The Spectator

23 September 2017 Aus

Tying the Gordian knot


Leading article Australia

Happy New Year

As with the Chinese New Year, Ramadan, and other festive occasions on our multicultural calendar, the ten-day period from Rosh…

Guest Notes

Kiwi notes

Shadows on the cave wall Kiwis, punching above their weight on the world stage as per, have taken democracy to…

Australian Features

Features Australia

A Millenial changes her mind

Spectator Australia contributor Anne Gallagher is currently overseas and received this letter from her 17-year old daughter. It is reproduced…

Features Australia

The inconvenient truth about Al Gore

A decade ago Al Gore released his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Second only to 9/11 it was the decade’s most…

Features Australia

Tying the Gordian knot

The same sex marriage push didn’t just appear overnight. It’s the result of carefully crafted campaigns by US homosexuals with…

Features Australia

Unlearning truth

Nearly ten months on, the University of Sydney appears to be coming to grips with the fact that Donald Trump…

Features Australia

Turnbull, SSM and the culture wars

In his capacity as an individual, Malcolm Turnbull has just as much right to an opinion on same-sex marriage as…

Features Australia

What Trojan horse?

One popular metaphor used by No campaigners is that of the Trojan horse. Same-sex marriage will, the metaphor suggests, introduce…

Features Australia

Business/Robbery etc

Created by a combination of federal political incompetence and ideology-based state stupidity, it is sovereign risk, above all else, that…

Australian Books

Books Australia

Ruck ‘n roll

As every Speccie reader certainly will be aware and no doubt heartily applaud, the game of rugby league was born…

Australian Columnists

Consider This

Consider this…

Black lives matter Black tennis player Sloane Stephens won the recent US Open. She beat Venus Williams in the semi-final.…

Culture Buff

Thomas Hampson

Sir Andrew Davis became Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and, happily, will continue until the end…



Close of play

This retiring is a hectic business. When I said in June that it was going to be my last year…

School of thought: the site of the first college in Bishopsgate

Notes on...

Gresham College

How many people need to gather together before it becomes more likely than not that at least two of them…


Can we be friends?

Have you heard the one about the new Labour MP who refuses to be friends with Tories? When Laura Pidcock…


Brexit wars

The time for choosing is fast approaching for Theresa May. Soon she must make a decision that will define her…


A court’s contempt

The issue of sovereignty has mysteriously disappeared from the debate over Brexit. Some business-focused commentators even like to assert that…


Crime and prejudice

Beware of jumping to conclusions about Brexit-induced violence


Ukraine’s last best hope

Georgia’s former president may be a reckless narcissist, but he could change everything

The Week

Leading article

A fallen idol

Few world leaders have fallen from grace as quickly as Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel prize-winner, who also holds…



Christians betrayed Sir: Michael Karam’s article (Ya Allah!, 16 September) is timely. Many Westerners seem to be unaware that there…



Next month, the Today programme marks its 60th anniversary, so I have been mugging up on the archives. If there…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, issued a manifesto for a ‘glorious future’ for Britain outside the European Union as…


Lionel Shriver

At this rate, we’ll have to rename New York

Growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, I took the monuments around the state capitol for granted. The first Confederate soldier…

James Delingpole

Accept this as the new normal? Never

Not long after the Parsons Green Tube bombing, another of those viral, defiant-in-the-face-of-terror cartoons started doing the rounds. It was…

Any other business

A rate rise in November? After years of dithering, don’t bet on it

It is more than three years since Bank of England governor Mark Carney was accused by Labour MP and Treasury…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s notes

Sir David Norgrove, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), is an honourable man. When he publicly rebuked Boris…

Rod Liddle

Poor old Ron and Pen, just trying to help

Here’s the problem. An Asian bloke gets on to the Tube holding a bulging Lidl bag with wires sticking out…


Our hero, homo erectus


Learning to talk

One of the great achievements of science is that so many of its branches, from astronomy to zoology, have been…


Deep learning

Given the brilliance of his career as a fiction-writer, it is easy to forget that J.M. Coetzee has a commensurate…


Harsh, but entertaining

When millionaires become billionaires they become even greedier and more ruthless. At the highest level, Trumpian economics can be lethal.…

Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Crystal Palace Bowl, 7 June 1980


The cult of Holy Bob

The Harder They Come, Jamaica’s first (and still finest) home-grown film, was released in 1972 with the local singer Jimmy…

