26 JULY 2008

Page 5

Must try harder

The Spectator

T he wonder of the National Curriculum Tests marking scandal is that it has taken a decade for the inadequacies of the school exam system to become widely known. As Liz...

Page 9

F rom London to Bath to Manhattan, ten funerals or memorial

The Spectator

services since October makes more than one a month, and attending them can seem a full-time occupation, as well as a sorrowful one. John Biffen, Bill Deedes and Ian Gilmour were...

Page 10

The government should talk to the voters, not the unions

The Spectator

T he political year ends with a sequel. Labour leaders, trade unionists and party members gather at Warwick university for what is billed as Warwick Two. The original version...

Page 11

T he news that the government is to fund a board

The Spectator

of Islamic theologians to try to advance more moderate interpretations of Islam has been attacked as an unprecedented attempt by the state to shape the doctrine of a religion....

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY Everyone assuming I’ve been keeping up with Events during my horse holiday with Sesame but as I explained to Nigel I was in a very remote part of the Isle of Wight....

Page 14

Don’t mention the Afghan–Pakistan war

The Spectator

Both Britain and America are reluctant to admit it but, says Fraser Nelson , our most pressing foreign policy problem is what to do about Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state in...

Page 16

‘All local government should be abolished’

The Spectator

It doesn’t matter who’s in charge, says Rod Liddle . Once elected, a local council automatically becomes self-important and incompetent A charity called Help for Heroes,...

Page 18

Meet Italy’s answer to Boris

The Spectator

Gianni Alemanno, Rome’s new right-wing mayor, tells John Laughland that it’s time for the Eternal City to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach T here are few people, I...

Page 20

Our lazy firemen must make a radical change

The Spectator

Britain’s firefighters are under-worked and inflexible, says Leo McKinstry . It’s time we created a unified emergency service A cooling breeze wafted through the plane trees...

Page 21

Marking Sats has always been a total fiasco

The Spectator

Liz Brocklehurst T he Sats disaster is depressing, but I’m afraid that as someone who’s marked them for ten years, it’s not altogether surprising. In the early days of...

Page 22

‘Make him sit and wait’

The Spectator

Anna Blundy takes her dog Marmite to Tip Top training and finds that the whole procedure could just as well apply to men T he lady in the orange baseball cap is shouting to be...

Page 24

Sensible scares

The Spectator

Sir: To be fair to the scaremongers (Another Voice, 19 July), at least some of the scares mentioned by Matthew Parris (al-Qa’eda, HIV) seem less frightening in retrospect not...

Saint Pius XII?

The Spectator

Sir: Pope Pius XII was described by Golda Meir, the then Israeli foreign minister, as ‘a true friend of the Jewish people’ at the time of the Pontiff’s death in 1958. His...

An intrusive ‘g’

The Spectator

Sir: Toby Young (Status Anxiety, July 12) tells us that ‘Joseph Epstein, a retired academic’ coined the word ‘Kindergarchy’. The pedant academic in me considers that the...

Demonising paedophiles

The Spectator

Sir: Charlotte Metcalf hopes the convicted paedophile Roger Took (‘The Devil in our midst’, 12 July) will read her words ‘with par ticular care’. I wonder how she would...

Inaccessible material

The Spectator

Sir: Charles Leadbeater (‘The web is a conservative force’, 12 July) may be right that the internet enables us to record for posterity more of the ephemera of our daily...

The pastrymaker’s revenge

The Spectator

Sir: Charles Moore notes (The Spectator’s Notes, 19 July) that croissants were invented to celebrate Jan Sobieski’s defeat of the Turks outside the walls of Vienna in 1683....

Page 25

Eye-stopping glimpses of an exotic and forbidden world

The Spectator

F or anyone interested in fine painting, as distinct from ‘great art’, there is a treat at the Tate for them: a display of works by British artists, from the 17th to the...

Page 26

The decline of the empire of Starbucks

The Spectator

Matthew Lynn says coffee is the pure brew of capitalism — as the credit crunch bites, no wonder the world’s most ubiquitous coffee-house chain is heading for trouble I n...

Page 28

Deluded and abandoned

The Spectator

Anne Applebaum T HE F ORSAKEN : A N A MERICAN T RAGEDY IN S TALIN ’ S R USSIA by Tim Tzouliadis Little, Brown, £25, pp. 472, ISBN 9781594201684 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p)...

Page 29

A monkey business

The Spectator

James Robertson M ORTAL C OIL : A S HORT H ISTORY OF L IVING L ONGER by David Boyd Haycock Yale, £18.99, pp. 320, ISBN 9780300117783 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 30

The stuff of legends

The Spectator

Christopher Ondaatje T HE C OLLECTOR OF W ORLDS by Iliya Troyanov, translated by William Hobson Faber, £16.99, pp. 464, ISBN 9780571236534 0 £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Hope born of fantasy

The Spectator

Molly Guinness L ITTLE M ARVEL AND O THER STORIES by Wendy Perriam Hale, £18.99, pp.223, ISBN 9780709085973 0 £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W endy Perriam’s latest...

