Page 9

I ’ve just emerged from the gym, winding down after a

The Spectator

day’s writing, when my son Sukhraj calls, alerting me to sudden news of explosions and fatalities in Mumbai. I rush home, change out of my tracksuit, and go into Television...

Page 10

The Damian Green affair shows us just how pathetically supine Parliament has become

The Spectator

K nowledge that a secret exists is half of the secret, and Westminster loves nothing more than guessing what a secret might be. When The Spectator ’s website revealed at 6 p.m....

Page 11

N ew Labour has always preserved from the hard Left the

The Spectator

Leninist idea that the party (or, in Blair/ Brown theory, ‘the project’) is the only reality to be respected. All the other institutions of society — above all, Parliament — are...

Page 12


The Spectator

MONDAY A few loose ends I’m still trying to get to the bottom of: 1) If Damian was running the mole — and there’s no evidence to suggest he was but let’s just say he might have...

Page 14

The global force behind Mumbai’s agony is in our midst

The Spectator

Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi say that LET — the Army of the Righteous — is a worldwide Islamist organisation which is well-established in Britain. The Mumbai atrocities...

Page 16

‘They treat me more like a devil than a god’

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans finds that Bernard-Henri Lévy is not the ageing French dandy of caricature but a serious intellectual with views on everything from Barack Obama to the Muslim veil...

Page 18

Mind your language

The Spectator

I’ve been reading such a funny book that even my husband has stirred fitfully in his chair when my laughter breaks into his stertorous breathing. The book is nothing but a list...

What I learned from the Somali pirates

The Spectator

Aidan Hartley says that Somali piracy is very well-organised and efficient and is opposed publicly only by militant Muslims — who may yet seize power in Mogadishu T he ceaseless...

Page 20

New Sondheim: enjoy it while stocks last

The Spectator

Gerald Kaufman is enthralled by the first Sondheim premiere in 14 years. A minor work Road Show may be, but it is still worth much more than anyone else’s musicals A Sondheim...

Page 22

After Baby P: the crisis in child foster care

The Spectator

Mary Wakefield talks to a courageous woman who blew the whistle on the deep systemic failures in the foster care service — and whose only reward was to be hounded and vilified...

Page 24

The law applies to Damian Green, too

The Spectator

Rod Liddle is reluctant to join the journalistic herd in its unqualified outrage at the Tory MP’s arrest. But it is certainly time to put the police under the microscope G reat...

Page 28

Nancy and the Keynesians

The Spectator

Sir: Nancy Dell’Olio is a Keynesian (‘John Maynard Keynes, my hero’, 29 November), but if Keynes were alive today, he would be revising his doctrine. In the 1930s government...

Sir: Your new economics correspondent Nancy Dell’Olio might like to

The Spectator

consider another economist, Kondratieff, who postulated an 80-year cycle in economic events: 1929 marked the end of a decade noted for bright young things, financial excess,...

Sir: While I don’t doubt Nancy Dell’Olio is a fan

The Spectator

of John Maynard Keynes, I cannot shake off the feeling she may have had help composing her case for him. The last leg of her piece reads like someone from the Treasury has...

All Greek to Moore

The Spectator

Sir: Charles Moore employs a more inaccurate term than he may appreciate when he describes the Greek Cypriot organisation EOKA as ‘separatist’. In fact EOKA fought for enosis ,...

Plane wrong

The Spectator

Sir: This may be pedantic, but given the relevance and personal interest attributed by Charlotte Metcalf to the Spitfire in her article on Bremont watches (Christmas Gifts, 29...

Bloody brilliant

The Spectator

Sir: Toby Young (‘Status Anxiety’, 29 November) tells of his daughter’s present to him of a swear box. She has set an important precedent that deserves maximum support. Let...

Not the embonpoint

The Spectator

Sir: Dear Mary uses the word embonpoint to mean ‘bosom’. It doesn’t; the OED and Harrap’s French-English Dictionary agree that it means ‘plump’ , ‘stout’ or ‘well-covered’. Tom...

Letter of the law

The Spectator

Sir: Following Charles Moore’s comments about TV Licensing (The Spectator’s Notes, passim ), we would like to make clear that TV Licensing’s operations strictly comply with the...

