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The SpectatorThe Spectator

The Spectator

July 20, 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 Edities

IN DEZE EDITIE

access_time4 min.
wasted lives

Twenty years ago, the Scottish parliament was reconvened after a lapse of almost three centuries. The logic for devolution was clear enough: that Scotland has discrete issues, and ones that were not always solved by London government. Devolution would allow ‘Scottish solutions for Scottish problems’. There was, in Westminster, a feeling that MPs could worry less about these problems. Public health in Glasgow, previously one of the biggest problems in the UK, would be someone else’s problem. Let the MSPs see if they could do any better. The news this week should shock people on both sides of the border. Scotland has the worst rate of deaths from drugs in Europe, with numbers up by a shocking 27 per cent since 2017. The deaths are concentrated in Glasgow, which has long…

access_time1 min.
contributors

Angela Patmore has written several books on psychology and sports, including The Truth About Stress (shortlisted for MIND’s Book of the Year award). She explains the thrill of sporting tie-breaks on p24. Charlotte Hobson, who on p28 reviews Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history of the child survivors of Russia’s war, is author of the novel The Vanishing Futurist. Mary Killen is The Spectator’s agony aunt (p53) and is now even more famous thanks to appearing on Gogglebox with her husband Giles. She writes about husbands on p30. Nina Lyon, who reviews Paul Kingsnorth’s new book on p32, is the author of Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man. Non Morris is a gardener and writer for Country Life, House and Garden and the Guardian. She writes about cottage gardens on p41.…

access_time3 min.
portrait of the week

Home In a televised debate between the rivals for election by members of the Conservative party as their new leader (and hence prime minister), Boris Johnson said of the Irish backstop, ‘It needs to come out,’ and Jeremy Hunt said that it was ‘dead’. This was described as ‘significant’ by Dominic Grieve, who said he was ready to bring the government down rather than see a Brexit without any agreement. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that she would continue to sit as an MP after her resignation on 24 July. Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech was recognised as the steepest street in the world, at 37.45 per cent beating Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, at only 35 per cent. There were attempts to weaponise the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch…

access_time4 min.
diary

By this time next week the Johnson era will surely have begun. ‘We can, we will, we must now escape the giant hamster wheel of doom,’ our new Dear Leader will have declared in Downing Street. Or something like it. He will be rewarded with headlines such as ‘BoJo gives us back our mojo’. We will all have been urged to believe in Britain again. Then the questions will begin. With the same deadlocked parliament, the same deeply divided party and country and the same intransigence, what will the new prime minister be able to achieve that Theresa May hasn’t? I’ve been examining the past three years of failed Brexit negotiations for a BBC One documentary called Britain’s Brexit Crisis. What’s clear is that Britain never had a plan for…

access_time5 min.
will boris revive cabinet government?

It has become something of a tradition in British politics: an incoming prime minister promises to restore proper cabinet government. They vow to go back to the good old days of NHS policy being run by the health secretary, schools policy by the education secretary — and decisions taken in open discussion with a prime minister who is first among equals. The reality, however, is that a small clique in No. 10 ends up controlling the government. Gordon Brown made a fuss about bringing back cabinet government to try to differentiate himself from Tony Blair. In a rare admission of error, Brown says in his memoirs that he failed to do so. He tried to do everything himself, with mixed results. David Cameron wanted to contrast himself with New Labour’s sofa…

access_time5 min.
the spectator’s notes

Seventy-five years ago on Saturday, the July plot failed. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg placed a bomb in a briefcase next to Hitler in the conference room of the Wolf’s Lair, but someone moved the briefcase a little. When the bomb detonated, the heavy conference table shielded Hitler from the blast. Stauffenberg and many other conspirators were caught. He was executed early the next morning. This Friday, in Christ Church, Oxford, a special service will commemorate the plot and all those who resisted Nazism in Germany. It will centre on the altar dedicated to George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and the main external supporter of German Christian resistance to Hitler. In Sweden in May 1942, Bell met a young German pastor called Hans Schoünfeld and the famous theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer,…

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