The Spectator

22 February 2020 Aus

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Leading article Australia

Bye bye Holden, meat pies…

If you think the shutting down of Holden, the end of that much-loved brand, the loss of automotive jobs and…

Guest Notes

Hands on the scales of Aboriginal affairs

Recently we saw the release of the latest Closing the Gap report for 2020. There were no real surprises, so…

Australian Features

Features Australia

The truth is out there

We are all our own gatekeepers to the news

Features Australia

Blacklisting sceptics

The shunning of alternative scientific opinions

Features Australia

Return of the coal-fired poltergeist

Green new deals going cheap at Dan Murphy’s?

Features Australia

High Court of Wokeness

How on earth did the Coalition allow this travesty to happen?

Features Australia

Business/Robbery etc

‘The time to panic is... NOW’

Features Australia

Bad hair day

A blockbuster exhibition showcases supernatural tales from Japan

Australian Columnists

Australian Notes

We could be a superpower, too

Back in 2008, Kevin Rudd announced a new ‘Green Car Plan’ which in his words would ‘make the automotive industry…

Brown Study

Brown study

Scott Morrison may not realise it, but he has just been thrown a lifeline by the High Court that could…

Culture Buff

Bruce Beresford at home in Birchgrove 2018

Sydney’s Archibald has the name and the fame, but there is a new kid on the block: the Darling Portrait…



Battle of the billionaires: Trump vs Bloomberg could be the nastiest election ever

‘Mini Mike’ is the only candidate rich enough to intimidate the President


The internet is taking the joy out of quotations

The internet is taking the joy out of citations


Why have so many of our recent viruses come from bats?

Why are they responsible for so many of our recent viruses?


Joan Collins: Parasite didn’t deserve to win Best Picture

Recovering from a bad cold and bored to tears by the fare on television, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu (it’s shocking…


My Parkinson’s diagnosis has shown me how kind society really is

Having Parkinson’s has shown me a different side of society

Notes on...

How political is your bread board?

It’s not known which inspired Victorian first had the idea to take a chopping block and carve it into a…

The Week

Leading article

Britain is booming – despite Brexit

After the vote for Brexit, it was often said that our departure from the EU was most likely to harm…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Cabinet reshuffle, another royal divorce and coronavirus hits iPhones

Home The Budget, still scheduled for 11 March, had to be rewritten after Rishi Sunak was made Chancellor of the…


Julian Smith: Despite being sacked, it has been a weirdly good week

A doctor will tell you heart attacks may appear to come out of the blue, but if you look carefully,…


Who actually goes on a cruise?

Breeding controversy A Downing Street aide, believed to have been recruited as a result of Dominic Cummings’s advert for ‘weirdos…

Ancient and modern

What Boris has in common with Roman emperor Augustus

The PM was filmed introducing his new cabinet by getting them to answer in unison how many hospitals, how many…


Letters: How to make a cup of tea

No defence Sir: Jon Stone (Letters, 15 February) recalls the horrors and miseries of being subjected to bombing from the…


The Spectator's Notes

The perils of owning an erotic Nazi toy

My parents told me that their wartime childhoods were punctuated by the expression: ‘Don’t you know there’s a war on?’…


The Brexit reshuffle: Every great office of state is now held by a Leaver

One of the Tories’ tactical successes has been to push Brexit down the news agenda. But even if it no…

Rod Liddle

The blindness of cultural Marxism

Words we are not allowed to use any more now include ‘cultural Marxism’. Suella Braverman, now the Attorney General, used…

Douglas Murray

How low can the BBC go?

Last weekend’s papers claimed that the government desires a ‘massively pruned back’ BBC. Former Conservative cabinet minister Damian Green and…

Lionel Shriver

Cyclists have become an easy police target

Most Britons assume at the outset that any misfortune involving a cyclist is the cyclist’s fault. After all, many a…

Any other business

Time for new leadership at Barclays and HSBC – and a new name at RBS

After a dull interlude, the big banks in their annual results season look a bit more interesting again. First to…


Lead book review

Shades of the prison house: the ghosts of suicides fill our prisons

As an inmate, Chris Atkins discovered just how violent and chaotic prison life is. His diaries highlight a national scandal – and the dangerous incompetence of the Ministry of Justice, says Will Heaven


Metternich gets a makeover

This is a giant Teutonic forest of a book, to be progressed through with determination as if by seasoned infantry;…


Hell and high water: eco-anxiety dominates Jenny Offill’s latest novel

Lizzie, the narrator of Jenny Offill’s impressive third novel Weather, is ‘enmeshed’ with her brother, according to her psychologist-cum-meditation teacher.…


Why were Kraftwerk such a colossal success?