An undignified part

The Spectator

Sir: If Robert Peston is the only route through which the government is prepared to take a leak, which part of the body politic does that make him? Giles Rowe London SW12

Page 30

To understand the true nature of history, let us start with the question of Napoleon’s piles

The Spectator

C ometh the hour, cometh the piles? Well, Wellington called Waterloo ‘the closest run thing you ever saw in your life’, and on the morning of battle, Napoleon was too exhausted...

Page 32

Plus ça change in the bustling hurly-burly of Westbourne Grove

The Spectator

T he chill winds are already blowing down Westbourne Grove as the recession takes hold. They would, wouldn’t they? The Grove is a peculiarly fragile and sensitive street, and...

Page 34

The global currency crisis is still to come

The Spectator

Jonathan Ruffer argues that state bail-outs in response to the credit crunch could lead to yet another massive shock: a widespread collapse of currencies, and a new inflation N...

Page 35

Ingots are just another commodity

The Spectator

Matthew Lynn I t would be hard to imagine a worse run of events for paper money. Investment banks such as Lehman Brothers have drowned in a sea of subprime debt. Building...

Page 36

At last, a fine statue of Brian Clough — but still not even a plaque for Jesse Boot

The Spectator

‘A ll Nottingham has is Robin Hood — and he’s dead,’ said Brian Roy, a Dutch footballer who starred, briefly, for Nottingham Forest in the 1990s. Roy’s assessment of this bleak...

Page 38

The view from the middle lane

The Spectator

Michael Cockerell T HE H UGO Y OUNG P APERS : T HIRTY Y EARS OF B RITISH P OLITICS — O FF THE R ECORD by Hugo Young, edited by Ion Trewin Allen Lane, £30, pp. 834, ISBN...

Page 40

But where is Colonel Blimp?

The Spectator

Rupert Christiansen T HE T RIUMPH OF M USIC by Tim Blanning Allen Lane, £25, pp. 404, ISBN 9781846141782 ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his is an often entertaining,...

Page 42

Saints and sinners

The Spectator

Elfreda Pownall W ith the publication of their Christmas cookery books, Nigella, Jamie, Delia and Gordon all have a brand image, or a halo, to polish. Nigella’s brand is...

Page 44

I f you can’t afford the airfare you might take this

The Spectator

delicious guided tour instead. Exploring some of the best contemporary Turkish houses (or caves), the photographer, Solvi dos Santos, divides her subjects by season, as if to...

Page 45

Dirty diggers

The Spectator

Justin Marozzi T HE B UDDHA BL D R F UHRER by Charles Allen Haus Publishing, £17.99, pp. 276, ISBN9781905791934 ✆ £14.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 C harles Allen’s latest...

A rose-tinted view of the bay

The Spectator

Barry Unsworth T HE A NCIENT S HORE by Shirley Hazzard and Francis Steegmuller University of Chicago Press, £9.50, pp. 127, ISBN 9780226322018 ✆ £8.40 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429...

Page 47

Humph swings

The Spectator

Patrick Skene Catling L AST C HORUS : A N A UTOBIOGRAPHICAL M EDLEY by Humphrey Lyttleton JR Books, £18.99, pp. 447, ISBN 9781906217181 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655...

Page 48

Differences and similarities

The Spectator

Colin Amery W EST W ORKROOM towards a new sobriety in architecture theory + practice by Paolo Conrad-Bercah +w office (including contributions from Daniel Sherer, Pierluigi...

Alternative reading

The Spectator

Surprising literary ventures Gary Dexter W ILLY AND THE K ILLER K IPPER (1981) by Jeffrey Archer A stonishing prescience for 1981? Willy and the Killer Kipper — like the...

Page 51

In perfect harmony

The Spectator

Henrietta Bredin talks to the conductor Brad Cohen, who mentored Alex James in Maestro I t is worth remembering that the BBC, despite its recent, excessively well-aired...

Page 52

Poles apart

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Saul Steinberg: Illuminations Dulwich Picture Gallery, until 15 February 2009 Cartoons & Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster The Wallace Collection, until...

