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 December 2005

A Brace of Noble Piles
ROUND ABOUT CHATSWORTH by the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire Frances Lincoln, £12.99, pp. 176, ISBN 0711225370 . £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 HOLKHAM by Leo Schmidt et al. Prestel, £30, pp. 240, ISBN 379133414X . £24 (plus £2.45 p&p)...
Addicted to Powell
Radio Four marked the centenary of the birth of Anthony Powell by serialising for Book at Bedtime his novel From a View to a Death, a comedy of manners read by Sir Derek Jacobi, and repeating Sunday Best: Dancing to the Music of His Time, presented...
A Hedonist of the Old School
NORMAN DOUGLAS : A PORTRAIT edited by Wilhelm Meusberger, Michael Allan and Helmut Swozilek Edizione La Conchigli, Via le Botteghe, Capri, Euros 37, ISBN 8886443803 When the hero of Cyril Connolly's novel The Rock Pool was asked which modern writers...
Ancient & Modern
The principles behind 'synthetic phonics', the latest educational reading nostrum, have been around for thousands of years. Heaps of papyrus exercises, exercisebooks (and a primary school textbook) have been found, dating from the Greek world of the...
'As Ians Don't Hug'
Singapore No one outside Singapore's steeltrap judiciary knows for sure whether Darshan Singh hanged Nguyen Tuong Van, of Melbourne, in Changi on Friday 2 December. A week earlier, Darshan said he'd been sacked as chief hangman after a series of embarrassingly...
A Talent for the Unexpected
SOME POETS , ARTISTS AND 'A REFERENCE TO MELLORS 'by Anthony Powell Timewell Press, £25, pp. 400, ISBN 1857252101 A novelist needn't know anything, but it's nice when he does. One can't help feeling that previous generations of novelists, often having...
Austria and the Jews
From the Austrian Ambassador Sir: In Austria it is illegal publicly to deny the Holocaust ('Let Irving speak', 3 December). 'Words are deeds, ' said Sigmund Freud, and in Austria we are aware of this connection. 'There is no more anti-Semitic nation...
Beguiling Visionary
Samuel Palmer: Vision and Landscape British Museum, until 22 January 2006 This year is the bicentenary of Samuel Palmer's birth, and the British Museum, in partnership with the Metropolitan Museum in New York (where the exhibition can be viewed 7 March-29...
Challenge Accepted
Falstaff English Touring Opera, Cambridge Violet Guildhall School Verdi's Falstaff is an opera which I have usually found it easier to admire than to love, but English Touring Opera's production, which has been going round the country since October,...
Challenged at the Top Level
BALD : FROM HAIRLESS HEROES TO COMIC COMBOVERS by Kevin Baldwin Bloomsbury, £9.99, pp. 229, ISBN 0747569509 . £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Coming as I do from a long line of hairless wonders, baldness has fascinated me since childhood. One...
Christmas Art Books
The only halfway festive offering in this year's crop of art books is Laurence Kanter and Pia Palladino's Fra Angelico (Yale, £40). Even in these secularised times, Angelico is still a favourite in the Christmas card stakes. First and foremost, however,...
Comparing Colossi
England's cricketers came rudely down to earth in the rose-red sandstone of Lahore, and they remain in the old Punjab for another week as they endeavour to pick up the pieces in the one-day rubber which begins today. Less than three months after the...
Cover Your Ears
Walking With Monsters (BBC1, Thursday) is an astounding production, making Walking With Dinosaurs look as homely as Animal Hospital. Gosh, there were some horrible beasts around 530 million years ago, and they have all been lovingly recreated so that...
Diary
The avalanche of words on last week's Adair pensions report seemed to miss one significant point. Retirement is likely to be delayed to 67 or even later. Yet there is no realistic possibility that most people can sustain, at such an age, the jobs they...
Floundering in the Shallows
NO MAN'S LAND by Graham Greene, with a foreword by David Lodge, edited by James Sexton Hesperus, £9.99, pp. 114, ISBN 184391414X . £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 This is a slim two-in-one offer of a pair of previously undisclosed 'novellas'...
Fresh Air
It has become a cliché in recent days to contrast the gloomy jowls of Gordon Brown, performing emergency surgery to his spending plans in the Commons, with the beaming countenance of David Cameron, radiating hope and happiness throughout the nation....
From Tax to Culture
The splendid extensions to London's art institutions have been widely celebrated yet the renaissance of Somerset House has barely made news beyond the metropolis. In the spirit of the 120-year lease granted by the Crown in 1998, the Somerset House Trust...
How Europe Betrays the Poor
Next week ministers from 150 countries will meet in Hong Kong to try to salvage the current round of world trade talks. All the traditional colour and ritual of WTO talks will be on display: there will be the usual giant papier-mâché models of George...
How Not to Lose Your Shirt in China
ONE BILLION CUSTOMERS : LESSONS FROM THE FRONT LINES OF DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA by James McGregor Nicholas Brealey, £14.99, pp. 312, ISBN 1857883586 . £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Each time I write something about human rights in China,...
