close

Вход

Забыли?

вход по аккаунту

?

The Spectator - October 7, 2017

код для вставкиСкачать
7 october 2017 [ �25
www.spectator.co.uk [ est. 1828
Fear and loathing
Lionel Shriver and Rod Liddle on atrocity in America
th
BAHRAIN BD3.20. CANADA C$7.50.
EURO ZONE ?6.95 SOUTH AFRICA ZAR79.90
UAE AED34.00. USA US$7.20.
C
an
s th
Ja ur e
m v T
es iv o
Fo e r
rsy ? ie
s
I'LL SAVE
PAKISTAN
IMRAN
KHAN
established 1828
Tory blues
T
heresa May?s conference speech ?
interrupted by coughing fits and with
part of the set falling apart behind
her ? served as an unfortunate metaphor
for her premiership and party. She is carrying on and in doing so, she demonstrates
her resilience, but also her frailty. The horrified faces of cabinet members watching as
her voice dried up on stage seemed to sum
up their wider concerns about whether their
party is in a fit state to see off Labour, so
recently dismissed by them as a joke. Now,
they are left wondering if their party is falling apart.
The Prime Minister spoke about taking the fight to Jeremy Corbyn, but her
announcements suggest that she is suing
for peace ? accepting his argument, and
seeking to copy some of his solutions. The
Conservatives are talking as if they have
the right answers, but acting as if they have
none. They are diagnosing problems, but
are strikingly unable to come up with solutions of their own, and they are looking
very much like a party that is running out
of ideas and options.
The main pledge from this conference
was to build more social housing ? but the
UK already has more than almost any other
country in Europe. The housing crisis is created by the lack of private supply, itself a
function of the broken land market ? and
the many political disincentives to build.
Far from being a ?market? crisis, the housing
problem is a typical example of the failures
of government ? and what happens when
something essential is needlessly rationed.
There is no shortage of Tory MPs who
know what needs to be done: the problem
of planning permission refusals needs to be
dealt with ? along with local councils that
are anti-development. This is the only way
to increase the amount of private housing.
But instead, Mrs May is increasing demand
by pouring more money into the help-tobuy scheme of state-subsidised mortgages.
Again, most of her MPs know that this is
at best a gesture that will help only a small
number of people. The overall effect of helpto-buy will be to make houses even less
affordable, intensifying rather than relieving the problem.
Her tuition fee change, lifting the loan
repayments threshold from �,000 to
�,000, seems to concede the general point
to Jeremy Corbyn. Is it unfair to ask students to bear more of the cost of their tuition? David Cameron thought not; even the
Liberal Democrats thought not. Students
seem to agree that the loan (which most will
After seven years in power, too
many Tory ministers have forgotten
how to make and win arguments
never be asked to repay in full) was worth
taking out in exchange for a degree. Students
from deprived backgrounds are applying to
university in record numbers: there is no sign
of students being deterred.
A bold Conservative party would have
stood its ground. Perhaps there would have
been more mention of how the new fees system transfers money from wealthier families
to poorer ones, as so much of the fee money
is used by universities to support students
facing hardship. It was never going to be a
popular argument, but a government ought
to take unpopular decisions ? and seek to
persuade the voters. Instead, the Tories seem
to be on the run. They seem to agree with
Corbyn that the fees system introduced by
David Cameron is iniquitous, and the only
question is how much to water it down.
After seven years in power, too many
Tory ministers have begun to think like civil
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
servants ? seeing problems, not solutions.
They have become technocrats rather than
communicators. They have forgotten how
to make and win arguments. But with politics becoming a battle of ideas once more,
the Tories need ministers who can make
the case for the market economy, and demonstrate what they mean through policies
?and defeat Labour by talking about the
world we live in today, rather than about the
1970s and the IRA.
The Tories now seem split between the
fatalists who think that Britain is moving
left and so the only option is to adopt ideas
that they once opposed, and the optimists
who think that now is the time to make the
case for Conservatism. Boris Johnson gave
his party a demonstration of optimism in
his conference speech. And Ruth Davidson noted that the remarkable revival of
the Scottish Conservatives only began when
they stopped apologising for being Tories
and started to make their arguments with
passion and conviction.
It?s unlikely that either Johnson or
Davidson will become party leader. He has
too many enemies amongst his own parliamentary colleagues, and she seems wedded
to Scotland, her own discomfort zone. But
before the Tory party decides who should
replace Mrs May, it needs to decide what
type of Conservatism to pursue: whether
it wishes to go along with Labour ideas, or
present voters with a radical and coherent
alternative.
It?s strange to think that about six months
ago, the Conservatives were looking forward
to at least ten more years in power and to
an election that would destroy rather than
merely defeat the Labour party. Now they
are facing an existential crisis ? one made
all the more vivid by the unimpressive party
conference and the speech that ended it.
5
The end of Spain? p19
Putin?s power grab, p22
The other Afghan girl, p48
THE WEEK
5
Leading article
9
Portrait of the Week
11 Diary Tory conference, the power
of rhetoric and inflatable unicorns
Andrew Marr
12 Politics The Tories admit they have
a problem ? but can they solve it?
James Forsyth
13 The Spectator?s Notes
The Catalan question, the Scottish
referendum and Corbyn?s convictions
Charles Moore
25 Notebook
My Bake Off ego trip
Prue Leith
26 Barometer Playboy bunnies, British
chicken and putting a man on Mars
BOOKS & ARTS
BOOKS
36 Bernard Wasserstein
Belonging, by Simon Schama
14 Say nothing
Don?t look for easy solutions to
mass atrocities
Lionel Shriver
15 Pride and prejudice
What does this latest shooting tell us?
Only what we want it to
Rod Liddle
16 Following suit
The Tories love a bland blue two-piece
Lara Prendergast
38 A.N. Wilson
Mrs Osmond, by John Banville
Mike Cormack
The Chinese Typewriter,
by Thomas S. Mullaney
39 Honor Clerk
Renoir, by Barbara Erlich White
19 Spanish practices
Violence will only spur independence
Daniel Hannan
40 Lee Langley
The Meaning of Rice, by
Michael Booth
John Whitworth ?Autumn?: a poem
20 Imran?s biggest test
Will Khan be Pakistan?s next leader?
Peter Oborne
41 Horatio Clare
Off the Deep End, by Nic Compton
22 Putin the peacemaker
Russia?s Middle East coup
John R. Bradley
42 Hugh Pearman
A Place for All People, by
Richard Rogers; Four Walls and
a Roof, by Reinier de Graaf
31 Letters The problem with capitalism,
the next PM and King?s Cross?s screens
24 Sentences without end
The inmates trapped in jail
Jessica Berens
43 Peter Stanford
The Golden Bridle, by C. Day-Lewis
32 Any other business Monarch?s
demise and Gordon Brown?s comeback
Martin Vander Weyer
26 The great unknowns
Testing yourself in a pub quiz
Mark Mason
27 James Delingpole If only the
Tories understood economics
28 Ancient and modern Friend or foe?
28 Low spirits
Spare me the hype over craft gins
Mark Palmer
44 Christopher Bray
Warner Bros, by David Thomson
45 Sarah Ditum
The Letters of Sylvia Plath, edited by
Peter K. Steinberg and Karen V. Kukil
Cover by Morten Morland. Drawings by Michael Heath, Len Hawkins, Chris Mackenzie, Haldane, Nick Newman, Adam Singleton, Bernie, RGJ, Geoff T, Phil Disley
www.spectator.co.uk Editorial and advertising The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, Tel: 020 7961 0200, Fax: 020 7681 3773, Email: editor@spectator.co.uk
(editorial); letters@spectator.co.uk (for publication); advertising@spectator.co.uk (advertising); Advertising enquiries: 020 7961 0222 Subscription and delivery queries
Spectator Subscriptions Dept., 17 Perrymount Rd, Haywards Heath RH16 3DH; Tel: 0330 3330 050; Email: customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk; Rates for a basic
annual subscription in the UK: �1; Europe: �5; Australia: A$279; New Zealand: A$349; and �5 in all other countries. To order, go to www.spectator.co.uk/A151A or call
0330 3330 050 and quote A151A; Newsagent queries Spectator Circulation Dept, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, Tel: 020 7961 0200, Fax: 020 7681 3773, Email:
dstam@spectator.co.uk; Distributor Marketforce, 161 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9AP. Tel. 0203 787 9001. www.marketforce.co.uk Vol 335; no 9867 � The Spectator (1828)
Ltd. ISSN 0038-6952 The Spectator is published weekly by The Spectator (1828) Ltd at 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP
Editor: Fraser Nelson
6
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Hollywood?s ?lm factory, p44
Too much gin? p28
The Lion of Judah, p36
LIFE
46 Mark Mason
So They Call You Pisher, by
Michael Rosen
47 Hugh Thomson
Islander, by Patrick Barkham
ARTS
48 Interview
The photographer behind
?Afghan Girl?
Mary Wakefield
50 Radio Kate Chisholm
Dance Alice?s Adventures in
Wonderland; Acosta Danza
Louise Levene
52 TV The Last Post; Race and Pace
James Walton
53 Classical The Judas Passion; CBSO/
Grazinyte-Tyla
Alexandra Coghlan
LIFE
61 High life Taki
Low life Jeremy Clarke
63 Real life Melissa Kite
65 Wild life Aidan Hartley
Bridge Susanna Gross
AND FINALLY . . .
58 Notes on? Soho drinking clubs
Henry Jeffreys
66 Chess Raymond Keene
Competition Lucy Vickery
67 Crossword Mr Magoo
68 Status anxiety Toby Young
Battle for Britain
Michael Heath
69 The Wiki Man
Rory Sutherland
Your problems solved
54 Cinema Blade Runner 2049
Deborah Ross
Mary Killen
70 Drink Bruce Anderson
55 Theatre Wings; B
Lloyd Evans
It is terribly important whenever an
atrocity occurs to scour the internet
for information ? however specious
? that proves you were right all
along about something
Rod Liddle, p15
Mind your language
56 Opera Cavalleria rusticana/
Trial by Jury; Aida
Richard Bratby
The broadcaster Michael Cockerell
has interviewed every British prime
minister from Harold Macmillan
to David Cameron. Which was the
only one he saw using their fingers
to count on?
Mark Mason, p26
?Our free jam is more responsibly
sourced? is not a compelling
argument. Nor is: ?Look at our freejam track record.? Nor, I?m sorry to
say, is: ?The government doesn?t
have a magic jam-making tree?
James Delingpole, p27
Dot Wordsworth
57 Rock Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
James Walton
CONTRIBUTORS
Daniel Hannan, who
explores Catalonia?s violent
past on p19, is a Tory MEP
and the president of the
recently founded Institute
for Free Trade.
Prue Leith, whose Notebook
is on p25, is a judge on Channel
4?s The Great British Bake
Off. Her seventh novel, The
Prodigal Daughter, is out now.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Bernard Wasserstein won
the Yad Vashem International
Book Prize for On the Eve:
The Jews of Europe Before the
Second World War. He reviews
Simon Schama?s blockbuster
history of the Jews on p36.
Peter Stanford, the author of
biographies of Judas and Lord
Longford among others, writes
about Cecil Day-Lewis on p43.
Christopher Bray is a
film critic and the author of
biographies of Michael Caine
and Sean Connery. He writes
about the Warner Bros film
factory on p44.
7
BOO
N
I
A
BRIT
G
N
I
HELP
S
I
ROW
H
T
A
HE
G
N
I
ND
E X PA
ST
S
T
R
P
X
E
HUGHES CRAFT DISTILLERY, ONE OF THE MANY BUSINESSES ACROSS THE UK
THAT SUPPORT HEATHROW EXPANSION
Heathrow is Britain?s biggest port by value for global markets outside the EU and
Switzerland, handling over 30% of the UK?s exports. Expansion will double our cargo
capacity and create new domestic and international trading routes, helping more
businesses across Britain reach out and trade with the world.
Heathrow expansion is part of the plan to strengthen Britain?s future.
