15 NOVEMBER 2008

Page 5

Cutting logic

The Spectator

T he hint of tax cuts made by Gordon Brown this week is a piece of political audacity which could only be matched were the Conservatives suddenly to commit themselves to the...

Page 9

O ver the weekend I took part in the Free Thinking

The Spectator

Festival in Liverpool. As well as my own talk the organisers asked me to fill in for the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who had cancelled at the last minute. This gave...

Page 11

M y old friend ‘Posh Ed’ Stourton begins his new book

The Spectator

about political correctness ( It’s a PC World , Hodder and Stoughton) with an anecdote about the Queen Mother. She told him, in private, that the EEC would never work, because...

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY I can’t believe people are saying that tax cutting is Gordon’s idea! This is an unbelievable cheek!! Dave has been banging on about cutting taxes for three years now....

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Want to cut taxes? First cut spending. Here’s how

The Spectator

After a week of clamorous competition between the parties over tax cuts, Fraser Nelson offers a guide to paying for them: a programme of spending cuts that would preserve core...

Page 16

I n the end, it really was a fairytale. A story

The Spectator

of hope conquering belief. The journey few believed would be completed. One man — aided by the most advanced viral campaign in history, and carried along on a mantra...

Page 18

Britain cannot afford a failed Pakistan

The Spectator

Elliot Wilson says that the near-collapse of the Islamic state should focus minds in this country, which is inextricably linked to Pakistan. Its implosion would stoke extremism...

Page 20

The loss of health visitors is a true scandal

The Spectator

Susan Hill recalls how much she relied on her health visitor and bemoans the decline of this once-universal service: the victim of bureaucratic ‘targeting’ and government...

Page 22

Who put a sock full of cocaine in my drawer?

The Spectator

Venetia Thompson , who has never taken the drug, was shocked to discover a stash in her house. What to do? Her friends’ response was a collective shrug as if it were nothing...

Page 24

The Republicans are where the Tories were in 1997

The Spectator

This is bad news for the Conservatives, who have always feasted on US right-of-centre ideas, says James Forsyth . But the GOP can learn from the Cameroons Cambridge,...

Page 25

A nyone who doubts that, at least from the cultural point

The Spectator

of view, the Soviet Union won the Cold War in Britain hands down should attend a conference organised for doctors about impending organisational changes in the National Health...

Page 26

Mind your language

The Spectator

My husband’s remarks are sounding more and more like those of Jack Woolley in The Archers , but this week one of his questions proved quite useful. I’d been reading the very...

IQ 2 debate:

The Spectator

‘It’s wrong to pay for sex’ Lloyd Evans I t was back to basics at Intelligence Squared last Tuesday as we debated the morality of prostitution. Newspaper executive...

Page 27

The licence fee is good value

The Spectator

Sir: Charles Moore has really talked himself into a corner this time with regard to his pathological dislike of the BBC (The Spectator’s Notes, 8 November). Like many other...

They died for this?

The Spectator

Sir: Today, in Ipswich, young girl cadets were selling poppies. I bought one. ‘Would you like a pin to go with it?’ ‘Yes please.’ ‘We can’t actually give you a pin...

Unrecognisable birds

The Spectator

Sir: I write this on a sunny Sydney afternoon, not far from Hunters Hill, listening to the shrieks, carols, twitterings and scoldings of the local bird population that now...

A man of many parts

The Spectator

Sir: Sinclair McKay gives an excellent introduction to William Le Queux as the forgotten pioneer of the modern spy novel (‘A quantum of respect’, 1 November). Also neglected...

Gordo and the Golden Rules

The Spectator

Sir: Why should anyone be surprised (‘No fiscal Holy Grail’, 8 November) that Gordo discarded the Golden Rules? Have they forgotten that HM Treasury discarded our gold...

Black and white qualities?

The Spectator

Sir: In his, to my mind, patronising remarks about Barack Obama (‘his blackness seems skin deep’) Charles Moore seems to regard ‘the intelligence, the historical sweep and...

