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. 290, No. 9099, 2002

A Congregation of Clergymen
PRIESTS AND PRELATES: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH CLERICAL OBITUARIES compiled by Trevor Beeson Continuum, 16.99, pp. 256, ISBN 08264633 71 This highly readable selection of obituaries is based on the original more general collections of Hugh Massingberd. His...
Afro-Saxon Attitudes
Cape Town A SERIES of terrorist bomb blasts across South Africa, one of which killed a woman in Soweto, has rubbed a wound of resentment between Africans and Afrikaners. This terrorism, unlike 11 September, has not required us to worry about its `root...
Ancient & Modern
AS the argument over firemen's pay and conditions rumbles on, Mr John Scorer reminds me of the correspondence on the subject of a fire service between Pliny the younger, governor of Bithynia-Pontus in north-western Turkey, and the emperor Trajan. Pliny...
A Winning Performance from IDS, but Charles Kennedy Plays to the Gallery
ANOTHER VOICE My diary said eleven in the morning so I turned up in good time at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster last month, ready to do a turn for a sixth-form conference on politics. For half an hour or so I was to talk to an audience of...
Banned Wagon: Global
WESTERN nations are reluctantly coming to accept that the days of keeping Third World produce out of their markets through trade tariffs and subsidies are numbered. But even in the unlikely event of every tariff and subsidy being abolished, there would...
Browsing for Escape
PHRASE, SAYING AND QUOTATION edited by Susan Ratcliffe OUP, L (English pound)19.99, pp. 696, ISBN 0198662696 The fine, rusty-gold building of the University Press presides over Walton Street in Oxford with its more monumental than collegiate presence....
Diary
This is the first Christmas in recent years that I haven't spent in traction or immobilised by glandular fever. You may imagine that I spend my days drawing and whistling in a carefree manner, but there are tears behind the laughter. Two Christmases...
Digital Doubts
Radio Have you gone digital yet? Most people haven't, preferring to stick to terrestrial radio and television stations though there are signs that this is changing. As far as radio is concerned, the digital sets have been too expensive, L800 in the early...
Festive Trawl
Music To be asked to write something for the Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols in King's College Chapel is the penultimate Anglican accolade before a Royal Wedding or Funeral anthem or a Coronation Te Deum. When this pleasurable invitation...
Gig Deficit
Olden but golden Towards the end of his life, John Betjeman, by then in the cruel grip of Parkinson's disease, was asked in a BBC documentary if he had any regrets. `Not enough sex,' he replied with devastating candour. I'm pretty sure that, when the...
Give Them a Break
Singular life This has been the season of goodwill. Which, of course, it hasn't. I am sorry for stating the obvious but there is always less goodwill around at Christmas than any other time of the year. The newspapers seem more vicious, more scandal-ridden...
God's Own Country
REFLECTIONS: LIFE PORTRAITS OF EXMOOR text by Birdie Johnson, photographs by Mark J. Rattenbury Dulverton and District Civic Society, 514.95, pp. 168, ISBN 09543.35600; further details are available on the archive website, www. somerset.gov. uk/archives/exmoor...
I Blame Ken
PUT any two Londoners together for more than five minutes and you can almost guarantee two subjects of conversation: the price of their respective homes and the state of London's traffic. Discussion of house prices produces a mixed reaction. It is nice...
Inferiority Complex
Low life To London last week, by train, on a return ticket bought in advance for me by the BBC. It was lovely travelling with a valid ticket for once. I read it closely and showed it off to the conductor more than was strictly necessary. The BBC had...
Letters
Zionism and the Holocaust From Farrel Lifson Sir: I read Geoffrey Wheatcroft's `The Jewish answer?' (14/21 December) with great interest. Mr Wheatcroft goes into great detail to document Jewish secular and religious objections to the formation of a Jewish...
Looking for a Way Out
The turf Woken in the night by strange noises recently, a friend of my son-in-law left his sleeping wife and baby and went downstairs. As he switched on the light he found himself confronted by a large gent who would not have looked out of place in the...
Mind the Words
Siegfried; Tristan and Isolde, Act I (Barbican) The Barbican has temporarily become the Bayreuth of the North, though fortunately higher musical standards prevail here than in the place itself. The latest instalment of the Ring doesn't have by any means...
