The Spectator

25 January 2020 Aus

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Leading article Australia

Political hazard reduction

After several weeks of being caught on the hop by the severity of the bushfires, it appears Scott Morrison has…

Guest Notes

Brexit notes

A victory for the voters Who remembers the Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial on the eve of Britain’s Brexit referendum in…

Guest Notes

Climate notes

The Great Global Warming Symposium We can now look back over the past decade and agree that ‘climate change’ has…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Business/Robbery etc

A crusade to save capitalism from itself?

Features Australia

How I learned to stop worrying and love CO2

Scientists will soon be turning carbon dioxide into gold

Features Australia

Cave diving into the culture wars

A rock icon refuses to play the woke tune

Features Australia

Fox hunt

The return of Stalinism

Features Australia

An ill wind

On climate ‘denialism’ and the renewables industry

Features Australia

King Kevin through the back door

Are the politicians planning to crown one of their own?

Australian Books

Books Australia

White House gossip

When the brilliant American biographer, Robert A. Caro, first approached the task of writing a biography of the 36th President…

Australian Columnists

Culture Buff

Marta Dusseldorp

Known throughout his life as Dick, Gerardus Dusseldorp had just come to Australia and created Civil and Civic (later Lend…

Brown Study

Brown study

After weeks of tough negotiating and heart-wrenching self-examination, I am delighted to announce that I am embarking on a transition…



The latest fad: eating your way to better mental health

The latest fad involves eating your way to better mental health


Ten years on, the Arab Spring has only benefited the Islamists

Ten years on, the Arab Spring’s legacy is hopelessness and helplessness


Upstream struggle: we are running out of time to save Britain’s salmon

In a few years’ time, there could be no more wild salmon in Britain


Torture a Tory, make him an MEP? Not any more

‘Epiphany.’ That was the word that Robert Rowland, soon-to-be-ex-MEP for the Brexit party, used to describe his discovery of the…

Notes on...

Will Kent conquer Champagne?

Driving home through Kent the other day, I was struck by how much the topography has changed. When I was…

The Week

Leading article

Britain’s misguided approach to asylum is threatening lives

The news this week could easily have led with the deaths of 14 Afghan and Iraqi migrants in the English…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Prince Harry leaves, Jess Phillips drops out and Trump goes on trial

Home The Duke of Sussex left England to join his wife, Meghan, in Canada. This followed an agreement that stripped…


Andrew Doyle: I may have to kill off Titania McGrath

I start the week by going through my iPhone to delete the numbers of former friends. It sounds depressing, but…


How much public income does the royal family receive?

Parliamentary motions The government floated the idea of moving the House of Lords permanently to York.    Until it was found…

Ancient and modern

What would the ancient Greeks have made of Megxit?

There are as many explanations for Harry and Meghan’s problems with the royal family as there are commentators. May as…

From The Archives

Mr Pooter goes to Europe

By Leo McKinstry, The Spectator, 17 August 2002: The modern MEP is a titan of tedium, a figure whose every…


Letters: Slimming down the monarchy will only hasten its decline

Royal travails Sir: The travails of the royal family outlined by Penny Junor (‘In check’, 18 January) may be public…


The Spectator's Notes

I won’t be applying to be director-general of the BBC

Despite huge public pressure, I shall not be applying to be director-general of the BBC. It was kind of Tony…


Labour must change if it is to win

In the past 40 years, only two leaders of the opposition have gone on to become prime minister: Tony Blair…

Rod Liddle

A last chance to save the BBC

Whoever becomes the next director-general of the BBC should take a close look at last week’s Question Time. It came…

Matthew Parris

Vegans are brave – and they have a point

It was a clear and icy night at home in Derbyshire last week. I love these times and, before bed,…

Lionel Shriver

Is ‘Mini Mike’ a growing threat to Trump?

Should Bernie Sanders become the Democratic presidential nominee, expect the media to overuse these sprightly English expressions: ‘between a rock…

Any other business

HS2’s completion is as likely as King Harry’s coronation

Seven years ago, when HS2 was still officially costed at £33 billion, I wrote that I was looking forward to…


Lead book review

How David Rosenhan’s fraudulent Thud experiment set back psychiatry for decades

In 1973, a social psychologist from Stanford perpetrated one of the greatest scientific
frauds of recent history. Its consequences still resonate today, says Andrew Scull


Babies are aware of bilingualism from birth — if not before

Probably most of the world is bilingual, or more than bilingual. It is common in many countries to speak a…


Rembrandt remains an enigma

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–69) is not only the presiding genius of the Dutch golden age of painting, but one…


The Pearl Harbor fiasco need never have happened

It is sometimes said that intelligence failures are often failures of assessment rather than collection. This is especially so when…


