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The Spectator March 9, 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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access_time4 min.
close the deal

It is becoming painfully clear that on Tuesday the House of Commons will be asked to vote on an EU withdrawal bill that is almost entirely the same as the one defeated by 230 votes in January. Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, is seeking to guarantee that Britain will never be trapped in the backstop. If he succeeds, Brexiteers, whatever their wider misgivings, should hold their noses and vote for Theresa May’s deal. It will be tempting for MPs who are seeking a proper break with the EU to repeat their rebellion. May’s deal means Britain will, for two years, be an EU member in all but name: paying all of the money and obeying the directives while undergoing (at least) two more years of Brexit talks. Leaving without a deal,…

access_time3 min.
portrait of the week

Home Two 17-year-olds were stabbed to death in London and Manchester, bringing the number of teenagers killed in knife crime this year to ten. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that there was ‘no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers’. Next day, Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: ‘There is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is.’ The owners of Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner are to close 27 of their 87 restaurants. The family that has owned the British sports-car maker Morgan for 110 years is selling it to an Italian venture capitalist firm, Investindustrial. The philosopher A.C. Grayling won £20,000 libel damages against a Twitter user called Peter North, who made false allegations in a tweet saying:…

access_time4 min.

John McDonnell might think Churchill a villain, but he’s beloved in America. I’ve just returned from a ten-week, 18-state, 27-city, 87-speech book tour there, and can report that the enthusiasm for all things Churchillian in the USA is stronger now than at any time since his death. Merely bringing out a new biography of him secured me interviews on all the major TV morning news shows, invitations to speak at three presidential libraries, and a place on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks. There are active Churchill appreciation societies in 14 states and more being set up. Of course it can go too far: in Coral Gables, Florida, a lady came up to me at a book-signing and calmly informed me that ‘Sir Winston’ came to her in…

access_time5 min.
will brexiteers miss their best chance?

Theresa May was only ever going to win approval for her Brexit deal by persuading MPs that it was the least worst option. Remain-supporting MPs, she hoped, would come to believe that her deal was the only way of preventing no deal. At the same time, she hoped that Tories worried about ‘no Brexit’ would see her agreement as the best way of ensuring that Britain actually left the EU. But with the Commons vote on May’s Brexit deal just days away, both parts of this strategy are in trouble. Little wonder that the Chief Whip sounded downbeat about the prospects of winning next Tuesday’s vote at cabinet this week. A cabinet revolt has forced May to promise that if her deal is rejected, MPs can have a vote on whether…

access_time5 min.
the spectator’s notes

A kind billionaire called Jeremy Hosking, whom I do not know personally, has invited us to join the Britannia Express, a steam train, on 30 March, the day after Brexit. The train will traverse Wales and England, starting at Swansea and ending in Sunderland. In an unspoken rebuke to the metropolis, it will not travel via London. The train will, says the invitation, commemorate ‘the UK’s exit (or non-exit) from the European Union’. This is the opposite, I suppose, of the European train which people like the late Sir Geoffrey Howe constantly exhorted us to climb aboard. What to do? The most likely situation on the day is that we still will not know our country’s fate. I’d love to watch Brexit get up steam, but what if, thanks to…

access_time9 min.
the rise of the woke corporation

New employees at the British headquarters of Accenture, a global management consultancy, were slightly taken aback during a recent induction morning when the head of human resources encouraged them to wear rainbow-coloured lanyards declaring themselves ‘allies’ — not just at the meeting, but permanently. In addition, they were given the option of adding the word ‘ally’ in the same rainbow pattern to the footers of their company email addresses. Anyone confused by HR language — a reference to the second world war perhaps? — was referred to the company website, where the word ‘ally’ was helpfully defined: ‘An ally is someone who takes action to promote an inclusive and accepting culture regardless of their own identity and demonstrates commitment to an inclusive workplace. We currently have allies programmes for Mental…