10 MAY 2008

Page 5

Brown is not the problem

The Spectator

I n September 2006, as Tony Blair was forced to bring forward his departure date by backbench rebellion, The Spectator predicted a Labour civil war. It was not clear when this...

Page 9


The Spectator

FRANCES OSBORNE O n Monday morning I am outwitted by my four-year-old daughter, who manages to leave for school in a light cotton dress on a phenomenally cold and wet spring...

Page 10

Abolishing the 10p tax rate shattered the contract on which New Labour was based

The Spectator

W hy is the abolition of the 10p rate of tax unlike any other rebellion of backbench Labour MPs? The answer lies in the mood of Labour backbenchers following decades of...

Page 11

� s�ra�rs �arEs

The Spectator

CHARLES MOORE T he growing power of Islam in Britain has forced the British public to learn more about its component parts — Sunnis and Shiites, Deobandis and Barelwis, and...

Page 13


The Spectator

MONDAY Hooray! Britain is going Conservative crazy!! The sun is shining and all over the country people are waking up to the exciting new force in British politics!!! Actually,...

Page 14

Cameron gets ready for No. 10 — and Boris must wait his turn

The Spectator

David Cameron talks to Fraser Nelson about his local election triumphs, admits that he is not going to ‘agree on everything’ with the new Mayor of London, and says Boris...

Page 16

Obama failed this week as well as Clinton

The Spectator

James Forsyth says that Hillary’s disappointment in Tuesday’s primaries is matched by the decline in Obama’s image, as the sheen of the wunderkind fades and doubts...

Page 18

The hard choices that face the Father of the Mayor

The Spectator

Stanley Johnson is adjusting to his new constitutional position in the life of London: not least deciding which clubs to avoid at lunchtime in order to dodge Boris’s...

Page 20

Our transport system is not even ‘Third World’

The Spectator

Andrew Neil offers a despairing snapshot of cancelled trains, ludicrously expensive rail tickets, hell at Terminal 5, nonexistent customer service. Does anyone want to fix...

Page 22

‘It’s harder for straights to feel Christian charity than gays’

The Spectator

Theo Hobson meets Gene Robinson, the only openly gay Anglican bishop, who says that homosexuals are more open to the Christian ‘message of radical change’ I am sitting in St...

Page 24

Don’t expect the cyclone in Burma to have benign political side-effects

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says that there is a natural hope that the interventions of the UN and charities in the disaster-stricken country will open it up. But history does not support such...

Page 26

��oNOoN No�oo�[

The Spectator

BARRY HUMPHRIES O nly the most venerable and knowledgeable London cab driver has heard of Belsize Circus, a roundabout near the slums of Kilburn Heights where I have my...

Page 28


The Spectator

Israel and Palestine Sir: Melanie Phillips (‘Happy 60th birthday, Israel’, 3 May) denies Israel one of its greatest successes over the last 60 years by deliberately...

Page 30

A speech recorded in Hansard on an unspecified day in the near future

The Spectator

‘ Y ou have reminded me, Mr Speaker, that for a minister resigning, permission to make a Personal Statement to the House is granted entirely at your discretion and should be...

Page 32

Literary woodlice boring needless holes in biographical bedposts

The Spectator

A re there too many biographies? Thomas Carlyle thought so 150 years ago. ‘What is the use of it?’ he wrote growlingly. ‘Sticking like a woodlouse to an old bedpost and...

Page 34

Emperor Soros’s new clothes

The Spectator

Matthew Lynn says hedge-fund pioneer and currency speculator George Soros is still a brilliant player of markets — but as a philosopher, frankly, he’s incomprehensible I f...

Page 36

Clear blue skies and shiny shopping malls, but Mao’s corpulent corpse still presides

The Spectator

I went to visit Mao Tse-tung the other day. The embalmed body of the Father of communist China lies in a mausoleum in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. There he rests in his...

Page 37

The making of modern myths

The Spectator

Jonathan Mirsky REAPPRAISALS: R EFLECTIONS ON THE F ORGOTTEN T WENTIETH CENTURY by Tony Judt Heinemann, £20, pp. 446, ISBN 9780224080606 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 38

Doctoring the record

The Spectator

Jane Ridley A XEL M UNTHE : T HE R OAD TO S AN M ICHELE by Bengt Jangfeldt, translated by Harry Watson I. B. Tauris, £25, pp. 381, ISBN 9781845117207 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45...

Page 39

Not the marrying type

The Spectator

Matthew Dennison T HE C ROWDED S TREET by Winifred Holtby Persephone, £12, pp. 307, ISBN 9781903155660 T hose days are gone in which romantic novels had heroines called...

Cries and whispers

The Spectator

Andrew Taylor REVELATION by C. J. Sansom Macmillan, £17.99, pp. 452, ISBN 9781405092722 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 C . J. Sansom’s Shardlake series concerns...

Page 40

Through Levantine eyes

The Spectator

Philip Mansel P ARADISE L OST : S MYRNA 1922 by Giles Milton Sceptre, £20, pp. 426, ISBN 9780340837863 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE B RIDGE by Geert Mak...

Page 42

Lust in a hot climate

The Spectator

Sara Wheeler T HE B OLTER by Frances Osborne Virago, £18.99, pp. 316, ISBN 9781844084814 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his sprightly book recounts the life of...