Not the real Italy

The Spectator

Sir: I feel sorry for Lisa Hilton (‘La dolce vita is a myth’, 8 November). Milan is not really Italy: the Romans called the region Cisalpine Gaul, and all those years...

Page 28

I’m not saying these are bad people. Just that they are fat

The Spectator

T hey say that Eskimos have 50 words for ‘snow’. Like a lot of the things they say, this isn’t true, but should be. Right now, I’m a good few thousand miles from both...

Page 30

And a large glass of the Invariable, taken hot

The Spectator

N ot long before he died, Simon Gray and I discussed the extraordinary paradox: why was it that New Labour does everything in its power to discourage smoking and everything in...

Page 31

Certainly. Or does it?

The Spectator

It is clear that the ferocious competition of interests and passions, the mad rule of money, and materialism as the measure of all things — in short, the free market, released...

To the contrary.

The Spectator

I can attest from personal experience that, if you try to talk about the free market on today’s university campuses, you will be buried in an avalanche of criticism of...

We’d rather not know.

The Spectator

Most of us are consumers who try to get the best possible deals in the market. Most of us are also moral beings who try to do the right things in our communities and societies....

Not at all.

The Spectator

There is little consensus on what is moral, let alone on what corrodes morality. A man of faith measures moral character by one’s ability to abide by the demands of his God. A...

It depends.

The Spectator

Free markets corrode some aspects of character while enhancing others. Whether the result is good, on balance, depends on how one envisions a good life. Much also depends on...

Page 32

What the US Treasury needs: magician and economic genius

The Spectator

James Doran assesses the qualities needed to be Obama’s Treasury secretary at a time of unprecedented crisis, and wonders whether the front-runners measure up New York A s...

Page 34

So many ways to say we’re in trouble

The Spectator

Richard Northedge W ithout an Inuit thesaurus I have no way of checking how many words the Eskimos really have for snow, but each day’s newspapers reveal just how large a...

Page 36

Are the Turks ready to be part of Europe?

The Spectator

Brussels says no but Kylie says yes I t was Kylie Minogue who made me think Turkey and Europe might just about be ready for each other. There was the pop poppet — well,...

Page 38

Sam Leith

The Spectator

R ichard Price’s meaty and fabulously enjoyable police procedural, Lush Life (Bloomsbury, £12.99), is a book I have pressed on a lot of friends. The new Robert B. Parker,...

Philip Ziegler

The Spectator

W ith The Private Patient (Faber, £18.99) P. D. James has written a book which, for masterly evocation of place and understanding of human nature, is as good as anything she...

Rupert Christiansen

The Spectator

M ick Imlah’s exploration of the culture of Scottishness, The Lost Leader (Faber, £9.99), is brilliantly witty and intellectually supple, a worthy winner of this year’s...

Anita Brookner

The Spectator

A s I spent a large part of the year writing, my actual reading was rather restricted, and limited to fact rather than fiction. I very much enjoyed Ferdinand Mount’s Cold...

Page 39

Alan Judd

The Spectator

J eremy Lewis, biographer, critic and former publisher, has perpetrated a third enjoyable volume of memoirs, Grub Street Irregular (HarperCollins, £20). He writes so well, with...

Jonathan Mirsky

The Spectator

M y Father’s Roses by Nancy Kohner (Hodder, £18.99) recalls the bourgeois, non-observant Jewish world of central Europe from which Ms Kohner’s father, an émigré to...

D. J. Taylor

The Spectator

T he tiny independent firm of London Books, founded last year, specialises in reprints of hard-boiled thrillers from the interwar years. Two I particularly enjoyed were James...

P. J. Kavanagh

The Spectator

I n the winter of 1896, on a barrow in Charing Cross Road, a mid-17th-century manuscript found by a scholar was eventually proved to be by Thomas Traherne. This was Centuries of...

Sebastian Smee

The Spectator

I was excited to see the publication this year of Peter Schjeldahl’s Let’s See: Writings on Art from the New Yorker (Thames & Hudson, £18.95). Schjeldahl’s is not typical...

