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The SpectatorThe Spectator

The Spectator

August 17, 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

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51 Numéros


access_time4 min.
where’s boris?

Before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister there was widespread expectation that his government would be chaotic. It was thought that he would be good at articulating the broad sweep of government policy, but that his administration would quickly sink into turmoil. In the event, the opposite has happened. Three weeks on, the government appears to be running with almost military precision. Preparations for no-deal Brexit seem to be well under control, to the alarm of Philip Hammond, who had thought the task impossible. Yet the Prime Minister himself seems to have gone underground. He is not on holiday — his government is working all hours. But he has not been as big a feature of it as many expected. His strategy of ducking interviews, which to some people’s surprise worked well…

access_time1 min.

Rachel Johnson is an author and journalist who stood at the recent European elections for Change UK, the pro-EU party led by Anna Soubry. Her diary is on p7. Kapka Kassabova is a Bulgarian-born writer and poet. Her most recent book, Border, looks at Europe’s southeastern frontier. On p28, she reads a new history of European migration. Kate Womersley is a junior doctor with an interest in obstetrics, gynaecology and sexual health. She reviews new works of popular medical nonfiction on p30. Julie Burchill has written for the NME and the Guardian, and is the author of Spectator Life’s new sex advice column Pillow Talk. She endures a memoir of middle-aged singlehood on p31. Jesse Norman, a Conservative MP and a current Treasury Minister, has written books about Edmund Burke and Adam Smith. On…

access_time3 min.
portrait of the week

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, proposed an extra 10,000 prison places and the expansion of stop-and-search powers. PC Stuart Outten, 28, was cut in the head with a machete after he stopped a van in Leyton, east London, in the early hours; Muhammed Rodwan, 56, of Luton, was charged with attempted murder. While trying to make an arrest, PC Gareth Phillips, 42, was run over in Moseley, Birmingham, by someone driving his own car; Mubashar Hussain, 29, was charged with attempted murder. The RAF is to allow recruits to wear beards. John Bercow, the Speaker, said that he thought parliament could stop Britain leaving the EU without an agreement. Philip Hammond, the former chancellor, said that he was confident that parliament had the means it needed, because a no-deal Brexit would…

access_time4 min.

I lay low during the ‘season’ as I can’t think what to say to people any more. I went to only two summer parties, a personal worst for me: Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s annual gold-plater in Richmond, and Jenni Russell and Stephen Lambert’s Notting Hill do, where I found myself introducing David Cameron to Seumas Milne. ‘You were at Eton and you went to Winchester,’ I said, as if the pair were shy teenagers at the Feathers Ball before the snogging, ‘so you two should get on like a house on fire!’ Seumas tried to recruit me in 2017 but I never came across. ‘Which party should I enter as a sleeper cell next?’ I joked (after I quit the Lib Dems they surged and as soon as I joined Change…

access_time5 min.
taking back control

Every Friday at 6 p.m. government aides are summoned to No. 10 Downing Street for a meeting with Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s right-hand man. Here they are plied with alcoholic beverages, updated on the latest government messaging and given instructions for the week ahead. Such meetings seldom happened under the old Theresa May regime: Fridays were a bit of a non-event. At the most recent meeting, a handful of aides were singled out for good behaviour. Their achievement? Reporting the minister they work for to No. 10 for going off message. ‘You know who you are,’ said Cummings approvingly. The message to the advisers was clear: you might have been hired by a cabinet member, but Downing Street is the boss. Thanks to Cummings, the government is being rewired. Under Theresa May,…

access_time5 min.
the spectator’s notes

We seem to be building up to a second Tiananmen Square, 30 years after the first. This time the venue is Hong Kong. As then, the Chinese government longs to kill protestors, but it hesitates because it fears global reaction. It therefore matters greatly that the ‘rules-based international order’ strongly assert that breaking the 1984 Sino-British Agreement would put China beyond the pale. No international discussion of Brexit is complete without a reverent invocation of the Good Friday Agreement (which in fact has almost nothing to do with EU membership). The Hong Kong Agreement should command such reverence, and its pledge of ‘One country: two systems’ should be the test of whether China is a law-abiding international partner. This is not an obscure dispute about a small territory, but a…