9 AUGUST 2008

Page 5

China in our hands

The Spectator

F or many people, watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics will be like trying to enjoy a party above the din of police cars taking away uninvited guests. However...

Page 9

O ne of the great adventures of being an actor is

The Spectator

filming abroad, when suddenly you have the opportunity not only to visit, but actually to work somewhere else; to feel temporarily part of another city’s fabric rather than...

Page 10

Relax, comrades: David Miliband is Blairesque, rather than Blairite

The Spectator

O ne Cabinet minister described it to me with dark wit as the ‘Eden Project’: the idea being that, after a summer of reflection, Gordon Brown is gently or notso-gently persuaded...

Page 11

A lexander Solzhenitsyn has been rather belittled on his death. Not

The Spectator

knowing any Russian, I cannot judge his prose style, but when people complain that he was unrelentingly serious, they are applying the wrong criteria. Solzhenitsyn was...

Page 12


The Spectator

Monday Not happy. In fact I would say my GWB is at a record low. Among the deeply troubling unanswered questions I am wrestling with: Why was I not informed about Mr Simpson’s...

Page 14

All these green taxes and rules are just witless nods to fashion

The Spectator

The measures on ‘gas-guzzling’ cars, policing of wheelie bins and surcharges on plastic bags are based on scientific fads and, often, the government’s greed for taxpayers’...

Page 16

Russia’s ignorant still hate Solzhenitsyn

The Spectator

Owen Matthews says that the great literary prophet has been attacked on the internet by Russians who associate him with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The truth still hurts...

Page 18

‘I’m not an ambassador for New Labour, I’m an MP’

The Spectator

In the latest of his occasional series, Martin Rowson talks to Bob Marshall-Andrews, serial Labour rebel who had the entertaining cheek to accuse Miliband of disloyalty W hen I...

Page 20

A film that shows how gutless Britain has become

The Spectator

Michael Prescott — who was a passenger on the King’s Cross train on 7/7 — applauds a movie inspired by the terrorist attacks. But why is nobody keen to distribute it? T he...

Page 22

Monty Python’s guide to the Darfur conflict

The Spectator

The genocide publicised by movie stars is over, says Justin Marozzi . What must now be resolved is a civil war with unlimited breakaway factions — and Hollywood cannot help I t...

Page 23

Part-time heroes

The Spectator

Sir: I noted with interest the article about ‘lazy firemen’ (‘Britain’s firefighters are underworked and inflexible’, 26 July). I am Lincolnshire’s Chief Fire Officer with more...

Bird brained

The Spectator

Sir: I was distressed to read Aidan Hartley’s account in Wild life (26 July) of how he dealt with what was presumably a ground hornbill pecking at the window of his new house —...

Online vitriol

The Spectator

Sir: Toby Young is correct to expose the vitriol thrown at him by readers responding to his articles by email (Status anxiety, 2 August). He gives a few explanations as to why...

Come friendly bombs

The Spectator

Sir: Robert Beaumont neatly explains that Laos is a great place for buying suits and enjoying a pizza, but his comments about the American bombing of that country are ignorant...

Inappropriate levity

The Spectator

Sir: Since my last visit to Beijing in 2006, when all with whom I had contact were later arrested, imprisoned and several tortured, I have been following the persecution of...

Russell was agnostic

The Spectator

Sir: Matthew Parris refers to ‘the atheist Bertrand Russell’ (Another voice, 2 August). I clearly remember hearing Russell, on the radio, describe himself as an agnostic....

Page 24

The view from 2018: how it all went wrong for Prime Minister Osborne

The Spectator

S o it was 2018 and the government was in trouble. Real trouble. In newspapers and magazines, on Dame Emily Maitlis’s Newsnight and Davina McCall’s Today programme, one question...

Page 25

Splendours and miseries of the Queen’s English in the 21st century

The Spectator

T he wonderful thing about language, and especially English, with its enormous vocabulary, is the existence of groups of words with broadly similar meanings but each of which...

Page 26

The end of Euro Disney’s white-knuckle ride?

The Spectator

After years of financial struggle, say Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid , the Paris theme park has finally found a path to profit — just as the European economy hits a downturn...

Page 29

A master at work

The Spectator

Sam Leith L USH L IFE by Richard Price Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp. 455, ISBN 9780747596011 ✆ £10.39 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 I t’s pretty seldom that, only a few pages into a...

Page 30

Nooks for rooks

The Spectator

P.J. Kavanagh C RoW C oUNTRY by Mark Cocker Cape, £8.99, pp. 216, ISBN 9780224076012 ✆ £7.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 C oRVUs : A L IFE WITH B IRDs by Esther Woolfson...

Page 31

Deceit and dilemma

The Spectator

Simon Baker O UR S TORY B EGINS by Tobias Wolff Bloomsbury, £18.99, pp. 379, ISBN 978 0 7475 9727 8 ✆ £15.19 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his book contains ten new stories...

Good length delivery

The Spectator

John de Falbe 24 FOR 3 by Jennie Walker Bloomsbury, £9.99, pp. 144 ISBN 9780747597926 ✆ £7.90 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 T his short novel was first published in a tiny...

