The Spectator

29 January 2022 Aus

Their phoney war

It suits both Boris and Putin to pretend that Russia may invade Ukraine

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Leading article Australia

Don’t go woke, go for broke

With Australia Day vanishing in the rear-view mirror and most of the nation learning to live with Covid, the stage…

Australian Features

Features Australia

Uncivil war

Australians are following Americans in a dangerous experiment

Features Australia

Chinese whispers

Beijing sees Labor as a more compliant partner

Features Australia

Farewell to wokedemia

Jordan Peterson cancels his subscription to campus correctness

Features Australia

Come back, Bill

Save us from a Seinfeld election

Features Australia

Switch off the fear porn

Most legacy media companies offer Covid propaganda not investigative journalism

Features Australia

Aloha carbon emissions

The Tongan island that blew up explodes the climate myth about sea levels

Features Australia

China’s Pacific projection

Australia can’t afford complacency

Features Australia

Darwin under attack

Numbers tell the story of Australia’s northern war



The march of South Korea’s anti-feminists

How men’s rights became a big political issue


Letter from Odessa: life on the front line of a new Cold War

‘God Save the Queen’ trended on Ukrainian social media over the weekend. ‘As a Brit in Kiev I have never…

Notes on...

The rise and fall of Britain’s fur trade

We in Britain have long been much more squeamish about fur than other Europeans. I still well remember the snide…


The phoney war: what’s really going on between Boris and Putin

It suits both Boris and Putin to pretend that Russia may invade Ukraine

The Week


Letters: The BBC licence fee is a protection racket

Russia’s star Sir: Wolfgang Münchau is surely right to highlight the risk posed to European peace and stability by Germany’s…

Leading article

What Boris must do now to survive

When Omicron struck, Britain was already the most boosted country in Europe. Our programme was so advanced that 80 per…


Who survived the sinking of the Titanic?

Prime numbers As of 29 January Boris Johnson will have been Prime Minister for two years and 190 days. Currently…


My encounter with Sue Gray

I only voted in one no-confidence motion. The leader was Iain Duncan Smith, and it was a bit awkward. I…

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Unease in Ukraine, tensions in No. 10 and hamsters escape Hong Kong

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, told the Commons that Britain was prepared to send troops to protect Nato allies…

Ancient and modern

The ancients knew they couldn’t turn back time

The singer Cher, now 75, has announced that, because she refuses to appear old, she is not going to allow…


Any other business

What’s really behind the crypto crash

‘Market turmoil’ looks set as the theme of the week, so let’s take a close look at a trading arena…


The ceaseless self-pity of cyclists

I know that all must have prizes in the Victimisation Olympics these days, but when I heard a bicycle-rider on…


This government’s greatest failure is economic

‘The main job of a government is to ensure that the economics don’t go wrong.’ So argued an economist friend…


The freedom to be wrong

I must offer my support to Luke Main and Dr Joanna Brunker, who as a consequence of their fervent Christian…

The Spectator's Notes

Is Putin the reason my house is so cold?

Justin Webb is normally one of the least self-righteous BBC presenters, but he was out-Maitlising rivals on the Today programme…


The Tory party is split on one issue: Boris

‘I can’t put into words how awful this is’ remarks one Tory MP. The party is split not on the…


Books Australia

French Kiss-Off

For decades the purpose of British settlement in New South Wales seemed too obvious to question. The American War of…

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Pre-crime has arrived in China

The idea of ‘pre-crime’ was popularised by Philip K. Dick’s story ‘The Minority Report’ and the 2002 Steven Spielberg film…

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Scaling the heights: a woman’s experience of mountain climbing

In her memoir Time on Rock, Anna Fleming charts her progress from ‘terrified novice’ to ‘competent leader’ as she scales…

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Smugglers’ gold: Winchelsea, by Alex Preston, reviewed

The atmospheric medieval town of Rye on the south coast still celebrates being a former haunt of smugglers, and on…

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A guide to the apothecary’s garden

On 23 May 1804, two months before his daughter’s wedding, John Coakley Lettsom threw open his estate in Camberwell. Some…

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The BBC is trapped in its own smug bubble

An incalculable number of trees have been hewn down recently in order to provide paper for people writing lengthy, largely…

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Adapt or die: what the natural world can teach us about climate change

Climate change may be the central challenge of our century, but almost all attention has focused on its consequences for…

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What did the Russians make of Francis Bacon?