That?s why we are getting on with delivering Britain?s new runway.
Building for the future
TRADE INFO IS BY VALUE FOR 2016, EXCLUDES EXPORTS TO EU AND SWITZERLAND AND SOURCED
FROM uktradeinfo.com FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT: www.heathrow.com/exports
Home
T
heresa May, the Prime Minister, told
her audience at the Conservative party
conference that she wanted to continue,
like them, to ?do our duty by Britain?. She
said the government planned to make it
easier for local authorities to build council
houses. On the eve of the conference,
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in
an interview with the Sun sketched out
four ?red lines? that he said should apply to
Brexit. These included a transition period
that must not last ?a second more? than
two years. His stipulations went beyond
anything agreed by the government, but
Mrs May sidestepped questions about
whether he was ?unsackable?. Later she said:
?I think leadership is about ensuring you
have a team of people who aren?t yes-men.?
Mr Johnson received a standing ovation for
a conference speech in which he said, with
reference to the British public: ?Let that
lion roar!? Ruth Davidson, the leader of the
Scottish Conservatives, said the party ?needs
to get over its current nervous breakdown
and man up a little bit?.
M
onarch Airlines ceased trading
and 860,000 people lost bookings;
the Civil Aviation Authority set about
bringing back 110,000 holidaymakers from
overseas. Henry Bolton, aged 54, a former
army officer, beat Anne Marie Waters, the
founder of Sharia Watch, to become the
leader of Ukip. ?Bags for life? can spread
food poisoning germs, the Food Standards
Agency said. The city council revoked
the freedom of Oxford granted in 1997 to
Aung San Suu Kyi. The Scottish government
announced a ban on fracking. The flagpole
at Edinburgh Castle on which the Union
flag flies snapped in high winds.
T
he Universal Credit system would
continue to be introduced, David
Gauke, the Work and Pensions Secretary,
said, but benefit claimants left without
support would be able to get cash advances.
He was responding to an appeal by 12
Conservative MPs to delay the scheme
because 24 per cent of new claimants waited
for more than six weeks to be paid in full.
Postmen belonging to the Communication
Workers Union voted to go on strike.
Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary,
said that paper railway tickets would be
done away with on most routes by the
end of next year. RMT union members
working for four railway companies went
on strike. Passengers on a morning train
from Shepperton to Waterloo panicked and
forced open doors to jump to safety when a
man began reading aloud from the Bible.
Abroad
M
ore than 800 people were hurt when
Spanish police using truncheons
and rubber bullets tried to stop voting in a
referendum on independence for Catalonia.
Thirty-three policemen were injured.
The Catalan authorities said that 90 per
cent of the 2.2 million people who voted
(out of 5.3 million registered) had backed
independence. The King of Spain said on
television that organisers of the referendum
had ?broken the democratic principles of
the rule of law?. An Austrian law came into
effect banning full-face veils such as burkas
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
or niqabs. Thousands of people in favour of
abortion demonstrated in Dublin, calling
for a change to the Republic of Ireland?s
constitution, which was amended in 1983 to
give an equal right to life to an unborn child
and a pregnant woman. Two men were to
the first to marry when same-sex marriage
became legal in Germany.
R
ex Tillerson, the US Secretary of
State, revealed during a visit to China
that America was in ?direct contact? with
North Korea. President Donald Trump
responded by tweeting: ?Save your energy
Rex, we?ll do what has to be done!? Tom
Price, Mr Trump?s health secretary, resigned
over his use of private jets costing hundreds
of thousands of dollars for government
business trips. ?Such poor leadership ability
by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in
Puerto Rico,? Mr Trump tweeted after
mayor Carmen Yul韓 Cruz criticised White
House hurricane relief efforts. ?They want
everything to be done for them.? Tom Petty,
the popular musician, died aged 66.
A
t least 59 people were killed and
500 taken to hospital when Stephen
Paddock, aged 64, from Mesquite, Nevada,
opened fire from the 32nd floor of the
Mandalay Bay hotel, Las Vegas, on a
crowd at an outdoor music festival. He then
killed himself. Police found 23 firearms
in his room. Two women were killed at
St Charles railway station in Marseilles by
a man with a knife who reportedly shouted
?Allahu Akbar? before being shot dead
by soldiers. The Nobel prize in physics
went to three US scientists who detected
gravitational waves.
CSH
9
Are you on track
for retirement?
Are your investments
working hard?
We wanted somewhere
we?d be happy to invest
our own money, so we set
up 7IM. 15 years on, it?s
still there. We?d like to
help you with yours.
We?re investment managers. We help individuals and families manage
their money to meet their needs and aspirations. We believe in doing
things simply, clearly, cost effectively and well.
Call us to book a wealth review, register for a seminar or ?nd out more.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back
less than you originally invested.
Seven Investment Management LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Member of the London
Stock Exchange. Registered office: 55 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 3AS. Registered in England and Wales number OC378740.
Andrew Marr
T
he best reason for visiting party
conferences is to sniff the air. It?s
fragments of conversation drifting
through a bar, expressions on faces,
tones of voice, that tell you the most.
What I picked up in Manchester is
first, that Theresa May is really fighting
to stay; second, that Boris Johnson is
overplaying his hand; but third, that this
is over a profound issue of policy and not
just ?blond ambition? .
I gave Mrs May a relatively tough
interview and I think she was pretty
cross. But my impressions were that
the ?burning injustices? leader of the
Downing Street steps is the real one;
she?s frustrated she went off-message;
and she now badly wants to get back to it.
The trouble is, Brexit overshadows
everything. Talking to the most
passionate Brexiteers, I was struck by
just how much they fear betrayal and
failure. They regarded the Florence
speech as potentially disastrous because
the proffered two-year transition allows
time for the Tories to lose crucial votes in
the Commons, and then an election ? at
which point the whole project might fall.
This is, of course, what many
Remainers hope for. But it requires
Labour to be highly disciplined on
Europe. It also requires Tory MPs not
just to rebel but to bring the government
down on a confidence vote. Unlikely, no?
Still, fear of failure is thrumming through
the Brexit wing; and this is what the
Foreign Secretary has picked up on. Even
so, there was much less ?good old Boris?
joviality and many more expletives on
the subject than I?ve heard before.
C
onferences should be a time for
great speeches ? and many lousy
ones too. My perfect conference reading
was a new book by Philip Collins,
Tony Blair?s ex-speechwriter, about
rhetoric and democracy. It?s called
When They Go Low, We Go High ? a
noble sentiment from Michelle Obama.
Collins anatomises great speeches from
Pericles and Cicero to the present day.
C
onferences also provide cracking
material for the surrealist fl鈔eur.
Walking through St Peter?s Square
in Manchester I came across pro-EU
demonstrators. One was a Boris Johnson
impersonator ? a very good likeness, I
have to say ? riding a pink and purple
inflatable unicorn, presumably in the
pursuit of some metaphor or other. A
dishevelled man arrived and said, with
a sense of urgency: ?I need a hug. Can I
have my hug?? Alternative Boris asked:
?A hug with me or with the unicorn?? The
man looked disgusted. ?With the unicorn,
mate. Obviously.? And he bent down and
hugged it with what seemed real passion.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Call
020 3823 8826
Email
spectator@
7im.co.uk
Go to
Some may mock but he includes the
former Labour leader?s ?first Kinnock
in a thousand generations? speech at
Llandudno during the 1987 general
election campaign. I heard it as a young
reporter. Those of us following Neil
Kinnock?s campaign had the company
of his Special Branch detectives, who
were ? perhaps predictably ? ardent
Thatcherites and deeply sceptical
about Kinnock, one in particular.
As Kinnock spoke, their job was to
stand in front of the platform keeping a
close eye on the crowd. About halfway
through the peroration, I glanced at
this officer. His face was wet with tears.
I have never again underestimated the
power of great rhetoric to move.
S
uch rhetoric needs to be meant. It
needs to be in clear English. It needs
a strong message. Kinnock was one of
the last of the great conference hall
orators, who never translated properly
to the age of the soundbite. These days,
I fear the autocue has helped to destroy
conference rhetoric. It raises the duff
speaker to almost acceptable mediocrity,
but it reduces really good orators ?
denuded of the tension and danger of a
memorised or extemporised address ?
down towards the same level.
R
uth Davidson gave a speech about
the gross imbalance between
London and the rest of the country.
Consciously or not, she was echoing
Fletcher of Saltoun, a vivid Scottish
parliamentarian of the early 1700s,
who compared London?s unnatural
engorgement with Britain?s wealth to the
swollen ?head of a rickety child?. He was
a proto-nationalist. She is nothing of the
sort: but she sounded genuinely cross.
www.7im.co.uk/
ack from Manchester, I went
B
straight to Bermondsey, to a
spectator
gallery called Project Space, where I am
showing some of my recent paintings,
including a few with political themes.
Hanging is a fiendish job, I have come
to realise ? what should go where and
exactly how much white space should be
left. It?s a joint show with a professional
painter called Adrian Hemming. For his
sake rather than mine, if anyone can get
along to see it, we?d be delighted.
11
POLITICS|JAMES FORSYTH
The Conservatives admit they have a
problem ? but can they solve it?
F
or those who don?t want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister, the Tory conference was half encouraging and half
depressing. The encouraging part is that the
Tory party has grasped the problem. There
seems to be near universal acceptance that
a ?rigged? housing market is making the
under-40s feel that they have little chance of
ever owning a home ? and you can?t expect
those without capital to be capitalists. But
the solutions that the Tories are currently
offering are inadequate.
The decline of the property-owning
democracy is an existential threat to the
Tory party. Homeowners tend to vote
Tory, so the fact that home ownership is at
a 30-year low has, obvious political implications for the party. At the last election,
55 per cent of those who owned their home
outright voted Conservative, as did 43 per
cent of those with a mortgage ? but only 31
per cent of private renters.
The gap between the voting behaviour
of renters and owners has never been larger,
perhaps because so many renters now think
they?ll never be owners. The Tories cannot
afford for the proportion of homeowners
in the electorate to fall further. For their
own political survival, and for the country,
Tories need to build more homes. Theresa
May did announce a plan for more council properties and Philip Hammond promised more money for help to buy, but these
are sticking-plaster solutions. I understand
that there will be further housing measures in the budget, but they need to be truly
radical if they are to ensure that the fall
in home ownership is reversed before the
next election.
The Tories are also divided according
to mood. One former cabinet minister told
me: ?That smell you can smell, that?s the
smell of a political party dying.? But there
is an upbeat faction. One of those closely
involved in David Cameron?s two electoral
successes argues that this was always going
to be a ?clear the decks? conference, dealing with the fallout from the election campaign. This Cameroon argues that the fact
the party has diagnosed the problem means
it can now be solved.
There is no election tomorrow. The
Tories might have more than four years to
turn things around. But they should remem12
ber that by 2022 they will have been in
power for 12 years. This means voters will be
particularly sceptical of promises that they
make. They will judge them on their record
? and the Tories will have to make sure that
it is good enough.
This means that they cannot afford
just to present themselves as the risk-free
option. Faced with Jeremy Corbyn and
John McDonnell, it is tempting to offer
sanity and stability ? but the sheer radicalism of Brexit rules that out. You cannot
be the government implementing the
most dramatic change in Britain?s affairs in
The decline of the property-owning
democracy is an existential
threat to the Tory party
decades and simultaneously the safe-pairof-hands party.
It is not just Brexit which means the
Tories must be radical. We are living through
an era of rapid change. The iPhone is only
ten years old. But we have already come to
take it for granted that we have in our pocket, in one device, a camcorder, a GPS system
and the ability to access the internet. Technology will not only change how we live, but
also transform the nature of the economy ?
and the pace of change is about to increase.
A party whose aim is to keep things as close
to where they are now will not succeed in
this environment.
The Tories need to have a message for
those workers fearful about automation
and what it means for their jobs. But this
digital revolution is also a political opportunity for them to present themselves as the
pro-consumer party who are instinctively
comfortable with a more diversified economy
in which the state is less powerful.
