Page 2

Brown's fatal flaws

The Spectator

As prophecies go, it had none of the ritual majesty of the Sybil of Cumae's pronouncements, none of the blood-chilling qualities of Cassandra. But it has, in its own way, come...

Page 4


The Spectator

SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE 1 t has been a monarchical week — despite the election of a republican in Australia. I don't just mean the Queen's wedding anniversary, Ugandan tour, and...

Page 5

At the heart of the Labour funding scandal is the moral collapse of a once-great party

The Spectator

et me a Bishop. Get me a f—ing Bishop!' Peter Mandelson, then Labour's political strategist, yelled these words across the floor of Labour campaign headquarters at a rare moment...

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The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator

CHARLES MOORE 1 t is undeniably enjoyable to see Gordon Brown squirming about the £600,000 his party will have to pay back to David Abrahams, the man of many aliases. If Peter...

Page 7

Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody

The Spectator

By Tamzin Lightwater MONDAY Am worried and confused. Just back from Forward Planning Meeting and whole of Grid for next three months is choc-a-bloc with extremely scary stuff....

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Blair may be about to convert, but will that make him a Catholic?

The Spectator

Fraser Nelson says there is anger in the pews over the former prime minister's upcoming conversion. He led, say his critics, an anti-Catholic government, and many believe he...

Page 10

Help! I'm a Marxist who defends capitalism

The Spectator

Brendan O'Neill is sick and tired of trendy anti-capitalists, and says Marx would have told them to get a grip and enjoy the wonders of modern materialism As one of the Marxists...

Page 11

Mind your language

The Spectator

Adam Jacot de Boinod (surely a pseudonym) is at it again. He's the man who gave us The Meaning of Tingo, full of words that look funny in English (bum, Arabic for 'owl') or...

'Money-culture is ruining Kiev'

The Spectator

The West applauds Ukraine's robust democracy but, says Andrey Slivka, the effects of markets and mass consumption on an unprepared country are proving disastrous Kiev Well, this...

Page 13

Too much security makes us all a lot less secure

The Spectator

Ross Clark says that we will soon be the most counted and analysed people on earth — and the probability is that real threats will be lost in a fog of data Here is a little...

Page 15

'We are at war with all Islam) Mary Wakefield talk

The Spectator

'We are at war with all Islam) Mary Wakefield talks to the former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and finds out why she is so convinced that the West must crack down on Islam worldwide...

Page 17

The importance of bein serious about France

The Spectator

Ambassadors are just as important as ever, says Denis MacShane, and the new French ambassador is more important than most There is a new French ambassador arriving in London...

Page 18

How to waste ,2.3 billion of public money

The Spectator

Bureaucracy is out of control in the regional development agencies, says Leo McKinstry, and that is placing a huge burden on the taxpayer 1 n these times of green awareness,...

Page 19

No one should be prohibited from questioning our past

The Spectator

Rod Liddle, in southern Poland (or maybe northern Slovakia), reflects on Auschwitz and Oxford — and on the hysterical attempts to stop the free speech debate this week Tamaw,...

Page 21

New world order

The Spectator

Sir: Poor old Irwin Stelzer is stuck in an Atlantico-centric world in which the main debate is still about choosing between Europe and America and deciding which side of the...

Hood's lack of style

The Spectator

Sir: Lord Patten ('Westminster politics has nothing on Oxford's battles', 24 November) shows less than his usual savvy in dealing with the vice-chancellor's departure. It was...

Razing the issue

The Spectator

Sir: Quinlan Terry (Letters, 24 November) answers Simon Thurley's plea for better architecture by pointing out, with reason, that steel and glass buildings designed to last only...

Poetry packs a punch

The Spectator

Sir: Vernon Scannell, who figured in Jeremy Clarke's column last week (Low Life, 24 November), was quite a legendary figure in Milton Keynes, where he was poet-in-residence some...

Devices and desires

The Spectator

Sir: Page 13 of your 24 November issue carries an advertisement for a BlackBerry with the GPS device showing a location between St James's and Piccadilly. 'Distance to...

Can it

The Spectator

Sir: I would just add one thing to Bryan Forbes's excellent article regarding the dire state of British television (I have earned the right to shout at my television', 17...

Page 22

Freedom of speech is a foggy issue with no absolutes and that's sort of the point

The Spectator

HUGO RIFKIND 1 t is a weird business when stories combine, even if they only do so in the mind of the commentator. On our screens, Tony Blair is about to fret about Jesus,...

Page 23

People who put their trust in human power delude themselves

The Spectator

PAUL JOHNSON ne thing history teaches is the transience and futility of power, and the ultimate impotence of those who exercise it. That is the lesson of the current King Tut...