The KGB might not have known much about modern art, but they knew what they liked. For instance, at what…

Lead book review

The women who challenged a stale, male philosophy

Kathleen Stock describes how four women undergraduates in 1940s Oxford challenged an arid, modish philosophy

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Dystopian horror: They, by Kay Dick, reviewed

Her name has faded, but the British author and editor Kay Dick once cut a striking figure. She lived in…

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Man of mystery: Not Everybody Lives the Same Way, by Jean-Paul Dubois, reviewed

For Jean-Paul Dubois, as for Emily Dickinson, ‘March is the month of expectation’. A prolific writer, he limits his literary…


Australian Arts

Don’t Look Up

How strange it is to be in a supposedly opened-up world, even as the Omicron variety of the virus shuts…

Arts feature

Feral showstoppers and some of the greatest paintings of the 20th century: Francis Bacon at the RA reviewed

Francis Bacon sensed our inner beastliness and painted it with astonishing power, says Martin Gayford


Disappointingly conventional and linear: BBC radio's modernism season reviewed

This week marks the beginning of modernism season on BBC Radio 3 and 4, which means it’s time for some…


Borderline soft porn but thrilling: Moulin Rouge! The Musical at Piccadilly Theatre reviewed

Moulin Rouge wins no marks for its storyline. A struggling Parisian theatre is bought out by an evil financier who…


Rojo’s choreographic updating is a visual feast: English National Ballet's Raymonda reviewed

Velvet waistcoats, technicolour tulle and some very spangly harem pants — English National Ballet’s atelier must have been mighty busy…


Unpredictable, delicious and flamboyantly stunning: Parallel Mothers reviewed

Pedro Almodovar’s latest is a film about identity, secrets, lies, buried skeletons, real and metaphorical. But what you mainly need…


An ouroboros of vacuity that is immune to its own failure: Kaws online at the Serpentine Gallery

The second most interesting thing about this digital exhibition is that it is not for art critics like me. I…


Clear, complex and gripping: Opera North's Rigoletto reviewed

Say what you like about that Duke of Mantua, but he’s basically an OK sort of bloke. A bit of…


Triumphant: Idles at the O2 Brixton Academy reviewed

The single thing you don’t want when you are beginning a run of four shows in a prestige venue, with…


Shades of Tony Soprano: BBC1's The Responder reviewed

Older readers may remember a time when people signalled their cultural superiority with the weird boast that they didn’t watch…


Aussie Life

Aussie Life

Even in Australian publications of a conspicuously conservative disposition, it has been some time since any respected pundit has suggested,…

Aussie Life

Aussie Language

Here’s a delightful expression I have just encountered: ‘offence archaeology’. This is the practice of going through the social media…


2540: Recycling components

Eight unclued lights, arranged symmetrically, comprise two quartets, one of which makes the other go round.   Across 1 How…

Low life

It’s my ninth – and final – chemotherapy session

‘Sorry I’m late,’ I said to the big unit stationed behind her computer. She’s the chief, this one. She shows…

Real life

My Orwellian battle with Vodafone

After launching an investigation into my missing phone, Vodafone informed me it could not deal with me any further until…


Bridge | 29 January 2022

During lockdown I had a bit of a tidy-up and came across a Post-it note with the following statement written…

Mind your language

What’s so funny about ‘helpmeet’?

‘What’s so funny?’ asked my husband, accusingly, as I made an amused noise while relaxing with a copy of the…

High life

The rise of the new autocracy

Gstaad Dinner parties are no longer verboten here, so I posed a question to some youngsters my son had over:…

Spectator sport

Why everyone should be shouting about Dave ‘Rocket’ Ryding

As we digest another Ashes thrashing for England’s cricketers in Australia, and wonder whether the 1966 World Cup victory will…

Chess puzzle

No. 687

Black to play. Grandelius–Rapport, Tata Steel Chess 2022. With a bishop resting on a3, the White king can never sit…


A ghost at the feast: The LaLee at the Cadogan hotel, reviewed

The Cadogan hotel, Chelsea, is where Oscar Wilde was arrested for sodomy and gross indecency in 1895, in Room 118,…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I stop unexpected visitors using my loo?

Q. I treat myself to a manicure every ten days. It’s a 30-minute appointment and the girl I use is…

No sacred cows

The Highway Code to hell

I did a speed awareness course on Monday. For the uninitiated, you have the option of doing one of these…

Crossword solution

2537: My Lord! - solution

The exchange that gave rise to the expression CURATE’s (19 Down) Egg was ‘I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg,…


Spectator competition winners: meet the new Mr Men

In Competition No. 3233, you were invited to invent a new character for the Mr Men/Little Miss series by Roger…


Pixel this

When Magnus Carlsen won last year’s Meltwater Champions Tour, they made two trophies. One was for Carlsen, and the second…