3 MARCH 2007

Page 5

Eye-catching inanities

The Spectator

T o adapt Macaulay, there is no spectacle so ridiculous as the Labour party in one of its periodic fits of ideology. While the heir-presumptive, Gordon Brown, has remained in...

Page 9

F or years, one of the highlights of the Oscar season

The Spectator

was the starcrammed party that fiber-agent Irving ‘Swifty’ Lazar threw first at the Bistro in Beverly Hills and later at Spago in Hollywood. Invitations to this party were the...

Page 10

As Livingstone reverts to type, the Tories look at London with justified ambition

The Spectator

S ay what you like about Ken Livingstone, you can’t accuse him of failing to spot a political opportunity. When the position of mayor of London was created in 2000, other...

Page 11

O ne must keep repeating that the bicentenary being celebrated this

The Spectator

year is of the abolition of the slave trade by Britain. From the amount of breast-beating, you would think that it was 200 years since the trade got going. There is huge...

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY I know I should be excited about the move to Millbank — historic landslide here we come! — but I’d just got my desk next to Jed’s office. It’s taken months of ‘edging’ at...

Page 14

Not a boot on a face, but a foot in the door: Big Brother is coming

The Spectator

Tessa Mayes says that snooping and surveillance are on the rise all around us, in a culture where there is no longer a presumption in favour of privacy, and reveals alarming...

Page 16

My toddler and I get a

The Spectator

taste of g un crime Lloyd Evans is caught in the crossfire in an east London shootout and refuses to accept that such incidents are ‘society’s crime’. They happen because stupid...

Page 18

The best joke of the lot is that Rory Bremner is to blame for the cynicism

The Spectator

Rod Liddle salutes one of the impressionist’s victims, Peter Hain, and the minister’s awesomely flexible definition of principle I t is always cheering to encounter a politician...

Page 20

Lord Jellicoe

The Spectator

George Jellicoe, who died last week, was an early member of David Stirling’s SAS, and soon became commander of the Special Boat Service. We first met in pitch darkness soon...

America: you’ll miss it when it’s gone

The Spectator

The US presidential race is setting the scene for a subtle new isolationism, says Irwin Stelzer . America is fed up of playing global policeman and getting no credit for it D...

Page 21

The Clunking Fist: an Opera for Brown’s Last Budget

The Spectator

Britain doesn’t do Lord High Executioners, but if it did, Gordon Brown would probably be the best in the world. The prospect of the Chancellor in this role occurred to me while...

Page 22

Meacher: why Spectator readers should vote for me

The Spectator

Michael Meacher wants to succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister. Here he offers our readers his radical views on the special relationship, Parliament and the environment A...

Page 24

Don’t blame the website

The Spectator

From Malcolm Gooderham Sir: Your leading article of 24 February misses a fundamental point. Notably, the epetition initiative has helped to breathe new life into the body...

Raised in the USSR

The Spectator

From Jana Edmunds Sir: Your leading article ‘A nation of babysitters’ (17 February) hinted at a truth behind the problem faced by Britain in relation to childcare. I was a...

The wrong metre

The Spectator

From George Simmers Sir: Auden’s ‘Letter to Lord Byron’ is not written in ‘the stanza form of Byron’s Don Juan ’ as Grey Gowrie believes (Books, 24 February). Byron used ottava...

It’s not cricket

The Spectator

From Richard Mernane Sir: It is a pity that Leo McKinstry, whose writing I find unfailingly compelling, should choose to celebrate the forthcoming World Cup by taking a swipe...

From Steve Reszetniak

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Sir: As a longtime admirer of the great Lilian Thomson (mentioned on page 8 of your cricket supplement), I was disappointed that you were not able to include a photograph....

The Diving Logos

The Spectator

From Paul Johnson Sir: I was unable to see a proof of my essay on crocodiles, and two misprints emerged in consequence. Lepidus in Antony and Cleopatra appeared as ‘Lefridus’...

Page 26

In a Swedish log cabin, I grasped the core truth about New Labour

The Spectator

A log cabin by a frozen lake in the snowy fastness of central Sweden is a good place to contemplate the future of Blairite third-way politics. Scandinavia has some claim to be...

Page 28

What constitutes elegant company in the 21st century?

