The Spectator

4 April 2020 Aus

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Leading article Australia

Go in hard, get out fast

It remains to be seen whether the actions taken by the Morrison government in the last two weeks will have…

Guest Notes

Dis-con notes

Time for a re-shuffle, Mr Morrison Since its re-election the Morrison government has been beset by one ‘crisis’, real or…

Guest Notes

Pandemic notes

The contraction of globalisation The thought of globalisation as an inherent good of modern life is fracturing. That is not…

Australian Features

Features Australia

End of the world? Call me sceptical

There are just not enough deaths to justify the draconian reaction to the coronavirus

Features Australia

Gender identity is bollocks

The trans agenda is not for me. And I’m trans.

Features Australia

After the party

The virus has also laid waste to the woke zeitgeist

Features Australia

Getafix battles Pharma Geddon and comes up Trumps

A quick cheap cure for the coronavirus could be a bitter pill for the Democrats

Features Australia

Aussie wipeout

This crisis has echoes of the past but we are in unchartered waters

Features Australia

Business/Robbery etc

The Black Swan to Australia’s rescue

Features Australia

Comic books are now a laughing stock

The heroes of yesteryear have been supplanted by woke snowflakes

Australian Columnists

Brown Study

Brown study

What with all the monumental stuff-ups by the public authorities in the campaign against coronavirus, it is not surprising that…

Culture Buff

Lloyd Rees Solitude 1978

‘How much of our village do we burn to contain this?’. That was the chilling headline of an article in…



A first for Christendom: Holy Week without church

Isolation has always been part of the Holy Week story


How will the world be changed by the war against coronavirus?

What will post-coronavirus economies and societies look like?


No lockdown, please, we’re Swedish

There’s no lockdown in sight here


Revealed: Extinction Rebellion’s plan to exploit the Covid crisis

Extinction Rebellion sees coronavirus as an ‘opportunity’


My polar journey puts coronavirus isolation into perspective

I arrived on Novolazarevskaya base on the northern coast of Antarctica in a Russian plane, flown by an ex-USSR air…

Notes on...

The oddest thing people are stockpiling? Hens

Is there nothing people won’t panic-buy during this crisis? Having stripped shelves of food and toilet roll, shoppers are now…


Coronomics: Ordinary remedies won’t be enough for a surreal crash

The crash is surreal – and ordinary remedies won’t be enough

The Week

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Coronavirus hits cabinet, EasyJet grounded and postman soldiers on

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, contracted the coronavirus disease Covid-19, as did Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary. The Prince…

Ancient and modern

Pericles would have approved of the PM’s response to the pandemic

It must be infuriating for those who see the Prime Minister as a prisoner of a rigid elitist mindset that…


How much are people eating during lockdown?

People power Boris Johnson said that the reaction to the coronavirus crisis showed ‘There really is such a thing as…


Letters: Why coronavirus is so hard to investigate

Corona mysteries Sir: John Lee highlights the issue of dying of seasonal flu vs dying of coronavirus when assessing attributable…


Life, of a sort, still goes on in New York City

‘How are you bearing up?’ ‘Is everyone terrified?’ ‘What’s the mood?’ These are the questions concerned family and friends are…

Leading article

One thing is missing from the government’s coronavirus response: an endgame

The failures of Britain’s pandemic planning have been brutally exposed in the past few weeks. The scandalous lack of protective…



Keir Starmer may have a better chance of taking Labour to power than anyone expected

First impressions matter in politics. Once the public have made their mind up about a politician, they rarely change it.…


The corona curtain-twitchers are watching

Welcome, then, to a country in which the police send drones to humiliate people taking a walk and dried pasta…

The Spectator's Notes

Perhaps we are all communists now

‘I am a columnist for the Daily Telegraph,’ I began a text message to an NHS executive last week. Due…


The longer lockdown continues, the more imperilled we become

Comically, Chinese Communist party officials have speculated that Covid-19 was planted by the US army. Yet a respectable conspiracy theorist…

Any other business

Spare a thought for the poor estate agents

The suspension of the residential property market is disheartening for those who were hoping to buy a first flat or…


My isolation reading list

A psychiatrist once told me that it takes one’s subconscious about three weeks to catch up with a significant life…


Don’t let anyone tell you there’s a war on

‘Shut up — don’t you know there’s a war on?’ Strong hints of that attitude have emerged in recent weeks,…


More from Books

The devastating effects of bigamy: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones, reviewed

Conservative estimates place the number of those in America with more than one spouse as up to 100,000, but the…

More from Books

There’s nothing romantic about Cornish fishermen, whatever tales they may spin

Lamorna Ash came to the fishing port of Newlyn in south-west Cornwall to write a memoir. This is not unusual.…

More from Books

At last, a novel about the art world that rings true: Annalena Mcfee’s Nightshade reviewed

On a winter’s night an artist of moderately exalted reputation and in lateish middle age journeys across London, away from…

More from Books

Has Notre-Dame ever been a symbol of unity for the French?

