17 MAY 2008

Page 5

The credibility crunch

The Spectator

W e at The Spectator are concerned about our occasional contributor, Frank Field. In last week’s magazine, the MP for Birkenhead declared that ‘the 10p revolt is unlike any...

Page 9

M y earliest childhood memory is of machine-gun rounds coming through

The Spectator

the bedroom wall. There were no loud bangs — the cacophony is almost all at the shooter’s end. Incoming, each successive bullet breathed only the softest hiss, of a kind an...

Page 10

Britain needs US-style think tanks to counter the Left’s grip on universities

The Spectator

I t wasn’t the television studios, or the boss’s office the size of an Olympic swimming pool. It wasn’t the auditorium for 200 people, or the ten-storey-high purpose-built...

Page 11

W hen it was announced in 1999 that Cherie Blair was

The Spectator

pregnant, the controversy about the proposed hunting ban was at its height. I discussed the pregnancy at a hunt tea with the terrier-man. ‘It won’t be a baby,’ he predicted...

Page 13


The Spectator

By Tamzin Lightwater MONDAY V scary moment at the 9.15. Everyone having boring discussion about various crises overseas, yours truly quietly making notes in corner — actually...

Page 14

Meet James Purnell: the best hope Labour has of avoiding disaster

The Spectator

Fraser Nelson says that the 38-year-old Work and Pensions Secretary is the best candidate to succeed Gordon Brown. Already surging ahead at his department, he has the gift of...

Page 16

I never want to be as insecure as Olivier

The Spectator

Tim Walker talks to Greta Scacchi about her new role in The Deep Blue Sea, the gaucheness of Bill Murray — and being offered the lead in Basic Instinct G reta Scacchi is lying...

Page 17


The Spectator

F or reasons both personal and uninteresting, I found myself recently staying for a few weeks in a small and undistinguished country town in England, chiefly remarkable for the...

Page 18

C hannel surfing on a rainy afternoon, I zeroed in on

The Spectator

an old black-and-white movie that looked quite interesting, and with a wonderful cast too — Stanley Baker, Gloria Grahame, Laurence Harvey, Robert Morley, Margaret Leighton,...

Page 19

The secret letters of the Jonestown death cult

The Spectator

Thirty years after the mass suicides and murders in Guyana, Barry Isaacson unveils a cache of letters he found in his LA home, mapping the pain of one of the families I n 1993,...

Page 22

stuck up a bit for Hitler

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says it is no surprise that Gordon Brown has ended up as surly and suspicious as he has: the memoirs of John Prescott, Lord Levy and Cherie Blair are appalling acts...

Page 24

Transports of delight

The Spectator

Sir: I would have taken Andrew Neil’s criticism of our transport system (‘Our transport system is a joke’, 10 May) more seriously had it not been so disingenuous. I understand...

Have a heart

The Spectator

Sir: At the risk of upsetting a fellow Oxonian’s sensibilities, Paul Johnson (And another thing, 10 May) seems to be mistaken in writing about the heart of Le Roi Soleil (or at...

Byrd song

The Spectator

Sir: Peter Phillips mentions (Arts, 3 May) hearing Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices in the unlikely setting of Lusaka, Zambia. I too have a happy memory of hearing a Byrd Mass, in...

War of words

The Spectator

Sir: Sorry, Anthony Horowitz (Letters, 10 May), but Foyle’s War often contained linguistic anachronisms. Recent examples include ‘to loan a book’, ‘peek’, ‘to fill out a...

To too far

The Spectator

Sir: Could you get Dot Wordsworth to devote a column to prepositions, and in particular, the use, or rather misuse, of ‘to’. Sky Sports and the BBC have used ‘defeat to’, rather...

No sin of omission

The Spectator

Sir: Jonathan Mirsky (Books, 10 May) quotes Tony Judt stating that Arthur Koestler was ‘silent’ on ‘the famines, the expropriations, the wholesale deportations of peoples...

Guard duty

The Spectator

Sir: I have to advise Leonard Allen (Letters, 10 May) that his defence of what he refers to as ‘The Guards’ is misplaced. The Brigade of Guards and Household Cavalry have fought...