I Get a Bung from the Unjust Steward -- He Must Be Due for an Audit
Gordon Brown is a son of the manse, so he will have been brought up on the Parable of the Unjust Steward. As stewards have been known to do, this one, we are told, had been fiddling the figures, and realised that his accounts would soon be audited....
Lessons from Latin America
Euro-diplomats are grinding their teeth in frustration. For 15 years they have been urging the nations of South America to form a supra-national union in mimicry of the EU. They have held seminars to teach the Latinos about the joys of integration....
Let's Get Serious
On 4 November, in the middle of the BBC Symphony Orchestra's 80th birthday concert for Pierre Boulez, a packed audience witnessed the rare sight of Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxell Davies and Boulez standing together on the platform at the...
Looking for Leipzig
David Hearsey, DFC, was a bomber pilot. Here he recalls participating in a raid over Leipzig in his Handley Page Halifax in February 1944. We set out on an easterly heading across the North Sea towards the Danish coast. I told the gunners, Wally and...
My War in Spain with the the Water Terrorist
Last winter, from the town of Manresa in Catalonia, I wrote on this page about an ancient house in the Pyrenees; a wicked 13th-century bishop; and the mysterious (some say divine) death-ray which shot from a shrine in the sacred mountain of Montserrat,...
Nearly a Burnt-Out Case
MELVILLE : HIS WORLD AND HIS WORK by Andrew Delbanco Picador, £25, pp. 415, ISBN 033037107X . £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Would-be artists clinging to the belief that they are in possession of strangely unrecognised genius draw comfort from...
Reclaim Our Streets
A new Arts Council-funded book suggests that members of the public should urinate on national monuments -- all in the name of 'corporate subversion', of course. DiY Survival, a collection produced by the art group C6, is packed with ideas on how to...
Shorn of Drama
Edward Scissorhands Sadler's Wells Theatre Few performance-makers possess Matthew Bourne's ability to create a striking opening sequence. Like his Nutcracker, Highland Fling, Swan Lake and Cinderella, Edward Scissorhands kicks off in a captivating and...
Sliding Back to Anarchy
New York My last week in the Bagel and then back to good old London. And it's just as well I'm still here, or some of Sunny Marlborough's children might take a swipe at me. Last week I wrote about the old duke, correctly calling him Sunny, a diminutive...
Stars of the Future
Russia's leader Vladimir Putin said the other day that he had got on better first time at George Bush's ranch than he had expected. 'He must have thought: "What's going to happen if he invites in a former Intelligence officer?" But Bush himself is the...
Suits You
For the first time in five years I have a brand-new suit. Charcoal grey with wide grey and blue pin-stripes. Singlebreasted. By Christian Dior. I got it in a Cancer Research charity shop. The jacket fits like a glove; the trousers are too long by only...
The Best V. the Worst
Just over a year ago Charles Duelfer was almost murdered by a suicide bomber in Baghdad. He was saved by the Kansas National Guardsmen in his security detail, who sacrificed their lives for his. The incident provides an allegory for what is happening...
The Great Art Bubble
Last week, on my second evening at Art Basel Miami, the Cannes Film Festival of the contemporary art world, I attended a dinner hosted by art-fair sponsors Bulgari in the old Dupont bank building in downtown Miami. Before dinner, the VIP collectors...
The Spectator's Notes
So now conservatives, and particularly Conservatives, must all change 'the way we look, the way we feel, the way we think and the way we behave'. It is a tribute to David Cameron's persuasive charm that he makes people want to do these things. He has...
The Triumph of Tradition
British politics froze for about 12 years after 16 September 1992, otherwise known as Black Wednesday. Real movement between the two main parties was imperceptible. The Conservative party, dominant for most of the 20th century, embarked on a long period...
Tory!Tory!Tory!
Mr David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative party in a ballot of members, beating Mr David Davis by 134,446 votes to 64,398. Mr Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his preBudget report astonished investors planning self-invested...
Use Your Head
Why do men behave so badly nowadays? I know that the question has been asked for more than 2,500 years, but it just so happens that, this time, it is entirely apposite. Any doctor who has worked in the NHS will tell you so. The explanation came to me...
Weeds and Wets
What makes you cry? I hesitate to ask this question in The Spectator, some of whose readers will not knowingly have blubbed since Mafeking. But having spent much of the past few weeks weeping over my Ashes DVDs, I marvel yet again at the ability of...
What Britain Can Learn from China
Of all the insights that Friedrich August von Hayek bequeathed to us, one in particular shines out today. It is that running through the ideological and political divisions of human history are two distinct and different ways of looking at the world....
Why Do My Labour Friends Send Their Children to Private School?
A good friend said something strange the other day. Her daughter, who is approaching her final school year, has asked if she can leave private school and go to the local sixth form college because she would like to make some new friends. Her mother...
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.