Mr Nice and Mr Nasty
QUENTIN AND PHILIP by Andrew Barrow Macmillan, &18.99, pp. 559, ISBN 0333780515 Quentin Crisp was, among other delightful things, a human paradox. He loathed the Gay Liberation Movement as bitterly as he despised Oscar Wilde, yet he did more than...
No Go Zimbabwe
SPECTATOR SPORT THEY were drowning cattle in the rivers of Zimbabwe last week. It makes a change, I suppose, from slaying humans. White farmers being responsible for all the evils visited upon that country (and we need not argue about that, we are all...
Not an Ideal Holmes
Television Heavens, Hound of the Baskervilles (BBC 1) made for a gory Boxing Day. We watched the prison warders being sucked slowly and lethally into the mire, and saw Sir Charles's face, with great chunks eaten out of it, as if someone had tried carving...
Off the Straight and Narrow
ECHOING VOICES: MORE MEMORIES OF A COUNTRY HOUSE SNOOPER by John Harris John Murray, L (English pound)17. 99, pp. 239, ISBN 0719564832 The picture of a maverick which emerges from this book is ever more strongly drawn. In this sequel to his autobiographical...
Portrait of the Week
JANUARY. Twelve countries of the European Union adopted the euro as their common currency. Lord Birt was asked by Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, to draw up a report on transport. Rail fares went up and drivers went on strike. Connex South-East found...
Prize-Winning Novels from France
It has been calculated that a record number of novels - in record quantities were issued between late August and early October, in time for the season of literary prizes which takes place in France in late October and early November. Things were simpler...
Searching for the Elusive Mind of the President
BUSH AT WAR by Bob Woodward Simon & Schuster, 18.99, pp. 224, ISBN 0743204735 In his first book, All the President's Men, which he wrote with fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward made a thorough investigation of the inner...
The Higher the Fewer
THE MAN WHO TOUCHED THE SKY by Johnny Acton Hodder, 14.99, pp. 250, ISBN 0340819324 What to do if you plan a book whose essence is a single parachute drop? And what to do if, apparently, that particular parachutist was not deeply committed to the book?...
The Last Trade Union Hero
AT a time when even the Labour party panders to the rich and to the middle classes, it is a pleasure to talk to a genuine socialist. Jack Jones, who will be 90 in March and was one of the most powerful men in Britain when he led the Transport & General...
The Making of the Taleban
THE SEWING CIRCLES OF HERAT: MY AFGHAN YEARS by Christina Lamb HarperCollins, 16.99, pp. 338, ISBN 000714251X I saw the first tourists arriving in Afghanistan this summer. I saw their incredulity at the graveyard of crumpled aeroplanes at Kabul airport...
The Secret of Churchill's Gold
NEVER in the course of parliamentary history has the personal honour of MPs been more widely doubted and discounted than it is today. Last week the Speaker of the House of Commons announced that, from 2004, not just the Register of Members' Interests...
The Sun and the Telegraph Are Collaborating with Blair's Cynical Scaremongering
MEDIA STUDIES Almost everyone assumes, whether they are pro or anti, that Britain will go to war against Iraq. President Bush seems set on invasion whatever Hans Blix and his team of inspectors do or do not find. Tony Blair would appear certain to follow:...
'Tis the Season to Be Jolly Careful
FIRST, an apology. I should have warned you about this before. I should have let you know at least two weeks ago. By now the rogue seed may already have been sown. Telling you about it at this stage is most likely a case of locking the stable door after...
Treats Round the Country
ARTS Andrew Lambirth looks forward to next year's art exhibitions For any art lover, the prospect of a new year ot exhibitions- of new wonders revealed and old friends revisited - is, of course, immensely exciting. But only the very organised institutions...
What Do You Mean You Don't Love Me?
THE NEW BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF FILM by David Thomson Little, Brown, 25, pp. 963, ISBN 0316859052 This is the fourth edition of a masterwork which first appeared in 1975 and was last issued in 1994. David Thomson reports that it contains 300 new entries,...
Women Trouble
High life Cherie Blair's lies brought back memories. Of Evita Peron, the bottle-blonde hooker that became Argentina's first 'lady' while her crook husband robbed the coun- try blind in the name of the decamisados. (Of course they were shirtless, their...
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