7 JANUARY 2006

Page 2

The wrong track

The Spectator

U nlike the jubilant Polly Toynbee, we are not con vinced that David Cameron’s recent pronouncements on big business and the redistribution of wealth quite amount to a...

Page 4

PORTRAIT OF THE WEEK T he cost of domestic gas and

The Spectator

electricity was expected to rise by 15 per cent in the spring, an increase of 50 per cent in three years. Among the New Year’s honours, knighthoods went to Tom Jones, the...

Page 5

T hanks to the wonderful French health service — specifically, beautiful

The Spectator

Dr Jeanne at Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris — I’m now much more mobile again, my wounded foot only short of a couple of toes and no further mumbling from US medics about...

Page 6

David Cameron follows in the footsteps of Benjamin Disraeli

The Spectator

I had resolved on no account whatever to return to the theme of the Tory leader, David Cameron, this week. Other issues looked more pressing. The decision by Liberal Democrat...

Page 7

I n their New Year newspaper advertisement in the Sunday Telegraph ,

The Spectator

the Conservatives say, ‘The right test for our policies is how they help the least well-off in society, not the rich.’ That is a good approach, but will it be invariably...

Page 8

Putin plays the market

The Spectator

Paul Robinson says that Russia was only doing what the EU had demanded when it increased its gas prices this week I don’t believe that I can be alone in having spent a Russian...

Page 9

Mind your language

The Spectator

With Balderdash and Piffle on the television this week and Stephen Fry presenting The Joy of Gibberish on the wireless, there is a welcome philological counterbalance to the...

Page 10

Spare me those touchy-feely Tories

The Spectator

Geoffrey Wheatcroft believes that David Cameron’s new-look party invites derision, and recommends a period of quiet reflection C ome Twelfth Night, and David Cameron has been...

Page 11

Celebrity squares

The Spectator

It is a long, long, time since the Conservative party had the support of a clever, truculent lesbian. In fact, has it ever happened before? Clever, truculent lesbians are...

Page 12

The Hollywood turkey farm

The Spectator

Box office takings are down in the US. James Bowman blames juvenile movies and the anti-war hysteria of some film-makers T he American papers have lately been filled with...

Page 14

Labour of love

The Spectator

Deborah Ross meets the birth guru Betty Parsons, who has helped more than 20,000 mums, including Jane Asher, Rula Lenska, the Duchess of Abercorn ... and the Queen W hether or...

Page 16

Murder mystery

The Spectator

Theodore Dalrymple believes that many people kill not because they are evil but because they don’t know how to live W hen one has prepared a number of reports on murderers, both...

Page 17

More women MPs, please

The Spectator

From Amber Rudd Sir: Rod Liddle’s article on women candidates in the Conservative party contains an irritating and often repeated inaccuracy. (‘Let’s not forget the weirdos and...

Is ‘belief’ beneficial?

The Spectator

From Dr John Stoneman Sir: I have considerable regard for Mark Steyn’s views on the world. However, I fear he has been rather confused in his article on rationality in your...

Belt up

The Spectator

From Michael Simons Sir: Simon Nixon trivialises Green Belt legislation to a reckless degree (‘No bubble, no slump’, 31 December). Far from benefiting a mere handful of...

America fair

The Spectator

From G.E. French Sir: What a lovely piece of American nostalgia by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (‘God Bless America, not Bush’, 17/24 December). I too had, and still have, that...

Slow bus to Swindon

The Spectator

From Philip French Sir: In his review of Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled (Books, 31 December) Grey Gowrie recalls an apparently accidental piece of verse he found in a...

Lewis vs Pullman

The Spectator

From David Watkins Sir: Further to Caroline Moore’s spirited defence of C.S. Lewis (‘War of the worlds’, 17/24 December): however wrong-headed Lewis may have been as a...

Eye and I

The Spectator

From Christopher Booker Sir: As a keen student of the ever-growing mythology surrounding the origins of Private Eye , I must congratulate Patrick Marnham for his novel...

Page 18

The natural party of Gandhi and Geldof

The Spectator

F irst, Mr Letwin became the first prominent politician since Mr Benn publicly to advocate redistribution of wealth. Then it was announced that Bob Geldof would advise the...

Page 19

The Bad Investment Guide’s gilt-edged entry: trust in governments, settle for little

The Spectator

T his is the time of year for virtuous resolutions, so let us resolve on a visit to the Bad Investment Guide, which now has a giltedged new entry. In among all the flaky...