Page 31

The pity of it

The Spectator

P. J. Kavanagh I N Z ODIAC L IGHT by Robert Edric Doubleday, £16.99, pp. 368, ISBN 9780385612586 ✆ £13.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his book opens with a bang;...

Page 32

They are made a spectacle unto the world

The Spectator

Michael Beloff T HE F IRST L ONDON O LYMPICS : 1908 by Rebecca Jenkins Piatkus Books, £16.99, pp. 288, ISBN 9780749951689 V £13.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T HE M...

Page 33

The death of the novel

The Spectator

C harles II apologised for being ‘an unconscionable time a-dying’, and, if it could speak, the novel might do the same. Its death has been so often decreed. More than sixty...

Page 34

Moral and political dilemmas

The Spectator

Robert Gore-Langton talks to Ronald Harwood about musical life in Nazi Germany N azis in the theatre liven things up no end. They provide the hilarity in The Producers , the...

Page 35

Light and shade

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Colin Self: Art in the Nuclear Age Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 12 October David Tress: Chasing Sublime Light Petworth House, West Sussex, until 29...

Page 36

Remembering Mellers

The Spectator

Robin Holloway O ne had confidently anticipated (‘The sex is better than ever!’ he burbled in excited undertone when I last met him a few years ago at a York University...

Page 37

Top-notch tosh

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Zorro Garrick The Tailor and Ansty Old Red Lion I s Zorro any good? Forget the show for a second, look at the marketing. The stars are English, the story is...

All about boys

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging 12A, Nationwide A ngus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a teen movie as may be rather obvious from the title — come on, it was...

Page 38

Undiluted pleasure

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Hansel und Gretel Glyndebourne La bohème Royal Opera House T he two operas I saw last week were premièred just over two years apart, Humperdinck’s Hansel...

Page 39

Festival madness

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm I t was totally over-the-top, the first-night concert of this year’s Proms season, the 114th since Henry Wood set out in 1895 to educate the musical palate of...

Page 40

My big worries

The Spectator

James Delingpole H ave you ever noticed how the Islamist terror threat has been ridiculously overplayed by the government? I have. I’ll be standing with my kids on a crowded...

Peaks and troughs

The Spectator

Robin Oakley I once bought a house from a chap who insisted that Shakepeare’s entire output had in fact been penned by Francis Bacon. Be that as it may, Bacon did come up...

Page 41

Days before burgers

The Spectator

Taki Corfu T he Ionian islands are softer, greener and more feminine than those of the Aegean, and Corfu in particular was used by Homer as the setting of one of the most...

Page 42

Poetic justice

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke L ast month I noticed that the only poem I’ve ever written was a suitable candidate for the local literary festival’s poetry competition, whose theme had been...

Uninvited guests

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley Laikipia W ith a concussive ‘thunk’, another bird flies against our new farm house on the African plains. This happens a dozen times daily. They must be...

Page 43

A whole lot of sole

The Spectator

Partygoers enjoy celebrating the collaboration of two beloved classics L ike their wearers, shoes sometimes need a bit of pampering at the end of a long day. Last week at John...

Page 44

Going clubbing

The Spectator

Alex James ‘ L unch at the Athenaeum!’ I told my mum. No idea what I was talking about. ‘The Athenaeum! It’s a gentleman’s club on Pall Mall. I’ve arrived, mother....

Page 45

P eople sometimes ask me about those ads you see in

The Spectator

magazines and the weekend papers. ‘Get £89.95 worth of wine for just £49.95! Our introductory offer brings you twelve superb wines for barely more than half price... ’...

Page 47

Déjeuner sur l’herbe

The Spectator

Lindy Woodhead is nostalgic about picnics A few weeks ago, on one of London’s rare sunny Saturday afternoons, my son arrived at our front door wanting to borrow the family...

Page 54

Should I have forced myself to accept a diseased prisoner’s licked spoon?

The Spectator

L ike most Englishman, how well mannered I am depends upon the social status of the person I am interacting with. If he is below me in the pecking order, I am unfailingly...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

The recent return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers in exchange for five living Hezbollah prisoners exemplifies one of the most deep-rooted human feelings: that the dead...

Page 55

I am still waiting for an enterprising research company to publish

The Spectator

honest readership figures for British newspapers. Not the boring stuff about what we read at the breakfast table or flourish at our desks, a decision driven by badge value. No,...

Q. While staying for a weekend in a fivestar Umbrian

The Spectator

paradise south of Siena, you can imagine my horror when my breakfast partner recoiled at my pulling out my Baedeker on Siena. I always carry Baedeker when centreville-ing, but...

Q. A neighbour who I do not know well, but

The Spectator

certainly well enough to invite to a drinks party, accepted our invitation with a pre-stamped reply card then failed to turn up on the day or ring to apologise. No doubt...

Q. My son, who starts university in 2009, was planning

The Spectator

to work between now and January in a local shop to fund his gap year. This is what his older brothers both did but this year no one seems to be taking anyone on. My son is...