The Spectator

B rowsing through a Christie’s catalogue, I came across the description of a pen-and-wash drawing by Rowlandson, c. 1800, ‘Elegant company in a park’. It set me thinking. One...

Page 30

Barclays’ new head gardener

The Spectator

Judi Bevan meets Marcus Agius, the new chairman of the high-street bank that faces a storm of customer protest and a constant buzz of takeover and merger rumours M arcus Agius...

Page 31

America’s Goldilocks economy

The Spectator

Allister Heath W hen Goldilocks broke into the three bears’ house and stole their breakfast, she found Baby Bear’s porridge to be just right — neither too hot nor too cold. The...

Page 32

The wonders of modern concrete

The Spectator

Margareta Pagano learns about the hi-tech potential of the world’s oldest man-made building material L ook! Concrete!’ Bruno Lafont crashes his fist on the table. ‘You could put...

Page 34

The row about private equity is mostly the Labour party arguing with itself

The Spectator

T he current row about private equity seems to me to have much more to do with the flexing of union muscles in anticipation of a return to influence under Gordon Brown than it...

Page 35

Bouncy castles in Spain

The Spectator

Raymond Carr B EAUMARCHAIS IN S EVILLE : A N I NTERMEZZO by Hugh Thomas Yale, £16, pp. 192, ISBN 9780300121032 H ugh Thomas is widely known as the author of scholarly...

Page 36

More Angry Young Men

The Spectator

William Brett B ABYLON ’ S B URNING by Clinton Heylin Viking, £20, pp. 694, ISBN 9780670916061 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 C linton Heylin is a celebrated Bob Dylan...

An ever-present absence

The Spectator

Honor Clerk O VER by Margaret Forster Chatto, £16.99, pp. 200, ISBN 9780701181253 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t is a curious phenomenon of the modern novel that...

Page 37

A driving sense of duty

The Spectator

Jonathan Clark G EORGE III: A MERICA ’ S L AST K ING by Jeremy Black Yale, £25, pp. 475, ISBN 0300117329 T he American Revolution is the gorilla in the corner of the room. Some...

Page 38

Desperate, but not tragic

The Spectator

Paul Binding D ISTURBING THE P EACE by Richard Yates Methuen, £7.99, pp. 253, ISBN 0413776204 0 £6.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A G OOD S CHOOL by Richard Yates Methuen,...

Page 39

Divide and rule

The Spectator

Anna Maxwell M ARKHAM T HORPE by Giles Waterfield Headline, £17.99, pp. 280, ISBN 0755329694 V ictoriana is unleashed in Giles Waterfield’s third novel, an upstairs-downstairs...

Behind protective glass

The Spectator

Olivia Glazebrook T EN D AYS IN THE H ILLS by Jane Smiley Faber, £16.99, pp. 449, ISBN 9780571235339 ✆ £13.59 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 J ane Smiley suffered a period of...

Page 40

Colourful rogues’ gallery

The Spectator

Giles Waterfield S TEALING THE S CREAM by Edward Dolnick Icon Books, £12.99, pp. 270, ISBN 9781840467925 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 M unch’s ‘The Scream’ was...

Out of joint

The Spectator

Ian Thomson T. S. E LIOT by Craig Raine OUP, £12.99, pp. 202, ISBN 97805309935 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A t a Clapham dinner party recently I was offered...

Page 41

Repayment in full

The Spectator

Simon Baker T HE B ILL F ROM M Y F ATHER by Bernard Cooper Picador, £12.99, pp. 240, ISBN 9780330447393 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 E dward Cooper, the father...

Page 42

The poetry of panic

The Spectator

Frederic Raphael NOTEBOOKS: T ENNESSEE W ILLIAMS edited by Margaret Bradham Thornton Yale, £27.50, pp. 828, ISBN 9780300116823 ✆ £00.00 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T enn —...

Not quite as we like it

The Spectator

Anna Vaux W HAT Y OU W ILL by Katherine Bucknell Fourth Estate,£14.99, pp. 341, ISBN 9780007225101 ✆ £00.00 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 ‘W hat you will’ has a Shakespearean...

Page 43

First person singular

The Spectator

T he young Evelyn Waugh, it’s said, once declared in a newspaper article that the writing of novels in the first person was a contemptible practice. One would like to think he...

