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The SpectatorThe Spectator

The Spectator

March 23, 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

国家:
United Kingdom
语言:
English
出版商:
Press Holdings Ltd - The Spectator
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51 期号

本期

access_time4 min.
agony prolonged

For many people, next Friday was supposed to be a celebration. Boris Johnson spoke about an ‘independence day’ marking the beginning of a new era of national self-confidence. But as we approach 29 March, not even ardent Brexiteers can claim that there is anything to celebrate. Theresa May has been reduced to asking, or rather begging, the EU for an extension to Article 50 — something that the EU has said it will grant only if Britain can provide a good reason for needing the extra time. So far, the Prime Minister has not provided one, apart from the prolonging of everyone’s agony.When parliament voted to enact Article 50 two years ago, the challenge seemed daunting but perfectly possible. The government had a clear strategy: to negotiate a free trade…

access_time1 min.
contributors

Paul Wood is the BBC’s world affairs correspondent and has covered the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Iraq war and the Syrian uprising. On p18 he writes about the resilience of Isis.Oliver Balch investigates the mysteries of the Pacific on p38. His own most recent book, Under The Tump: Sketches of Real Life on the Welsh Borders, investigates the mysteries of Hay-on-Wye.Norman Lebrecht has been described as the most controversial and influential journalist covering classical music. He writes about the pianist Daniel Barenboim on p49.Ben Schott is the author of the Schott’s Miscellanies and Schott’s Almanac series, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. He writes about John Bercow’s rhetoric on p14.Justin Marozzi writes about The Archers on p22. His latest book, Islamic Empires: Fifteen Cities that Define a…

access_time3 min.
portrait of the week

HomeTheresa May, the Prime Minister, wrote to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, asking for a delay of the date for Brexit. She had been wondering whether to solicit a third ‘meaningful vote’ before or after going off to the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. Heaps of money had been put aside to buy off the DUP and unreal talk had been launched about the Vienna Convention providing a way out of the Irish backstop. But now, asked if Britain was in a crisis, a No. 10 spokesman said: ‘That situation has come to pass.’The tragicomedy of Brexit had taken an unexpected turn after John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, lobbed in a grenade by declaring that ‘What the government cannot legitimately do is…

access_time4 min.
diary

It isn’t easy getting around the Gulf these days. The blockade on Qatar means no direct flights from most of its neighbours, so I spend hours of layover looking at the great mountain ranges of Muscat from the antiseptic tedium of my transfer terminal.My main reason for coming to the region is to speak in Doha for the newly revived ‘Doha Debates’. After my speech, a more than usually aggressive interviewer demands to know why Britain and other European countries have not taken in more Syrian migrants. The Emir’s sister and others are in the audience and I cannot pass up the opportunity to poke my hosts in the eye. I ask how many Syrians have been made citizens by Qatar. There is a terrible silence, followed by some giggling…

access_time5 min.
the spectator’s notes

Angela Merkel says disdainfully, ‘I admit I was not on top of the British parliament’s 17th-century procedural rules.’ Her implication is that they are absurdly out of date. Yet the old rule invoked by Mr Speaker Bercow is surely one that can hold up its head in the 21st century. It is that the executive should not keep putting the same question to parliament until it gets its way. Therefore Mrs May cannot just keep reheating her terrible withdrawal deal. If there were no such rule, there would be no end to the bullying. Isn’t there something quite impressive about the fact that we have an elected assembly which had already thought of this more than 400 years ago? Habeas corpus is a pretty old idea too, and jury trial…

access_time6 min.
will it never end?

The government has lost the ability to run the country. It is no longer in charge of its own destiny, let alone that of the nation. What makes this so humiliating is that power has been ceded not to parliament, but to the European Union. The immediate future of our country will be decided in Brussels and the capitals of the EU, not in Westminster. It will be the EU that decides whether or not to offer the UK an extension to the Article 50 process, and how long it will be. Once the extension has been agreed, then parliament — which has already voted against leaving without a deal — will rubber-stamp it.Not since Denis Healey was forced to ask the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan in…

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