The Spectator

16 October 2021 Aus

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Leading article Australia

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This week, a ‘voluntary assisted dying’ Bill will be presented to the NSW Parliament, following the recent passage of similar…

Australian Columnists

Australian Notes

Australian notes

What would happen after a loss? Here’s an important question to ponder. What direction would the federal Liberal party take…

Guest Notes

Dis-con notes

Two revolutionary ideas to keep our subs afloat In June 1989 Paul Keating memorably said, ‘I guarantee if you walk…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Covid ‘science’, lockdowns and flat-earthers

The ‘experts’ have destroyed their own credibility

Features Australia, New Zealand

Insufficient intent

The players prepare for the Glasgow Grand Final

Features Australia

Business/Robbery, etc.

A better way to spend the BCA’s $50 billion

Features Australia

Once were revolutionaries

The Left has become what it used to despise

Features Australia

The Covid hunt

The woke elite declares open season on the unvaccinated

Features Australia

A different Afghanistan

How ISKP and the Taliban threaten the world with new jihadism

Features Australia

Aux bien pensants

Net zero only the beginning ‘Net zero emissions’ are only the beginning. A similar sleight of hand is occurring with…



Baby doomers: why are couples putting the planet ahead of parenthood?

Why are so many people putting the planet before parenthood?


The joy of a cluttered museum

The joy of a cluttered museum

Notes on...

What makes a conker champion?

Last weekend, for the 54th time, hundreds of competitors met to compete for the title of world conker champion in…


Italy’s anti-Green Pass movement has a new figurehead

Italy’s anti-Green Pass movement has a new figurehead


Having a child is the grandest act of climate destruction

There’s no way I could bring children into this world


The problem with Boris going on Bake Off

Our plans for the Seychelles twice thwarted, we finally decide on Gozo, Malta. Afraid that the Insulate Britain brigade might…


Brexit has killed Thatcherism. And about time, too

Boris is returning conservatism to its roots

The Week

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: power failures, toy shortages and Boris’s Marbella mountain villa

Home In an extraordinary wrangle between government departments, the Treasury accused Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, of ‘making things up’…


In praise of Irn Bru

Gasbags Sir: Seb Kennedy tells us that, like Covid, our looming energy crisis came from China (‘Power grab’, 9 October).…

Ancient and modern

Aristotle’s account of hatred perfectly fits Sussex University students

Professor Kathleen Stock of Sussex University is accused by a group of students of being transphobic and a danger to…

Leading article

What will history have to say about lockdowns?

Coronavirus may have fallen out of the news cycle but the threat of the virus has certainly not passed. Britain…


In defence of King George III

I’m on a book tour which involves 65 speeches in 60 days in Britain, Washington, Philadelphia, Virginia, Mexico, California and…


Are people still wearing masks?

Wrong place, wrong time The name of the village of Nelson, north of Cardiff, was described as ‘problematic’ in an…



The legacy of Covid: a much bigger state

Covid transformed the role of the state. During the pandemic, the government did things it would never normally even contemplate.…


The characteristic I most admire in politicians? Petulance

Many negative qualities are ascribed to politicians — name-calling, absenteeism, drunkenness — but you rarely hear of my favourite political…

Any other business

Why we should all start hoarding cash and loo rolls

If there’s anyone in Britain who knows how to keep grocery shelves stacked, it’s former Tesco chief executive Sir Dave…


The pandemic has made cynics of us all

A report by MPs into the spread of the coronavirus has concluded that the government’s approach constituted one of this…


Israel has been spared Sally Rooney

I have not watched the BBC’s new period drama Ridley Road because I knew it would be impossible for the…


Lead book review

Another haphazard Booker shortlist lacks literary competence

Philip Hensher finds this year’s Booker shortlist more concerned with serious world issues than vivid characterisation

More from Books

Folk music is still very much alive and kicking

As a writer who obsesses over the right title to grab a target audience, seeing a book subtitled ‘Song Collectors…

More from Books

Any beggar woman was a potential scapegoat during the European witch craze

In the three centuries between 1450 and 1750 in Europe it is estimated that up to 100,000 women were burned,…

More from Books

Don’t ask a historian what history is

E.H. Carr’s 1961 book What is History? has cast a long shadow over the discipline. I recall being assigned to…

More from Books

Under deep suspicion in Beirut, Kim Philby still carried on regardless

The story of the Cambridge spies has been served up so often that it has become stale — too detailed,…

More from Books

Reassess every relationship you’ve ever had before it’s too late

‘Reading is a celebration of the mystery of ourselves,’ according to Elizabeth Strout, who writes to help readers understand themselves…

More from Books

Colson Whitehead celebrates old Harlem in a hardboiled thriller that’s also a morality tale