From the kitchen of her apartment on the Quai de la Tournelle in Paris, the journalist and broadcaster Agnès Poirier…

More from Books

Annie Ernaux looks back at her teenage self – and sees a stranger

How can you recover the teenage girl you were? Not just recall the memories and recount the events — this…

More from Books

His son’s death may have inspired some of Shakespeare’s greatest lines, but he never recovered from the loss

Maggie O’Farrell is much possessed by death. Her first novel, After You’d Gone (2000), chronicled the inner life of a…

More from Books

When six of her 12 children went mad, Mimi Galvin did her best to make to light of it

Don Galvin and Mimi Blayney married in December 1944. It was a shotgun wedding. They had been high school sweethearts.…

More from Books

Even Anne Tyler can’t make a solitary Baltimore janitor sound interesting

Micah Mortimer, the strikingly unproactive protagonist of Anne Tyler’s 23rd novel, is a man of such unswerving routine that his…

Lead book review

Wordsworth may have been partially eclipsed by his fellow Romantics, but his life was far from dull

Wordsworth’s reputation has been too long in decline, says Tom Williams. In the space of a decade he transformed English poetry, and his earlier works remain astonishing

More from Books

Violence and infidelity on sun-drenched Hydra: A Theatre for Dreamers, by Polly Samson, reviewed

The beautiful Greek island of Hydra became home to a bohemian community of expats in the 1960s, including the Canadian…

More from Books

The Far East Campaign of 1941-5 is the new focus of Daniel Todman’s comprehensive history

To begin not at the beginning but at the end of the beginning. Or rather, to begin at another beginning,…



The joy of Haydn's string quartets – here are the best recordings

As Joseph Haydn was getting out of bed on the morning of 10 May 1809, a cannonball landed in his…


Taylor Swift is fascinating – but you really wouldn't want to be her

There had been some question about whether Taylor Swift’s Netflix special would actually appear. Last year it seemed that the…


Ill-disciplined and self-indulgent: The Guilty Feminist podcast reviewed

With theatres shut, radio must lighten the darkness. The Guilty Feminist is a wildly popular podcast performed by Deborah Frances-White…


A Formula 1 doc for people who hate Formula 1

Some years ago I was invited to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone courtesy of a watch manufacturer. As freebies…


Perfectly serviceable – at points even charming: Four Kids and It reviewed

This film contains flying children, time travel and a sand monster that lives under a beach — yet the most…

More from Arts

Are there ways in which virtual exhibitions are better than real ones?

Six months ago I published a book about travelling to look at works of art. One such journey involved a…

Arts feature

The art of the hermit

Holed up in her sixth-floor London flat, Laura Freeman finds solace in the art of the hermit



TripAdvisor reviews — with added spice

In Competition No. 3142 you were invited to supply a review on TripAdvisor that has been spiced up with a…


Drinking in isolation is far less appealing

Spring sense, caressing sunshine: last week, London enjoyed village cricket weather. Even in normal circumstances, the season would not have…

Mind your language

Why my husband is throwing socks at the TV during the Covid-19 crisis

My husband has special ‘throwing socks’. They are a rolled-up pair of woolly hiking socks. He does not hike. He…

The Wiki Man

NHS workers deserve our applause – but so does the telecoms industry

Next time there is a highly deserved round of public applause for NHS workers, do add one additional clap for…

The turf

Does horse-racing have a future?

Asked, after his Imperial Aura’s impressive win in the Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, if he…


Bridge | 4 April 2020

I’m finding it harder than I thought to concentrate while playing bridge online. And not just because my two children…


2451: Cretinous

Unclued lights are anagrams of ten of a kind. Elsewhere, ignore an accent. Across 9 A model cure fixed skin…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How much should I pay my cleaner during the lockdown?

Q. Mary, what percentage of cleaners’ normal wages should we pay them when they can’t come in for the foreseeable…

No sacred cows

Dissent over coronavirus research isn’t dangerous – but stifling debate is

One of the paradoxes of the coronavirus crisis is that the need for public scrutiny of government policy has never…

Real life

This pandemic is showing us for who we really are

The spaniel curled up in her basket with one of my shoes, one of his socks and a packet of…

Chess puzzle

No. 598

A variation from the game above. Although White is a pawn down, he can rustle up decisive counterplay with one…

Low life

Had the entire village population been wiped out since last week?

With my signed and dated laissez-passer in my pocket, I trotted down to the village to see if I could…

High life

Covid-19 shows us that virtue trumps freedom

Look at it this way: we’re all doing Desert Island Discs nowadays, and unless you’ve got the bug, it’s a…

Crossword solution

2448: Issues solution

The novels are A Modern Utopia (anagram of AORTAE IMPOUND 17/5), The Time Machine (HEATHEN/MIMETIC 22/27), Tono-Bungay (BATON/YOUNG 29/31) and…


Half measures

Would you slice a book in two? I learned of this peculiar practice in January, and I can’t fault its…