Page 44

Timeless, intangible, spiritual

The Spectator

Stephen Pettitt is attracted to sacred music, despite being a committed agnostic. Why? W ere I ever to be placed in the position of castaway on Desert Island Discs an unlikely...

Page 45

The squinter triumphs

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Guercino: Mind to Paper Courtauld Institute, Somerset House, until 13 May T o be called ‘the squinter’, which is what ‘il Guercino’ means, might not seem an...

Page 46

Saint for all ages

The Spectator

Roderick Conway Morris St Nicholas: Artistic Splendours of East and West Castello Svevo, Bari, until 6 May ‘ is clothes are drenched in brine, his H beard drips with seawater,...

Page 48

Secrets and lies

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Ghosts Pentameters The Reporter Cottesloe Equus Gielgud W hen Ghosts was published in 1881 it was met by a Victorian speciality, a wave of international bourgeois...

Glower power

The Spectator

Deborah Ross The Illusionist PG, selected cinemas T he Illusionist is one of those films that gains points for trying to be clever and different and ingenious but then promptly...

Page 50

All that jazz

The Spectator

Charles Spencer J erry Garcia once compared his band the Grateful Dead to liquorice. As with the pitch-black confectionery, you either loved them or loathed them, he said. It...

Page 51

Pyrotechnic display

The Spectator

Michael Tanner The Excursions of Mr Broucek Barbican S unday evening at the Barbican was a revelation, no less gushy word will do. Janacek’s comic opera The Excursions of Mr...

Page 52

Hectic romp

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio The Bull Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Barbican M ichael Keegan-Dolan is to dance–theatre what radical and elusive Banksy is to the visual arts. Indeed,...

Page 53

Freedom fighter

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm M elvyn Bragg stirred up quite a controversy last week by devoting his weekly In Our Time programme (Radio Four) to the anti-slavery campaigner William...

Page 54

Man with a mission

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart I used to write a few political profiles in my time, and the one thing I always hoped was that the subject would refuse to co-operate. You had to offer to...

Page 55

Bustle and happiness

The Spectator

Robin Oakley N ewmarket it isn’t. Forget clipped hedges, purring security gates and decorated dovecotes. At Gary Moore’s yard in Woodingdean there isn’t even a name over the...

Cold War hero

The Spectator

Taki Gstaad M argaret MacMillan’s new book, Nixon and Mao, brought back pleasant memories. It was February 1972, and I’d just returned to Saigon from Phu Bai and Hue in the...

Page 56

Thrilled and appalled

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke F or the six weeks that I was in Las Apujarras, I bought provisions from the backs of rural delivery vans. The arrival of one of these vans, one for bread,...

Page 57

Righteous anger

The Spectator

Roy Hattersley B y the time that I arrived — a good half-hour before the public inquiry was scheduled to begin — there was hardly a seat left unoccupied. The people of Calver,...

Page 58

M y mother and my father and my partner and I

The Spectator

go to the Almeida Theatre in Islington to see There Came A Gypsy Rising (excellent I do love a rising gypsy!) and then it’s over the road to Ottolenghi on Upper Street....

Page 60

Lords and the ring

The Spectator

Why Oscar Humphries wants a signet ring on his finger T here are many things I covet. There are in fact, few things I don’t desire except herpes, dental work sans anaesthetic,...

Page 62

A perfect 12?

The Spectator

Rachel Johnson takes the size-zero debate up a notch J ust when the size-zero debate was threatening for the first time in ages to stop picture editors from filling pages with...

Page 63

Good vinebrations

The Spectator

Tom Williams takes a cycling tour of New Zealand’s wineries B icycles and wine, on paper at least, do not make the best partners. Wasn’t it Virgil who said that good vines love...

Page 71

Home advantage

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING B y next Wednesday evening, uniquely, five British clubs could be in the last eight of the European Champions’ Cup. There is still, as they say, a lot of football...

Q. The other day I walked into a local restaurant

The Spectator

where I saw two people I usually meet up with each year at a certain house-party. They greeted me with yelps of anticipation and asked was I excited about meeting up again next...

Q. This week I went to the opera and during

The Spectator

the intermission I was invited to share a glass of wine at a private gathering, at which time I was introduced to several people and I extended my hand in greeting to each. One...