For modern America, Harlem is a once maligned, now much vaunted literary totem, which continues to occupy a gargantuan place…

More from Books

From ‘little Cockney’ to playing Queen Mary: the remarkable career of Eileen Atkins

Eileen Atkins belongs to a singular generation of British actresses, among them Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Sian Phillips and Vanessa…


Australian Arts

Maggie Smith

And so we look like being able to see live performance again in the two biggest cities in Australia: Sydney…

Arts feature

Granada’s Brideshead Revisited remains the sine qua non of mini-series

Sumptuous, glorious, luminous, lavish: Granada’s 40-year-old adaptation of Brideshead Revisited remains the sine qua non of mini-series, says Mark McGinness


Hang in there for the gripping final half an hour: The Last Duel reviewed

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel is set in the 14th century and is a tale of rivalry and rape told…


Lurking beneath the gore are moments of wit and sensitivity: Squid Game reviewed

Should we be worried that Squid Game is the most popular show in Netflix’s history? If it’s a case of…


The frisky side of a classical master: National Gallery's Poussin and the Dance reviewed

In the winter of 1861, visitors to the Louvre might have seen a young artist painstakingly copying one of the…


A triumph: Young Vic's Hamlet reviewed

Here goes. The Young Vic’s Hamlet, directed by Greg Hersov, is a triumph. This is a pared-back, plain-speaking version done…


We'll be talking about Royal Opera's Jenufa two decades from now

Leos Janacek cared about words. He’d hang about central Brno, notebook in hand, eavesdropping on conversations and trying to capture…


A terrible joke gone wonderfully right: Rick Astley and Blossoms Perform the Smiths reviewed

Many of us who grew up loving the Smiths have rather shelved that affection in recent years. Many of us,…


The best podcasts where girls sit around talking about ghosts

‘I’ve actually seen ghosts.’ This statement comes less than ten minutes into the first episode of Dark House, a limited-series…


Aussie Life

Aussie Life

The political career of Christian Porter has been destroyed by the ABC. This is someone who was the Commonwealth Attorney-General…

Aussie Life

Aussie Language

A Speccie reader has emailed asking me for an explanation of the word ‘climatarian’. We know what Presbyterians are, she…

Real life

My horse is allergic to beige carpet

The horse lorry arrived and lowered its ramp — and I stood in front of it knowing that my thoroughbred…

Low life

Acorns and aliens: lunch with Vernon and the Ukrainians

Catriona and I were late for lunch at Vernon’s because I couldn’t get out of bed. The four of them…


Bridge | 16 October 2021

The Gold Cup is the most prestigious Open Teams event in Britain, and has been ever since Colonel ‘Pops’ Beasley…

The turf

Charlie Appleby is the trainer to beat

I know what Keats was on about with his mists and mellow fruitfulness, but autumn is less of a joy…

High life

Succession gets the rich and powerful all wrong

They have stepped into the pop-culture spotlight via the HBO hit Succession, a hatchet job on the very rich and…

Spectator sport

Where did all of rugby’s fans go?

Could rugby union get any better? The entertainment in the Premiership is breathtaking and the overall product as good as…

Mind your language

The ground rules, from coffee to marriage

There’s a rude gesture in Pickwick that I don’t quite understand. Mr Jackson, a young lawyer’s clerk in conversation with…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: should I have asked out my rush-hour crush?

Q. On a train journey the other day I sat opposite someone I found immensely attractive. We struck up a…


The Batman restaurant that’s totally bats: Park Row reviewed

There is a Batman restaurant in London, or rather there was: Savini at the Criterion on Piccadilly Circus. Savini was…


Chicken Marbella

What is it about retro food? I don’t mean nostalgic food, from school dinner favourites to your grandmother’s signature dishes.…

No sacred cows

‘Retain and Explain’ won’t end the culture wars

I’m sympathetic to Oliver Dowden’s formula for defusing culture-war disputes about statues of controversial historic figures: ‘retain and explain’. That…


Spectator competition winners: Newly discovered short stories by poets

In Competition No. 3220, you were invited to supply a newly discovered short story by a well-known 19th- or 20th-century…


The sudden mate

The hero pauses, plays the move, and announces ‘Checkmate!’ The villain crumples in shock. It’s a scene played out countless…


2528: Not to Lose

Unclued entries are words (one hyphened) or phrases (three of four words each, one of three words, two each of…

Chess puzzle

No. 675

White to play and mate in one. I found this puzzle online, composed by someone with the pseudonym ‘Illion’. I…

Crossword solution

2525: Prime Times - solution

The [5 Down] MILESTONE puzzle number 2525 is the product of PRIME numbers 101 TIMES 5 TIMES 5, equivalently the…