Page 24

The Liberal Democrats' sound money man

The Spectator

Simon Nixon talks to Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman and acting leader, who the City admires as one of the few politicians to talk sense about Northern Rock Imet...

Page 25

The end of the world is nigh

The Spectator

Tim Price Before September, British portfolio managers had only ever seen a run on a bank on the cinema screen. It's a Wonderful Life shows how the Bailey Building and Loan is...

Page 26

Free at last: the next web revolution

The Spectator

Edie G. Lush explains why we're rarely asked to pay for online news and entertainment these days Amid the shockwaves caused by Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of Dow Jones,...

Page 27

Is that an iceberg ahead? Make mine a jereboam and put it on my credit card

The Spectator

MARTIN VANDER WEYER First there was the news of passengers rescued from lifeboats in Antarctica as their cruise ship went down after hitting an iceberg. Then Tim Price, our...

Page 28

If the cup fits

The Spectator

Peter Grogan is 'shown the ropes' at Agent Provocateur My inability to remember which Seventies sitcom character referred to somebody's knickers as 'harvest festivals' (because...

Page 29

'Tis the season to be lazy

The Spectator

Rachel Johnson suggests the perfect approach to the festive period — pay others to do the hard work for you For some, the countdown to Christmas starts on Boxing Day. These...

Page 30

Carry it off

The Spectator

Beautiful luggage says as much about a person's style as their clothes do, writes Juliet Nicolson The most beautiful piece of luggage I have ever owned remains my least...

Page 31

Time is of the essence

The Spectator

Alex Bilmes says that the stylish own a luxury timepiece or two — but the horologists just can't stop buying Being time-rich can make you cash-poor. That's something to remember...

Page 33

Mill! thou shouldst be living at this hour

The Spectator

Samuel Britten JOHN STUART MILL: VICTORIAN FIREBRAND by Richard Reeves Atlantic Books, £30, pp. 616 ISBN 9781843546436 © £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Britain has had few...

Page 34

Christmas funny books

The Spectator

Bevis Hillier Reading reviews of new books of poetry, I am staggered at how seldom the critics quote frompoems they are assessing. Describing what a poet is like, without...

Page 37

A criminal waste

The Spectator

Graham Stewart THE ROAD TO SOUTHEND PIER by Ross Clark Harriman House, £9.99, pp. 168, ISBN 9781905641444 © £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 With an estimated one...

Page 38

Ludbrooke: His Multiculturalism

The Spectator

Shows in the delicate way he rests his head — Despite every fear that she will remove it — On the shoulder of Miss Chiang to watch Duck Soup, The video, from his reproduction...

A long way from Rome

The Spectator

Adrian Goldsworthy CAESAR: A LIFE IN WESTERN CULTURE by Maria Wyke Granta, £18.99, pp. 278, ISBN 9781862076624 £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Although Latin, Greek and...

Page 39

His own short story

The Spectator

Charlotte Mitchell THE UNBEARABLE SAM: THE WORK OF H. M. MUNRO by Sandie Byrne OUP £19.99, pp. 314, ISBN9780199226054 £15.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 This is an academic...

Page 40

A false dawn

The Spectator

Frank Field BEST FOR BRITAIN? THE POLITICS AND LEGACY OF GORDON BROWN by Simon Lee One World, £16.99, pp. 304, ISBN 9781851685370 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Gordon...

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The parent trap

The Spectator

Charlotte Moore SLAM by Nick Hornby Puffin, £12.99, pp. 304, ISBN 9780141382975 £1039 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Nick Hornby has often written perceptively about male...

The call of the wild

The Spectator

Oliver Gilmour SIBELIUS by Andrew Barnett Yale, £25, pp. 445, ISBN 9780300111590 © £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Jean Sibelius was an epic figure: an orignal who never...

Page 42

Sinister levity of an all-seeing spider

The Spectator

Richard Shone EDWARD BURRA: THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY EYE by Jane Stevenson Cape, £30, pp. 496, ISBN 9780224078757 © £24 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 As an an outstanding English...

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Disgusted of Donegal

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling ASKING FOR TROUBLE by Patricia Craig Blackstaff, £8.99, pp. 230, ISBN 9780856408083 © £7.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 There is none of the...

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The loss of enchantment

The Spectator

Nicholas Harman THE MAGIC CIRCLE: PERFORMING MAGIC THROUGH THE AGES by Michael Bailey Tempus, £18.99, pp. 288, ISBN 9780752442471 © £15.19 (plus 2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Children...

Page 45

Avery English domesticity

The Spectator

Simon Baker COLLECTED POEMS by Anthony Thwaite Enithamion, £25, pp. 445, ISBN 9781904634393 £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 Anthony Thwaite is among the last surviving links...