Mykola Bokan’s photograph of his family, including a memorial to ‘Kostya, who died of hunger’, July 1933. Bokan and his son were arrested for documenting the famine — both died in the gulag


The hunger

In 1933 my aunt Lenina Bibikova was eight years old. She lived in Kharkov, Ukraine. Every morning a polished black…


Muddled in minutiae

‘Publitical’ is a neologism worth avoiding. Bill Goldstein uses it to describe T.S. Eliot’s activities when launching and promoting his…


Demonised by history

Some oleaginous interviewer once suggested to Winston Churchill that he was the greatest Briton who ever lived. The grand old…

Bristol ablaze: anger at the Lords’ rejection of the Second Reform Bill sparked riots in Queen’s Square, Bristol, October 1831 (William James Muller)


Britain über alles

  David Cannadine was a schoolboy in 1950s Birmingham, which was still recognisable as the city that Joseph Chamberlain had…


‘The Japanese’ by Hans Makart, 1870–75

Art market

Fickle fortune

Here’s an intriguing thought experiment: could Damien Hirst disappear? By that I mean not the 52-year-old artist himself — that…

War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC


The icemen cometh

You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the…


Loose ends

On Sunday night, Holliday Grainger was on two terrestrial channels at the same time playing a possibly smitten sidekick of…

The Heckler

LCD Soundsystem: American Dream

Grade: B+ Number one. Everywhere, just about. You have to say that the man has a certain sureness of touch.…

iPhone 8 Plus, unveiled last week at the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Headquarters, Cupertino, California. The new features include a Retina HD display, A11 Bionic Chip and wireless charging

Arts feature


For many years The Spectator employed a television reviewer who did not own a colour television. Now they have decided…

The rivals: Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg in Borg vs McEnroe


No balls

Borg vs McEnroe is a dramatised account of one of the greatest tennis rivalries of all time — between Bjorn…

‘The Angel of Mercy’, c.1746, by Joseph Highmore


Mothers’ ruin

At the heart of Basic Instincts, the new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London, is an extraordinarily powerful painting…


Seeing the light

‘You can’t lie… on radio,’ says Liza Tarbuck. The Radio 2 DJ was being interviewed for the network’s birthday portrait,…


Director’s cut

Much fuss has been made of the title given to Sir Simon Rattle on arrival at the London Symphony Orchestra.…

Robert Lindsay as Jack Cardiff in Prism


Speech therapy

Oslo opened in the spring of 2016 at a modest venue in New York. It moved to Broadway and this…


Small wonders

It has been a reasonably good week for peripatetic opera-loving female-underwear fetishists. In La bohème at Covent Garden Musetta slipped…


Mind your language

Shocking bad hat

My husband complains that the disposition of teenagers in London is one of mocking hostility. I seem to suffer less…

Real life

Real life

BT have just put the phone down on me for asking them to stop sending me junk mail, which is…

Status anxiety

The mystery of socialism’s enduring appeal

One of the mysteries of our age is why socialism continues to appeal to so many people. Whether in the…

The Wiki Man

Make life easier and all else will follow

You can try to change people’s minds, but this is difficult. You can bribe people to change their behaviour, but…


Diary stories

In Competition No. 3016 you were invited to submit an extract from the diary of the spouse of a high-profile…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. Last year my husband and I stayed with a much-loved, but slightly airy-fairy friend in her house in Tuscany.…


All’s fair in love and Waugh

I was reminded of Wild West films from boyhood. Then, the beleaguered garrison scanned the horizon; would the US cavalry…

High life

High life

As everyone who stands up when a lady enters the room knows, the once sacrosanct rules of civility throughout the…

Low life

Low life

I got off the plane at Changi still pleasantly sedated by Xanax, passed through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel, and…



I’m writing this from Stuart Wheeler’s beautiful villa in Tangier, in the hills just above the bay, where for a…


Bronstein’s legacy

Last week I focused on the games and somewhat tragic career of the ingenious David Bronstein. Before his time the…

Chess puzzle

no. 475

White to play. This position is from Jobava-Nepomniachtchi, FIDE World Cup, Tbilisi 2017. Can you spot White’s winning coup? Answers…


2328: Second coming

6A and 42 (whose unchecked letters give IDEA) combine to suggest the title of a novel. Remaining unclued lights give…

Crossword solution

to 2325: Hard task

The theme was PIGS.  First prize J. E. Green, St Albans, HertfordshireRunners-up Michael Moran, Penrith, Cumbria; John M. Brown, Rolleston…