Those under 40, the group that the
Tories have such a problem with, are far
more comfortable with this new economy.
Just look at how baffled young Londoners were by Sadiq Khan?s trenchant support of Transport for London?s plan to ban
Uber. The Tories must show that they are
the party that understands this new economy and that there is nothing modern about
Corbyn?s 21st-century socialism.
Most important, the Tories must try their
hardest not to splinter over Brexit. The cabinet could agree with Theresa May?s Florence speech because it didn?t address the
really contentious question of what sort
of relationship with the EU the UK actually wants. But when the talks move on to
trade, probably in the new year, this will
have to be addressed. When the EU sets out
its negotiating mandate for the trade talks,
the UK will have to respond in kind. At that
moment, one side in this cabinet argument
is going to be disappointed, but it must, for
the sake of the party, attempt to present a
united front.
The increasing bitterness of the cabinet?s
Brexit row also has implications for that
other great Tory topic: the leadership. Any
new leader must be seen as the person who
can unite the party, which makes a Brexit
moderate likely, and strengthens the hand
of those who want to go for a fresh face
Too many Tories feel that the party is
heading for a defeat as unavoidable as the
one that it suffered in 1997. But this need
not be the case. As Ruth Davidson pointed
out, the political wheel turns faster these
days ? you can be cock of the walk one
minute and yesterday?s news the next. Corbyn will struggle to keep up his momentum
for the next four years. He is also far easier
to beat than Tony Blair as he is determined
to win from the left. Note how he always
talks about housing in terms of public provision rather than private ownership.
Admitting you have a problem is the first
step to solving it. The Tories have done that
this week. Now, they need to show the public
that they know how to sort it.
SPECTATOR.CO.UK/COFFEEHOUSE
?I thought the memo said harm offensive.?
Hourly updates from Parliament and beyond.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Charles Moore
H
owever much we try ? and lots of
us don?t ? we fall for the power of
the photo-image. So the news, as reported
in Britain, was simple: Spanish police
brutal; Catalan democracy assailed. I
am not in a position to know the real
facts about the violence, so I simply note
that the estimates for those injured in
Catalonia on Sunday vary from 844 to
two in hospital. But so much was left
out by the dominant account. First,
the referendum was illegal under the
constitutional law of Spain (reinforced
by the Catalan Supreme Court). Serious
votes normally need legal form, for good
reason. Otherwise, they are more open to
manipulation by those calling them, and
therefore their results are untrustworthy.
The whole of Spain has an interest in the
future of Catalonia, since Catalonia is
a part of it. The whole of Spain gave no
permission for this referendum. Second,
our media made the same mistake they
make here when they speak of ?the Scots?,
but mean the SNP. ?The Catalans? are not
the same as Catalan separatists. In the
last regional elections in Catalonia, the
secessionists did not win a majority of
the vote. In their stunt of a referendum,
even by their own count, they got less
than 30 per cent of the vote of those
eligible, which suggests that although a
lot of Catalans want independence, a lot
more don?t. We knew that already. Now
this minority will declare ?independence?.
At the time of writing, no foreign power
has supported the separatists? theatrics,
except for Jeremy Corbyn?s friend
Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela.
I
have seen Spain?s behaviour
contrasted unfavourably with David
Cameron?s ?generous? approach to the
Scottish referendum. It sounds rather
British to be relaxed about people
having referendums if they want them,
but in fact it is something which needs
thinking through. In the Scottish case,
Mr Cameron was insouciant about the
wording of the question (much too
favourable to the SNP) and about the
ramifications of a Yes on all UK citizens
affected by the result yet unable ?
because not resident in Scotland ? to
affect it. Even his Brexit referendum,
though rendered necessary by previous
private bankers. Unfortunately, my own
banker is so private that I have quite
forgotten who he is.
B
broken promises, was launched almost
frivolously, without proper rules or a plan
of what to do if the vote went against him.
B
y the simple expedients of being
cheerful and attacking Jeremy
Corbyn, Boris Johnson scored a deserved
hit at the Tory conference on Tuesday. It
is right not to be shy about questioning
Mr Corbyn?s record. But while it is true
that Mr Corbyn has never wavered, over
40 years, in his extreme socialist views, it
is also worth noting that he has recently
changed his tone a lot. It reminds me of
how Ian Paisley, without ever recanting
his anti-Popery, dropped his noisy and
lurid 1970s expressions of it, and adopted a
more modern political voice. In his speech
in Brighton last week, Mr Corbyn almost
completely left out one of his deepest
convictions ? the need for a return of trade
union power. Those who know his mind will
find traces of this belief if they look hard,
but the public in general and the young in
particular will have heard only about more
public spending, the re-nationalisation of
utilities and railways and higher taxes on
the rich. The hard left is always obsessed
with hard power, and the unions are their
essential tool for capturing the economy. So
when Mr Corbyn barely mentions them, his
omission is entirely deliberate.
N
iall Ferguson has just brought out a
book called The Square and The Tower.
It is about the omnipresence of networks,
now and in the past. At his launch party ?
suitably in some great tower of wealth in
equally suitable St James?s Square ? Niall
was introduced by a man whom he described
as ?my private banker?, thus indicating that
when it comes to networking, the great
professor is on the money. Civilisation has
surely reached its apex when historians have
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
efore Niall spoke, a woman friend
and I were discussing a curious
phenomenon of our time. We live in an
age of unprecedented woman power,
and yet another, perhaps even stronger
trend contradicts this. Nowadays, in a
way almost unimaginable 30 years ago,
women are regarded as the best people
to put up front. It is almost always better
for an organisation?s public face to be
a woman: it inspires more interest and
more trust. The counter trend, however,
is that the inner workings of almost
everything to do with computers, the
internet, Silicon Valleys, Glens and
Roundabouts, are overwhelmingly
dominated by men. ?Emotional literacy?
is highly prized in public culture and
mostly associated with women. But the
high-techies, who can make (and lose)
the world?s money, and whose spiderlike
skills weave the worldwide web, are
mostly male ? and often the least
emotionally literate members of my sex
at that. Who?s winning?
I
f you cross the roads round Trafalgar
Square, the pedestrian lights no longer
show red or green men. Currently,
they display same-sex gender symbols
interlocked, or the transgender sign,
instead. On other occasions, I have been
told, they depict two women holding
hands, or two men standing together.
They were introduced temporarily for
the Gay Pride march last year, but seem
to have popped up again. Technically,
this jeu d?esprit must be capable of wide
variation ? one could have crucifix
traffic lights when the Passion is enacted
in the square on Good Friday, or a pack
of red/green hounds when the next
Countryside March tramps by. But on the
whole, it would be better if these lights
had only one, unambiguous message.
They should simply tell you when to cross
a road, which can be matter of life or
death. Perhaps the only way of avoiding
the intrusion of the politically correct
equivalent of product placement is to use
the plain words favoured in American
cities: ?WALK? and ?DON?T WALK?.
13
Say nothing
Don?t look for tidy solutions to mass atrocities
LIONEL SHRIVER
T
o my embarrassment, ever since my
novel We Need to Talk About Kevin
was published in 2003, I?ve been a
go-to girl regarding American mass murders. I?m embarrassed because my credentials are so poor ? I?m only an expert on a
school killer I made up ? and because I?ve
so little to say. That?s one of the standard
reactions to these things, whose scale seems
only to escalate: being struck dumb. That?s
why Sky News and the BBC ring me up.
They?re desperate, you see. They have nothing to say either.
In the days I accepted many of these gigs,
I made what I hoped was one serviceable
point. As most of the shooters want attention, surely our mistake is to give
it to them. The press going large
about these atrocities, combing
through the culprits? every available biographical titbit for weeks,
only inspires other would-be killers, who often yearn to be famous
so badly that even posthumous
celebrity will do. I?ve despaired
how much easier it is to make a
name for yourself with villainy
than with accomplishment, for in
terms of raising one?s profile, mass
murder is fiendishly efficient.
So I?ve suggested we stop delivering what the malefactors seem
to crave. Play down their spiteful
temper tantrums. Don?t do long
features on their backgrounds,
their dysfunctional families, their
grievances. Because deploring giving these miscreants attention was
still giving them attention, a few years ago I
officially demurred from comments on mass
killings ? like this one.
The rest of the media can?t take my advice
any more than I can take my own. It?s impossible to ?play down? the murder of 58 country music fans on Las Vegas strip, along with
the injury of more than 500. When a sniper with many guns on the 32nd floor of the
Mandalay Bay strafes a music festival with
automatic gunfire, placing the story below
the fold on page ten would be journalistically ludicrous and morally warped. Feigning
blitheness, the better to deny the killer what
we presume he wanted, would disrespect
the victims and ill serve the news consumer.
Alas, there?s no denying the fierce rubbernecking curiosity these killers arouse,
14
and it?s unfeasible to keep journalists from
attempting to satisfy it. I?m just as prone to
wondering who was this Stephen Paddock
guy, and what in God?s name drove him to
do this, as anyone else. I read all those articles about his $100-a-hand poker habit, his
lucrative property investments, his gifts of
boxes of cookies to his 90-year-old mother
in Florida. Like you, I thought: ?A retired
accountant? More mild-mannered-sounding
than Clark Kent! A parody of the harmless.?
If my own stock moral of this story turns
out to be worse than useless, I?m equally sick
of the predictable bromides from you Brits.
OK, yes, I support stricter American gun control. Obviously the US should restore the ban
on assault weapons. Nevertheless, I get impatient with the ritual huffiness in the UK about
what is wrong with those Americans and look
at what we did right away after Dunblane
? if nothing else, because this superior tuttutting doesn?t do any good. No one in the
US especially cares what you think about
American gun laws, or about anything else,
come to think of it. So let?s take that routine
hair tear as a given, and move on.
In Kevin, I deliberately removed guns
from the equation ? my killer uses a crossbow ? because it wasn?t America?s inadequate gun laws that grabbed me. I didn?t
want to write a reductive parable whose
easily decoded message ran ?gun control
good, gun ownership bad?. The real news
stories that inspired the novel don?t excite
our incredulity, our perverse absorption, our
anxiety and our horror because we?re all so
caught up in the controversy over the American constitution?s second amendment.
No. What fascinates and repels us is character. Who could possibly bring himself to
do this and why.
Consequently, it was widely reported
that Stephen Paddock?s father was a bank
robber on the FBI?s top-ten most-wanted
list, ?diagnosed as a psychopath? with ?suicidal tendencies?. Great! We?ve our answer!
It?s genetic! The dad was crazy! Like father
like son! Except these quotes are solely
sourced in an FBI wanted poster from 1969,
and they?re probably bullshit. Furthermore,
the shooter barely knew his father at
all. Our tidy solution looks suspect.
Or we can suppose glibly that Paddock must have experienced a ?psychotic break?. OK, but then what have
we got? Psychiatric terms are merely
descriptive. That label would tell us
only that Paddock went nuts, and we
knew that already. Even ?going nuts?:
what?s that? Buying a shitload of guns
and killing scores of total strangers for
no apparent reason. The definition is
circular.
Did Paddock actually yearn to be
famous, per usual, or was he a motivational outlier? Search me.
We want an explanation, and then
again we don?t want one. We realise
that to simplify these characters to a
pathology and their incentives to one
reason is to lie. To reduce Sunday night
at the Mandalay Bay to the importance
of more restrictive American gun laws is
somehow to miss the point. The point being
that these tragedies are utterly pointless,
and that?s what makes them so hard to take.
They don?t deliver helpful, learnable lessons, not even about gun control. The poor
bastard they dragged on Channel 4 News
to splutteringly defend US gun ownership
was right: Paddock could as well have used
a bomb (which it seems he might have been
planning to deploy too).
It?s the intention that is consternating, far
more than the implements of its execution.
Paddock had a pleasant little house, even if
he kept the shades drawn. A long-term girlfriend who appears friendly and attractive.
