The Spectator

21 October 2017 Aus

Papa Xi


Leading article Australia

Just another hoax

Two out of three ain’t bad. Or so we are supposed to believe. So let’s start by accepting that the…

Diary Australia

Climate diary

My previous key speech in London, in October 2015, was to call for rational border protection policy. This time it…

Guest Notes

Kiwi notes

Piggy’s prevaricating protégé Australians who like to poke fun at quaint, idiosyncratic New Zealand have, for once, got all the…

Guest Notes

Dis-con notes

Toughen up, snowflakes Another parliamentary sitting week has passed, with nothing done to confront the fate that has been staring…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Free votes: a free reform

When the dispiriting kabuki theatre that is the same-sex marriage survey finally reaches its denouement next month, focus will again…

Features Australia

Chesterton’s prophesy

To step back and take a broad view of history is to see a constant and almost incessant Muslim onslaught…

Features Australia

Business/Robbery etc

BHP’s green-aligned sabotage of the Mineral Council of Australia’s battle to save the Australian coal industry cannot be explained simply…

Features Australia

Climate excuses

Tony Abbott may have annoyed the climate change mob with his speech in London (see Diary), but a far more…

Australian Books

Books Australia

A revolutionary act

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. Whilst this quote is often attributed to…

Australian Columnists

Culture Buff

Cressida Campbell Still life with dragonfly 2016-17

Emerging from a gifted family, Cressida Campbell is now one of Australia’s most celebrated artists. She chose an unusual medium…


Notes on...

Cruise ship pianists

When Crystal Cruises invited me to join their flagship as the guest classical pianist for a springtime voyage around the…

Abortion Demo (image: Getty)


Pregnant silence

Brian Sewell once wrote an article about abortion headlined: ‘Women, the killers in our midst.’ He got an awful lot…

US film producer Harvey Weinstein (Photo: Getty)


Dangerous liaisons

Lothario, Don Juan, philanderer, ‘naughty’, ‘plays away’ — all terms for men who have an overwhelming drive to seduce scores…

The Great Hall of the People in Beijing at the opening session of the Chinese Communist Party's five-yearly Congress (image: Getty)


One man rules

Optimists speculate that Xi Jinping’s power accumulation is the prelude to a burst of liberalising reform in his second five-year…

Michel Barnier (image: Getty)


Lost in translation

If Michel Barnier and David Davis, in their regular dialogue of the deaf, seem to be inhabiting different mental universes,…

Prime Minister Theresa May at the summit of European Union (image: getty)


No deal is a good deal

So Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker enjoyed a ‘broad and constructive exchange’ during their working dinner in Brussels. Last time…

(image: istock)


Cult classic

In Dan Brown’s new thriller, Origin, we are introduced to the Catholic church’s sinister far-right rival — a paranoid worldwide…


Papa Xi

The cult of personality behind China’s president

The Week



New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Raleigh, Dallas… I’m on a book tour in Donald Trump’s USA, which feels much like the…

Leading article

The Kurds are on their own

The routing of Isis in northern Iraq ought to be a time of international celebration, but as ever in the…



The great divider Sir: Niall Ferguson (‘Tech vs Trump’, 14 October) draws a parallel between the Reformation — powered by the…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, went to Brussels and had dinner with Jean-Claude…



Brexit can strengthen the Union

There will be no chance of the United Kingdom making a success of Brexit if Scotland votes to break up…

Lionel Shriver

The young oppress their future selves

Matt Ridley’s fine recent Times column was hardly the first to raise the alarm about the pseudo-Soviet intolerance of the…

Any other business

Are we really half a trillion poorer? No, but we’re not pulling in investors like we used to

How did we mislay half a trillion pounds? Revised data from the Office for National Statistics has just reduced the…

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes

‘Persecuted and Forgotten?’ is the name of the latest report by Aid to the Church in Need. Unfortunately, there is…

James Delingpole

The bank that keeps poor nations poor

What is the point of the World Bank? You probably think of it, if at all, as a benign institution,…

Rod Liddle

That idiot Trump has got one thing right

I have been watching Donald Trump closely for more than a year and I have come to the considered opinion…


(image: istock)


A choice of first novels

Black Rock White City (Melville House, £16.99) is ostensibly about a spate of sinister graffiti in a Melbourne hospital. ‘The…

(image: iStock)


Unearthly powers

This delightfully good-humoured novel is the sort of genre scramble that doesn’t often work: there’s a bit of 1990s family…

Dyers at work. There was a tradition that Jesus was apprenticed to a dyer when young


The pilgrims’ ways

Liza Picard, an chronicler of London society across the centuries, now weaves an infinity of small details into an arresting…

Narvik harbour, March 1940


Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

Lord Woolton put it best: ‘Few people have succeeded in obtaining such a public demand for their promotion as the…