New depths

The Spectator

Sir: Bernard Levin memorably described Harold Wilson as ‘the worst British Prime Minister since Lord North’. If he was alive today, I am sure that he would revise his judgment,...

Page 26

If Scotland is to be independent, then why not London? And good luck to what’s left

The Spectator

H ere is a fun game for you. In only four words, try to sum up why anybody north of the border might fancy independence. Have a think. Something to rival the neat ‘No Taxation...

Page 27

What kind of pyjamas did President Kennedy wear in bed?

The Spectator

W hen I was a child of four or five my big sisters told me edifying stories about the rise of the British empire, which then occupied a quarter of the earth’s surface. A...

Page 28

Microsoft’s Yahoo bid ends well — for Google

The Spectator

David Crow says personal animosities played a major part in the failed merger of Microsoft and Yahoo — to the benefit of their most potent online competitor W hen Microsoft made...

Page 29

These days, Vesco the fugitive fraudster would have had a top job on Wall Street

The Spectator

S o farewell, Robert Vesco, the fraudster, drug trafficker and fugitive from US justice whose death last year has been ‘confirmed by Cuban burial records’, according to the...

Page 30

Not a decent book

The Spectator

Sam Leith A MIS & S oN : T wo L ITERARY GENERATIoNS by Neil Powell Macmillan, £20, pp. 429, ISBN 9781405054621 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W hat is the point of this...

Page 31

But what about justice, fairness and honesty?

The Spectator

Alan Judd O N H UMAN R IGHTS by James Griffin OUP, £25, pp. 339, ISBN 9780199238781 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here is growing unease at the contemporary...

Page 32

Two were barking

The Spectator

Cressida Connolly T HE T HREE OF U S by Julia Blackburn Cape, £16.99, pp. 313, ISBN 9780224080606 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 J ulia Blackburn has written about...

Page 34

Through Western eyes

The Spectator

Ian Garrick Mason W ORLDS AT W AR : T HE 2,500-Y EAR S TRUGGLE B ETWEEN E AST AND W EST by Anthony Pagden OUP, £20, pp. 548, ISBN 9780199237432 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 35

Mark Palmer talks about the Charity fundraiser at the ‘In

The Spectator

& Out’ on the 22nd May I t’s not every day that the doors of a traditional London club swing open and the massed ranks of the general public are allowed to file in and wander...

Page 36

Cities of the coast

The Spectator


Page 37

The robots are coming

The Spectator

John Michell P HYSICS OF THE I MPOSSIBLE by Michio Kaku Allen Lane, £20, pp. 329, ISBN 978071399921 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I f you think that you or anyone else...

Page 38

Poles apart

The Spectator

John McEwen A RT IN E XILE : P OLISH P AINTERS IN P OST -W AR B RITAIN by Douglas Hall Sansom & Co, 81 (g) Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3EA, Tel: 0117 973 7207, £35,...

Page 39

1968 and all that

The Spectator

R oger Scruton has called Les Orphelins by Louis Pauwels the best French novel since the 1939-45 war. Since it seems unlikely that even Professor Scruton has read all the good...

Page 40

Exhibition suspicion

The Spectator

Martin Gayford questions the point of art shows. Should they educate or give pleasure — or both? T owards the end of June, 1814, Maria Bicknell, the wife-to-be of the painter...

Page 41

‘Seeing by doing’

The Spectator

William Feaver explains how his book ‘Pitmen Painters’ inspired a new play at the National ‘I t means knaaing what to de.’ This is Jimmy Floyd speaking, his Ashington accent...

Page 42

Presentation over content

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth T he partnership between the written word and the visual image has a long and distinguished history. Leaving aside the pictographic tradition and the fertile...

Page 44

City revival

The Spectator

Mark Glazebrook ‘W hat are you going to be when you grow up?’ an inquisitive adult asked during the break for tea at a tennis party given by my parents in the Vale of Clwyd,...

Page 46

Cult of the masterpiece

The Spectator

Susan Moore L ocation, location, location. On the morning that Christie’s prepared to launch the art market’s latest high-profile, big-buck season of Impressionist, modern and...