Page 20

Three cheers for life and to hell with the pessimists

The Spectator

W hen I first came to London, half a century ago, the head of the journalistic profes sion was Arthur Christiansen. ‘Chris’ was much admired in the trade. I considered it a...

Page 21

Funsters and fantasts

The Spectator

Sam Leith M ASTERS OF A MERICAN C OMICS edited by John Carlin, Paul Karasik and Brian Walker Yale University Press, £25, pp. 256, ISBN 030011317X ✆ £20 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870...

Page 22

Hunting political Snarks

The Spectator

Jonathan Keates C RUSOE ’ S S ECRET by Tom Paulin Faber, £20, pp. 400, ISBN 057122157 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 W andering the pavements of those uniquely dismal...

Page 23

The invisible patient

The Spectator

Christopher Woodward N APOLEON AND D OCTOR V ERLING ON S T H ELENA by J. David Markham Pen & Sword, £19.99, pp. 178, ISBN 033048902X ✆ £15.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R...

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A painful, wonderful world

The Spectator

Jane Gardam C ONSTITUTIONAL by Helen Simpson Cape, £14.99, pp. 144, ISBN 02224077945X V £11.99 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 H ere are nine short stories, some of them very...

Recent first novels

The Spectator

Jonathan Beckman T HIS T HING OF D ARKNESS by Harry Thompson Review, £12.99, pp. 626, ISBN 075530280X V £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 R ULES FOR O LD M EN W AITING by...

Page 25

Jaw-jaw about civil war

The Spectator

Anthony Daniels W AR , E VIL AND THE E ND OF HISTORY by Bernard-Henri Lévy Duckworth, £12.99, pp.371, ISBN 0715633368 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 B ernard-Henri...

Page 26

Grand tour of Venice

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth on the splendour of the Canaletto exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery M agnet for tourists as it is, Buckingham Palace is the perfect setting for Canaletto in...

Page 27

Valentine to Broadway

The Spectator

Mark Steyn The Producers 12A, selected cinemas D on’t get me wrong, I love Mel Brooks. But I did slightly wonder quite what all those American Film Institute members were...

Social outlaw

The Spectator

Charles Spencer I t’s the morning of 2 January as I write, and I’m gloomily contemplating my New Year’s resolutions. Actually, gloomily is hardly the mot juste . I’m having a...

Page 28

Small beer

The Spectator

Toby Young A Man For All Seasons Theatre Royal, Haymarket The Wild Duck Donmar Once in a Lifetime Olivier T he decision of Bill Kenwright, the veteran West End producer, to...

Page 29

Importance of hummability

The Spectator

Peter Phillips I n a recent article in the Times , Matthew Parris wrote stirringly about the inspiration which may come from listening to buskers: ‘Amazing how a snatch of...

Page 30

Politics of decency

The Spectator

Michael Vestey T he film industry, like the media generally, tends to attract people on the left of centre, some anxious to peddle their beliefs, others merely and...

Festive viewing

The Spectator

James Delingpole I can’t remember a Christmas where I watched so little Christmas TV as this one, which is a shame in a way, because I do think that mammoth sessions in front...

Page 31

A rare treat

The Spectator

Taki Gstaad N ursing the inevitable Karamazovian state, I watched the pretty Georgina Rylance on New Year’s day playing the heiress in an Agatha Christie TV adaptation of The...

Page 32

Cat flap

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke I ’ve been in bed for the last fortnight, my brain numbed by painkillers. Between Christmas and New Year, the owner of the flat I’m recovering in was away...

Page 35

Opium of the people

The Spectator

FRANK KEATING I stoked up some good log fires over the holiday, and with a box or two of Thornton’s Continental Selection was snug at the hearth with two British histories on...

Q. A friend in the fashion world telephoned me to

The Spectator

say that she was sending round a handbag worth £400 for my Christmas present. She told me frankly that she would not normally spend £400 on me but she had been given this bag by...

Q. I am disturbed by your recent correspondence concerning the

The Spectator

Maserati and a father wishing to show it off at his child’s school. When I was at my convent in the mid-Sixties, my mother had a bright blue Ford Galaxy, an American car with...

Q. One of my friends has become a counsellor. Now

The Spectator

when I see her at dinner parties she often tells me that I am ‘codependant’ or ‘repressed’ or suffering from having ‘blurred boundaries’. She then warms to her theme and carries...