24 MAY 2008

Page 5

Here’s what we call progress

The Spectator

‘P rogress prevails’: thus did the Guardian ’s editorial on Wednesday celebrate the defeat of amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have...

Page 9

Zimbabwe T he day after my arrival in Harare I attended

The Spectator

Evensong at St Mary Magdalene’s Anglican church. The congregation was in a state of shock. Almost every church in Harare had been raided by riot police that morning. In some...

Page 10

Beneath the radar, the Tory party is working on a strategy to win by a landslide

The Spectator

T hese are bad times for Conservatives fighting the tightest marginal seats. About a year ago they were given generous resources to help them campaign, to promote their...

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY Shame it leaked out about our Two Plans. Still, now at least I can tell people why I’ve been so busy — working with the Plan B Team! This is the most important...

Page 14

The new ‘special relationship’: between London and New York

The Spectator

Michael Bloomberg , the Mayor of New York, unveils his new partnership with Boris, and their plans to forge a transatlantic alliance between the two greatest cities on earth to...

Page 16

Ireland’s EU referendum will be no walkover

The Spectator

Daniel Hannan says that the vote on the Lisbon Treaty is not in the bag for the ‘Yes’ camp, which has no argument to offer. Meanwhile, the ‘No’ campaign is gaining...

Page 18

Very few single girls actually have that much sex

The Spectator

Marianne Macdonald says that, in an encounter in New York with Sarah Jessica Parker, she realised, finally, how much of a myth Sex and the City really was T he press launch of...

Page 20

For real globalisation, look at Ancient Rome

The Spectator

Peter Jones says the Romans made things work by keeping it simple. Gordon Brown could learn from this world in which complexity was an ill to be avoided not embraced I n South...

Page 22

Welcome to the United States of Amnesia

The Spectator

Gore Vidal tells Mary Wakefield that America has forgotten its constitutional roots, and explains why Bobby Kennedy was ‘the biggest son of a bitch in politics’ T o kill...

Page 24

A century from now, we will be appalled that we allowed abortions at all

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says the Commons vote securing the 24-week limit is no more than a craven politician’s fudge, designed to postpone the day when the law of the land finally catches...

Page 25

Thatcher’s champion

The Spectator

Sir: The Spectator may have been Margaret Thatcher’s first press champion as Fraser Nelson notes (‘Labour’s best hope’, 17 May), but its support was not unwavering. At...

Fare’s unfair

The Spectator

Sir: Tom Harris, the rail minister (Letters, 17 May), rightly states that it would be unacceptable for the government to subsidise journalists and businessmen for first-class...

Scripture lesson

The Spectator

Sir: Theo Hobson’s interview with Gene Robinson (‘It’s harder for straights to feel Christian charity than gays’, 10 May) certainly clarifies the issue at stake. It is...

Religious howlers

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Sir: With reference to Eric Brown (Letters, 17 May), verbal anachronisms are not the only plague in Foyle’s War . Its religious howlers are worse. In a recent episode, the...

Markham my words

The Spectator

Sir: Charles Moore tells us (The Spectator’s Notes, 17 May) that property prices in Markham Square, Chelsea, have rocketed from £7,800 in 1955 for the house in which his wife...

Great suit

The Spectator

Sir: Reading Joan Collins’s piece on Doug Hayward (‘An Actor’s Life’, 17 May) reminded me of the brief but happy time I spent working for Doug in his Mount Street shop....

Ear witness

The Spectator

Sir: It was Jocelyn Hambro, chairman of Hambros Bank — not, as your correspondent Richard Skilbeck tells us (Letters, 17 May), Bernard Levin — who called Harold Wilson the...

General knowledge

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Sir: If Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 10 May) thinks that Che Guevara held the rank of general, it just shows that Collegers don’t know as much as they think they...

Page 26

I wish George Eliot or Alan Bennett had been with me in the Ryanair check-in queue

The Spectator

‘I ’ll tell you, Janet, if I was 23 an’ ’ad a nice, good-lookin’ young man, I’d not be here on ’oliday with you. Don’t get me wrong — it’s been a lovely...

Page 27

Heaven may be the perfect library but some on earth come close

The Spectator

I sympathise with those mediaeval Jewish rabbis who, asked to describe heaven, pictured it as a perfect library. For them books were, or ought to be, inseparable from holiness....

Page 28

Hand over your cash: how banks are mugging investors

The Spectator

Neil Collins says the rights issues recently announced by RBS, Bradford & Bingley and HBOS are a sign of desperation — and their terms are an insult to loyal shareholders W...

Page 30

Half a house is hardly worth having

The Spectator

Ross Clark I ’m going to start with a declaration of interest. I own a four-bedroom house in Cambridgeshire, in which I have been living for the past nine years. I own no...

Page 33

A manual for our times

The Spectator

Matthew d’Ancona T ERROR AND C ONSENT : T HE W ARS FOR THE T WENTY -F IRST C ENTURY by Philip Bobbitt Allen Lane, £25, pp. 672, ISBN 9780713997842 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 34

Homage to His Holiness

The Spectator

George FitzHerbert T he Dalai Lama is a controversial figure of late. The fury of millions of Chinese at the Tibetans’ sullying of China’s international reputation in the...

Page 35

In the blood

The Spectator

Melissa Kite R ED L ETTER D AYS by Rory Knight Bruce Quiller Publishing, £20, pp. 176, ISBN 9781846890093 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A nyone who has been stuffed...

Page 36

Linking Oxford with the world

The Spectator

Vernon Bogdanor L EGACY : C ECIL R HODES , T HE R HODES T RUST AND R HODES SCHOLARSHIPS by Philip Ziegler Yale, £25, pp. 371, ISBN 9780300118353 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 38

Real and imagined parents

The Spectator

Philip Hensher A LFRED AND E MILY by Doris Lessing Fourth Estate, £16.99, pp. 273, ISBN 9780007233458 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T here are now two full...