He was both all of 64 and only 64 ? well
past testosterone OD and more likely to be
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
taking supplements; still young enough to
keep bopping down to Vegas for gambling
weekends for another 20 years. Why was he
so angry? At the centre of these incidents
is a mystery. The mystery of malice, which
atrocities like Mandalay Bay exhibit with
astonishing purity.
Describing himself as ?dumbstruck?,
Stephen Paddock?s flustered brother Eric
declined to furnish a host of clich閐 ?warning signs?. ?There?s no way I could conceive
that my brother would shoot a bunch of
people he didn?t even know!? he exclaimed,
hands flailing. ?He didn?t even have parking
tickets! He has no criminal record! He has
no affiliations! ? He was a wealthy guy. ?
He could do anything he wanted.?
And look what he wanted to do.
In the very last chapter of Kevin, my
school killer, now in prison, finally stops
concocting facile explanations for his crime.
Having never before braved the question,
his mother Eva (our narrator) asks him
point-blank why he murdered 11 people.
Kevin has trouble looking her in the eye.
??I used to think I knew,? he said glumly.
?Now I?m not so sure.?
?Without thinking, I extended my hand
We realise that to simplify these
characters to a pathology and their
incentives to one reason is to lie
across the table and clasped his. He didn?t
pull away. ?Thank you,? I said.?
Eva tells us, ?I was astonished to discover
his answer was word-perfect. For Kevin,
progress was deconstruction. He would only
begin to plumb his own depths by first finding himself unfathomable.?
There may be a profundity to finding
these killings unfathomable. We preserve a
kind of understanding in staunchly maintaining our inability to understand. Restoration of the US assault weapons ban is a good
idea; it?s not an explanation. For Las Vegas
? and Sandy Hook, Orlando, you name it
? we?re unlikely to get that explanation, or
not a satisfactory one. Perhaps it?s best to
dwell within our own incomprehension ?
to remain, like Eric Paddock, dumbstruck,
rather to concoct the cheap sort of elucidations that Kevin tossed off before arriving at
his redemption: at last finding himself and
the nature of his own malice both unknowable and bewildering.
So if your first reaction to the shooting in
Las Vegas was to drop your jaw and say absolutely nothing, you were in the right mental
place. You may even have been in the same
mental place as Paddock, whose mind I do
not know, but I would bank on this much: that
retired accountant had no more real idea why
he was doing what he did than we do.
Lionel Shriver has joined The Spectator
as a new fortnightly columnist.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
The shootings prove?
...whatever best suits our own prejudices
ROD LIDDLE
I
t is terribly important whenever an
atrocity occurs to scour the internet for information ? however specious ? that proves you were right all
along about something. It is best to do
this before the authorities have made
their official statements about the outrage, but also while they are doing it and
afterwards. But speed is of the essence
? if you can do it while people are still
bleeding to death, so much the better.
And so it was with the Las Vegas
shooting. There was palpable disappointment expressed online by right-wing
people at the apparently incontestable fact that the perpetrator was white.
Not a Muslim at all. (Although some
right-wingers do subscribe to the notion
that Stephen Paddock was photoshopped, or something, by the CIA. Or
the FBI. Whatever.)
The left, meanwhile, found it difficult
to control its delight. Not just whitey, but
well-off whitey, an accountant, a handmaiden of the capitalist system. Humorous memes began to circulate on social
media sites ? perhaps all accountants
should be treated as potential mass murderers, ha ha ha. Because that?s what
you do to Muslims, isn?t it? Treat them
all as suspects.
The skin colour of Mr Stephen Paddock placed the ball firmly in the left?s
court and before the blood had dried on
the festival field, the BBC was giving out
all the details it never gives out when the
perpetrator is Islamic ? and also lecturing the nation sententiously about the
USA?s stupid gun laws. Its reporters were
puffed up with happy self-righteousness.
The connections between cause and
effect, which they never make when it?s
an Islamic atrocity, were spelled out very
clearly, along with the requisite digs at
the President. Gun control and being
nice to Muslims are left-wing concerns,
and they were indulged to the full.
The right sulked for a bit, but not for
too long. It started tapping away, feverishly, at its laptop. Paddock had sprayed
his machine gun at people enjoying a
country music festival, and people who
enjoy country music are usually conservative. (Tell that to Steve Earle, Emmylou
Harris, Billy Ray Cyrus etc.) And in a
right-wing city ? Las Vegas. So rather
slender straws had suddenly appeared,
and were eagerly grasped at. A photo
purporting to be of Paddock attending
an anti-Trump rally emerged, and, crucially his T-shirt was pink and he was
wearing one of those vagina hats popularised by the demented left to show
solidarity with people who have vaginas, i.e. largely women but also men who
have had their todgers lopped off and
replaced with vague but accommodating
cavities. Hats which actually don?t look
anything like vaginas, or at least not like
any of the vaginas I?ve ever encountered.
Further, a rumour emerged from
somewhere that the police had discovered Antifa literature in Paddock?s hotel
There was palpable disappointment
online from right-wing people that
the perpetrator was white
room. Aha! Antifa is the agglomeration of
truly unpleasant leftie SJWs who turn up
to visit violence when someone they disagree with ? which means almost everyone ? is speaking at an event. So it
would seem that this was perhaps a fundamentalist left-wing attack upon normal US citizens and patriots. And the
ball was now back down at the other end
of the court.
The BBC didn?t mention any of this
latter stuff, not a word. It kept schtum.
Perhaps rightly. Although this sensible
refusal to speculate didn?t stop the corporation banging on about gun control and
smacking Trump around the head.
Were we always like this? With this
desperate desire to be proved completely right about everything, immediately,
no grey areas, no room for discussion
or nuance or anomaly? And when we
can?t quite find the evidence to support
our point of view, willing to fabricate it,
or to buy into a patently ludicrous fabrication because it suits our political
?
opinions?
15
I don?t remember us having been like
this for ever. I suppose it is something to do
with the internet, and perhaps 24-hour news
? but especially the internet. Whereas
before, when something of import occurred
in the world we were left to ponder and
gradually form our opinions as information
trickled out over the space of several days,
now everything is instantaneous. Something happens, and our first recourse is to
seek out corroborating evidence to support our prejudices and to stick to them, no
matter how absurd it might seem to everybody else.
The internet was intended to be empowering and enfranchising, allowing us to
participate in the stuff of society and of
governance. But when horrible or momentous events occur we do not approach them
with the scientific detachment of William
of Occam or Karl Popper. Instead we dive
right in, anxious to be wholly justified; and
no matter what fatuous opinion we hold,
it will be justified because there is always
a tranche of other imbeciles spewing out
the same nonsense. It?s a marketplace of
ideas, sure, but we are very loyal to our own
brand. And the dead, lying in that field in
Las Vegas? Oh, them. I had quite forgotten
about them.
Should the USA reform its gun laws?
I think so. Maybe. I?m not absolutely certain because those gun laws are tied up with
important constitutional rights which simply don?t pertain over here. I am fairly confident that it?s not only Muslims who try to
kill lots of western infidels. Rogue nutters
do it too, from time to time. But nonetheless, the jihadis subscribe to a coherent, if
maniacal creed, which makes Islamist atrocities of a different order to isolated acts of
deranged psychopathy. And Stephen Paddock? Some on the right suggested he?d
converted to Islam shortly before he picked
up his cache of weapons. I think some on
the right wish for that with a longing that is
problematic to explain.
SPECTATOR.CO.UK/RODLIDDLE
The argument continues online.
Why wait for
tomorrow?s
papers?
THE BEST
ANALYSIS IS
ALREADY ON
THE SPECTATOR?S
WEBSITE
To sign up to receive the week?s
highlights delivered to your inbox each
Saturday, visit spectator.co.uk/best
16
Following suit
The Tories aren?t too white. They?re too blue
LARA PRENDERGAST
W
hy do Tories all look the same?
This year, having never been to
a party conference before, I went
to the Labour one in Brighton, then the
Tory one in Manchester. At each, the political weather was what you?d expect. What
struck me most, however, was the difference in clothing. In Brighton, I saw women
with pink hair and men wearing T-shirts
that read ?Stop the war? or ?Never kissed a
Tory?; scruffy young Corbynistas rubbing up
against nervous-looking Blairites.
At the Conservative conference, there
was only one tribe ? and its uniform was
a bland blue suit. I expected to find a mix
of styles as at the Labour convention. I pictured country bumpkins in red corduroy
mingling with city slickers; shy Tories in
twinsets and not-so-shy Tories in loud garments. Surely there would be as many different types as there are variants of Labourite?
I imagined I would see a few of the tribes.
I was wrong. Almost everyone wore
the same outfit. Everywhere I looked,
there were identikit men in two-piece tailoring, strutting around against the bright
blue backdrop of the conference panelling. Young and old looked the same. Many
women also wore blue business suits.
The Conservatives like to talk about
diversity a lot. They don?t want to be
thought of as the party of white male privilege, and they aren?t. There?s no shortage
of ethnic minorities milling about, cheering
on Theresa May and roaring approvingly at
Boris. That?s something to be celebrated.
No, the problem is not that the Tories are
too white ? it?s that they are too blue. The
conference looks like a sea of corporate
blandness, and it?s suffocating.
The whole party seems to have become
professionalised to the point that it feels
uncomfortable even to deviate from this
boringly ubiquitous appearance. It feels a
bit fascistic. In the conference hall, I wore
a brightly coloured coat: you could spot
me from across the room. If I had done the
same at Labour, nobody would have noticed.
When everyone dresses the same, it makes
the entire atmosphere feel a lot more dull.
Where has this generic Tory look come
from? In the main exhibition hall, I found a
tailor selling suits; he told me he had done
a brisk trade all day. He had already sold 50
blue ?corporate suits? and expected to sell
many more ? possibly to those unfortunate
delegates who had not realised what they
were expected to wear. ?They are associated with power,? he said. ?The blue suit is the
power suit.? One Tory grandee told me that
his own tailor had suggested his grey hair
would look better next to blue fabric.
So that explained it: everyone at the
Tory conference is power-dressing. They
think the party is their ticket to success, so
they all dress up to look like members of
the same managerial class. Lobbyists, journalists, activists, party members, politicians
? they all looked exactly the same. Even
the G4S security guards blended in. When
the halls filled up for the speeches, it looked
like a convention for Patrick Bateman ? or
George Osborne ? lookalikes.
I had expected a little eccentricity ?
green velvet coats or orange socks, perhaps.
But no. I did spy one or two tweed jackets,
but the men wearing them looked sheepish
and anxious. I also saw a man in a kilt who
looked positively deranged. The only truly
eccentric costume turned out to be a wed-
I did spy one or two tweed
jackets, but the men wearing them
looked sheepish and anxious
ding dress. It was worn by the swivel-eyed
controversy jockey Katie Hopkins.
It?s no wonder Boris Johnson and Jacob
Rees-Mogg are so popular. Amid the blue
wash, they seem so colourful. Boris wore a
blue suit, too, but nothing stops him standing out.
The Mogg, for his part, sported a darker,
double-breasted number in a more traditional cut. He looked sharper than all the
blues around him. I?d expected his acolytes
to wear something similar, but they preferred to play it safe in their sensible standard-issue suits. (Mogg told me he found
the thought of his fans copying his style
?terrifying?.) It?s also not surprising May?s
kitten heels have been so fetishised by
Tories: anything that isn?t a blue jacket and
trousers becomes fascinating.
I bumped into one of the Prime Minister?s advisers and asked him whether he
had spotted this sartorial fact. Reluctantly,
he agreed that everyone looked alike. ?The
stats will show, though, that there are a wide
range of different people here at conference,? he told me. And with that, in a swish
of his blue suit, he was gone.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
We strive to
discover more.
Aberdeen?s Asian Investment Trusts
ISA and Share Plan
When you invest halfway around the world, it?s
good to know someone is there aiming to locate
what we believe to be the best investments for you.
At Aberdeen, we make a point of meeting every
company in whose shares we might look to invest.