Adam Gopnik (image: Getty)


Art and aspiration

When Adam Gopnik arrived in Manhattan in late 1980 he was an art history postgrad so poor that he and…

Philip Pullman (image: Getty)


Three daemons in a boat

Philip Pullman’s new k, the prequel to his Northern Lights series — the one north Oxford academics very much prefer…

Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, known as ‘La Pasionaria’, insists: ‘They shall not pass’


Lend me your ears

Complaints about the decline and fall of political oratory are nothing new. Back in 1865 a British reporter branded the…

The bee orchid, by Franz Andreas Bauer. Its sex life is far beyond the dreams of most teenage boys


Hunt the lady’s slipper

Who would want to read a whole book about a teenage boy’s gap year? When most 18-year-olds take time off…

Victorian house (image: istock)


Something scary in the attic

How do you like your ghosts? Supernatural fiction is arguably the hardest to get right. Ideally it should terrify, but…

Cross-dressing in the Met. Policemen don women’s clothes to catch the Whitechapel murderer. Charles West (far right) leads the search in Jack the Ripper, 1974


Broken dreams

In the expensive realm of musical comedy, it’s impossible to predict what will take off and what will crash and…


‘The First Days of Spring’, 1929, by Salvador Dalí


It’s the thought that counts

During a panel discussion in 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright made an undiplomatic comment about Marcel Duchamp’s celebrated picture of 1912,…

St Vincent (image: Getty)

The Heckler

St Vincent: Masseduction

Grade: A The old Tulsa sound was a rather agreeable low-key, shuffling, blues-inflected rockabilly — primarily J.J. Cale and Leon…

The Factory (image: OMA/Factory)

The Heckler

The Bilbao effect

Twenty years ago I wrote of the otherwise slaveringly praised Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao: I’m in a minority of, apparently,…

Richard Strauss (image: Getty)


Salon Strauss

An opera without singers, a Strauss orchestra of just 16, and an early music ensemble playing Mahler: welcome to the…

Les Vêpres siciliennes (image: ROH)


Mad Men – The Opera

Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti begins not with a prelude, but a jingle. In Matthew Eberhardt’s production a trio of…


Speed limit

Slow radio is popping up everywhere at the moment — programmes that have no outward form but just meander through…

Steve Buscemi (Khrushchev), Michael Palin (Molotov) and Paul Whitehouse (Mikoyan) in The Death of Stalin


Comedy of terrors

Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin is nearly two hours of men in bad suits bickering, but if you have…

Bad Habits, Holy Orders (image: Channel 5)


Saints and sinners

Any rival reality-TV makers watching Channel 5 on Thursday will, I suspect, have been both mystified and slightly embarrassed at…

Tyrone Singleton and Jenna Roberts in MacMillan’s Concerto

Arts feature

Seeing the light

Dance is an ephemeral art. It keeps few proper records of its products. Reputations are written in rumours and reviews.…

Saint George and the Dragon (image: NT)


The bad sex award

Simon Stephens gives his plays misleading titles. Nuclear War, Pornography and Punk Rock contained little trace of their advertised ingredients.…




Bridge is a partnership game — but haven’t you sometimes wished you could file for a quick divorce mid-rubber? The…

Chess puzzle

no. 479

Black to play. This is from Sanal-Arnaudov, Antalya 2017. How did Black finish off the horribly exposed white king? Answers…


Marriage guidance

In Competition No. 3020 you were invited to submit the formula for a successful marriage courtesy of a well-known husband…


2332: Glad all over

The unclued lights (one of two words and one hyphened) when preceded by a five–letter word are phrases listed in…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Q. A newish friend who has very good manners lent me a DVD of his grandfather at the Olympics. I…

High life

High life

I may have spoken too soon last week when I defended my old friend Harvey Weinstein. It now looks very…

Low life

Low life

On Saturday night, I toddled up to the village hall for the fish-and-chip supper, quiz night and raffle — bring…

Mind your language

Einstein vs Weinstein

Before I forget, I was cheered by the letter from Keith Aitken in last week’s issue noting another sense for…


Father William

The American grandmaster William Lombardy died last week (4 December 1937–13 October 2017). He was an amazing talent in his…

Crossword solution

to 2329: PLACES TO EAT

The paired unclued lights are food items which include a place-name. BATH and BUNS do double duty, BUNS is the plural…


A Dutch treat from Bordeaux

In 1995, a young Dutchman completed an MBA. Banking beckoned. An internship was arranged. But Alexander van Beek thought that…

Status anxiety

Sadly, true grit can’t be taught

I am currently wrestling with a dilemma. I have agreed to contribute to a panel discussion on character education at…

The Wiki Man

Perception vs objective reality

I hate to tell you this, but every time you watch television you are being duped. In fact there are…