahhab, of Cinnamon Club fame, who, as far as I can gather from what I've read, wants to 'vault British cooking back on the international stage' if it was ever...
Seeing off the Opposition
THE THIRD REICH IN POWER ,1933-1939 by Richard J. Evans Penguin/Allen Lane, £30, pp. 901, ISBN 0713996498 . £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Is there no limit to the modern world's obsession with the Third Reich? Hitler died just 60 years ago,...
Seeing off the Opposition
THE THIRD REICH IN POWER ,1933-1939 by Richard J. Evans Penguin/Allen Lane, £30, pp. 901, ISBN 0713996498 . £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Is there no limit to the modern world's obsession with the Third Reich? Hitler died just 60 years ago,...
Small Is Beautiful
THE NORWEGIAN FEELING FOR REAL edited by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck and Jan Kjaerstad Harvill, £16.99, pp. 269, ISBN 184343221 . £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The British, publishers and booksellers regularly tell us, have an antipathy...
Small Is Beautiful
THE NORWEGIAN FEELING FOR REAL edited by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck and Jan Kjaerstad Harvill, £16.99, pp. 269, ISBN 184343221 . £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 The British, publishers and booksellers regularly tell us, have an antipathy...
Spectator Christmas Wine Club
This is the first of our two Christmas selections, and Armit have come up with an exceedingly generous festive offer. With most of the selections, you get twelve bottles for the price of ten -- a substantial discount. This brings some terrific wines...
The Boy Done Bad
THATCHER'S FORTUNES by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran Mainstream, £17.99, pp. 400, ISBN 184018972X . £14.30 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 One of Sir Mark Thatcher's friends once told him he was 'born guilty'. Many, including the two authors...
The Boy Done Bad
THATCHER'S FORTUNES by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran Mainstream, £17.99, pp. 400, ISBN 184018972X . £14.30 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 One of Sir Mark Thatcher's friends once told him he was 'born guilty'. Many, including the two authors...
The Crescent of Fear
As France burned, the mullahs arrived on the scene, shook their heads sadly and immediately issued a fatwa. However, for the many Frenchmen who may have shuddered inwardly when they heard the term so invoked, this was a good fatwa, a nice fatwa, a fatwa...
The Crescent of Fear
As France burned, the mullahs arrived on the scene, shook their heads sadly and immediately issued a fatwa. However, for the many Frenchmen who may have shuddered inwardly when they heard the term so invoked, this was a good fatwa, a nice fatwa, a fatwa...
The Politics of Terror
When history comes to make a final judgment on the Blair government -- and we can be forgiven for hoping that moment is not too much longer delayed -- there is one key statistic by which to assess the Prime Minister's performance. Since 1997 the Labour...
The Politics of Terror
When history comes to make a final judgment on the Blair government -- and we can be forgiven for hoping that moment is not too much longer delayed -- there is one key statistic by which to assess the Prime Minister's performance. Since 1997 the Labour...
The Riots May Be Just What the French Economy Needs
Ask any former drug addict. You've got to hit rock bottom before you are ready for cold turkey. What France is facing now is the equivalent of waking up on a soiled mattress in a crack-house you cannot remember entering. It may be what France needs....
The Silence of the Lambs of the BBC
One afternoon last month, TV viewers who receive the daily email trailing the contents of that evening's BBC Newsnight were promised a treat. 'We have a big Newsnight investigation tonight, ' revealed Jeremy Paxman. 'Some of the tightest laws in the...
The Spectator's Notes
Les événements in France have provoked self-congratulation here. Apparently, the French model of assimilation is bad. If they had our multiculturalism, the celebration of diversity and ethnic monitoring, everything would be much better, it is said....
The Spectator's Notes
Les événements in France have provoked self-congratulation here. Apparently, the French model of assimilation is bad. If they had our multiculturalism, the celebration of diversity and ethnic monitoring, everything would be much better, it is said....
The Still Unwithered Laurel Wreath
SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC by David Crane HarperCollins, £25, pp. 657, ISBN 0007159687 . £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 In the reviewer's childhood, Scott was a national hero, almost as revered as Nelson. Revisionists did what they could in the...
