23 FEBRUARY 2008

Page 5

Stealth tax cuts

The Spectator

H istory may not judge the Northern Rock fiasco to be Labour’s Black Wednesday. Instead, the banking saga might yet become to Gordon Brown what ‘sleaze’ was to John Major....

Page 11

I admired Tony Blair. I knew Tony Blair.

The Spectator

Prime Minister, you are no Tony Blair T here are few feuds as destructive as the squabble over a legacy. In Bleak House , the case of Jarndyce vs Jarndyce provides Charles...

Page 12

T he United Nations declared last week that, for the first

The Spectator

time in human history, more people in the world live in the town than in the country. If true, this feels momentous, though it is not, obviously, sudden. The imagination of...

Page 14

The biggest tent of the lot: to stop Blair becoming EU President

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says that the former Prime Minister has pulled off an astonishing feat: uniting Left and Right, Europhiles and Eurosceptics, people of all nations and creeds, online...

Page 16

A scholar who dares to look terror in the face

The Spectator

Douglas Murray talks to the historian Michael Burleigh about his new book on the culture of terrorism and the West’s craven reluctance to confront the nature of the threat M...

Page 18

Israel is getting ready to invade Gaza

The Spectator

Lorna Fitzsimons talks to senior sources and concludes that, with heavy hearts, the Israelis are set to mount a military takeover of Gaza — a step that will leave the talks...

Page 20

Obama is an Othello for our times

The Spectator

White men only pretend to admire the presidential contender, writes Venetia Thompson . Beneath their supposed approval lurk primeval racist fears of the black ‘super-male’...

Page 22

Castro’s Cuba was no place for a socialist like me

The Spectator

Neil Clark says that he went to Havana in search of a leftwing Utopia and discovered instead an island fortress of poverty, corruption and currency apartheid I t’s a country...

Page 24

This turbulent priest

The Spectator

Sir: Seeing that it was I who wrote the article in The Spectator five and a half years ago advancing the case for choosing Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury the week...

Devilled by detail

The Spectator

Sir: Nick Robinson (Politics, 16 February) complains that David Cameron’s friends ‘cannot spell out what he would do’ in government. Of course they cannot. They are in...

The state of pensions

The Spectator

Sir: A couple of weeks ago an elderly relative received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions telling him that his state retirement pension is to be increased by 44...

Volunteers needed

The Spectator

Sir: Jeremy Clarke’s tale of service with CSV demonstrates its huge impact (‘Who gives?’, 16 February). Nationwide, community centres, schools, hospitals, homeless...

Page 25

The Diana inquest has revealed a real conspiracy: to destroy what is left of Old Britain

The Spectator

S uddenly, I’m starting to think that maybe Mohamed Al Fayed was only half wrong. Maybe dark forces were, indeed, involved in a cover-up surrounding the death of Diana,...

Page 26

Fiction as a crutch to get one through life

The Spectator

I gave up writing novels in my midtwenties, when I was halfway through my third, convinced I had not enough talent for fiction. Sometimes I wish I had persisted. There is one...

Page 27

Was ABN Amro a deal too far for Fred the Shred?

The Spectator

Matthew Lynn says Royal Bank of Scotland chief Sir Fred Goodwin’s reputation is on the line as he struggles to make a success of a very expensive acquisition T he title of the...

Page 28

Don’t let them kill off the cheque

The Spectator

Ross Clark N ext month I will break the habit of a lifetime and wait until the red reminder before paying my telephone bill. I will do so because BT has decided to charge me...

Page 29

In the end, they may have to auction what’s left of Northern Rock on eBay

The Spectator

W hen the nationalisation of Northern Rock was announced at the beginning of the week, commentators queued up behind the shadow chancellor to declare a return to the dark days...

Page 32

Creating a climate of fear

The Spectator

Sam Leith B LOOD AND R AGE : A C ULTURAL H ISTORY OF T ERRORISM by Michael Burleigh HarperPress, £25, pp. 545, ISBN 9780007241279 ✆ £20(plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A t...

Page 33

Too clever for her own good

The Spectator

Claire Tomalin Q UEEN OF THE W ITS : A L IFE OF L AETITIA P ILKINGTON by Norma Clarke Faber, £20, pp. 350, ISBN 9780571224289 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘I am...

Page 34

Sins of omission

The Spectator

Alberto Manguel M Y U NWRITTEN B OOKS by George Steiner Weidenfeld, £14.99, pp. 210, ISBN 9780297853305 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R eaders are defined by...

Page 35

Recent crime novels

The Spectator

Andrew Taylor T he Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (MacLehose Press, £14.99, translated from the Swedish by Stephen Murray) is the first volume of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium...

Page 36

Brave enough to say no

The Spectator

Gerard Noel W E W ILL N OT F IGHT : T HE U NTOLD s TORY OF W ORLD W AR O NE ’ s C ONsCIENTIOUs OBJECTORs by Will Ellsworth-Jones Aurum, £18.99, pp. 320, ISBN 9781845133009...