Gary Dexter A REPORT ON THE VIOLENT MALE (1992) by

The Spectator

Gary Dexter A REPORT ON THE VIOLENT MALE (1992) by A. E. van Vogt A. E. van Vogt was a doyen of theAstounding generation of mid-20th-century science-fiction writers, a group...

Page 46

Conquests and coffins

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans looks back at the actors who have both triumphed and failed in the role of Othello n Tuesday Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor take on Othello at the Donmar. If the...

Page 47

Sex with no appeal

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now Barbican Art Gallery, until 27 Januar), 2008 Walter Sickert: The Camden Town Nudes Courtauld Institute of Art, until...

Page 48

Blast from the past

The Spectator

John McEwen Percy Wyndham Lewis 1882-1957 Design Centre, Rugby School, until 8 December In the 1915 Vorticist Manifesto, published in the movement's magazine Blast, Wyndham...

Page 49

Last farewells

The Spectator

Harry Mount Just outside Florence's city walls, marooned in the middle of a huge great ring road, lies a foreign field that is for ever England. Well, it's really for ever...

Page 50

Compare and contrast

The Spectator

Peter Phillips G We have introduced an artificial and theatrical music into the church, a bawling and agitation of various voices ... Amorous and lascivious melodies are heard...

Page 51

Present thoughts

The Spectator

Marcus Berkmann 7 rTlis the season to be cheerful, especially 1 if you like shopping. Which, obviously, as a heterosexual white middle-class male in his forties with no money, I...

Shine on you crazy diamond

The Spectator

Raffaella Barker The ambulance creeps to a halt outside the Brixton Academy at 9.15 on the evening of Amy Winehouse's second London gig on Friday and is greeted with a ripple of...

Page 53

Traditional fare

The Spectator

Deborah Ross This Christmas 12A, Nationwide As the holiday season is all but upon us, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on Christmas movies of the past and the...

Good humour, bad taste

The Spectator

Michael Tanner L'Elisir d'amore Royal Opera Das Wunder der Heliane Festival Hall After not seeing Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore for years, I went to two new productions of it in...

Page 55

Lunatics at large

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans The Dysfunckshonalz! Bush Some Kind of Bliss Trafalgar Studios William Blake's Divine Humanity New Players The spirit of punk and its exhilarating lunacies are...

Radical prophet

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm It's not what you think, we were warned by Jenny Uglow, the far-seeing biographer of Hogarth and Elizabeth Gaskell. Those 'dark Satanic mills' and 'mountains...

Page 56

Royal treatment

The Spectator

James Delingpole n the very night that Monarch: The Royal Family at Work (BBC1, Monday) was being broadcast whom should I bump into at the Pen International quiz at the Café...

Page 57

Champion secrets

The Spectator

Taki New York I'm not sure which of the two sights was funnier: hundreds of Brit bargainhunters huffing and puffing and laden with enormous shopping bags while taking advantage...

Glum night out

The Spectator

Melissa Kite Ten minutes into Les Miserables my boyfriend turned to me and whispered, 'Is it just me or is this Charlie Rap?' As the thunderous clatter of a large prop being...

Page 59

Talking turkey

The Spectator

Richard Sennett with the holidays approaching, foodies are grumbling again about turkey. The domesticated bird is overweight, too fat to fly; in cooking, turkeys easily dry out;...

Page 60

If every day were Christmas

The Spectator

Charlotte Metcalf says that all-year Christmas shopping is here to stay Last spring I noticed that some Cotswold shops still had their Christmas decorations up. When they were...

Page 61

Ski skool is best

The Spectator

Alistair Scott's winter warning: never teach your children to ski ne of the biggest flashpoints in parent-offspring relationships comes when the child reaches 17 and the...

Page 62

You take anhattan

The Spectator

Amelia Torode says that New York's trendiest spots are in the boroughs here's a famous New Yorker magazine cover from the 1970s called 'View of the World From 9th Avenue'....

Page 63

SIMON HOGGART This is our positively final offer f

The Spectator

SIMON HOGGART This is our positively final offer for Christmas, and it's terrific. Thanks to Lay & Wheeler we have half a dozen French classics, all of which would be very...

Page 66

Simon Pegg is a winsome actor, but even he may struggle to make me look charming

The Spectator

TOBY YOUNG Actors claim that the hardest thing about their profession is the everpresent possibility of rejection, but they have it easy compared to authors. First we have to...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

Mission statements and codes of practice are all the rage today among business communities. Everyone has to have one. The trouble is, they are all the same, and consist mostly...

Page 67

Your Problems Solved

The Spectator

Dear Maly Q. My very nice Polish cleaner wants my husband and I [sic] to come to her house for dinner one evening and, to be brutally frank we don't want to. Her English is very...

Nowhere to hide

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING Clueless about who, where or what to turn to next, I wonder which was history's first body to announce a 'full and far-reaching commission of enquiry' in which to...