We were highly amused: the Queen — and Mrs Thatcher — thought Ken Dodd tattyfilarious

Doddy! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. England hath need of tickling sticks. So also hath the rest of…


Dreaming of the desert: my life in the Sahara, by Sanmao

Travel writing is ‘the red light district of literature’, as Colin Thubron aptly put it, a space where anything goes.…


The wanderings of Ullis: Low, by Jeet Thayil, reviewed

Jeet Thayil’s previous novel, The Book of Chocolate Saints, an account of a fictional Indian artist and poet told in…


Desperate to preserve her sister Jane’s reputation, Cassandra Austen lost her own

Poor Cassy. The Miss Austen of this novel’s title is Cassandra, Jane’s elder sister. She was to have married Thomas…


Making mischief: J.M. Coetzee’s The Death of Jesus is one almighty tease

Late in this final volume of a tantalising trilogy, we hear that its enigmatic boy hero ‘would never tell you…


In this golden age of corruption, it takes much courage to be a whistleblower

Midway through Crisis of Conscience, the massive new compendium about US whistleblowers by the journalist Tom Mueller, I wanted to…


Does questioning women about their sex lives constitute harassment?

Alert to the combination of a controversial issue and a brilliant writer, Serpent’s Tail have bought This is a Pleasure,…


How did the infamous Josef Mengele escape punishment?

The atrocities of the concentration camp at Auschwitz–Birkenau are now universally known, but it is still almost beyond belief that…


Arts feature

The history, power and beauty of infographics

on the history, power and beauty of infographics


Dazzling and sex-fuelled: Picasso and Paper at the Royal Academy reviewed

Picasso collected papers. Not just sheets of the exotic handmade stuff — though he admitted being seduced by them —…


The audience were in tears: Christian Gerhaher/Gerold Huber at the Wigmore Hall reviewed

‘Popular’ classical music is a relative term. Show me someone who thinks Beethoven is surefire box office, and I’ll show…


Fun and likeable and forgettable: The Personal History of David Copperfield reviewed

Armando Iannucci’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield is a romp told at a lick, and while it’s fun and…


Radio 4's new H.P. Lovecraft adaptation will give you the chills

Of all the many things I’ve learned from the radio so far this decade, the most deranging is that the…


Sweeping, sod-you comedy – irresistible: Billionaire Boy reviewed

Falling In Love Again features two of the 20th century’s best-known sex athletes. Ron Elisha’s drama covers a long drunken…


Netflix's Messiah is a great concept undermined by implausible politics

Sky’s latest bingewatch potboiler Cobra can’t quite make up its mind whether it wants to be an arch, knowing House…


High life

Why do monsters make such good writers?

Did any of you know that most of the 20th-century monsters — Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Ceausescu, Duvalier, and even the…

Low life

Whisky and striptease: stories from an old people’s home

For the last four years of her long life, this upstairs room and this magnificent sea view belonged to Mrs…

Real life

What has Mr Benn got to do with horse insurance?

‘Time to begin your adventure with Mr Benn!’ said the letter that came through my door, in a big loopy…

The turf

The trainer who gives the big boys a run for their money

Racing’s New Year began well with the award of OBEs to both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, showing that they…



Sad to say, the length of time you’ve been playing bridge is no indication of how good you are. Indeed,…


More than a game

Cars, computers and cadavers: taking them apart is normally reserved for experts and the pathologically curious. In his new book,…

Chess puzzle

no. 588

Rowson-Yermolinsky, World Open 2002. This position arose after a tactical skirmish. White has only one good way to meet the…


Bizarre books

In Competition No. 3132 you were invited to submit an extract from one of the following books: Noah Gets Naked:…


2441: To and fro

28 2, born in 36, is best known for 10 41 (four words). He also produced a 19, 11 (two…

Crossword solution

to 2438: Shining Bright

The unclued lights can be linked with GOLDEN, at 30D, which had to be highlighted. The trio is GOLDEN EYE…

No sacred cows

George Orwell would have been a Brexiteer

I’ve been reading a new biography of George Orwell that’s been published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of his…

The Wiki Man

The great train robbery: why Britain’s rail prices need a rethink

Outside mathematics, the word ‘commute’ can mean two things. Mostly it refers to the act of making a daily journey…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I stop my mother-in-law sitting on newspaper whenever she comes to my house?

Q. When my mother-in-law visits, she puts newspaper on a dining chair before sitting down. I’m so speechless that someone…


A toast to Roger Scruton

In clubs and other admirable locations throughout the civilised world, glasses have been raised and toasts proposed. But this was…

Mind your language

Rebecca Long-Bailey is right: hyphens come and go

When Francis Hurt inherited the Renishaw estate in 1777, he changed his surname to Sitwell. His eight-year-old son and heir…