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The Spectator

16 November 2019 Aus

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Australia

Leading article Australia

Rock star

Any fears that the Tony Abbott Testimonial Dinner on Sydney’s north shore last week would be a rather maudlin or…

Diary Australia

England diary

In two recent visits to England, the ostensibly Conservative government has allowed the Extinction Rebellion extremists to shut down central…

Guest Notes

Energy notes

The world needs more Australian coal, not less Most fairy tales contain important life lessons and as the father of…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Rampant antisemitism

Australia was recently shaken to learn of the horrifying news of two blatantly antisemitic incidents within Melbourne’s public schools. One…

Features Australia

Dutton’s dinner diary

I want to speak as a proud member of the Abbott cabinet, but I also want to speak as a…

Features Australia

Allan, James Allan

I have to confess that I’m a little bit insulted that no one in the totally impartial and apolitical Commonwealth…

Features Australia

Fran’s feminist fascists

‘I thought there would be a range of views on this in the panel,’ said wannabe full-time Q&A host Fran…

Features Australia

The carbon dioxide trap

Many people who discuss climate change believe that if atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise so does the Earth’s temperature. This…

Features Australia

Labor’s lamentable loss

The question Labor grandees Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill should have asked in their review of the ALP’s loss in…

Australian Books

Books Australia

John Lennon’s friend imagines

For several years in the 1950s Peter Jones shared a desk with John Lennon at Quarry Bank High School for…

Australian Columnists

Culture Buff

Caroline O’Connor is the Spider Woman

They wrote musicals based on the most unlikely material but John Kander and Fred Ebb enjoyed ultimate success with Cabaret…

Simon Collins

Simon Collins

‘We are assessing the concerns raised and will investigate whether the program met our editorial standards,’ said the ABC’s managing…

Features

Features

Can Nigel Farage take the Tories to victory?

Despite the consistent poll lead and projections of a majority of about 40 seats, the Tories are still nervous. They…

Features

The five groups of voters the Tories are targeting

Tory MPs used to think they could rely on telltale signs while out on the campaign trail — a detached…

Features

Trevor Rene’s battle to stay in Britain

When Boris Johnson edited this magazine, it proposed an amnesty for illegal immigrants — a controversial notion, but an idea…

Features

Exclusive: Dominic Cummings’s secret links to Russia

This week, a malign foreign actor invaded the British media, spreading disinformation and seeking to meddle in the general election.…

Features

Now is the time for the Tories to be borrowing more

How should fiscal conservatism be defined? George Osborne inherited a fiscal deficit that was clearly unsustainable. During the panic over…

Features

Be more carthorse: why we would all benefit from a little self-loathing

Leaving the auditorium of the Royal Opera House last week after The Sleeping Beauty, I passed a woman taking selfie…

Features

OK zoomer, is that really the best you’ve got?

Every generation and teen subculture likes to put the boot into baby boomers like me. I’ve been physically attacked by…

Notes on...

The joy of rummaging through Gladstone’s annotated books

Gladstone’s Library began as that most English of things: a great man’s visionary idea. William Gladstone, at the age of…

The Week

Leading article

Our flood defences aren’t fit for the climate we have now

This week’s political fuss over whether the floods in Yorkshire constitute a ‘national emergency’ misses the point. It is too…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Farage’s climbdown, Yorkshire’s floods and Australia’s fires

Home Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit party, climbed down from his resolution to field 600 candidates in the…

Diary

It would be a big mistake to underestimate Corbyn

Thud. It’s my advance copy of Dorothy Byrne’s new book, Trust Me, I’m Not a Politician, landing on the doormat.…

Barometer

How many countries have been ruled by a Boris?

Leaders called Boris How many countries have been ruled by a Boris? — Russia has had two Borises in charge.…

Ancient and modern

For the ancient Greeks, the only point in taking part was to win

The England team reached the final of the rugby world cup in Japan but they lost. As athletes, they knew…

Letters

Letters: Why I’ll vote for Boris

A bad idea Sir: Your editorial in favour of an amnesty for illegal immigrants (‘The case for amnesty’, 9 November)…

Columnists

Rod Liddle

My charter of fundamental rights

I was chatting to a young medical student, a very bright chap from West Africa, who was nonetheless perplexed by…

James Delingpole

The joy of a day spent bagging almost no birds

The highlight of my country calendar is when I’m lucky enough to be invited to what even the host describes…

Sam Leith

Sordid confessions of a Centrist Dad

I have a shameful secret. I’ve been watching these… videos online. Amazing what you can get in a couple of…

Any other business

Why China is planting its flag on what’s left of British Steel

It cannot be other than good news that a rescuer has been found for the bankrupt remains of British Steel,…

Books

Lead book review

Books of the year – part two

Richard Ingrams A book that gave me great enjoyment (for all the wrong reasons) was Harvest Bells: New and Uncollected…

Books

Yalta was a carve-up — and the Poles are understandably still bitter about it

‘The strong do what they can. The weak suffer what they must.’ Thucydides’ principle expresses an uncomfortable truth. The eight-day…

Books

Eleanor of Aquitaine is still as elusive as quicksilver

Eleanor of Aquitaine is the most famous woman of the Middle Ages: queen of France and England, crusader, mother of…