Page 32

Letters from the Front

The Spectator

M. R. D. Foot 1918: A V ERY B RITISH VICTORY by Peter Hart Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20, pp. 552 ISBN 9780297864529 ✆ £16 (plus £2.45 p&p) 0870 429 6655 A wide gap has opened up...

Recent crime novels

The Spectator

Andrew Taylor T he Murder Farm (Quercus, £8.99) is Andrea Schenkel’s first novel and has been hugely successful in her native Germany and elsewhere. Based on a real case, it is...

Page 33

The desperate fate of Malcolm Lowry

The Spectator

L ate one night many years ago I was in a bar round the corner from the Roman offices of the newspaper La Stampa . After a few grappas I gave my friend Anthony something I had...

Page 34

Edinburgh’s cultural jamboree

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans on the esotericism of the Festival and the ragamuffin risk-taking of the Fringe H ere we go again. Like some vast, hairy, attention-seeking arachnid, the Edinburgh...

Page 35

Master of interior space

The Spectator

Andrew Lambirth Vilhelm Hammershoi: the Poetry of Silence Royal Academy, until 7 September Supported by OAK Foundation Denmark and Novo Nordisk 2008 Season supporters...

Page 36

Chinese wonders

The Spectator

Giannandrea Poesio National Ballet of China: Swan Lake Royal Opera House M y first article for The Spectator was a slightly long-winded analysis of the state of Swan Lake on...

Page 38

Taking liberties

The Spectator

Lloyd Evans Her Naked Skin Olivier Elaine Stritch At Liberty Shaw I n 2004 Rebecca Lenkiewicz got the black spot from the Critics’ Circle. Sorry, I mean she was voted ‘most...

Monteverdi marathon

The Spectator

Michael Tanner L’Incoronazione di Poppea The Proms G lyndebourne’s visits to the Proms are usually highly successful, which can seem odd considering that the home auditorium...

Page 39

Worshipping perfection

The Spectator

Deborah Ross Elegy 15, London and Key Cities E legy is about an ageing professor (Ben Kingsley) and a beautiful young woman (Penelope Cruz), and it is based on the Philip Roth...

Page 40

Tortured genius

The Spectator

Charles Spencer M rs Spencer and I are just back from a few days in Tuscany where I was bullied into as punishing a round of culturevulturing as I have ever endured. The...

Special traits

The Spectator

Kate Chisholm I t’s a topsy-turvy world at the moment, with New Labour tearing each other apart like Old Tories, and brothers Will and Ed transmogrifying into each other on The...

Page 41

Where there’s a will . . .

The Spectator

Robin Oakley O bserving a short-eared owl beating over the marshes like a huge, predatory moth, an osprey finishing off the fish meal he had snatched a few minutes before from...

Page 42

Greek ruins

The Spectator

Taki On board S/Y Bushido S ailing into Athens, renamed ‘cementopolis’ by green-loving Athenians, can be a traumatic experience, for one’s crew, that is. Coming in from the...

Page 43

Silence is golden

The Spectator

Jeremy Clarke A s we went in, our hostess mentioned that the restaurant had three Michelin stars, but at 78 years of age the chef felt he would rather live without the daily...

Page 44

Out of this world

The Spectator

Alex James

C olin wanted to meet me in Aldsworth. I’d never heard

The Spectator

of it but it was only about five miles away, between where I got married and where the reception was. Colin was the guy behind the British Mars shot a few years back — Colin...

Page 45

E l Vino is the celebrated, even revered, wine bar in

The Spectator

Fleet Street. Lawyers and the crustier type of journalist drink there, usually selecting wines from the old reliables: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne. Château Thames Embankment...

Page 46

Under the volcano

The Spectator

Oscar Humphries explores Naples and the Amalfi coast S ee Naples and die. Grand Tours often ended in Naples. By the time the young aristo arrived in this beautiful Italian city...

Page 54

Pretending to be the editor of The Spectator gets you a long way in Beverly Hills

The Spectator

A t first, I thought the reason the British Consul General in Los Angeles had agreed to have lunch with me was because he knew who I was. Before setting off on my annual...

Mind your language

The Spectator

Those Miliband boys are clever. I was trying to discover what they stood for, and I thought I’d found something interesting in a speech by Ed Miliband. Then I realised I was...

Page 55


The Spectator

T oby Young in last week’s Spectator remarked on the peculiar malice, as he saw it, of the online comments posted in response to his articles. He has a point. The people who...

Q. My daughter has left her appalling husband and come

The Spectator

to live with me while her new house is being made ready. Today a parcel arrived with the usual sort of impenetrable wrapping which needs to be cut through with secateurs. I...

Q. I would welcome your help with a difficult social

The Spectator

situation in which I found myself recently. I was attending a meeting that was preceded by a wine reception. On entering the reception room I spied a glamorous and elegant...

Q. Further to the problem (31 July) of the lady

The Spectator

who wished to avoid travelling to bridge parties with an alarming driver, I have the opposite problem. I am almost the only person at my university who does not drink so I am...