From Japan to Singapore, from China to Vietnam,
we go wherever is required to get to know companies
on-the-ground, face-to-face.
To steer your portfolio in the right direction, be with
the fund manager who aims to discover more in Asia.
Please remember, the value of shares and the income
from them can go down as well as up and you may
get back less than the amount invested. Asian funds
invest in emerging markets which may carry more
risk than developed markets. No recommendation
is made, positive or otherwise, regarding the ISA
and Share Plan.
The value of tax benefits depends on individual
circumstances and the favourable tax treatment
for ISAs may not be maintained. We recommend
you seek financial advice prior to making an
investment decision.
Request a brochure: 0808 500 4000
invtrusts.co.uk/asia
Issued by Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited, 10 Queen?s Terrace, Aberdeen AB10 1YG, which is authorised and
regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Telephone calls may be recorded. aberdeen-asset.co.uk
Please quote A S 22
Healthcare
No silos.
No limits.
At Philips, we help create seamless solutions
that connect data, technology and people.
Because today health knows no bounds, and
neither should healthcare.
There?s always a way to make life better.
See how we?re removing the limits of care at
www.philips.to/nobounds
Spanish practices
Madrid?s violent tactics will only push
Catalans towards independence
DANIEL HANNAN
I
n October 1936, on the anniversary of
Columbus?s discovery of the New World,
a ceremony was held at Salamanca University, in the heart of the nationalist Spain,
to celebrate the ?Day of the Race?. The Bishop of Salamanca, who had recently offered
up his episcopal palace to be Franco?s headquarters, stood in the great hall next to the
founder of the Spanish Foreign Legion,
General Jos� Mill醤 Astray, a one-armed
and one-eyed thug of a man. Also present
was the university rector, Miguel de Unamuno, an eminent Basque philosopher who had
supported the nationalist coup when it was
launched four months earlier, but had since
become disillusioned with its viciousness.
One of the speakers, Professor Francisco
Maldonado, tore into Basque and Catalan
separatism, which he described as tumours
in Spain?s body. The fascist?s role, he said,
was to act as a surgeon, cutting into live
healthy flesh to remove the cancer.
It was too much for Unamuno. Rising, he told the audience that there were
moments when ?to be silent is to lie?. Looking at the maimed Mill醤 Astray, he lamented that Spain would soon be full of cripples.
As for the vituperative language just used
against Basques and Catalans, ?I was myself,
of course, born in Bilbao, and the bishop,
whether he likes it or not, is a Catalan from
Barcelona?. The prelate shrank in embarrassment, but the eyepatch-wearing Mill醤
Astray was enraged. ?Muera la inteligencia!?
he screamed. ?Viva la muerte!? (?Death to
intelligence! Long live death!?)
That nihilistic yell prompted Unamuno
to deliver a put-down that Spanish Republicans have treasured ever since. ?You will
win through brute force,? he told the furious
general, ?but you will never convince, for to
convince you must persuade.?
Unamuno?s words serve as a rebuke to
any government that sees force as a substitute for argument, but are especially apt
when, as happened last Sunday, state power
is again deployed against separatism.
To overseas observers, the use of riot
police to break up Catalonia?s independence referendum was both disgusting and
bewildering. How could a democratic government send black-clad troopers, with
batons and visors, against families? How
could modern Spain generate scenes that
belong in propaganda cartoons about state
repression? As the polls closed, and online
media fizzed with images of policemen
dragging women by their hair, the Spanish
Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, with a pomposity that often creeps into his public pronouncements, told his countrymen they had
been ?an example to the world?. What the
world actually saw was an example of brutal
?muera la inteligencia? philistinism.
Incredibly, the king followed suit, ticking Catalonia?s Generalitat off for its ?unacceptable disloyalty? and pledging to defend
Spain?s unity. The Crown?s open alignment
with the right is seen by many on both sides
as the ultimate vindication of their stance.
All politicians sometimes march to ancestral drumbeats, inaudible except to others
of their tribe. For Spanish conservatives
? among whom I count many friends, and
In Spain national unity is elevated in
an almost spiritual way. The slightest
concession is treated as a betrayal
through whose eyes I saw the Catalan question until very recently ? national integrity
is the paramount virtue. While conservatives
the world over tend to oppose separatism, in
Spain national unity is elevated in an almost
spiritual way. The slightest concession to the
autonomists is treated as a betrayal of something sacred.
Bizarre as it seems to outsiders, Rajoy?s
authoritarian response is popular in most
of Castilian-speaking Spain, and not just
with his core voters. When the police were
dispatched to Catalonia, patriotic crowds
cheered them on their way. Yet paradoxically, Rajoy has done more to advance Catalan
separatism than any Barcelona politician,
breathing new life into a flagging cause.
After Franco?s death, Catalonia, along
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
with other regions, was given substantial
autonomy. Although there were perennial
arguments about further devolution, supporters of a break were generally a minority. Catalonia, after all, now had most of
the attributes of nationhood: a parliament,
a president, a flag, a police force, tax revenues. The Catalan language, repressed during the dictatorship, was given official status
and became the medium of instruction in
schools. Plenty of Catalans, not just those
whose parents had come from other parts
of Spain, were content with the status quo.
To see how Madrid has destroyed that
status quo, try to imagine London taking
a similar line over Scotland. Suppose that,
instead of agreeing terms for a referendum
with Alex Salmond, David Cameron had had
him prosecuted. Picture Tory politicians in
London calling for Scots to be ?Anglicised?,
as a Partido Popular minister demanded the
Catalans be ?Hispanicised?. Try to visualise
Met officers knocking pensioners aside as
they carted ballot boxes out of schools.
Scots would rightly have felt that they
were being dealt with not as fellow citizens,
but as conquered vassals. Most Irish people felt the same way following the bloody
repression of the 1916 rising, when Dublin
was treated not as a British city, but as an
enemy redoubt. Republicanism went overnight from being a fringe position to having
clear majority support. Telling people that
they are not allowed to leave turns out to be
a pretty good way of ensuring that they do.
A few weeks ago, I made this point to
Ra黮 Romeva, whom the Catalan Generalitat calls its foreign minister, at his exquisite
headquarters in the 14th-century Cases dels
Canonges, near Barcelona?s cathedral. The
Gothic surroundings were magnificent, and
his conversation was entertaining, so I had no
desire to walk out. ?But if I saw someone trying to lock me in, what do you think I?d do??
Quite, he said. For months, he had been
asking for a dialogue with Madrid on holding a recognised referendum, possibly one
whose question fell short of outright independence, but the response was a legalistic insistence that the constitution forbade
any sort of ballot. Lacking other options, the
Generalitat had called its own vote, though
the opinion polls were still finely balanced.
Not any more. Last Sunday?s violence
will push Catalans towards independence.
Public opinion in the rest of Spain, as much
as the letter of the law, won?t allow Madrid
to move. What happens when an irresistible
force meets an immovable object? Catalonia issues a UDI; Madrid imposes direct
rule and cuts off the Generalitat?s funding;
the Generalitat rushes to put a tax system in
place; the stock exchange collapses and the
euro crisis is back with a vengeance. Brexit
may soon be the least of the EU?s problems.
SPECTATOR.CO.UK/PODCAST
?Wave this ? it sends them absolutely crazy!?
Daniel Hannan on the Catalan question.
19
Imran?s biggest test
The former cricketer could well be Pakistan?s next leader
PETER OBORNE
I
t?s been a long journey for Imran Khan.
He founded his political party, PTI
(Pakistan Movement for Justice), in
1996, and for many years made no real progress. Many mocked him. The Guardian
journalist Declan Walsh dismissed him as ?a
miserable politician?, whose ideas and affiliations had ?swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rainshower?.
PTI did make a limited amount of progress in the 2013 general elections, when
it emerged as the second largest party
by national vote and with 30 parliamentary seats. Furthermore,
Khan?s party secured control of
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly
North-West Frontier Province). But
none of this was enough to challenge
for national power.
The outlook has changed dramatically over the past three months. The
world needs to take seriously the
prospect that Pakistan?s sporting idol
and former Test cricket captain may
be its next prime minister.
The Pakistan People?s Party
(PPP), mired in complacency and
corruption, is no longer a significant
national force. Meanwhile, PML-N
(Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz),
the ruling party, is facing a series of
corruption charges after the Pakistan Supreme Court forced the resignation of its leader, Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif, in the wake of investigations that followed the publication
of the Panama Papers.
With only months to go until the
general election, the house of Sharif is
rudderless and broken. Following the fall
of Nawaz, it cannot even agree on a candidate to lead the party into the election.
And it is accused of stashing huge sums of
money abroad.
Imran Khan has one further advantage.
The 65-year-old has repeatedly presented
himself as the virtuous outsider promising to clean up the endemic corruption of
Pakistan?s politics. The enforced resignation
of Nawaz Sharif is therefore seen as a profound vindication of Khan himself.
So when I drove up the hill to Khan?s
elegant house overlooking Islamabad, I
20
wasn?t going to visit a mere commentator on
Pakistani politics. I was going to visit a man
who could potentially transform this vast
Muslim country, now home to more than
200 million people.
I started by asking him about President Trump?s recent announcement that
he would send American troops back into
Afghanistan and the accompanying threat
that Pakistan ?has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists?.
Wearing tracksuit bottoms and sipping
fruit juice, Khan rubbished the President?s
stance. ?It shows a concrete misunderstanding of the whole Afghan issue,? he told me.
He compared the current situation to Vietnam in the 1970s, when the US blamed
insurgents crossing the border from Cambodia for its failure to stamp out the Viet
Cong. ?We all know what happened in Cambodia after that,? he said. ?It?s very similar to
what?s happening right now.?
The Taleban, Khan explained, is an
?indigenous movement? that cannot be
dealt with by military force. ?For 16 years
[the US] have been trying to use [the] military to crush the Taleban movement and it
has failed. And it will fail again. This is just
a recipe for a failed policy. What they?re
doing now is just endless war.? I then asked
Khan about Trump?s plans to drop certain
Obama-era requirements for conducting drone strikes, which could create an
upsurge in attacks on Pakistani soil. While
the Pakistani government has always publicly condemned US drone attacks as an
infringement of its national sovereignty,
a string of reports have cited evidence of
tacit approval behind the scenes. ?We will
not grant them permission,? he replied.
He said that he will stand up to the US,
but Khan may have just as difficult a task
standing up to his own armed forces, which
have ruled Pakistan for almost half of its
70-year history and have exercised a strong
influence when not in power.
Nawaz Sharif?s daughter Maryam
recently labelled Khan a mere pawn of the
military. The Sharifs have recently fallen out
with the armed forces and a common allegation against Khan is that he has become
very close to the military establishment.
But he claimed he would not kowtow.
?A democratic government should sit down
and form its policy and then get the army on
board,? he said. ?If there is any impediment by the army, I should be able to
say, ?Look, I?m the chief executive.?
And then, if I can?t implement my
policy, I should be able to say, ?Look,
I can?t do it, and I resign.??
At this, we turned to his country?s
convulsive domestic politics. To the
detriment of traditional parties, radical groups with links to militancy and
terrorism have been making remarkable inroads into electoral politics,
most recently in last month?s Lahore
by-election, where two hardliners
together received 11 per cent of the
vote. So how comfortable is the PTI
leader with the prospect of sharing
a ballot paper with people who have
been involved in violence?
?I think it?s alarming in the sense
that the traditional religious parties
have lost steam,? he said. ?On the other
hand, the beauty of democracy is ?
and this is what has happened to the
other religious parties ? that once
you bring these guys into parliament, whatever they said before gets moderated. They
move towards the centre.?
And what about blasphemy, the cause
of dozens of murders, notably including of
the former governor of the Punjab? Many
in the West see blasphemy laws as a blatant
attack on freedom of speech, and critics
within the country say the laws lead to the
persecution of minorities and the conviction of innocent people. Since 1990, at least
65 people accused of blasphemy have been
murdered in Pakistan.