Byron Rogers

The Spectator

T he Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales , (University of Wales Press, £65) for its scholarship, also for its sense of proportion, as in comments such as this on Roy Jenkins,...

Page 40

George Osborne

The Spectator

I n the fashionable rush to re-read Keynes, Galbraith and Friedman on the 1929 Crash and the Great Depression, don’t neglect an emerging batch of modern writers on the current...

Christopher Howse

The Spectator

T wo biographies changed my view this year of people who already command a wide appeal. William Oddie’s Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy (Oxford, £25) gives a deeper...

Nicky Haslam

The Spectator

F or Ferdinand Mount, in his masterly memoir Cold Cream (Bloomsbury, £20), memory’s madeleine is the cosmetic his titled mother advertised, with unorthodox audacity, in...

Justin Cartwright

The Spectator

T he best book of the year for me was The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross (Fourth Estate, £20), a revelatory account of the rise of modern music. Two books which disappointed were...

Charlotte Moore

The Spectator

C an Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey (Faber, £16.99) is the story of the Cooperative Correspondance Club , a secret magazine started in 1935, in which a group of women...

Bevis Hillier

The Spectator

F or Alan Bennett fans, a rare treat is in store this season. His former Oxford college, Exeter, has produced a selection from the Junior Common Room (JCR) suggestion book of...

Page 41

‘The college of God’s gift’

The Spectator

Charles Sprawson D ULWICH C OLLEGE : A H ISTORY , 1616-2008 by Jan Piggott Dulwich College Enterprises, £24, pp. 408, ISBN 9780953949328 T he only man from Dulwich College I...

Page 42


The Spectator

Summer peels him, his last rice-paper skin, Who plays his throat like a tin whistle, Stops the brown hole with yellowed finger, And makes a note like a tin whistle — Wanting...

Out of his shell

The Spectator

Adam Nicolson N OTES FROM W ALNUT T REE F ARM by Roger Deakin, edited by Alison Hastie and Terence Blacker Hamish Hamilton, £20, pp. 309, ISBN 9780241144206 ✆ £16 (plus...

Page 43

The mannikins don’t walk

The Spectator

Byron Rogers A LL IN THE M IND by Alastair Campbell Hutchinson, £17.99, pp. 297, ISBN 9780091925789 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t was a good idea. You start...

Page 45

Doing good and doing well

The Spectator

Linsey McGoey PHILANTHROCAPITALISM by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green A & C Black, £16.99, pp. 304, ISBN 9781408111529 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 S ome say...

Page 46

Strength in numbers

The Spectator

Philip Ziegler M Y T HREE F ATHERS by Bill Patten Public Affairs, £16.99, pp. 352, ISBN 9780571216932 T he mother to m a t c h Bill Patten’s t h r e e fathers was Susan Mary...

Page 47


The Spectator

Training the bellows on a splinter of sparks one early morning of poxed snow a low moon malingering in blue-haggard light and every cell recoiling in the hollow of the year on a...

Tough love

The Spectator

P.J. Kavanagh A P RICKLY A FFAIR by Hugh Warwick Allen Lane, £14.99, pp. 279, ISBN 978184614065 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A t a time when most of his...

Page 48

Nine-year wonder

The Spectator

Andro Linklater T HE C HICAGOAN : A L OST M AGAZINE OF THE J AZZ A GE edited by Neil Harris University of Chicago Press, £34, pp. 385, ISBN 9780226-17618. ✆ £27.20 (plus...

Page 49

Money? It’s only human

The Spectator

Christopher Fildes T HE A SCENT OF M ONEY by Niall Fergusson Penguin, £25, pp. 441, ISBN 9781846141065 £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 N ew from Niall Ferguson: the...

Page 50

Author! Author!

The Spectator

M alcolm Lowry liked to quote the Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset, who saw Man’s life as a sort of novel, made up as you go along. Certainly there are times when life...