Coming up trumps

The Spectator

Martin Davies P LAYING C ARDS IN C AIRO : M INT T EA , T ARNEEB AND T ALES OF THE C ITY by Hugh Miles Abacus, £10.99, pp. 279, ISBN 9780349119793 ✆ £8.79 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 43

At her most disarming

The Spectator

Byron Rogers H ALFWAY TO V ENUS by Sarah Anderson Umbrella Books, 13a Blenheim Crescent, London W11 2EE, £12.99, pp. 264, ISBN 9780954262426 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

Page 44

Dramatic thrills and chills

The Spectator

Sarah Burton S TAGE D IRECTIONS : W RITING ON T HEATRE , 1970-2008 by Michael Frayn Faber, £20, pp. 268, ISBN 9780571240555 To be a member of a good audience is exhilarating....

Page 45

Grace under fire

The Spectator

Stanley Johnson T HE G LENTHoRNE C AT AND o THER A MAZING L EoPARD SToRIES compiled and edited by Christopher Ondaatje HarperCollins, £7.95, pp. 216, ISBN 9781554681846 ✆...

Page 46

T HE L OST V ILLAGE by Richard Askwith Ebury Press, £18.99, pp.

The Spectator

356, ISBN 9780091909130 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R EAL E NGLAND by Paul Kingsnorth Portobello Books, £14.99, pp. 312, ISBN 9781846270413 ✆ £11.99 (plus...

Page 48

An unassuming genius

The Spectator

T he great director and critic François Truffaut once labelled James Stewart as one of those rare actors who could be ‘moving and amusing within the same scene’. Quite so....

Page 49

Maria Lassnig Serpentine Gallery, until 8 June Alison Watt: Phantom National Gallery, until 29 June

The Spectator

W hen I first saw the card for Maria Lassnig’s show I thought it was just another young or middle-aged artist trying it on. Then I discovered that Lassnig was born in 1919,...

Page 50

Brave new world

The Spectator

Roderick Conway Morris A ll empires eventually bite off more than they can chew. Rome and the Barbarians , the latest exhibition under the new management at Palazzo Grassi in...

Page 51

Capricious buyers

The Spectator

Marcus Berkmann I t’s tough out there in the crazy world of pop. Two years ago The Feeling were the most played act on British radio. Their debut album, Twelve Stops and Home...

Page 52

Where are we?

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Tinderbox Bush The Year of Magical Thinking Lyttelton I f you aren’t sure what to make of the present, try shoving it into the future. This trusted device is...

Page 53

Perchance to dream

The Spectator

Patrick Carne gy The Taming of the Shrew; The Merchant of Venice Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon W hile the RSC’s Histories sequence is rightly grabbing critical and...

Page 54

Spot the point

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? 12A, Nationwide O K, we’re busy people, so straight to the point on this one, and yet I’m already struggling, because...

Impressions of England

The Spectator

Charles Spencer I ’m writing this on the May Day bank holiday, with birds singing outside, probably in terror as the cat Nelson is on the prowl, searching for some luckless...

Page 55

Iron Lady

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Macbeth Opera North Punch and Judy Young Vic The Minotaur Covent Garden Don Giovanni English Touring Opera, Cambridge I n a hectic and heterogeneous operatic...

Page 56

Homer’s wisdom

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart T his week marked the start of the 15th year of The Simpsons (Channel 4, often). The other day I went to a talk by Tim Long, the executive producer of the show,...

Page 57

Escape into silence

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm I t was a daringly original thing to do. To write a play where the heroine stays silent for most of the time. And the drama’s creator, Anthony Minghella,...

Make or break

The Spectator

Taki I am heartbroken but for once it is not over a girl. I have to stay in the Bagel, hence missing The Spectator ’s 180th anniversary party, Pug’s club’s first annual...

Page 58

Train strain

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke B ank holiday Saturday afternoon and I’m standing in a jam-packed railway carriage bound for Cardiff in Wales. If I lift my head, my face is in my nearest...

Page 59

A snag or two

The Spectator

Melissa Kite O nce a year, usually at the beginning of summer, it suddenly occurs to me that the entire house is about to fall down. The realisation that every job I’ve...

Simon’s success

The Spectator

Janet de Botton E ach year in February, Icelandair sponsors one of the best events in the bridge calendar. Held in Reykjavik it is a high-standard, international pairs and...

Page 60

French lessons

The Spectator

Oscar Humphries learns the hard way F or some time I’ve wanted to learn French so that next time I get ripped off at the Paris flea market I’ll be able to go down with a...

Page 62

Islands in the sun

The Spectator

Christa D’Souza plans a Caribbean summer H ate crowds? Haven’t booked your summer holidays yet? Want to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth just this once? If...

Page 64

Dragon’s fire 2 Raymond Keene

The Spectator

Last week I commented favourably on Andrew Greet’s book on the Accelerated Dragon. In passing, I mentioned that the standard dragon itself is full of tactical possibilities...

A to P

The Spectator

Lucy Vickery In Competition No. 2543 you were invited to submit a poem about the things people need to live on, in which the first letter of each line spells out the first 16...

Page 70

I managed to crash the Vanity Fair Oscars party – but not Boris’s victory do

The Spectator

I t was not until I saw Boris making his acceptance speech at City Hall just after midnight that I decided to gatecrash his victory party. I was quite drunk, having just hosted...

Mind your language

The Spectator

The events of 1 May seem a long time ago, and so does their sequel, a so-called fightback by the Labour party. A press briefing last Sunday declared in a fine froth of mixed...

Page 71

Spectator Sport

The Spectator

T he infinite capacity of men to talk utter balls about football should never amaze, but the level of spiteful twaddle spouted about Chelsea’s Avram Grant, which started at...

your problemS Solved

The Spectator

Q. Please advise me. I have a friend whose mobile has no signal when she is at home. When I ring her landline her father always says he will pass the message on that I have rung...