Nonetheless, Khan believes that doing
away with the laws would only lead to more
violence. ?I would never get rid of blasphe-
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
my legislation,? he said. ?You know why?
Because I would open the way for lynching
mobs. If you accuse anyone of blasphemy,
the other person has a right to prove that
he?s innocent. But if you take that out, you
will have, in villages, some mullah from a
mosque instigating people.
?It?s happened to us. In Chitral [a district
of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa], suddenly [at] this
one mosque, this guy claimed that someone
had committed blasphemy and he riled the
crowd up, and they were going to lynch him
and the police saved him. So I think that it
is a form of protection for people.?
Khan goes one step further, claiming
that he would punish those found to have
falsely accused others of blasphemy. He said
that this is already happening in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, where 57 people are being
tried after false accusations that student
Mashal Khan had posted blasphemous content online in April led to his being beaten
and shot to death by a mob.
The issue of blasphemy is a symbol of
what would be Khan?s overall approach
to governing Pakistan. First and foremost,
he intends to uphold the rule of law and
strengthen independent institutions in order
to create a more just society.
Some commentators have suggested
that his support is divided across irreconcilable demographic lines. On the one hand,
he depends on the backing of young, urban,
secular-liberal middle-class voters; on the
other, on a more conservative, religiously
minded sector of the population. Once in
power, it is thought, he could find it impossible to please both.
Khan has a simple response to that suggestion. ?With people voting in Pakistan
today, it really is not that much of an issue
whether someone is liberal or someone is
conservative,? he said. ?People want governance. If people vote for us, it won?t be about
whether I?m liberal or conservative. It will
be, who is going to tackle corruption?
Apart from this, what is Khan?s political
vision? In some ways it?s not unlike Jeremy
Corbyn?s. ?I don?t care what anyone says,?
Khan told me. ?I think he?s a genuine leader.
You know, he has a belief system.? Like Corbyn, Khan believes in taxing the rich and
investing heavily in health and education.
?There are two things which I feel my
party has in common with him,? Khan said.
?He believes in social justice, economic
justice. And secondly, his foreign policy is
much more just.?
So is Khan going to win?
?You know, you?re asking a sportsman
who?s going to go and play a match whether
he?s going to win or lose,? he replied. ?Of
course I say I am going to win.?
The world should no longer see Imran
Khan as merely a former Test cricketer.
It needs to look at him very seriously
as a potential leader of Pakistan who can
project his country onto the world stage. He
could become Pakistan?s most recognisable
leader since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto 40 years
ago, mobilising a mass movement and articulating a fresh political vision.
But the world should also bear in mind
one thing: although he is instantly recognisable in the West, and fits the westernised
mould of Bhutto and his daughter Benazir,
many of Khan?s messages ? whether over
drones and military intervention or on the
position of religion in society ? may be
painful to some western ears.
Peter Oborne is a Daily Mail columnist.
Protect your wealth with gold bullion.
The ultimate insurance in turbulent times.
One of the oldest questions in the world is ?where is my money really safe??
Growing numbers are choosing the oldest answer - physical gold. Gold
bars and coins can provide wealth insurance in turbulent times and give
unique tangibility and ownership of your invested wealth.
BullionByPost stock a huge range of bullion bars and coins in gold and
silver. Prices are updated every two minutes in line with global metal
prices. With free insured delivery or fully allocated storage, BullionByPost
are the UK?s No.1 online bullion dealer* for your physical precious metals.
If you have any questions about bullion investment, please feel free to
contact our knowledgable and friendly bullion traders on 0121 634 8060.
Free fully insured delivery.
Over 250,000 orders delivered.
Secure storage at Brink?s.
Physical gold pensions.
Over 17,000 customer reviews.
Extensive range of bars and coins.
0121 634 8060
www.BullionByPost.co.uk
*Source: Experian Hitwise based on market share of UK internet visits March 2016 - March 2017
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
21
Putin the peacemaker
Russia has pulled off a diplomatic coup and emerged with superpower status in the Middle East
JOHN R. BRADLEY
W
hen Russia entered the Syrian
civil war in September 2015 the
then US secretary of defense,
Ash Carter, predicted catastrophe for the
Kremlin. Vladimir Putin was ?pouring gasoline on the fire? of the conflict, he said,
and his strategy of fighting Isis while backing the Assad regime was ?doomed to failure?. Two years on, Putin has emerged triumphant and Bashar al-Assad?s future is
secure. They will soon declare victory over
Isis inside the country.
The dismal failure turned out to be our
cynical effort to install a Sunni regime in
Damascus by adopting the Afghanistan
playbook from the 1980s. We would train,
fund and arm jihadis, foreign and domestic, in partnership with the Gulf Arab despots. This way we would rob Russia of its
only warm-water naval base, Tartus, on Syria?s Mediterranean coast. In the process we
would create a buffer between Iran and its
Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, to divide
the anti-Israel Shia axis. And we would
further marginalise Iran by extending the
influence of our Sunni Gulf allies from Lebanon deeper into the Levant. Half a million
Syrians were slaughtered as a consequence
of this hare-brained scheme, which geopolitically has resulted in the exact opposite of the intended outcome.
Putin, though, had grasped the reality at
the outset. Unlike Afghans, ordinary Syrians
were used to living in a liberal, diverse culture that, while politically repressive, championed peaceful religious co-existence. Most
of them were nervous about seeing their
country transformed into a Wahhabi theocracy. Assad, for all his faults, was the buffer
between them and internecine carnage. They
stuck with the devil they knew, and there
was no popular revolution against Assad
? nothing compared to the Tahrir uprising that ousted the hated Egyptian dictator
Hosni Mubarak. The millions-strong demonstrations in Damascus were pro-regime.
Among the two-thirds of the Syrian population now living in government-controlled
parts of the country, Assad is more popular
than ever, and Putin is a hero.
Small wonder Putin recently mocked
22
Washington for ?not knowing the difference
between Austria and Australia?. The same
charge could, alas, be levelled at Nato leaders generally. At a UN meeting last month,
the Orwellian-named Friends of Syria group
? the western and Gulf Arab alliance that
unleashed jihad ? stated they would not
engage in reconstruction efforts until (in
Boris Johnson?s words) there was a political ?move away from? Assad. But weeks earlier, a massive international conference on
reconstruction had taken place in Damascus.
During it, Assad had ruled out awarding the
multi-billion-dollar contracts up for grabs to
hostile western and Arab countries on the
grounds that they had destroyed his country. Instead, Syria would look east, and especially to Russia, Iran and China. Already
Moscow is busy shipping thousands of tons
of materials and more than 40 pieces of construction equipment ? including bulldozers
and cranes ? to Syria, which does not want
or need our assistance.
An inability to acknowledge, still less
confront, Russia?s expanding regional role
on the back of Syria was similarly highlighted during a whirlwind trip Johnson made to
Libya in August. There, he had a brief meeting with secular strongman Khalifa Haftar,
a former general in Gaddafi?s army whose
forces now dominate eastern Libya ?
including Benghazi and most of the country?s major oil fields. He is determined to
overrun Tripoli, and probably will. Haftar
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Always a dull moment
From ?Perfect peace? by Christopher
Hollis, 21 October 1960: In Mr Terence
Rattigan?s The Final Test, an English
spectator of the match is asked by an
impatient American: ?Is anything going
to happen?? ?Good Lord, I hope not,?
replies the Englishman. He must, I
fancy, have been in professional life
an organiser of a Conservative Party
conference. For a Conservative Party
conference is intended to be, and is, the
dullest thing that ever happens.
has ties with Moscow going back to the
early 1970s and has been in Putin?s pocket
for at least two years, repeatedly meeting
with Russian officials on an aircraft-carrier
off the Mediterranean coast. A week before
shaking hands with Johnson, Haftar had
visited Moscow to hold extensive discussions with top officials from the defence and
foreign ministries. They cemented plans to
move fragmented Libya towards statehood
under Haftar as an all-powerful defence
minister, with direct Russian military aid.
The Kremlin has already deployed troops
and fighter jets to western Egypt to join that
country and the UAE, which is also backing Haftar in his unifying fight against the
Islamists. As with Syria, for decades before
the fall of Gaddafi, Russia was Libya?s big-
Syria and Libya are just two
examples of how Russia is
running rings around the West
gest arms supplier and closest international
ally, and Moscow has long been eyeing a
naval base on the Libyan coastline to complement its (now much beefed-up) base in
Tartus. Given all this, as Johnson suggested
that Haftar may have a ?role to play? in any
future political reconciliation, while insisting that he abide by an internationally brokered ceasefire, the latter must have found
it hard to contain his laughter.
Syria and Libya, though, are just two
examples of how Russia is running rings
around the West in its determination to
achieve superpower status in the Middle
East. Putin has just inked a deal with Turkey
? which has Nato?s second-largest standing
army ? to sell the latter its most advanced
S-400 air defence system. (The S-400 has
already been deployed across Syria, while
Iran has been given the less advanced but
still formidable S-300.) Shortly after Russia entered the Syrian war, Turkey had shot
down one of its planes. It was a deliberate
attempt to provoke a wider war by President
Recep Erdogan, who was furious that Putin
was, by way of a relentless bombing campaign, putting an end to his support for Isis
foot soldiers inside Syria and his purchasing
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
of oil from the caliphate. (Nato had ignored
all this duplicity in the hope that Isis would
weaken Assad.) It is testament to Putin?s
extraordinary diplomatic skills that Russia
and Turkey are these days singing each other?s praises as never before. And under Russian auspices, Turkey is working with Iran
and Iraq to contain the fallout from the
Kurdish referendum on independence.
When King Salman arrived in Moscow
this week, it was the first time that a Saudi
leader paid an official visit to Russia ? but
just the latest in more than two dozen faceto-face meetings Putin has had with Middle
Eastern leaders. Russia, of course, is not the
Soviet Union, and it is easy to see why the
Saudi and other Gulf tyrannies believe they
can do business with an authoritarian leader like Putin. He shares their contempt for
western-style democracy; and, unlike whoever happens to inhabit the White House,
he is a man of his word, promotes stability
not chaos, and has no complicating human
rights agenda.
On the Saudi agenda in Moscow: the
rise of Iran as a dominant regional player,
Syria?s de-escalation zones, and billions of
dollars in Russian arms sales and direct
mutual economic investment. Riyadh is
still outraged that the Obama administration had agreed a nuclear deal with Iran, the
Saudis? rival for regional hegemony, and is
sulking over the Syria debacle. They have
only Russia to turn to in an effort to limit
Tehran?s influence in Syria. For the same
reason, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has been holding meetings with
Putin. During one, he was almost in tears
as he, like the Saudis, begged the Russian
leader to rein in Iran and Hezbollah, which
seek the Jewish state?s destruction.
In a desperate last-ditch effort to stop the
Putin power grab in his tracks, the Trump
administration will almost certainly decertify the Iranian nuclear deal on October
15, despite the International Atomic Energy Agency, EU and UN being adamant that
Tehran is abiding by its terms. The aim is to
provoke military confrontation with Iran,
or at the least create more regional turmoil
to undermine the Kremlin. The reckless
and unjustified move will throw a spanner
in the works, but in the long-term is ? like
intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and
Syria ? doomed to failure.
Putin is well ahead of the curve, having
pulled off the seemingly impossible diplomatic feat of fighting alongside Hezbollah
in Syria while allowing Israel to bomb
Hezbollah and Syrian regime targets inside
the country. Last week, a delegation from
the Palestinian terror outfit Hamas visited
Moscow for talks on the peace process after
reconciling with arch-rival Fatah following yet another successful direct intervention by Putin. And Netanyahu has been
told that, although Russia considers Israel
an important partner, Iran will, come what
?It was a nightmare ? we had to ?y Ryanair!?
may, remain its indispensable ally. Putin
might therefore already have the diplomatic
leverage needed to defuse tensions between
Iran and Israel, once again leaving Washington sidelined and humiliated. For while the
consequences of Netanyahu beating the war
drums over Iran used to be non-existent,
now Moscow could give the green light to
battle-hardened Iran, Syria and Hezbollah
to unleash hellfire against the Jewish state.
