26 APRIL 2008

Page 5

Brown’s weakness is his strength

The Spectator

G ordon Brown’s dramatic and humiliating climbdown on the abolition of the 10p tax rate averted at least one disaster: the Prime Minister was facing a knife-edge Commons vote...

Page 9

I t’s Powell week. I am due to speak at the

The Spectator

site of his infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech on Sunday, a rather clever idea dreamed up by my colleagues at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Kamal Ahmed and...

Page 10

On the doorstep for the local elections the common refrain is: it’s time for a change

The Spectator

S pend just a few minutes on the campaign trail for next week’s local elections and it suddenly becomes clear why Labour MPs got into such a mutinous mood. When they happily...

Page 11

A ctually, there never was much sense in a ten pence

The Spectator

rate of income tax. It added complication, and Gordon Brown is right to get rid of it, though wrong to charge income tax on people so low on the income scale. But you cannot...

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY What on earth is wrong with the general public at the moment? Why, according to the so-called opinion polls, do more people like Alistair Darling than Gids? Have they...

Page 14

Joking apart: why Boris is the man for the job

The Spectator

Boris Johnson has confounded his critics, says Matthew d’Ancona . The contest will go to the wire, but our man has proved himself to be both shrewd enough and serious enough...

Page 16

My dream for Turkey, by Boris’s great-grandfather

The Spectator

Norman Stone on the dramatic life and death of Ali Kemal, one-time interior minister of Turkey and our mayoral candidate’s forebear B oris Johnson is one eighth Turkish. His...

Page 18

The Beeb behaved like a Da Vinci Code villain

The Spectator

Jack Valero , a director of Opus Dei, says that even Dan Brown would be hard-pushed to invent the strange and circuitous business of complaining to the BBC T he last time Opus...

‘H ello Barbara,’ Emma says as she hauls the Hoover in

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through the front door. I can’t disguise my confusion. ‘As in Tom and Barbara. You know, from The Good Life .’ I don’t get it, at first. I still think of myself as this...

Page 19

Britain as money-laundering philanderers? The Salvation Army as a bunch of crooks bent on power? No, of course not.

The Spectator

So we complained. We wanted a little apology, that’s all, and a firm purpose of amendment: a three-second statement read at the graveyard of the news hour, perhaps, a flash of...

Page 20

Why I’m standing to be a local councillor

The Spectator

Kelvin MacKenzie says that his fury over an extortionate hike in parking prices drove him to stand for election to Elmbridge Borough Council I t was a strange place for the red...

Page 21

How to get the best exchange rate

The Spectator

When transferring money overseas, don’t think you will get the best exchange rate from your high street bank. There is an alternative and it will save you money. Changing and...

Page 22

The truth is that the house price crash is, overall, good news

The Spectator

Rod Liddle says that our pursuit of property as investment has been the most repulsive and soul-destroying aspect of contemporary British culture I f you take that excellent map...

Page 23

D eath and taxes: these, according to Benjamin Franklin, are the

The Spectator

two immovables of human existence. In modern life, however, there is a third: drivel, from which, try as one might, it is now impossible to escape. I concede, of course, that...

Page 24

Obama needs to knock Hillary out — and quick

The Spectator

Hillary Clinton’s big win in the Pennsylvania primary has drawn attention to four main weaknesses in Barack Obama’s appeal, says James Forsyth H illary Clinton did not have...

Page 25

United State of Europe

The Spectator

Sir: Your musings (‘England Rides Again’, 19 April) upon the complexity of being English, Scottish or British have, I fear, the relevance of the archangels upon the...

An English characteristic

The Spectator

Sir: You may not have realised it, but asking Mohamed Al Fayed to contribute to your survey (‘So what is England?’, 19 April) showed an important English trait —...

Missing steeple

The Spectator

Sir: Alex James writes (Slow Life, 19 April) of the joys of orbiting the spire of Canterbury Cathedral, ‘the static needle of the steeple pointing quietly up’. In my years...

The wrong George

The Spectator

Sir: It was a delight to receive the St George’s Day special issue and to read what were, for the most part, well-balanced and interesting articles about England and the...

Our origins

The Spectator

Sir: In his Spectator’s Notes of 19 April, Charles Moore writes that John Buchan’s idea of ‘Old English’ is ‘historical rubbish (who were these Old English who were...