Page 48

Big space, small space

The Spectator

John Spurling Liliane Lijn: Stardust Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1, until 5 July L iliane Lijn has always made ‘far-out’ sculpture, innovative, adventurous and...

Page 49

Defying definition

The Spectator

Laura Gascoigne I n 1888, visitors to Earls Court were treated to the novel sight of an exhibition of avantgarde art from Italy. The show was mounted by the Milanese Vittore...

Page 50

Sister act

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Caramel PG, Key Cities C aramel is a lovely and engaging film and just what we all need right now. You may well ask: how do I know what you need? Have I canvassed...

The old problem

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans King Lear Globe That Face Duke of York’s Beau Jest Hackney Empire E very time I see Lear I discover something old. It must be at least two centuries since somebody...

Page 51

Lyrical lack

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Royal Ballet Triple Bill Royal Opera House T here was a time when dancers were very often given the means to gain a deep understanding of what they were...

Page 52

Spiritual heaven

The Spectator

Peter Phillips T he English choral tradition comes in various shapes and sizes. The largest manifestation of it is on display at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, with its 18 men...

Page 53

Moving and magical

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Roberto Alagna Barbican Simon Boccanegra Royal Opera House The Merry Widow Coliseum R oberto Alagna gave a recital of Verdi arias in the Barbican last week, his...

Page 54

BBC as saviour

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm W hile the TV chiefs squirm with embarrassment, exposed for misleading the public in the phone-voting scandals, radio has had a brilliant week. Not just an...

Faking it

The Spectator

James Delingpole A s budgets fall and standards slip, it’s inevitable that TV is going to get worse and worse and that the job of the TV critic in trying to shame the bosses...

Page 55

Horizontal racing

The Spectator

Robin Oakley N obody ever does racing-speak as well as the Irish. After his Munich recently showed improved form to win at the Curragh, the Irish trainer Eddie Lynam declared,...

Page 56

The lives of others

The Spectator

Taki New York F rom my kitchen window I have watched a little boy grow up to be a man. I live in what Americans, with great economy of expression, refer to as a brownstone,...

Page 57

Time for one more

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke A t the end of the affair she gathered together everything of mine that was lying about in her flat, packed it all into the suitcase I’d left behind, and left a...

Page 58

Say a little prayer

The Spectator

Alex James M y shadow was a tiny slippery puddle at my feet; the sun directly overhead and absolute. I had to crane my head right back to see it, not that you had to see it to...

Page 59

I ’ve been reading an intriguing article by Miles Thomas in

The Spectator

the Psychologist magazine. It’s called ‘On Vines and Minds’, and it discusses many of the ways in which our brains determine the experience of drinking wine. For instance,...

Page 60

What’s in a name?

The Spectator

Quite a lot, says Matthew Dennison — and it’s not all good O n a day of sultry heat, a uniformed health visitor stood in our London sitting-room. Around her feet lapped the...

Page 62

Sacred heights

The Spectator

Simon Courtauld pays homage to one of the world’s great sights ‘R oad is hilly, Don’t be silly’ was the advice by the roadside as our Nepali driver safely negotiated yet another...

Page 70

My wife and I have ended up as stay-at home parents — with a part-time child

The Spectator

P olicy Exchange, the right-wing think tank, has published a report recommending that mothers should receive a universal childcare allowance which they can then use to pay for...

Page 71


The Spectator

RORY SUTHERLAND T hose of you who saw his article a few weeks back will be pleased to hear Kelvin MacKenzie took a remarkable second place in his local council elections....

your problEMs solvEd

The Spectator

Dear Mary Q. I have caught a cold from a senior member of the royal family. I feel sure there must be ways in which I can turn this to my social and/or financial advantage and...

Q. I would be quite happy never to go out

The Spectator

to dinner again — especially now the summer nights are lengthening — but my wife works from home and always wants to accept invitations since she sees no one all day. I would...

Q. I have a number of friends in common with

The Spectator

another man but we are not particularly good friends with each other. He is exceptionally tall — I am about six inches shorter. Whenever we are at the same party he always...