It is easy to understand why Netanyahu is
quaking in his boots, but should we in Europe
be alarmed at Putin?s Middle East triumph?
Not unduly so. You do not have to be a Putin
groupie to acknowledge that it isn?t him who
has been launching one illegal invasion after
another in the region, leaving millions dead,
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
maimed and displaced. And he has not only
stemmed the flow of Syrian refugees into our
continent, but started to reverse the trend.
Half a million Syrians have returned to their
country this year alone.
And while no side has emerged with
their hands clean from one of the most brutal civil wars in modern history, it is also
hugely heartening that there were so few
defections from a Syrian army overwhelmingly made up of Sunni Muslims (80 per
cent by some accounts). They were battling against myriad Sunni jihadi groups in
the name of an Alawite-dominated regime,
alongside Russian soldiers appalled (unlike
us) by the carnage unleashed against their
fellow Christians, as well as hardline Shia
militias sent by Iran and Hezbollah likewise determined to protect their own sect.
Given how Tunisia and Turkey ? the two
historically secular Muslim countries in the
region ? are fast embracing Islamism, and
how Sunni-Shia infighting continues to tear
apart much of the rest of the Middle East,
the victory of pluralism and secularism over
the wicked Wahhabi jihad in Syria is ultimately uplifting.
John R. Bradley is the author of books on
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Arab Spring,
and has been covering the Middle East for
two decades.
New Work by National Humanities Medal
Recipient?Lewis E. Lehrman
?Lewis E. Lehrman demonstrates an almost uncanny
feel for all the senior personalities around Winston
Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Second
World War; he understands their characters, viewpoints,
and motives ? coupled with an impressively objective
judiciousness ?.[the book is] well-researched, wellwritten, and profoundly thoughtful ??
- Prof. Andrew Roberts, King?s College, London, author of
Masters and Commanders and Storm of War.
?Lewis E. Lehrman?s arresting and deeply researched study of the
Anglo-American alliance during the Second World War brilliantly
establishes how Roosevelt and Churchill ? found and relied on the right
people ?. Rich in historical immediacy, Churchill, Roosevelt & Company
demonstrates how generals, diplomats, spies, businessmen, economists,
and other key ?gures served the needs of both Prime Minister and
President in their unyielding defense of democratic government.?
- Prof. Richard Carwardine, Rhodes Professor of
American History at Oxford University
Available in Hardcover and on Kindle
23
Sentences without end
3,000 prisoners are still trapped in open-ended IPP jail terms
JESSICA BERENS
M
y first sight of Colin was as a lanky
manifestation lying on a desk in
the Dartmoor prison education
department where I was working as the
writer-in-residence. He looked a bit like
Ian Curtis; he was mid-twenties, clever and
funny. He was also on an IPP ? imprisonment for public protection sentence ? for
GBH, and because IPPs were indeterminate
sentences, he had no release date. When he
was 18 he had got drunk on a train, beaten
a man up and kicked him in the head. It was
the kick that got him the IPP, at a time ?when
they were handing them out like sweets?.
By 2012, the year I met him, he had served
six years on what should have been a twoyear tariff (sentence) and there were 5,949
other IPP prisoners clogging up the landings
of British prisons. That year three of them
bought a successful case to the European
Court of Human Rights which upheld their
proposition that it was impossible for IPP
prisoners to show they were rehabilitated
because there was no provision for them to
do so. They were therefore being arbitrarily
detained, which breached their rights under
Article 5 of the Convention.
The IPP law, made in 2003, was one of
3,000 or so created with sinister speed by
Tony Blair?s government. It was revoked by
Kenneth Clarke in 2012, during his short but
sensible stint as justice secretary.
Labour is out but an estimated 3,000 IPP
prisoners are still lingering on the wings at
a cost of �,182 per head per year, a cost
that will increase when, on release, they are
unable to find jobs.
It is a grotesque legacy. Unable to complete their sentence plan, IPP prisoners
became desperate. Many already reflected
the statistic that says 15 per cent of prisoners have mental health issues, so they selfharmed, acted out and, in one documented
case, committed suicide.
They weren?t saints, but they weren?t
maniacs either, as the Justice Committee pointed out in its 2008 report Towards
Effective Sentencing: ?This type of sentence
has not been targeted at those offenders who
positively pose a grave risk to the public.?
One gets the impression that many of the
IPP prisoners are like Colin. Colin was occa-
24
sionally angry, often depressed, often very
annoying, pushing buttons like an adolescent, arguing about everything because he
liked arguing and being disruptive. During
the three years I worked with him, he was
never vicious, despite living in Dartmoor
where violence was a way of life.
On paper, however, he looked like a
troublemaker and a nutter ? his record
described one incident where he had
climbed on the roof and another where he
had threatened to set fire to a teacher. Security had listed him as an arsonist.
?Colin!? I would say, ?You?re not helping
yourself. Do you want to stay in prison for
the rest of your life??
Endless imprisonment has serious
consequences on a person?s way
of thinking and mental health
He was sensitive, he was imaginative, he
was bored, and he had developed a wide
range of ways both to entertain himself and
to cope with a sentence that had no end.
One of these was the strange habit of faking
an overdose in order to enjoy a day out in
the hospital. ?I?ve been to hospital on numerous occasions,? he told me, ?and I love it
every time. Hospitals are a welcome change
because the care is real care. In hospital you
get treated like a human; in prison you get
treated like dirt.?
He was the first to admit that he would
take any drug he could get his hands on. He
scored anti-psychotics from the health team
and Subutex from his mates on the wings.
He had always liked street drugs. They were
the only thing that stopped the early memories ? in particular the first one, when, at
the age of six, he had helped his mother to
clean her own blood from the walls after his
stepfather had nearly killed her.
He saw himself as someone whose life
had been saved when the state removed him
from a very dangerous home but who had
become trapped in a hopelessly inefficient
system. I saw him as the living product of
a vote-friendly tough-on-crime policy and I
suggested that he write his autobiography.
He was a very good writer, with a high level
of self-awareness that enabled him to process his development.
?Endless imprisonment doesn?t help anyone?s cause and has serious consequences on
a person?s way of thinking and mental health,?
he wrote, ?but this sentence has allowed me to
grow without being able to run away. I am a
completely different person to who I was at
18. I?ve grown into the person I will become.
I?m not perfect but who is? I know if I can
make it in here I can make it out there.?
Colin was finally transferred to a D Cat
(open) prison in 2015. It had been a long
time coming, so he was quite surprised when
it happened. He was seen to have lessened
his risk to the public so off he went in the
van and over the moor.
He left behind a cardboard box full
of papers. They were mostly letters from
girls, decorated with hearts, expressing love
and concern for his welfare. The girls were
important to him and he would mope if they
didn?t write. They were his only relationships, developed through the mail, like those
of characters in a 19th-century novel.
?Can you get rid of this, Jess??
?How??
?I don?t care. Burn ?em or something.?
?Are you sure??
?Yeah.?
He wasn?t the only prisoner who made
me laugh, but he was the only one who cried
in front of me.
Colin?s name has been changed to protect
his identity.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
NOTEBOOK
Prue Leith
o Skibo Castle for a four-day
wedding, a dream of super-luxury
and great good fun. I was struck by
how the American rich are saving
the Highlands. Skibo is supported by
a band of mega-wealthy Americans,
some of whom have invested heavily in
the nearest town of Dornoch, which is
thriving as a result. They are following
a great tradition: Andrew Carnegie,
having made his fortune in the US,
returned to Scotland and rebuilt Skibo.
He also donated libraries and halls
?big enough for dancing? all over the
world, many in Scotland. A great combo:
reading and reeling.
I
live in the Cotswolds, where the rich
often splendidly transform derelict
farms and villages, only to be looked
down on by the indigenous toffs who
raise their eyes to heaven at the vulgarity
of new stone walls and deep gravel.
But when those old houses were first
built, they?d have been exactly like that:
manicured lawns, specimen trees, dressed
stone and show-off statuary. I once
helped Desmond Guinness show wellconnected Georgian Society members
round Daylesford, then Stanway.
Daylesford then belonged to Baron von
Thyssen, who had restored everything
to its original splendour. He?d even
had the carpet remade by Aubusson.
Oh my dears! So vulgar! But Stanway,
with pictures invisible under centuries
of smoke, carpets near threadbare and
the bottom out of the sofa, got nods
of approval ? not for the undoubted
beauty of the Jacobean mansion, but
because nothing had been ?done up?.
Maybe ?shabby chic? started as the landed
gentry?s answer to being a bit skint.
staggering or tripping, in five-inch stilettos
or great lumpy shoes like foot clamps.
The podiatry students were the worst
offenders. Maybe ensuring future work
for their colleagues?
E
n route south I finally got to hear the
deadpan voice of a Virgin Train loo,
familiar to 15,000 YouTubers, intoning:
?Please don?t flush nappies, sanitary towels,
paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid
bills, junk mail, your ex?s sweater, hopes,
dreams or goldfish down this toilet.? It
made me smile, which is more than those
would-be hilarious speech bubbles on food
packaging do. It was funny when Innocent
started the trend, but now it?s irritating.
Just give us the info, damn it.
W
hy is it that it?s much more satisfying
to see a really good play than a film?
I guess because it?s so rare, and theatre
I
n Edinburgh at the Queen Margaret
University graduation, I had to shake
the hand of 800 students. Two things
struck me: how every one of them met
my eye and smiled. Not remarkable,
you?d think. But many students,
especially from poor backgrounds, are
still stuck in the head-down grunting
phase. Not surprising then that QMU
has the highest graduate employment
rate of any Scottish university and the
third highest in the UK. Less jolly was
seeing the girls tottering, sometimes
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
tickets are so expensive that when
the play is a dud, you feel thoroughly
cheated. With taxis, dinner and decent
seats you can be in for �0 a head
in the West End. No wonder London
theatres are full of tourists and the rest
of us just watch live streaming in our
local fleapit.
M
any posh chefs run cooking
schools that combine tuition
with fun and a glass or two. But at
The Woodspeen near Newbury, John
Campbell offers classes dedicated to just
one dish (the perfect steak and chips,
the perfect sourdough loaf). Or you
can spend the morning at the cookery
school prepping your dinner party; take
it all home with instructions and a time
plan, and there will be a chef on the end
of the phone if you panic.
I
INTRODUCTORY OFFER:
Subscribe for
only �an issue
9 Weekly delivery of the magazine
9 App access to the new
issue from Thursday
9 Full website access
Iran is our natural ally
The National Trust in trouble
Boris in Libya
Can you forgive her?
Isabel Hardman and Matthew Parris on Theresa May?s fate
MY
DATES WITH
DIANA
TAKI
The
H less
ou on
ston
of
T
www.spectator.co.uk/A152A
0330 333 0050 quoting A152A
UK Direct Debit only. Special overseas rates also
available. $2 a week in Australia call 089 362 4134
or go to www.spectator.com.au/T021A
?ve spent the past few days on a mighty
ego trip, my agent riding shotgun,
visiting publishers. We are flogging my
as-yet-unwritten cookbooks. Thanks to
The Great British Bake Off, everyone
is keen to see us. It?s also thanks to Bake
Off that I want to go back to cookery
writing at all. I?d thought that bit of my
life was over, but all that cake, and
the enthusiasm of the bakers, has me
thinking more about recipes than
about storylines for fiction.
P
rofessional oldies seem to fall into
two camps, the downright miserable
and the astonishingly active. I?m glad to
see that the Oldie has moved Virginia
Ironside from entertaining us with
her aches and pains to a new Agony
Aunt column where she must deal with
other people?s miseries. But William
De?Ath continues to groan on about
his wretched life. Meanwhile David
Dimbleby cheerfully goes on doing
what he?s always done, only more so,
and Mary Berry, at 82, is presenting or
working on three television shows and
several cookbooks.
