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. 284, No. 8951, 2000

ACT II: The Bodies Return, Knife in Hand, to Destroy Their Destroyer; King Tony
'Was it Jung who said ...?' is the coward's way out, but the only way I know. As a student I was once assured that C.G. Jung did write the passage I am about to quote, but the claim has proved impossible to verify or correct. Nobody can point me to a...
A Long Farewell to Millbank's Limewood Corridors-The Offswitchers Are Moving In
Lead offices are out of fashion, and Imperial Chemical Industries is saying farewell to its Millbank palazzo. No more will its directors roam their limewoodpanelled corridors or gaze out across the Thames to Lambeth, looking down on the Archbishop of...
Artful Dodgers
THE world's two great auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's, founded respectively in 1744 and 1766, have long preserved the illusion of being elegant West End aesthetes who dabble in trade. In fact, they run cut-throat businesses and carve up the...
As Funny as an Abattoir
SILLY people, the sort who take nothing seriously except themselves, think that political correctness is a joke. In fact it is about as funny as an abattoir. Those of us who have faced it head on - publishers refusing a book on unashamedly political...
Banishment of Beckham
WHEN a father meets a son at the crossroads, it is generally the beginning rather than the end of a story. The inevitable row about precedence is never the final word in the matter. The rest of the tale must unwind its slow and dreadful length. 'You...
Banned Wagon
'CHILDREN should be seen and not heard,' elderly aunts used to recite. But not even the aunts would have considered it the state's duty to dictate when children should and shouldn't be on view. Last week a 12-year-old boy and his 15-year-old brother...
Brave Souls
The billionaire Nubar Gulbenkian once said that the ideal number for a dinner party was two: 'Myself and a damn good head waiter.' That was taking things a little far. But you don't always need a crowd to enjoy yourself. Sometimes it is the intensity...
Cup Fever
The Silver Tassie (English National Opera) Cup fever Michael Tanner Mark-Anthony Turnage's new opera The Silver Tassie has been launched with all the publicity appropriate to a major cultural event. And pretty well everyone who has written about its...
Dear Mary
Q. I am a British diplomat and, as such, have a soft spot for foreigners who, after all, cannot help it. A few years ago I was attending an important function in Bonn when I was approached by a godlike figure who had evidently overheard me speaking in...
Diary
As an editor, I find the Piers Morgan affair a little embarrassing. The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that the editor of the Mirror bought shares in a company called Viglen, the day before his paper tipped them. The value of his shares shot up,...
Dreadful, Delightful City
It's official then, London sucks. So at any rate declares the latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guide, berating the city's inhabitants for their bad manners and deploring the whole place as a vast midden around which swirl the eddies of greed, incompetence...
Dr Jekyll and Mr Haider
Downing Street has reacted with scorn to suggestions by J6rg Haider, the reviled leader of Austria's Freedom party, that he has much in common with Tony Blair. 'The idea that there are genuine similarities between the two is so risible that I do not...
Face to Face with Christ
With the dawn of the Millennial year, we might have looked to the Churches, or to the Dome, for some meditation on the central question of all: how we have seen Christ; how we have formed His image and how His image has formed us, as a civilisation over...
Falling from Grace
When I was a boy there was a dramatisation oi iN ainamei riawinorne s i ne race in the Rock on Children's Hour. In this a face had formed as a natural feature in the mountain above a village, the inhabitants of which waited for the day when he would...
Follow Your Prejudices
A survey in this month's Health Which? found that most people who buy organic food do so for health reasons. The Consumers Association believes 'they are probably right to do so' and there are 'good reasons to go organic'. Probably right? In other words,...
Foul Play
Thirty years or so ago my father was chairman of AEK, a top Athenian football club, which is third in the all-time winners of the premiership. I used to train with the team and sat on the bench during matches. I was particularly close to our Argentine...
Handle with Extra Care
LAST year the Bedford Employment Tribunal found the Crown Prosecution Service guilty of victimisation and racial discrimination against one of its senior lawyers, Mrs Maria Bamieh. Mrs Bamieh has now been awarded 08,000 in compensation. This includes...
How They Spun the Good News from Bruges to Ghent
One has to give the PM credit for audacity. Ghent is just down the road from Bruges, where Margaret Thatcher delivered her most famous speech. So Mr Blair and his advisers knew that any speech he made in Ghent would inevitably be contrasted with the...
Letters
Anti-Catholic attitude From Mr Adrian Hilton Sir: I must voice a word in defence of Julie Burchill's article on the Roman Catholic Church (Diary, 12 February), if only to balance the histrionic and emotional reactions to her 'filth' and 'bile'. Whereas...
Mind Your Language
A.L. KENNEDY was on the wireless again the other day complaining about being a writer. Well, who said she was a writer? I only ask because last year I tried to read a very small book by her, even taking it to the quiet of the North Riding. It was, I...
Neither Christian nor Democratic
EUROPE is witnessing the strange death of Christian Democracy. Having dominated Continental politics for most of the postwar era, the traditional parties of the centreright are waning fast. Throughout the 1990s they were in steady, if genteel, decline....
Nobody's Business but Hers
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE by Barbara Buhler Lynes Yale, L100, 2 volumes, pp. 1198 John McEwen Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is probably America's most famous female artist. Her pictures are reproduced as postage stamps, her work is in every major public collection...