Everything about Kraftwerk was odd. They had no front man, they seemed to play no instruments and their strange, electronic…


Home was not where the heart was for the Enlightenment’s intellectuals

Emily Thomas is a distinguished academic philosopher who has ‘spent a lot of time by herself getting lost around the…


Wouldn’t the migrant crisis make fantastic reality TV? Timur Vermes’s The Hungry and the Fat reviewed

The context for The Hungry and the Fat, Timur Vermes’s new satirical novel, is not as far-fetched as all that.…


It’s easy to forget how many respectable people embraced eugenics

Between 1923 and 1931 the publisher Routledge produced ‘Today and Tomorrow’, a series of 110 short books by intellectual luminaries…


Dr Livingstone becomes a dead weight: Out of Darkness, Shining Light, by Petina Gappah

The scope of Petina Gappah’s impressive novel is laid out in the prologue: the death of the Victorian explorer David…


The hundreds of languages spoken in London are the city’s greatest glory

Every history of London — and there have been very many — has looked at the importance for the city…


The blistering experience of writing about Samuel Beckett

For those of us with nagging doubts about the value of literary biography, books that show the biographer at work…


‘This pain, of all pains, cannot be palliated’: a doctor cares for her dying father

Dear Life arrives at a time when the public appetite for the personal accounts of medical insiders shows no sign…


More secrets from the Underground Railroad: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates reviewed

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s debut novel transports us to antebellum Virginia, when the tobacco wealth of years gone by is dwindling, due…


Arts feature

I regret my bust-up with the Bee Gees: Clive Anderson interviewed

Mark Mason talks to Clive Anderson about mistaken identity, Macbeth and making a career out of being a bit of a smartarse


Weill's Broadway opera is made for telly: Opera North's Street Scene reviewed

It’s a sweltering night in Manhattan, circa 1947, and on the doorstep of a brownstone tenement three women are waiting…


Slight: Steve McQueen at Tate Modern reviewed

Steve McQueen’s ‘Static’ (2009) impresses through its sheer directness — and it’s very far from static. A succession of helicopter-tracking…


Why foreign-language series will always have the edge over American ones

An office worker stands on the ledge of an open window about to leap. Two colleagues enter, ignoring him completely.…


The appeal of psychopaths

Ever since the end of Gomorrah season four (Sky Atlantic) I have been bereft. I eked it out for as…

The Listener

The rancid meanderings of a long-spent wankpuffin: Justin Bieber’s Changes reviewed

Grade: D– For my first review of popular music releases in 2020 I thought I’d deposit this large vat of…


In this instance, greed isn’t good: Greed reviewed

Greed is Michael Winterbottom’s satire on the obscenely rich and, in particular, a billionaire, asset-stripping retail tycoon whose resemblance to…


High life

Why Bloomberg will be president

Gstaad I was not aware that there is a group of Spectatorfans who meet in French-speaking Switzerland. They contacted me…

Low life

How to sample your own urine

Seven round the table for dinner. Wild mushroom risotto. I was told to sit next to Michael. Good. Michael makes…

Real life

As long as jokes remain legal I’ll keep on making them

Mr Benn has been in touch because he wants a right of reply to an article I wrote about my…

The turf

Cyrname was lucky to survive his shocking fall at Ascot

Few jumpers have a better record at Ascot than the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname. He triumphed in the Betfair Chase at…


Bridge 22 February 2020

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the Rimstedts and their children get together over supper. One…


Confidence tricks

Three consecutive losses in a tournament is dryly termed ‘castling queenside’, in reference to the chess notation for that move…

Chess puzzle

No. 592

Black to play, Kateryna Lagno–Ju Wenjun, February 2020. Material is approximately balanced, but White’s king is in serious danger. What…


3136: Love me don't

In Competition No. 3136 you were invited to submit a lonely hearts ad guaranteed to send those looking for love…


2445: In other words II

41, 1A, 10 (seven words in total) is a description of a phenomenon. Remaining unclued lights, including one of two…

Crossword solution

2442: Don’t nod solution

ROTAVATOR (4A), NAURUAN (12), DEED (25), DEIFIED (36), MALAYALAM (39), REIFIER (4D), TERRET (15D), and REPAPER (18) are palindromes as…

No sacred cows

Why on earth did I volunteer to do stand-up?

It was on my ‘bucket list’, but that doesn’t mean it was a sensible thing to do. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…

The Wiki Man

The simple trick that will hugely boost your phone coverage

In the recent debate over Britain’s 5G infrastructure, one dog didn’t bark in the night. At no point did anyone…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Should I tell my friend that his expensive lunch made me ill?

Q. I see a lot of two of our grandchildren because they live in our London house. We are centrally…


Which water goes best with whisky?

Peaty water ought to be classed as a luxury. You have spent a day on the hill, a’chasing the deer.…

Mind your language

How did being connected become ‘connectivity’?

Facebook recently told readers of the Sun that satellites could ‘bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is…