The Spectator

26 September 2020 Aus

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Leading article Australia

Say goodbye to freedom

If Victoria avoids becoming a Marxist failed state, it may very well be because of The Spectator Australia’s contributor Ian…

Guest Notes

China notes

Ducking Peking ASoviet-era joke had someone visiting the part of the commu- nist bureaucracy which issued permission to move your…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Rule by doctors and bureaucrats

Medicos should not be running the country

Features Australia


Falsehood and deception in the Ridd Affair

Features Australia

The Vatican is far too cosy with Beijing

Why does the Pope not condemn China’s human rights abuses?

Features Australia

The Jerusalem syndrome

Or why race-faking is all the rage

Features Australia

Dan’s pre-crime spree

All aboard the Victorian omnibus to the Covid gulag

Features Australia

Fill that seat

RINO treachery only ensures a Trump victory

Australian Columnists

Brown Study

Brown study

Here at the Spectator Australia Biological Research Unit, together with our research partners at the Wuhan Bat, Rat and Snake…

Australian Notes

Australian notes

18C on steroids The idea that a sitting Tasmanian senator can be dragged before the state Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for her…


Notes on...

Why crowds are so pleasing

London, writes Dr Watson in the first Sherlock Holmes story, is ‘that great cesspool into which all the loungers and…


Closing time: the Tory brawl over Covid rules

The looming Tory rebellion against the government’s Covid policy


The myth of the ‘stolen country’

The myth of the ‘stolen country’


In Madagascar, more will starve than die of the virus

Earlier this month, in his weekly address to the nation, our President, the former DJ and coup leader Andry Rajoelina,…


It’s time for Boris to channel Churchill

How Boris can get Britain’s Covid fight back on track


The true cost of coronavirus on our economy

The economic scars of Covid will define the decade

The Week

Ancient and modern

Should a Good Citizen snitch on neighbours?

If neighbours break whatever new Covid rules might soon emerge, it has been suggested that the Good Citizen might snitch…


Barbara Amiel: My memoir has cost me my best friends

The only female writers of importance I have personally met are Margaret Atwood and Joan Didion, both of whom are…


Whose bright idea was the circuit-breaker?

It’s electrifying! Who invented the circuit-breaker? Thomas Edison patented it in 1879, realising what damage could be caused to electrical…


Letters: It’s too late for Boris

Disastrous decisions Sir: In his otherwise excellent analysis of Boris Johnson’s premiership (‘The missing leader’, 19 September), Fraser Nelson suggests…

Leading article

Iran hasn’t earned the right to bear arms

Hard though it is to remember now, 2020 began with a very different dark cloud on the horizon. For a…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: New Covid restrictions, a Supreme Court vacancy and an earthquake in Leighton Buzzard

Home Pubs and restaurants would have to close at ten o’clock, under new coronavirus restrictions announced by Boris Johnson, the…



Who rules supreme in America?

Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Democrats and Republicans began fighting over how to fill her…


All protests are not equal in the eyes of the police

I’ve never been a great fan of public demonstrations. When I was at university, one of the great causes du…

Any other business

The end of the line for the rail franchise fiasco

Good riddance to the passenger rail franchise system which has finally been killed off by Covid, though a majority of…


Time for me to be more assertive

In the light of recent articles in The Spectator, I think it is vital I should point out here and…

The Spectator's Notes

The National Trust’s shameful manifesto

The National Trust has brought out its ‘Interim Report’, with the clumsy title ‘Addressing our histories of colonialism and historic…


Lead book review

Ladies’ man: Tom Stoppard’s love life revealed

Tom Stoppard is a non-stop genius of jokes – but many of them make his latest biographer uneasy, says Craig Raine

More from Books

Too many of our children are battling severe depression

Christopher Hitchens once said that women just aren’t as funny as men and Caitlin Moran believed him. But that was…

More from Books

Born to be wild: the plight of salmon worldwide

In the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans paint images of salmon on to stones. They say that if you rub those…

More from Books

Tenderness and sorrow: Inside Story, by Martin Amis, reviewed

Inside Story is called, on the front cover, which boasts a very charming photograph of the author and Christopher Hitchens,…

More from Books

French lessons, with tears: inside a Lyonnais kitchen

You can’t say he didn’t warn us. In the final sentence of his previous book, Heat, a joyously gluttonous exploration…

More from Books

Blonde with a bombshell: Sasha Swire’s revelations about the Cameroons

Ten years ago, reviewing Alastair Campbell’s diaries for The Spectator, I concluded as follows: Who will be the chroniclers of…

More from Books

Where will our inventions lead?

