The Spectator

13 August 2022 Aus

Water isn’t working

Who’s to blame for the shortages?

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Leading article Australia

Showdown at okay coral

Figures released last week show record coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. It is hardly a surprise that its…

Australian Columnists

Brown Study

Brown study

Here at the Burkina Faso embassy to the United Nations, we have been working tirelessly on the most significant inquiry…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Riddikulus reef-dementors

The death of the Great Barrier has been greatly exaggerated

Features Australia

Debasing the base

Conservatives have moderates thrust upon them

Features Australia

The orange man cometh

Trump tightens his grip on the GOP

Features Australia

Taiwan tantrum

President Xi has succeeded only in projecting weakness

Features Australia

Fertility matters

What’s going on with birth rates?

Features Australia

Embracing the flag

Self-loathing Greens should learn from India’s Muslims

Features Australia

Pandemic power grab

Authoritarian rule will return unless prevented constitutionally


Notes on...

Who needs a hosepipe? The watering cans worth investing in

In the hot, dry summer of 1976, I was working as a gardening student at Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium. The…


State-building is a Tory tradition. It’s time to rediscover it

It’s time for some old-fashioned Tory state-building


What happened when I took my son to Drag Queen Story Hour

Why are protestors so angry about a children’s story hour?

The Week

Leading article

It’s time to repair the damage caused by lockdown grade inflation

When A-level results are published next week, we will find out if the government has made any progress in stemming…


Letters: The Tavistock is a national health scandal

The race isn’t run Sir: Bravo Fiona Unwin (‘Rooting for Rishi’, 6 August) for the best piece I have read…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Energy bills up, NHS waiting lists down and hosepipes off

Home Energy bills will be £4,266 for a typical household by January, according to the consultancy Cornwall Insight, which had…


What’s the point of the NHS if it doesn’t work?

We left prepared. Bottles of water, protein snacks, phone chargers, portable Scrabble (even the teenagers can look at the internet…


What are the rules around ex-presidents’ paperwork?

Tracing paper FBI agents raided Donald Trump’s estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in search of papers he is accused of removing…

Ancient and modern

The ancient problem of the man who threw away £150m in bitcoin

James Howells has spent years trying to persuade Newport council to allow him to spend millions digging up a rubbish…



How kindness became big business

In those moments when I most fear that the West is on the skids, I find it helps to make…

Any other business

How to save money: switch to cash and reprogram your boiler

We’ll find out shortly whether official statistics agree with economists surveyed by Bloomberg who say UK GDP probably shrank by…


The death of saving

I was intrigued to learn from Tom Daley – that young man who became famous for jumping off a platform…


Will the lights go off this winter?

Between 1992 and 2002, the UK experienced a period of benign economic growth. Known as the Nice (non-inflationary constant expansion)…


A strange kind of recession

It’s possible that I owe Joe Biden some sort of an apology, however mealy-mouthed it might be. Last week I…


Australian Books

Preparing for war

This is not a book for anyone complacent about the China challenge, yet it should be compulsory reading for everyone…

More from Books

How the travel industry convinced us we needed holidays

In September 2019, Thomas Cook filed for compulsory liquidation, leaving 600,000 customers stranded abroad. It was a sorry end to…

More from Books

The bizarre history of London’s private members’ clubs

At the height of the IRA’s terrorist campaign on mainland Britain in December 1974, a bomb was lobbed through the…

Lead book review

Our long, vulnerable childhoods may be the key to our success

Could our long journey to adulthood actually be the key to our success, wonders Sam Leith

More from Books

Propaganda from the Russian Front: The People Immortal, by Vasily Grossman, reviewed

On its posthumous publication in 1980, Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate was widely compared with War and Peace. For all…

More from Books

How Alice Prin conquered bohemian Paris

This book is about two people who reinvented themselves in 1920s Paris. Mark Braude focuses on Kiki de Montparnasse and…

More from Books

Three men on a pilgrimage: Haven, by Emma Donoghue, reviewed

I used to envy Catholic novelists – Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, François Mauriac – as having that extra point of…

More from Books

We do love to be beside the seaside

In the garden of my house in Cornwall there is a smooth granite stone about the size and shape of…

More from Books

Fleeing paradise: eden, by Jim Crace, reviewed

Since announcing his retirement in 2013, Jim Crace has had more comebacks than Kanye West, something for which we should…

More from Books

It’s thrilling to learn that the rebellious Urien actually existed

Once, when we shared the same history teacher in our teens, my older brother Dominic handed in an essay about…