Consequences of separation

The Spectator

Sir: While Fraser Nelson’s column (Politics, 19 April) provided an excellent political analysis regarding England and Scotland, it made no reference to the potential...

Ideological fanaticism

The Spectator

Sir: Igor Toronyi-Lalic (Arts, 19 April) correctly raises the question of fanaticism of some ideological movements. According to him, in the 1920s the USSR was advocating...

Page 26

My heart bleeds for cold-callers — it must be the most depressing job in the world

The Spectator

I t’s always happening. It happened again last Friday. I had finished my Times column for Saturday and, taking advantage of the two hours left of daylight, fetched the...

Page 27

Songs the BBC spoilsports might not let you sing

The Spectator

I t is good fun to imagine historical conjunctions. Suppose, for example, Winston Churchill had done Desert Island Discs . What would he have chosen? His favourite song of all...

Page 28

Tantamount to financial terrorism

The Spectator

Neil Barnett says hedge funds should be forced to reveal their trading secrets, to deter them from the kind of market manipulation that has recently hit Icelandic banks Y ou...

Page 30

The Chariots of Fire moment that revealed Gordon’s 10p tax timebomb

The Spectator

T he abolition of the 10p starter rate of income tax in Gordon Brown’s last Budget has a special significance in recent Spectator history: coming only a month after our move...

Page 32

Were we any better than the Nazis?

The Spectator

Sam Leith H UMAN S MOKE by Nicholson Baker Simon & Schuster, £20, pp. 566, ISBN 9781847372741 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n July 1940, Hitler issued what...

Page 34

A masterpiece of boyhood recalled

The Spectator

Andro Linklater K IERON S MITH , B OY by James Kelman Hamish Hamilton, £18.99, pp. 422, ISBN 9780241142417 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I n his take on the...

Page 35

Wilful destruction of a world wonder

The Spectator

Robin Hanbury-Tenison T REE OF R IVERS : T HE S TORY OF THE A MAZON by John Hemming Thames & Hudson, £20, pp. 368, ISBN 9780670915804 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

Page 36

Growing up in no man’s land

The Spectator

Zenga Longmore T HE M AKING OF M R H AI ’ S DAUGHTER: B ECOMING B RITISH by Yasmin Hai Virago, £14.99, pp. 334, ISBN9781844082698 ✆ £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

More mayoral election fever

The Spectator

Claudia FitzHerbert O NCE U PON A T IME IN THE N ORTH by Philip Pullman David Fickling Books, £9.99, pp. 95, ISBN 9780385614320 ✆ £7.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 O...

Page 37

A working-class villain

The Spectator

Leo McKinstry K EN : T HE U PS AND D OWNS OF K EN L IVINGSTONE by Andrew Hosken Arcadia Books, £15.99, pp. 435, ISBN 9781905147724 ✆ £12.79 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

Page 38

What we lost last summer

The Spectator

William Brett B ORN Y ESTERDAY : T HE N EWS AS A N OVEL by Gordon Burn Faber, £7.99, pp. 214, ISBN 9780571240265 ✆ £6.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t’s startling...

Children of a genius

The Spectator

Allan Massie I N THE S HADOW OF THE M AGIC M OUNTAIN by Andrea Weiss University of Chicago Press, £14.50, pp. 272, ISBN 9780226886725 ✆ £11.60 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 39

Blood on their hands

The Spectator

David Pryce-Jones A D ANGERoUS L IAISoN : S IMoNE DE B EAUvoIR AND J EAN -P AUL S ARTRE by Carole Seymour-Jones Century, £20, pp. 574, ISBN 9781844138227 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45...

Page 40

Between deference and insolence

The Spectator

Theodore Dalrymple T HE D iSRESPECT A GENDA : O R H OW THE W RONG K iND OF N iCENESS iS M AKiNG U S W EAK AND U NHAPPY by Lincoln Allison Social Affairs Unit, £10, pp.120,...

Page 42

‘You’re always learning’

The Spectator

Henrietta Bredin talks to Sally Burgess about taking on the role of Carmen J ust as dancers are fortunate if they have especially long legs and strong, flexible feet, there are...

Page 44

Self styled

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Whitechapel at War: Isaac Rosenberg and his circle Ben Uri Gallery, 108a Boundary Road, London NW8, until 8 June I t seems that Isaac Rosenberg thought of...