One Big, Happy Family
That most lovable and loving of luvvies, Lewis Ernest Watts Mills - Sir John Mills - rejoices in a special place at the summit of England's acting establishment. He has been up there longer than anyone else. He first appeared on the stage 71 years ago....
Pillar of the Establishment
Suddenly the contemporary music scene in London is more active than for many years. A new boost in funding, a new breath of confidence, a resurgence of vitality irrespective of general decline? The rosy flush of health or the hectic flush of feverish...
Planetary Turmoil
Having moved in with my girlfriend four weeks ago, I have decided the time has come to seek some 'relationship counselling', particularly as Caroline's only agreed to live with me for three months, at least initially. I don't mean anything as ambitious...
Portrait of the Week
Mr Frank Dobson, the choice of the national Labour leadership, beat Mr Ken Livingstone in the polls to decide who would stand as the Labour candidate for Mayor of London; by 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent of the electoral college; the college was much...
Preferring the Dark Side
Preferring the dark side John Charmley DAY OF DECEIT by Robert B. Stinnett Constable, L25, pp. 386 Here is yet another definitive book proving that Roosevelt knew that the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor - and only nine years after Nave and...
Questions and Answers
JAFSIE AND JOHN HENRY: ESSAYS ON HOLLYWOOD, BAD BOYS AND SIX HOURS OF PERFECT POKER by David Mamet Faber, L9.99, pp 171 WILSON: A CONSIDERATION OF THE SOURCES by David Mamet Faber, L9.99, pp. 337 A central tension informs David Mamet's new book of essays,...
Ralph Fiennes's Bottom, the Rise of Jorg Haider and Rebuffing Marilyn Monroe's Advances
For this, my first appearance in this magazine in this millennium, I realise that I should have an opinion on that about which everyone else has an opinion, or would like to be given one. Such subjects as Herr Haider; the candidates for the London mayoralty;...
Recent Books on Tape
It is hard to avoid The End of the Affair these days, but for anyone not sated with Graham Greene's examination of faith and faithlessness, I recommend Michael Kitchen's reading. The timbre of his voice does justice to its intelligent, drab intensity....
Significant Sound and Fury
HARRISON BIRTWISTLE: MAN, MIND, MUSIC by Jonathan Cross Faber, L14.99, pp. 295 Towards the end of his life, Stravinsky remarked that what he missed in the music of all his contemporaries was the effects Beethoven draws from the passing of time. Like...
Spolied for Choice
Gosh. Blimey. Three marriage proals in one day. I'll bet that Elizabeth Taylor, when sublimely fresh, or even my fellow Hungarian Zsa Zsa Gabor, never fresh but always with a line, failed to do as well as that. And what a galaxy of men, from a former...
Sunshine in February Reminds Us That Nature Works Beneficent Miracles
There is no greater blessing of God than sunshine in February. The rains come too, to be sure - my mother used to call the month 'February Fulldyke' and fuss about damp and wet shoes - and we have had our share of torrents recently. But there have been...
The Awfulness of Harold Shipman
There is one crucial discipline which must be exercised whenever one writes about addictive murderers (quite apart, that is, from studiously refusing to call them 'serial killers', which is a mathematical observation bereft of any useful descriptive...
The Editor of the Mirror Should Go. He Wasn't Licensed to Swill
One of the most amusing aspects of the Mirror share scandal -is -the conduct of the paper's editor, Piers Morgan. Whereas the two Mirror journalists dismissed last week behaved like typical hacks, giving lachrymose and voluble ad hoc press conferences...
The Joy of Buses
Tunbridge Wells FOR the first time in nearly 40 years we were without a car. We had sold our old Renault just before Christmas, partly for reasons of economy but chiefly because we no longer needed it. Our house in Tunbridge Wells is within easy walking...
The Making of Law
The Talented Mr Ripley (15, selected cinemas) Mark Steyn In motion pictures, adaptation is the art of compression. The novel has too many characters, too much dialogue, too many scenes, too much backstory, too many details. So you combine characters,...
The Now and Then
Theatre A Place at the Table (Bush) Freelancers (Man in the Moon) The now and then Sheridan Morley As writing for television a life or merely a living? Simon Block's bitchy, black comedy at the Bush has as its central figure a wheelchair-bound playwright...
They Want More Tax- and Now It's Personal
HONEST people everywhere know it. The tax burden is heavier now than it was when Labour took office. It is not just the quantity of money that the government takes away: up 9 per cent (to L128 billion) since last year in favour of the Inland Revenue...
Underworld Delight
The contagious buoyancy and the catchy immediacy of Jacques Offenbach's music has appealed to and tempted many choreographers. Yet not many have been able to see beyond the irresistible danceability of his tunes and explore in full the complexity of...
Vacuous Lives
Fn Saturday morning, unable to get to the radio in time to switch it off, I heard John Peel telling listeners to stop 'coveting their neighbour's arse'. I thought of my neighbours and with respect to them felt not at all covetous. And then I realised...
We Do Care
Something bothered me about the BBC's trendy new eco-drama series Nature Boy (BBC 2, Monday) but I didn't work out what it was until about ten minutes into the second episode. Up to that point, I had been very much enjoying it because for all its faults...
Zealous for Zion
FIRE IN THE NIGHT: WINGATE OF BURMA, ETHIOPIA AND ZION by John Bierman and Colin Smith Macmillan, L20, pp. 434 Philip Ziegler Orde Wingate was viewed with some uncertainty by his superiors. Mountbatten thought that he was a madman but useful. Slim agreed...
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.