Page 54

Luminous landscapes

The Spectator

Angela Summerfield Oleg Vassiliev: Recent Works Faggionato Fine Arts, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1, until 23 January 2009 T he septuagenarian Russian artist Oleg Vassiliev...

Page 56

Treasure trove

The Spectator

Mark Glazebrook Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art I slamic art is a fast growing subject of study. Too many countries are involved for it to be categorised like French or Japanese...

Page 58

A rich legacy

The Spectator

Tiffany Jenkins The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions Metropolitan Museum, until 1 February 2009 P hilippe de Montebello retires...

Page 59

Crumblies’ gig

The Spectator

Marcus Berkmann I t all started earlier this year, when my friend Chris managed to get four tickets for the first Leonard Cohen concerts at the O2. ‘There’s one for you if you...

Page 60

Flights of fancy

The Spectator

Michael Tanner Les Contes d’Hoffmann Royal Opera Der fliegende Holländer Barbican A stonished delight was the first reaction, of everyone, I think, at the Royal Opera’s latest...

Page 61

Bad neighbours

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Lakeview Terrace 15, Nationwide Summer 15, Key Cities L akeview Terrace is one of those menacing, neighbour-from-hell type thrillers with Samuel L. Jackson...

Page 62

Relative values

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans The Family Reunion Donmar Chicken Hackney Empire August: Osage County Lyttelton T .S. Eliot was in his fifties when he turned to the theatre. What’s amazing about...

Page 63

Food for thought

The Spectator

Simon Hoggart M y favourite programme last week was France on a Plate (BBC4, Sunday) in which Dr Andrew Hussey investigated the link between gastronomy and la gloire ; French...

Page 64

Triple whammy

The Spectator

Taki New York A funny thing happened to me on my way out from a party on 17 November in London. I was temporarily confused until I ran into Naomi Campbell in the Royal Hospital...

Page 65

Welcome to Cairo

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke W e first encountered Ahmed, our dragoman in Cairo, when he stepped forward to greet us at passport control. He was dressed soberly in dark suit, black tie, black...

Page 66

Battling the blues

The Spectator

Melissa Kite M y friend Stephen rang me in a tremendous huff, just as I was trying to eat a mince pie. ‘I no longer wish to be a part of this society. You can cease referring...

Page 68


The Spectator

Old is the new new And contemporary art is suddenly yesterday’s thing, writes Helen Kirwan-Taylor D amien Hirst’s two-day auction of spanking new works at Sotheby’s in...

Page 69

Play time

The Spectator

Lindy Woodhead GADGETS L iving in an all-male household (husband, two sons, cosseted cat) has tended to colour my perception of technology. Over the past two decades or so of...

Page 70

Woman’s hour

The Spectator

Nick Foulkes Watches O f late I have had a number of men getting in touch with me to ask which watches to buy their wives. This is one of those perennial questions that has...

Page 78

In a recession, head for the mall where you can buy seven Crunchies for £1.49

The Spectator

I was awestruck. As a long-term resident of west London, I had been looking forward to my first glimpse of this emporium, but it was even better than I imagined. I simply had no...

Ancient & modern

The Spectator

In the last two columns we have considered Barack Obama as novus homo and orator. But what about his mixed race? The racist seeks the cause for the differences between groups...

Page 79

Spectator Sport

The Spectator

T here’s got to be some direct relationship these days between the bad behaviour of the Twickenham crowd and the feebleness of the English team. When the Twickers faithful...

Q. I have a well-established and generally wonderful cleaning woman

The Spectator

whose job, in her view, includes chatting. This was fine in the past when my children were out at school all day but now my 16-year-old son is attending sixth-form college and...

Q. My parents have gone on to a new British

The Spectator

Telecom plan so as to try and cut down on bills. Although we can make all local and national calls free, the problem is that mobiles still cost a lot to ring and my sister, who...

Q. I work by day in communal artists’ studios, the

The Spectator

temperature of which is subzero and noisy with rats, and everyone is feeling the onslaught of the credit crunch. There seems to be nothing uplifting politically, financially —...