The Sultan of Multan
The one-off splendours of Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq offer a spicy tang to England's first post-Ashes Test match which begins today in his hometown of Multan. The contrast with that soft-showered, gold-leaved autumn evening of hurrahs at the...
The Sultan of Multan
The one-off splendours of Pakistan's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq offer a spicy tang to England's first post-Ashes Test match which begins today in his hometown of Multan. The contrast with that soft-showered, gold-leaved autumn evening of hurrahs at the...
The Thinking Man's Poet
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH by Anthony Kenny Continuum, £25, pp. 304, ISBN 08264738782 . £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 'The most intellectual British poet of the 19th century' is Anthony Kenny's judgment of Arthur Hugh Clough -- a tribute which implies...
The Thinking Man's Poet
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH by Anthony Kenny Continuum, £25, pp. 304, ISBN 08264738782 . £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 'The most intellectual British poet of the 19th century' is Anthony Kenny's judgment of Arthur Hugh Clough -- a tribute which implies...
Timeless Grace
Manon Royal Opera House O, Michael Clark Company The Barbican Some dance works age, some don't. Yet it is difficult to pinpoint the factors that bestow immortality on something as ephemeral as ballet. In the case of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, however,...
Timeless Grace
Manon Royal Opera House O, Michael Clark Company The Barbican Some dance works age, some don't. Yet it is difficult to pinpoint the factors that bestow immortality on something as ephemeral as ballet. In the case of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, however,...
Toeing the Party Line
WHAT WEBELIEVE BUT CANNOT PROVE : TODAY'S LEADING THINKERS ON SCIENCE IN THE AGE OF CERTAINTY edited by John Brockman Simon & Schuster, £9.99, pp. 266, ISBN 0743275926 . £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 John Brockman, the New York literary...
Toeing the Party Line
WHAT WEBELIEVE BUT CANNOT PROVE : TODAY'S LEADING THINKERS ON SCIENCE IN THE AGE OF CERTAINTY edited by John Brockman Simon & Schuster, £9.99, pp. 266, ISBN 0743275926 . £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 John Brockman, the New York literary...
Twelve to Follow
I was all ready for it to rain on the bonfires last Saturday night. Mrs Oakley's cat and I share a deep dislike of Guy Fawkes night, in my case induced by going into hospital one long ago 6 November with a rugby-mashed face and seeing how many miserable...
Twelve to Follow
I was all ready for it to rain on the bonfires last Saturday night. Mrs Oakley's cat and I share a deep dislike of Guy Fawkes night, in my case induced by going into hospital one long ago 6 November with a rugby-mashed face and seeing how many miserable...
Weighty Issues
Last week I paid 400 quid for a health screening. I had a number of minor worries -- lump on ball, expanding mole, chest pain -- that I wanted to clear up but didn't want to bother my doctor about because he's such a busy man. Going to see him is usually...
Weighty Issues
Last week I paid 400 quid for a health screening. I had a number of minor worries -- lump on ball, expanding mole, chest pain -- that I wanted to clear up but didn't want to bother my doctor about because he's such a busy man. Going to see him is usually...
Why Britain Can't Make It
Cape Town I can see the progress of Britain better than you because I don't live there. I did for a while as a young adult, from 1972 to 1982, and have vivid memories of Britain then and of episodes such as the three-day week and the winter of discontent....
Why Britain Can't Make It
Cape Town I can see the progress of Britain better than you because I don't live there. I did for a while as a young adult, from 1972 to 1982, and have vivid memories of Britain then and of episodes such as the three-day week and the winter of discontent....
Why Cameron Should Avoid Scotland
Eleven months ago Kirsty Wark, arguably Britain's best-known female television presenter, hosted a New Year party at her Majorcan villa that included among the guests Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, and his family. Last Monday, David McLetchie,...
Will London Burn Too?
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, has warned recently of 'sleepwalking our way to segregation'. Although he was not speaking principally about Muslims, they have become perhaps the most dominant group in British society....
Will London Burn Too?
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, has warned recently of 'sleepwalking our way to segregation'. Although he was not speaking principally about Muslims, they have become perhaps the most dominant group in British society....
Young People Are the Business
Lazy, ignorant, shallow and irresponsible, more interested in taking drugs than in proper study, too apathetic to make it to the polling station but not to an ecstasy-fuelled rave: those are the images often associated with young people in modern Britain....
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