The Critic

July - August 2021

The Critic is Britain's new highbrow monthly current affairs magazine for politics, art and literature. Dedicated to rigorous content, first rate writing and unafraid to ask the questions others won't.

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10 Ausgaben

in dieser ausgabe

4 Min
power without pain

IN MARCH OF 2003, THE FORMER DEFENCE Secretary, George Robertson, went to court against the Sunday Herald, a Glasgow newspaper. He complained that the paper had defamed him with a claim — wholly false — that he had been involved in a cover-up of the Dunblane massacre. He won an apology and damages. This was not a routine case of a politician cashing in on journalistic failure. The claim that cost the paper was not made by its staff or contributors; they were not even aware of it until the peer’s complaint, made three weeks after publication. It was written in the “comments” section of an article on the paper’s website by a member of the public whose identity remains unknown. Nonetheless, the paper, after initial court hearings, settled with Robertson…

4 Min
the regeneration game

PETER COOK FAMOUSLY said of his Establishment Club in Soho that it was based on “those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the Second World War”. Heedless, a decade and a half ago I made a TV film called On The Brandwagon about the risible inanities of the regeneration industry. Stupidly, arrogantly, I believed it might play some part in quashing the then hardly burgeoning enterprise. Well, so might a tick put a rhinoceros off its charging course. I guess I could say in my defence that I was too soon. In 2006 regeneration — the practice and the word — were not yet commonplaces. The “Bilbao Effect” was taking its time to trickle down to post-industrial conurbations across the…

4 Min

PEKING DUCKED You opened Paul Rafaelle’s marvellous recollections of life as a resident correspondent in the Chinese capital by noting that Mr Rafaelle had been stationed in “Peking (now Beijing)”. Actually, it is still Peking, just as Moskva is Moscow, Warszawa is Warsaw, Praha is Prague, Wien is Vienna and Baile Atha Cliath is Dublin. The modern habit of using the local name of major world cities, rather than the established English name, is rooted in politics and is much too readily accepted by British, Australian and US media organisations. Outside the Anglosphere, the politico-cultural cringe of switching to “Beijing” has not been universally adopted. German, French, Italian and Russian media still call it “Peking” or “Pekin”. The most prestigious university in the city is still generally known as … Peking University. The People’s…

4 Min
dead and buried

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD be commended for its decision to review coroner services in England and Wales. Bereaved families and others with experience of inquests were invited to say how well — or badly — they thought recent reforms were working. “We are analysing your feedback,” the Ministry of Justice currently says on its website. “The government’s response will be published in early 2016.” Early 2016? That’s more than five years ago. And why are we still waiting for the report to be published? According to Alex Chalk MP, the minister currently responsible for inquests, one of his predecessors had decided not to “prioritise” it. And because so much has changed since the review was conducted in 2015, its findings would be “of very limited import”. Chalk’s excuses are entirely unconvincing. As the Commons…

5 Min
man about town

Alice in blunderland IN MUCH THE SAME WAY THAT DUBYA had that thing on his desk asking “What Would Jesus Do?” — a little surprisingly, the answer always turned out to be “Vaporise random bits of the world, duh!” — most laughingly-named “world leaders” these days evidently have something similar featuring, instead of the Son of The Man, characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice, most typically the maniac Queen of Hearts or the Duchess’s anger-issues Cook. In fact there’s plenty of larfs to be had guessing who has which: Boz would be the shambolic and random White Queen, le petit craporal the officious small contrarian Mad Hatter, Uncle Vovik Humpty Dumpty. And Joe would have to be the Dormouse: send that man a teapot! Good timing then, for the V&A to launch its new…

2 Min
the diary of dilyn the dog

“Don’t come in! Don’t come in!” Bozza is yelling, as he fumbles with his laptop and zips up his trousers. “I’m working on my Shakespeare manuscript.” I am keeping him company in the room of boxes. It used to be Bozza’s working place, but Cazza said she needs somewhere for all the presents people are sending her. She gets very excited each time one arrives, and I can see why: the shiny paper on the outside tears wonderfully, and then the cardboard underneath is lovely to chew. Bozza pretends he doesn’t like me keeping him company, saying it puts him off. He is such a funny man. He has just tucked his shirt in when Cazza comes in with a new person. “Sir Christopher needs a word,” she says. “Ah, Geidty! Just knocking…