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The Spectator July 13, 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

United Kingdom
Press Holdings Ltd - The Spectator
51 期号


for the few

In some alternative universe the Labour party, as under Tony Blair in the mid 1990s, is busily preparing for government, its confidence boosted by a massive lead in the polls over a shambolic Tory administration. Back in this one, however, Labour is crumbling even faster than the divided and unpopular Conservatives. Remarkably, while the Tories have seen a collapse in their share of the vote to just 22 per cent, according to one poll this week, Labour has sunk to just 20 per cent. Just how it succeeded in throwing away such a remarkable opportunity to seize power is going to trouble its remaining members for decades to come. Those members will not now include Lords Turnberg, Triesman and Darzi, all of whom resigned this week after finally abandoning their struggle…


Kenneth R. Rosen is an American journalist. His 2017 reporting on extrajudicial killings in Iraq won the Bayeux-Calvados Award for war coverage. He writes about anti-Isis fighters on p12. Sahil Mahtani, who makes the case for reparations for the Norman conquest on p14, grew up in Jakarta and studied history at Harvard. He is now an investment strategist in London. Caroline Moorehead, who reviews a book about the spy who infiltrated Auschwitz on p29, is the author of many books — most recently A Bold And Dangerous Family. Elizabeth Goldring is an honorary associate professor at Warwick University and the author of a biography of Elizabethan miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard. She writes about Renaissance portraiture on p33. Sofka Zinovieff, who reviews David Nicholls’s new novel on p32, is a novelist and historian who has lived…

portrait of the week

Home Sir Kim Darroch resigned as British ambassador to Washington after the Mail on Sunday published disobliging emails he had sent between 2017 and now, which said things like: ‘We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.’ In response President Donald Trump said: ‘We’re not big fans of that man.’ Next day, Trump added that he had told Theresa May, the Prime Minister, how to manage Brexit, ‘but she went her own foolish way — was unable to get it done. A disaster!’. As Conservative party members posted their votes, bookmakers put the chance of Boris Johnson becoming party leader at 95 per cent and of Jeremy Hunt at 5 per cent. Sir John Major,…


I am beginning to feel like a sort of fairground curiosity: one of those pickled things in jars that Victorians stared at. It is Boris’s fault. Because I once had a close friendship — all right, all right, a tendresse — with Mr Johnson, I am pointed at, photographed, and harried in the aisles of shops. Soon members of the public will be tearing off bits of my clothes — something Russian peasants used to do with anyone who had met the Tsar, as if this would bestow some of Batiushka’s divine status. Tabloid journalists doorstep me, believing I have the answers. I am a female Zoltan Kapathy; not so much an imposterologist as a Borisologist. My present policy is to pretend that I am insane. Just as no insane…

boris’s most important appointment

After being backed by a majority of Tory MPs, Boris Johnson now looks set to win over party members by an even larger margin. Surveys suggest he will hoover up between two thirds and three quarters of the vote. A Tory leader with such a mandate would, normally, start his premiership with huge amounts of political capital and be able to dictate terms to their opponents within the party. But Johnson will have to watch his back from the moment he crosses the threshold of No. 10. Most new prime ministers arrive with a decent majority. Johnson will be clinging to power from day one. Even with the DUP, the government has a working majority of just five MPs. That might go down to just three after the Brecon and Radnorshire…

the spectator’s notes

When I last talked to Sir Kim Darroch, he was a slim young private secretary, so it was a long time ago; but I can categorically state that President Trump is wrong to call him ‘wacky and a very stupid guy’. His particular sort of mandarin ‘Rolls-Royce mind’ intelligence does, however, amount to a form of stupidity when confronted with Mr Trump. Intellects like Sir Kim’s are slower than those of ordinary mortals to spot Trump’s communicative genius. They cannot see that it keeps him ahead of the game. It is really remarkable that a 73-year-old man can be such a master of forms of social media which did not exist until his sixth and in some cases his seventh decade. The chancelleries of Europe and the mainstream media see…