Page 39

At the court of King Tony

The Spectator

Robert Salisbury A Q UESTION OF H ONOUR by Lord Michael Levy Simon & Schuster, £18.99, pp. 310, ISBN 9781847373157 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T he...

Page 40

The end of a period

The Spectator

Vicki Woods S PEAKING FOR M YSELF by Cherie Blair Little Brown, £18.99, pp. 422, ISBN 9781408700983 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his is a meretricious,...

Page 41

John Saumarez Smith at 65

The Spectator

James Fergusson ‘M ight it amuse you to see (and perhaps even buy) Gibbon’s spectacles?’ John Saumarez Smith made Bevis Hillier a once-in-a-lifetime offer. It was 1976...

Page 42

An eccentric part of the landscape

The Spectator

Robert Gore-Langton talks to an irreverent Dominic Dromgoole about the Globe A few months ago I was at a literary festival on a drama panel which featured a senior actress of...

Page 44

Dancing lines

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Leon Kossoff: Unique Prints Art Space Gallery, 84 St Peter’s Street, London N1, until 21 June Paintings of Stockport by Helen Clapcott Stockport Art Gallery,...

Page 46

Compare and contrast

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio Royal Ballet: Double Bill Royal Opera House T heatre magic has a lot to do with the unpredictability of the performed event. Regardless of the alluring...

Page 47

Déjà vu

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans The Deep Blue Sea Vaudeville The Birthday Party Lyric Hammersmith Pygmalion Old Vic O sborne crushed Rattigan. Crudely stated, that’s what we’re told happened...

Page 48

Feel the passion

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Tosca Royal Opera House Idomeneo Barbican Carmen Bernie Grant Arts Centre T he latest revival of Tosca at the Royal Opera, with many changes in production by...

Page 49

Fast and furious

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 12A, Nationwide A fter a 19-year break, Indiana Jones, the world’s greatest adventurer and probably the...

Absolute focus

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm Y ou can almost hear the whispering through the ether. A whole weekend devoted to Chopin? Whatever was Roger Wright, Radio Three’s controller, thinking of? The...

Page 50

Srallen’s pain

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart I used to have one of Alan Sugar’s old Amstrad computers; in fact I wrote two books on it. The great advantage it had over modern computers was its slowness;...

Page 51

Unwelcome news

The Spectator

Ursula Buchan I n 1811, Jane Austen wrote to her sister, Cassandra, in response, no doubt, to an anxious enquiry: ‘I will not say that your mulberry trees are dead, but I am...

On the buses

The Spectator

Alan Judd B oris would have approved. He might have been envious. He might even have remembered the lunch he owes me. But I’d have let him off that just to have seen his face...

Page 52

The write stuff

The Spectator

Taki I s the opening sentence of a book, especially a novel, the most consequential, or is it just dressing for the feast to come? I’d say the former judging from A Tale of...

Page 53

My brilliant career

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley I n the summer of 1986 I got a job as a busboy in Burger King on the ChampsElysées. I was given a funny pair of trousers, which I was ordered to wear as part of...

Page 54

Walking disaster

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke I was looking at trail running shoes in a specialist running shoe shop, intending to buy. The young woman who sprang forward to assist was fit, lean and agile....

Page 55

Civic torment

The Spectator

Melissa Kite ‘D o you mind if I just put a bag of garden waste next to yours if you’re having it collected?’ said the friendly lady who lives next door. I was piling up...

Page 56

Let the red-eyes have it

The Spectator

James Leith discovers how to take the perfect pic O ur house is full of photographs covering 35 years of family life. Out-of-focus babies and blurred party guests subject to...

Page 57

Luxury in a war zone

The Spectator

Henry Sands ventures into post-tsunami Sri Lanka T he problem with having siblings significantly younger than you is that there comes a horrible moment when you realise you’ve...

Page 58

A bird’s eye view

The Spectator

Martin Penner unravels the turbulent history of Monte Cassino I f you ever take the motorway from Rome to Naples, you may notice that for most of the journey you are moving down...

Page 59

Elegant Emirates

The Spectator

Molly Watson I know that it is de rigueur among serious business people to complain that travelling very long distances for work is a stressful and disruptive chore, but I’m...

Page 61


The Spectator

O N a Martin Randall Travel tour you are led by lecturers rather than guides. The term ‘lecturers’ emphasises their primary role. They are also ‘tour leaders’ because...

Page 62

Walk on the wild side

The Spectator

James Forsyth S even years ago, when I first went to DC — as the locals call it — I left a friend’s house on Capitol Hill one evening and thought I would stroll over to...

Page 70

I never thought I’d claim I was quoted ‘out of context’ — until I went to Cannes

The Spectator

‘M emo to writers and others,’ wrote Kingsley Amis. ‘Never make a joke against yourself that some little bastard can turn into a piece of shit and send your way.’ I...

Mind your language

The Spectator

I hardly wish to interpose my body between Anthony Horowitz and Simon Hoggart, even though the former invoked me. He declared (Letters, 10 May) that he is puzzled by Mr...

Page 71

Spectator Sport

The Spectator

T im Henman famously spent a lot of his time trying to convince us he wasn’t as nice as all that. So when Henman called Andy Murray a ‘miserable git’ at a charity do the...

your problemS Solved

The Spectator

Dear Mary Q. I treated four friends to a trip to the Far East. On the way back there was a cock-up at the airport with an overbooked plane and our party had to be put up for...

Q. I recently became involved with someone who is 15

The Spectator

years younger than I am. She is very beautiful and very charming but one thing is putting me quite seriously off her. Perhaps you could advise. I realise that her generation —...