Page 46

The big sleep

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Small Change Donmar War and Peace, I and II Hampstead O h my God. Did that really happen? I knew nothing about Peter Gill’s 1976 play, Small Change , before...

Page 47

Birtwistle’s brilliance

The Spectator

Michael Tanner The Minotaur Royal Opera F or the first time in the 12 years that I have been reviewing opera weekly, I have been to the first performance of a masterpiece. The...

Page 48

Too black and white

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Persepolis 12A, London and key cities P ersepolis , an animated feature about coming of age in Iran, is kind of interesting and is kind of original but its...

Page 49

Ill Met by moonlight

The Spectator

Robin Holloway N othing is sacred or unchanging. One of Radio Three’s most reliable sources of musical pleasure, the weekly Saturday opera relay from the Metropolitan in New...

Page 50

Talking too much

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm S omething so weird has happened to the way we live now that Radio Two has decided it needs to dedicate a week’s programming to Let’s Talk About Sex . It’s...

Page 51

Farewell, Foyle

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart S o it’s goodbye to Foyle’s War (Sunday, ITV), for the time being at least. The series seems to have been cancelled not because it was no good; it was, for a...

Page 52

Art in Kew

The Spectator

Ursula Buchan I n the 19th century, the painting of flowers was mainly the preserve of maiden ladies with too much time on their hands, whose watercolours would be framed by...

Page 53

Living faith

The Spectator

Taki New York I t obviously came from above — the order, that is — because I have never seen such perfect temperatures and clearer skies than for the Pope’s visit. And...

Up the garden path

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke E very day that I can, I take an elderly, obese, arthritic collie called Joe for a walk. I take him out because he’s a likeable old chap, and his owner,...

Page 54

Fat cat diary

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley Nairobi I want to say Kenya is a victim of negative press. Shady characters called bloggers are nicknaming the President’s new Peace cabinet of ministers ‘Ali...

Page 55

Driving me crazy

The Spectator

Melissa Kite I f television bosses ever get really desperate for cheap viewing, they could always follow me with a hand-held camera as I pigheadedly attempt to drive my car...

Page 56

Me time

The Spectator

Sarah Standing falls for the mystifying science of Biontology ‘M ust be your lucky morn ing, ladies,’ the Southern ticket inspector unctuously announced. ‘I’m going to...

Page 57

Dressing down

The Spectator

Rachel Johnson rarely gets out of her comfort zone: loungewear I have long cherished an — admittedly rather bizarre — fantasy. It centres on the world’s best-dressed...

Page 59

Negative equity

The Spectator

Boom at the top Sophie Brodie finds that the high end of the market is holding firm P resent-wrapping, flower-arranging, hair-dressing are, for most of us, incidental pastimes....

Page 60

Payback time

The Spectator

Cathy Strongman S ince the government announced in its 2007 green paper that it intended to make all new homes carbon-neutral by 2016, designs for snazzy green homes and...

Page 62

Tesco village

The Spectator

Ross Clark I have been trying all week to work out exactly what an ‘eco-town’ is, and have finally come to the conclusion that the term is derived from Umberto Eco, the...

Page 70

Mind your language

The Spectator

I’m on the edge of doing something rather shocking. Quite a few readers have written to me about the phrase for free . It is monstrous, ungrammatical and, more annoyingly,...

Page 71

B eing a sports fan is, as Max Mosley knows too

The Spectator

well, a painful and often expensive business. I knew my cavalier investment in Bernard Hopkins to beat Joe Calzaghe on Saturday night, despite Hopkins at 43 being almost as old...

Q. A very dear friend has lugged back a present

The Spectator

from China. It is the most hideously frightful, huge, garish, golden ‘money’ cat with a waving paw which he has specifically asked me to put in ‘my’ drawing room (along...

Q. A friend of mine arranges an annual walk each

The Spectator

year on the Sunday of the Mayday Bank Holiday for her birthday, often of up to 30 friends of mixed ages. We then have a delicious and congenial lunch at her house. I have been...

Q. On a train the other day the man sitting

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next to me had an alarm on his mobile which maddeningly went off every five minutes, yet he slept through it. It was a nonstop train so there was no question of his missing his...