Page 52

Putting criminals on stage

The Spectator

F elicia ‘Snoop’ Pearson was a drug dealer, with a five-year stretch for murder behind her and no nice future ahead. But then a random meeting in a Baltimore nightclub, with...

Page 55

Up close and personal

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aimé Maeght and His Artists Royal Academy, until 2 January 2009 Sponsored by BNP Paribas T he role played by dealers in...

Page 56

Thrills amid the gore

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Elektra Royal Opera House For You Linbury Studio T he revival at the Royal Opera of Strauss’s Elektra in the production by Charles Edwards, who is also...

Page 58

Blast of real life

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Yard Gal Oval House Lucky Seven Hampstead L ast week I saw a little-known play, Yard Gal , which I’m pretty sure is a classic. Written ten years ago by Rebecca...

Page 61

Horribly powerful

The Spectator

Deborah Ross The Baader Meinhof Complex 18, Key Cities T he Baader Meinhof Complex is, well, just horrible really. Horrible, horrible, horrible and for those of you who are...

Page 62

Taking risks

The Spectator

Charles Spencer I had what reformed alkies call a moment of clarity last week. On one of my regular trawls through the Amazon website, I clicked the One-day 1-Click button and...

No surprises

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Romeo & Juliet, On Motifs of shakespeare Mark Morris Dance Group Barbican L ike child prodigies, enfants terribles do not last forever. As both epithets...

Page 63

Communication breakdown

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm T here’s been a lot of huffing and puffing about the BBC’s World Service in the past week as cuts were announced in the Russian service. Isn’t it a bad time...

Page 64

Russian revenge

The Spectator

James Delingpole Y ou’re a middle-class Pole living in modest bourgeois comfort in a detached house in the handsome Austro–Hungarian city of Lwow in 1939 when there’s a...

Twelve to watch

The Spectator

Robin Oakley ‘L ook here, Sunshine,’ I remember Eric Morecambe responding to a raised eyebrow from André Previn about the comedian’s musical efforts. ‘I am playing the...

Page 65

All change

The Spectator

Taki New York E lection nights in the Bagel were always spent at 73 East 73rd Street, in Bill and Pat Buckley’s house, more often than not described as palatial by...

Page 66

Private view

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke L ast Thursday I was volunteer driver for the day for a Heartbeaters’ outing. Heartbeaters is a local exercise and social club for people recovering from heart...

Page 67

Flying high

The Spectator

Alex James I t was a rainy morning on Friday when I woke up warm as toast in a small castle in Northumberland, surrounded on all sides as far as the eye could see by the...

Page 69

SPECTATOR WINE CLUB C hristmas is coming. Enjoy it while you

The Spectator

can. The falling pound means that the cost of wine is certain to increase next year. The trade is fiercely competitive in a genteel kind of way, and most merchants have been...

Page 70

Put a brave face on it

The Spectator

It’s official: make-up is recession-proof, says Lindy Woodhead B e honest now. Isn’t there just the teeniest bit of schadenfreude in the hearts and minds of those of us who...

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The Spectator

(THE ONE IT WAS CREATED IN.) P AUL Signac was first seduced by the Côte d’Azur when he moored his yacht in St Tropez during May 1892. His enthusiastic reports attracted...

Page 78

Was my decision to appear on Have I Got News for You a colossal error of judgment?

The Spectator

‘W ow, that’s brave,’ said John Kampfner, the former editor of the New Statesman . ‘I’d never do that.’ I had just told him I’d agreed to be on Have I Got News for...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

It is a relief that there is one magazine in which one will not be hauled up on a charge of libel or sexual harassment for writing that Barack Obama, the President-elect of the...

Page 79

A fortnightly column on technology and the web

The Spectator

T he most powerful storyline of the US election, which the fawning media did nothing to challenge, was the idea that Barack Obama was an underdog who had miraculously triumphed...

your problEMs solvEd

The Spectator

Q. I am 44 and, for various reasons, have been single for about five years, but I now have a girlfriend. When people ring to invite me to dinner, I would like to say, ‘I have...