Books

Ben Lerner’s much hyped latest novel reads like an audit of contemporary grievances

Things keep recurring in the novels of Ben Lerner — snatches of conversation, lines of poetry, Lerner himself. But in…

Books

Children’s questions about death are consistently good fun

What strikes me most about the Christmas gift-book industry — for industry it surely is, as I can confirm, having…

Books

Friends forever: the inside story of the American sitcom classic

Here is a test to tell you whether you will like this book or not: when I write ‘So, no…

Books

Tips for Christmas tipples

It’s telling that perhaps the best wine book of last year, Amber Revolution by Simon Woolf, was self-published, though you’d…

Books

Less radical, less rich: Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again is a disappointment

Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer-prize winning Olive Kitteridge (2008) is the novel I recommend to friends who don’t read much. Talk about…

Books

Free of Lucian Freud — Celia Paul’s road to fulfilment

I was looking the other day at a video of the artist Celia Paul in conversation with the curator of…

Books

The surrealism of war against Isis

The campaign against Isis was pretty big news for most of 2016. But by the time the final showdown got…

Arts

Arts feature

What really happened at Troy?

Heinrich Schliemann had always hoped he’d find Homer’s Troy. Although he had no archaeological background to speak of, he did…

Pop

Fascinating and compelling: Bruce Hornsby at Shepherd’s Bush Empire reviewed

In the unlikely event that Bruce Hornsby and Morten Harket, A-ha’s singer, ended up featuring in the Daily Mail for,…

Design

How Nova revolutionised women’s magazines

Batsford has just brought out a huge tome on Nova — ‘one of the most influential magazines in history’ —…

Music

Why are Haydn’s operas so lousy? La fedelta premiata reviewed

There’s a book about musicals that every opera lover should read. Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum is a history…

Architecture

The man who built Britain’s first skyscraper

In 2011 Britain’s first skyscraper was finally given Grade I listing. The citation for 55 Broadway — the Gotham City-ish…

Television

Patronising, clichéd and corny: BBC1’s Gold Digger reviewed

Some last taboos, it seems, can remain last taboos no matter how frequently they’re confronted. Grief, the menopause, masturbation, mental…

Radio

The Polish electronic music revolution of the 1950s

It was created in November 1957, a year before the BBC’s fabled Radiophonic Workshop, and was far more influential in…

Cinema

Detailed and devastating: Marriage Story reviewed

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a drama about the breakdown of a marriage and it is, at times, devastatingly painful.…

Theatre

The script’s a dud: Antipodes at the Dorfman Theatre reviewed

The Antipodes, by the acclaimed dramatist Annie Baker, is set in a Hollywood writers’ room. Seven hired scribblers are brainstorming…

Dance

Unsettlingly faithful to the spirit of Schiele: Staging Schiele reviewed

‘Come up and see my Schieles.’ Those were the words that ended a friend’s fledgling relationship with an art collector.…

The Listener

The cult of Trifonov is doing the pianist no favours

Grade: B– Deutsche Grammophon have decided that Daniil Trifonov’s new Rachmaninov piano concertos with the Philadephia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin…

Life

High life

I’d rather live under communism than the tyranny of social media

At the time it felt like a century, but it was only 12 years. I began this column in 1977…

Low life

The joy of a Rwandan airport

Our plane touched down in Rwanda at 7 p.m. Stepping outside on to the metal steps, I smelt that unmistakable…

Real life

The strange case of six missing horse rugs

The night after the fireworks display the barn was raided and our horse rugs were taken. Good job I’ve watched…

Bridge

Bridge

Congratulations to Janet de B and her team, who had an excellent week last week — as I know to…

Chess

Dubov’s dynamite

When Daniil Dubov advanced his queen’s pawn in Batumi last month, he might as well have chewed the head off…

Chess puzzle

no. 580

Dubov-Svane, White to play. Later in the event, Dubov played another masterpiece, sacrificing a rook to reach this extraordinary position.…

Competition

It’s a date!

In Competition No. 3124 you were invited to compose clerihews about any date in the calendar. I was very grateful…

Crossword

2434: Eat it!

The unclued lights (two of two words), individually or as one pair, are of a kind.   Across 9    City…

Crossword solution

to 2431: Pride of place

Each of the pairs of unclued lights is a CITY (formed from the letters in the yellow squares) and its…

No sacred cows

Why does someone keep sending me furniture?

When a new vacuum cleaner was delivered to my house last week I assumed it was a belated birthday present…

Spectator sport

England’s rugby team are embarrassingly sore losers

Sports events come and go, but good manners, as William of Wykeham might have put it, last for ever. Or…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: What should I do about a Lib Dem friend who can no longer take a joke?

Q. I sent a WhatsApp message to a Lib Dem friend of 15 years. ‘How are you finding being a…

Food

Back in the Babington Triangle: Roth Bar & Grill reviewed

The Roth Bar & Grill exists on an art-farm called Durslade in Bruton, Somerset, which is also the country outpost…

Mind your language

Why is a ladybird called a ‘bishy barnabee’?

People in different regions like to think their dialects incomprehensible to outsiders, yet they can usually come up with quite…