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The SpectatorThe Spectator

The Spectator

May 18, 2019

Every week The Spectator is packed with opinion, comment and analysis about politics, arts and books. We lead the way on the great issues of the day, from political scandals to social trends. What you read in The Spectator today becomes news elsewhere in the weeks to come. We have the best columnists on Fleet Street, from Charles Moore, Rod Liddle, Matthew Parris and Alexander Chancellor to James Forsyth, the best-con

Pays:
United Kingdom
Langue:
English
Éditeur:
Press Holdings Ltd - The Spectator
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access_time4 min.
mind the gap

This week the Institute for Fiscal Studies announced a five-year study into inequality in Britain, to be led by the economist Sir Angus Deaton, a Scottish academic who recently won the Nobel prize for economics. It is to be welcomed, because it will widen the scope of a debate that has been too narrow for too long.Britain’s problems with inequality stem not from an unfair distribution of income but from patchy provision of public services, which are often far better in wealthier areas than in poorer ones. As the IFS makes clear in a report to launch its initiative, income inequality in Britain is not rising — however much the Labour party would like to tell us it is.One of the great tragedies of the Blair government was that its…

access_time1 min.
contributors

Karen Yossman is a journalist and former lawyer who has written for newspapers in the US and UK. On p18, she looks at social justice mobs’ new target: fantasy fiction.Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, who writes about Letitia Elizabeth Landon on p30, is a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford and author of Becoming Dickens.Sarah Perry is the author of The Essex Serpent and Melmoth. She reviews Sandra Newman’s new novel The Heavens on p32.Simon Kuper writes on p38 about the use, or otherwise, of psychic powers in sport. He’s a sports columnist for the FT and author (among others) of Soccernomics and Football Against The Enemy.Jean McNeil is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her most recent book is Ice Diaries: an Antarctic Memoir. She writes about W.G. Sebald…

access_time3 min.
portrait of the week

HomeTheresa May, the Prime Minister, said that the EU withdrawal bill would be introduced in the Commons in the first week of June (just when President Donald Trump of the United States is making his state visit). If parliament did not vote for it, Britain would leave without an agreement, or its notice to leave under Article 50 would be revoked. Parliament sat for its 301st day, the longest session since the Long Parliament in the English Civil War. Olly Robbins, the civil servant who is chief negotiator for exiting the European Union, was sent to Brussels for no clear reason. May had a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, after the cabinet agreed to let talks with Labour on Brexit continue. Thirteen former cabinet ministers and…

access_time3 min.
diary

There are many places where a gay Jewish couple wearing yarmulkes wouldn’t feel comfortable walking down the street. I didn’t think west London was one of them. Ambling along Edgware Road to a wedding at the West London Synagogue, however, my partner feels something land on his jacket. At first, he believes it is bird dropping. Closer examination reveals the white gob to be human spittle. Later, we tell a friend, Harry Cole of the Mail on Sunday, who tweets about it. The Sky News presenter Adam Boulton replies: ‘No excuse but it is a Middle Eastern quarter.’ He later apologises. Perhaps we should have known better than to don yarmulkes on a street with so many kebab shops, hookah bars and women in chadors.Table conversation at the wedding reception…

access_time5 min.
america’s war games

Washington, DCDonald Trump has an itchy trigger finger, and his name is John Bolton. The President’s national security adviser is a lifelong war hawk who, unlike Trump, was a diehard supporter of the Iraq War. Now Bolton has Iran in his crosshairs. He’s not the only member of the administration drawing a bead on the mullahs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also a throwback to the mentality of the George W. Bush years of high misadventure in the Middle East. But Trump, believe it or not, is smarter than the last two presidents, who started fires they couldn’t extinguish in Iraq and Libya. As his manoeuvres with North Korea show, war is not the way he expects to win.To understand what Trump is up to, one has to forget…

access_time9 min.
cometh the hour

The worse things are for the Tories, the better for Boris Johnson. If the Tories were ahead in the polls, he’d have little hope of becoming leader. MPs would choose someone more clubbable, less divisive, and more interested in them personally: who didn’t annoy so many of them so much. But Tory MPs are now contemplating an existential crisis. Tory voters are defecting en masse to Nigel Farage’s Brexit party. The Conservative party’s survival may well turn on winning these voters back, and the former foreign secretary — the tribune of Leave, the buccaneering Brexiteer, the darling of the grassroots — is the most obvious person to do that. Suddenly, Boris is back and in contention for the leadership again. The question now is: can he do what it takes…

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