More from Books

More stirring stories of little ships

‘I found this story by accident,’ begins Julia Jones’s Uncommon Courage, referring to documents belonging to her late father that…

More from Books

The invisible man: The Glass Pearls, by Emeric Pressburger, reviewed

Not all Germans were swayed by Hitler, but the majority were. Karl Braun, the fugitive Nazi doctor at the heart…

More from Books

Slavoj Zizek: the philosopher who annoys all the right people

Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian graphomaniac who infuriates some of the world’s most annoying people, and might for this reason…


Australian Arts

Trash and treasure

It’s cheering to see that the new head of Melbourne’s Arts Centre is Karen Quinlan. For years now, she has…

Arts feature

The magic of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Louise Levene on the male ballet troupe that realised the ballerinas have all the best lines


If you’re going to make it up, please make it up better: Eiffel reviewed

Eiffel is a romantic drama purporting to show how a passionate but forbidden love inspired Gustave Eiffel to design and…


A victory of the imaginatively crafted over the conceptual: In the Black Fantastic reviewed

‘These artists are offering other ways of seeing,’ says Ekow Eshun, curator of In the Black Fantastic, and from the…


A magnificent farewell: Stornoway, at Womad Festival, reviewed

The greatest pleasure of writing about pop music – even more than the free tickets and records, nice as they…


Rivals Wagatha Christie for its lowbrow twists: FT's Hot Money – Who Rules Porn? reviewed

It was recently reported that almost 8 per cent of global internet traffic is to pornographic websites. The rise of…


Fascinating but flat: Amazon Prime's Thirteen Lives reviewed

About ten minutes in to Thirteen Lives, Boy came in and asked me whether it was any good. I said:…


A classic in the making: Glyndebourne's Poulenc double bill reviewed

One morning in the 20th century, Thérèse wakes up next to her husband and announces that she’s a feminist. Hubby,…


The Dane gets an interpretive dance makeover: Ian McKellan's Hamlet reviewed

Ian McKellen’s Hamlet is the highlight of Edinburgh’s opening week. In this experimental ballet, Sir Ian speaks roughly 5 per…


Aussie Life

Aussie Life

‘Give it up for the band!’ cried Van Morrison from the stage at King John’s castle in Limerick the other…

Aussie Life


As the contest to replace Boris Johnson draws towards its protracted close, we should remember that many of the original…

Aussie Life


Our Marriage Soundtrack I think of our marriage quite often. I think of the music as well. It started with…

High life

The curse of the jet-ski

An F. Scott Fitzgerald biographer by the name of David S. Brown refers to America’s promotion of deviancy (my words)…


Bridge | 13 August 2022

To paraphrase E.L. Wisty, the late, great Peter Cook’s alter ego, ‘Some people are born lazy, some become lazy and…

Low life

How I found perfect happiness

The view from the upstairs window was of other large and secluded houses perched on other still-green Surrey Hills. I…

Real life

There is nothing speedy about speedy boarding

When my black passport arrived in the post, I decided to take a trip. I’m not a good flier, so…


2568: Next door have gone

The unclued lights, two of two words, and including four pairs using two of the unclued lights twice, are of…

Crossword solution

2562: 3 X 2 - solution

The unclued lights are words (or one phrase) which contain three pairs (3 x 2, in the title) of double…

Spectator sport

What Richard Thompson can do for English cricket

Well alleluia, English cricket doesn’t seem able to put a foot wrong these days. After hitting three cherries with Rob…

Mind your language

Will ‘hosepipe ban’ make it into the dictionary?

‘Got any ’ose?’ asked my husband, falling into his Two Ronnies ‘Four Candles’ routine, in which he likes to play…

Chess puzzle

No. 715

White to play. Navara – Batsuren, Chennai Olympiad 2022. In this strange position Czech grandmaster David Navara found an elegant…


A great chef at his best: Lisboeta reviewed

In 2014, Nuno Mendes, a chef from Lisbon by way of Wolfgang Puck’s kitchens and his own Viajante in Bethnal…


Poems about the James Webb Space Telescope

In Competition No. 3261, you were invited to submit a poem about the James Webb Space Telescope. The first dazzling…


India’s young stars

At the Chennai Olympiad, the Indian team began as second seeds, even with former World Champion Vishy Anand absent from…

No sacred cows

The (occasional) joy of being a QPR fan

I made my way to Loftus Road on Saturday for QPR’s first home fixture of the season. We’ve got a…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Can I ask our hosts to look for my husband’s tooth in the flowerbed?

Q. My 74-year-old husband was having drinks in the garden of some young clients when he bit down on an…