When reviewers say that some new book reminds them of some famous old book, it often ends up as a…

More from Books

It’s not all fluffed lines: the serious business of amateur dramatics

The greatest pain of lockdown has been, for me, the absence of am-dram. In one half of my life I’m…


Australian Arts

Stuck at home with a serial killer

It’s odd when you think of the way television has usurped almost everything else in the time of the virus.…


How on earth did Harold Pinter and Danny Dyer become such good friends?

Collectors of TV titles that sound as if they were thought of by Alan Partridge will presumably have spotted Danny…

The Listener

More mimsy soft rock from Cat Stevens: Tea for the Tillerman 2 reviewed

Grade: B– Time has been kind to Cat Stevens’s reputation — his estrangement from the music business and rad BAME…


Brilliantly performed twaddle: Old Vic’s Faith Healer reviewed

The Old Vic refuses to reopen. Director Matthew Warchus says the social distancing rules make it impossible for him to…


Would be much better without Bill or Ted: Bill & Ted Face the Music reviewed

I think I am supposed to say that Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third in a franchise about…


I pounded my car horn like a Neapolitan cabbie: ENO's drive-in Bohème reviewed

The email from English National Opera was blunt: ‘Your arrival time is 18.25. If you arrive outside your allocated time…

Arts feature

The mediums who pioneered abstract art

The mediumistic art of various cranks, crackpots and old dowagers is finally being taken seriously – and about time too, says Laura Gascoigne


As immersive art goes, nothing can compete with Berghain

In Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, the protagonist, at the Venice Biennale, muses on installations. ‘Ideally, the perfect art installation…


Does Rada seriously believe George Bernard Shaw was an Irish Mengele?

What has happened to Rada? The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is the latest arts establishment to have gone mad.…


Kiwi Life

Kiwi Life

What has happened to the West, ignoring the lessons of history? Sweden, for example, long regarded as one of the…

Wild life

My Aunt Beryl’s zinc-lined trunk revealed extraordinary family secrets

Bexhill-on-Sea My Aunt Beryl taught me to love books and paintings. When I’m at a loose end in London, lonely,…

Real life

This was not your usual entitled Surrey trespasser

The Volkswagen Passat was parked next to my field gate, sticking out into the lane, blocking larger vehicles from getting…

Low life

Is my phobia of upmarket restaurants misplaced?

Scotching my bright idea of a stiff gin for Dutch courage in the bar across the road, Catriona bounded straight…

No sacred cows

The creep of internet censorship

Kristie Higgs, a 44-year-old school assistant, didn’t realise that criticising the sex education curriculum at her son’s school on Facebook…


Bridge | 26 September 2020

When I first learnt bridge, my teacher (not known as bossy boots for nothing) would thump the table when dummy…

High life

What I would do if I were in charge of the BBC

Gstaad I’ve been wrestling all week with indecision, the kind that tests one’s soul, and the uncertainty is killing me.…

Chess puzzle

No. 623

White to play. Areshchenko–Koch, Bundesliga 2020. White has won rook for bishop, but the queen is offside and his Rf2…


When Garry met Fabi

Send in haste, repent at leisure. It is a cruel certainty that you will sooner or later text your intimate…


Spectator competition winners: the pleasures of bad poetry

In Competition No. 3167 you were invited to submit a rhymed poem that is leadenly prosaic in tone and content.…


2476: Playtime

The ten unclued lights (one of two words and hyphened) consist of two themes which can be resolved into five…

Crossword solution

2473: May solution

The unclued lights, along with Peter MAY in the title, are England cricket captains. First prize Harry Hyman, Streatley, West…

Spectator sport

DeChambeau’s the one to watch in the Masters

José Mourinho, it was surprising to read, recently said how relieved he was that the Amazon Prime cameras were out…


Social distancing in Soho: The French House reviewed

London is gasping — so where to go but Soho, which is so good at despair? It is often necrotic…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How do I stop people assuming I’m a billionaire?

Q. My husband and I have spent many happy weekends in the seaside cottage of long-standing friends. Knowing how much…

Mind your language

Where did ‘herd immunity’ come from?

‘It was the pyres,’ said my husband. He meant the effect of television pictures of cattle, hooves silhouetted against the…