Earning an easy chair

The Spectator

Anthony Sattin G OING A s F AR A s I C AN by Duncan Fallowell Profile Books, £12.99, pp.279, ISBN 9781846680694 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I f you were left a...

Page 37

Changing behaviour

The Spectator

Toby Jones on how theatre is being used in Malawi to help stop the spread of Aids T he interior designer charged with decorating the IT suite probably didn’t have theatre in...

Page 38

Is he worth it?

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Peter Doig Tate Britain, until 27 April P eter Doig has aroused much passion in recent months for the prices his paintings have started to fetch in the...

Page 40

Sound effects

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Lloyd Evans The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other Lyttelton The Importance of Being Earnest Vaudeville Speed-the-Plow Old Vic S trange fish, Peter Handke. His 1992 play The...

Page 41

Teenage kicks

The Spectator

Robin Holloway C urious to see how the old whore (103 this year) is faring, I tuned in eagerly to Radio Three’s broadcast of a concert performance of Salome (13 February) —...

Page 42

Back in time

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Beijing Modern Dance Company Linbury Studio W hen it comes to new dance, nothing sells as quickly as a multior intercultural performance. It matters little...

End of the road

The Spectator

Toby Young Rambo 18, Nationwide I s nothing sacred? Rambo, the patron saint of the American conservative movement, has become a liberal. When we last encountered this...

Page 43

Pipeline power

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm H ow easily we forget! Who, for instance, was the first of the world’s major leaders to talk to George W. Bush after 9/11? No, it wasn’t Blair. Or the...

Page 44

Happy talk

The Spectator

James Delingpole T he Day of the Kamikaze (Channel 4, Monday) was really good, I’ll bet, but the Fawn wasn’t having it so I suppose I’ll have to watch it some other time...

Newmarket rarity

The Spectator

Robin Oakley E ntering The Trainers House at Moulton Paddocks is a reminder that preparing racehorses is not a job but a way of life. In the cheerfully cluttered lobby and...

Page 45

The lying game

The Spectator

Taki W hy do children lie? asks a boring headline in an even more boring Big Bagel magazine article. According to the bores who wrote it, children are encouraged to tell white...

Page 46

Tough competition

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke ‘ W hatever happens,’ said a bloke on the team at the next table rancour ously, ‘we mustn’t let the students win.’ I’d not taken part in a pub quiz...

Ambushed in Somalia

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley A s we entered the old city, the heat shimmered off coral towers half reduced to rubble by cycles of war. We had just exited Mogadishu’s presidential palace...

Page 48

The name of the game

The Spectator

Alex James I ’ve realised I don’t have a game, a sport. A man needs a game. It’s important. Says a lot about him; more than his car or his clothes. I asked the builders...

Page 49

A festival of shopping

The Spectator

Lesley Thomas indulges her weakness in Dubai F or me shopping for fashion is something that happens under cover. It is surrounded by stealth, tainted with guilt. Harvey Nichols...

Page 50

The lost beauty of Saepinum

The Spectator

Martin Penner on Campania’s hidden treasure F or a long time I thought the only parts of Campania worth bothering with were within sight of the sea. I was thrilled by the...

Page 51

Coming in from the cold

The Spectator

Christian House I f there were a premier league for flea markets, the Ecseri site on the hem of Budapest would rank as the coolest. By that I mean that at 7 a.m. on a Saturday...

Page 52

All the land’s a stage

The Spectator

Molly Watson D ylan Thomas used to say that a day away from Wales was a day wasted. I share this feeling. But, sacrilegious though it is to suggest it, I think he might have...

Page 53

T ime for our annual offer of Château Musar from the

The Spectator

excellent folk at Wheeler Cellars, sister company to Lay & Wheeler. Once again you have the chance to place your order for the luscious new 2001 vintage Musar red (1), which...

Page 62

A high-status Mr Toad lookalike like me is bound to produce more sons than daughters

The Spectator

I t’s a boy! This was the news following my wife’s 20-week scan last week. I know it is infra dig to find out the sex of your baby in advance, but Caroline said she needed...

Mind your language

The Spectator

During the martyrdom by the press of Dr Rowan Williams, the Sun carried as its frontpage splash headline ‘Bash the bishop’. I was surprised that a sentence of which the...

Page 63

I t’s said that the internet promises to usher in a

The Spectator

new age of altruism and selflessness but let’s not forget there’s a good side to it as well. Free porn, video piracy, and above all the chance to insult new people. Like the...

Dear Mary

The Spectator

Q. I am approaching my 50th birthday and I want to have a party for around 100 people. There is an ideal space near where we live in London. It belongs to a friend, who has...

Q. Is there a tactful way of finding out who

The Spectator

else is going to a house party before accepting? I know it is bad manners to ask but my problem is that, as a single man in my late thirties, I very often am asked, and...

Q. I always thought you could never have enough servants

The Spectator

but now that I live part of the time in the Middle East I realise I was wrong. Whenever I go to raid the fridge in the privacy of my own greed someone jumps forward to ask can...