I
flip-flop between the two. Knees,
shoulders, back have all been under
the expensive knife, with toes and hips
on the horizon. But my philosophy is,
shut up, take the tablets and keep on with
what you like. I haven?t got time to die.
25
The great unknowns
BAROMETER
Bunny beginnings
The joy of testing yourself in a pub quiz
Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy, died.
How did he get the idea for bunny girls?
? Hefner said he had been inspired by
Bunny?s Tavern, a bar in Urbana, Illinois,
named after its owner Bernard ?Bunny?
Fitzsimmons, who opened it in 1936.
? A closer match for Hefner?s clubs was the
Gaslight Club opened in Chicago in 1953,
where customers were served by ?gaslight
girls? dressed in corsets and fishnets.
? Originally, Hefner proposed dressing
up his hostesses as baby dolls, then toyed
with the idea of ?stag girls? wearing antlers,
to match the name he wanted to give
Playboy magazine, Stag Party. He had to
drop that name when Stag magazine (men?s
adventure stories) threatened to sue.
MARK MASON
Chickens to the slaughter
A chicken processing works was caught
out changing slaughter dates. How many
chickens are processed in Britain?
? In August an average of 20.6 million
birds were slaughtered every week.
? This was a 10% increase on the average
of 18.7 million in August 2016, possibly a
result of a lower pound boosting production.
? The average slaughter weight was 2.2kg.
Year-on-year the total weight of carcasses
slaughtered in Britain rose 16 per cent,
from 132,000 tonnes in August 2016 to
153,000 tonnes a year later.
Source: Defra
A man on Mars
Elon Musk said his company, SpaceX,
planned to put a man on Mars by 2024.
How long would the journey take and how
does it compare with going to the Moon?
moon
mars
Min. distance from
222,000
34.1m
Earth (in miles)
Fastest journey
by probe
8 hours
200 days
Fastest manned
3 days
?
journey
Where they burn wood
The Mayor of London wants to prohibit
wood-burning in parts of London with poor
air quality. How many people heat their
homes with wood in the UK?
? Overall, 7.5% of householders burn
wood to heat their homes. The regions with
the highest proportion of homes burning
wood are: Northern Ireland (18.4 per cent),
the south-east (15.8 per cent) and the
south-west (12.6 per cent).
? The regions with the least wood-burning
households are London (3.9 per cent), the
north-east (4.0 per cent) and Yorkshire and
Humberside (4.2 per cent).
Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change
26
H
ave you heard about the invention
that cures your smartphone addiction? Whereas normally you can?t go
more than a minute or two without checking your phone, this invention allows you to
sit with the thing safely tucked away in your
pocket or bag, not giving it a second thought.
The invention is known as the ?quiz?.
You?d have thought that smartphones
would have killed off this British institution. A pub quiz, with the answer to every
question in the world just a fumbled, sneaky
glance away? Surely cheating would become
rife, rendering the whole exercise pointless?
But that hasn?t happened. There?s something about a quiz that returns us to our
pre-smartphone mindset, where if we didn?t
know something, we didn?t know it. In fact
we like being in this position. We love, to
borrow Donald Rumsfeld?s phrase, a ?known
unknown?. There is a joy in for once having to wait to find out. In a world of instant
answers, the pub quiz shows that we still
have the capacity to delay our gratification.
?The avocado,? for instance, ?derives its
name from which part of the body?? Ask
that in a quiz, and despite the fact that Wikipedia is sitting on everyone?s phone, itching
to give them the solution, they will instead
sit there enjoying the challenge of working
it out. What?s more, that effort is undertaken as part of a team: there?s something very
social about a quiz. ?After which 20th century person is Cristiano Ronaldo named??
You might start to consider famous Christophers, but then one member of your team
will point out that Ronaldo is a given name
as well, and your reasoning will go in a different direction.
Some questions initially sound more difficult than they are. For example: ?The Advocatus Diaboli was an official in the Catholic
Church who tested the case for possible canonisations by arguing against them. His title
gave rise to which modern phrase?? Because
there?s Latin involved, you?ll feel all the
more clever because you can solve it without your phone.
Actually some of the best questions are
Google-proof in the first place (or as near
as dammit). ?The broadcaster Michael Cockerell has interviewed every British prime
minister from Harold Macmillan to David
Cameron. Which was the only one Cockerell
saw using their fingers to count on?? You?re
unlikely to have read the newspaper article in which that fact was revealed, so you?ll
have to guess. And that?s the joy ? it?s fun
not knowing, having to go through the PMs
and hazard a guess. I tested Alastair Campbell on it once. He thought for a moment,
then said: ?I bet it was Gordon.? I had to tell
him it was the one immediately before Gordon. Cockerell was interviewing Blair while
Cherie was pregnant with their fourth child,
and mentioned that he himself had seven
children. ?Even after this one,? said Blair,
counting on his fingers, ?I would need another three to catch up with you.?
Also unGoogleable is: ?On the evening
of Thursday 4 August 2016, after a day spent
commentating on the Edgbaston Test match,
Shane Warne persuaded Henry Blofeld to try
something for the first time. It caused Blofeld
to utter the sentence: ?There is a glass inside
my glass.? What was Blofeld trying??
Sometimes a question will show how fallible our memories are. It?s only a few months
Some of the best quiz
questions are Google-proof
in the ?rst place
since the Oscars, but could you name the two
films involved in the ?Best Picture? mix-up?
And if so, could you get them the right way
round ? which was mistakenly announced
and which was the real winner?
Often a question will contain the clues
you need to solve it. ?Which confectionery company was founded by Hans Riegel
in Bonn?? You might get the feeling ? and
you?d be right ? that the order in which
those names appear will lead you to the solution. Sometimes it?s more a case of educated
guesswork, as in tiebreakers, where the winner is the team nearest to the correct answer.
Try: ?In which year did the last widow of a veteran of the American Civil War die??
But occasionally it?s a question?s very
absurdity that makes it entertaining. ?As of
summer 2016, in all of Jason Statham?s movies combined, which had he thrown more of
? kicks or punches?? In essence you?re tossing a coin ? but the teams that get it right
will cheer as though they?ve discovered the
meaning of life. Trust me, I?ve seen it happen.
For the quiz answers, turn to page 31.
SPECTATOR.CO.UK/PODCAST
Mark Mason?s Question Time: A Journey
Round Britain?s Quizzes is published this
week. He discusses the art of quizzing with
Andrew Hunter Murray.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
JAMES DELINGPOLE
If only the Tories understood economics
?I
don?t think I?m quite as Austrian as you are,? a Tory minister said
to me the other day. And I knew
then that the party is doomed. It wasn?t
what he said so much as the way that
he said it: in the fond, amused, each-tohis-own tone you might use to dismiss a
friend?s enthusiasm for Morris dancing or
Napoleonic re-enactment or dogging?
But personally, I think free market economics (of the Austrian or any other classical
liberal school) is far too important to be left
to wonks, think-tankers and out-there rightwing commentators. So did Margaret Thatcher. ?Hayek?s powerful Road to Serfdom left a
permanent mark on my own political character, making me a long-term optimist for free
enterprise and liberty,? she said. And so did
Ronald Reagan. Asked which philosophical
thinker or writers had influenced his conduct as a leader, he replied: ?I have read the
economic views of von Mises and Hayek.?
Much has been made of the unfortunate
fact that we now have a Conservative prime
minister who doesn?t feel at all comfortable
defending free markets. But the bigger problem is: nor do many of her juniors. I could
name one or two exceptions: Jacob ReesMogg definitely gets it; so do Steve Baker,
Kwasi Kwarteng, John Redwood and, I
think, Priti Patel. But it?s not very encouraging. Not when you realise that it?s economics
? and only economics ? which will ultimately decide whether or not Jeremy Corbyn ever gets to become prime minister.
The reason for this is quite simple: when
you have a resurgent opposition promising
to make everything better by ending austerity, you need a counter-narrative compelling
enough to make people vote for you rather than for the party that?s offering all that
free jam. ?Our free jam is more responsibly
sourced? is not a compelling argument. Nor
is: ?Look at our free-jam track record.? Nor,
for that matter, is: ?Look at Venezuela. That?s
how little jam you get under socialism.? Nor
?Here is a new report showing how guilty we
are about some made up nonsense about jam
injustice among ethnic minorities?. Nor even,
I?m sorry to say, is: ?The government doesn?t
have a magic jam-making tree.?
It?s a shame the last argument hasn?t
worked, because in essence it?s a very effective one. Rees-Mogg demonstrated this a few
weeks back on Question Time, in response
to a question about government spending.
Patiently he pointed out that the government
has no money of its own: only what it takes
through taxation or borrows, with negative
consequences either for the productive sector
of the economy or for the future generations
who are left on the hook. The audience got
it: they clapped. Ordinary people are more
intelligent than politicians give them credit
for ? but only if you present them with the
arguments and the facts, not if you hold back
for fear that it might confuse them.
But this government has a major prob-
This government has a problem
with its ?magic money tree? defence of
Conservatism: it doesn?t live by it
lem with its ?magic money tree? defence
of Conservatism. It hasn?t lived by this
principle for a very long time. Nor does
it even understand it, to judge by some of
the eye-catching initiatives rolled out at
conference this week: the bribes for students; the subsidies for home buyers?
The way May?s Conservatives are carrying
on, you?d think they imagined they were in
possession of a fantastical arboreal structure with the power to generate free cash.
There?s a book just out which everyone in
the Conservative party ought to read: Architect of Prosperity by Neil Monnery. It?s the
biography of one of the 20th century?s greatest unsung heroes, Sir John Cowperthwaite,
the financial secretary in the British colonial
administration whose determinedly low-tax,
regulation-light, fiscally austere regime put
Hong Kong on its path to prosperity.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
?Apparently the cat?s been declawed.?
Between 1960 and 1996, per capita income
in Hong Kong rose from about one quarter
of that in Britain to a third larger. As the
economist Milton Friedman said: ?It?s easy
to state those figures. It is more difficult to
realise their significance. Compare Britain, the source of the Industrial Revolution,
the economic superpower of the 19th century, with Hong Kong, a spit of land, overpopulated and overcrowded, no resources
except for a great harbour. Yet this spit of
overcrowded land is able within four decades to provide its people with a level of
income one third higher than that enjoyed
by the residents of its mother country.?
So how did Cowperthwaite do it? Whenever his name is brandished by classical liberals, I?m disappointed by how often even
those of a conservative disposition seek to
explain away his achievements by pointing
to the singularity of the Hong Kong Chinese
character ? their work ethic, their entrepreneurial spirit, their tolerance for a strippeddown welfare system which more pampered
Britons could never accept.
Nonsense. This is just the ?politics is the
art of the possible? excuse-making which has
got the Conservatives into their current mess.
The ?big difference?, as Friedman went on to
note in that speech, was ?economic policy?.
And it wasn?t an economic policy that
presented itself on a plate, just because Hong
Kong is different. Every detail was argued,
fought for, and hard won against the voices
of those in the colonial administration, the
Hong Kong business community and, especially, in Harold Wilson?s socialist Britain,
who either considered the tax rate (initially 12.5 per cent; grudgingly increased under
Cowperthwaite to a whopping 15 per cent)
too low or government spending on infrastructure, housing and education inadequate.
Cowperthwaite, a classically trained economist, stuck to his guns. The Hong Kong economic miracle was only a ?miracle? if you
believe economies grow and people prosper
through magic. But actually it?s much more
basic than that. There?s a simple formula ?
low tax, light regulation, spending within your
means ? which works in theory and works in
practice. What a pity that the Conservatives
have such difficulty understanding it.
27
Low spirits
ANCIENT AND MODERN
Friends ? or foes?
Spare me the hype over craft gins
MARK PALMER
As the breeze of
popular opinion ? popularis aura ?
blows sweetly over the much-loved
Corbyn-McDonnell Old Labour
tribute act, the Tory party is faced
with a dilemma: how to counteract
it. This dilemma seems to centre on
Mrs May?s leadership, and if that is
the case, those ambitious to displace
her need to consider what leadership
entails.
The word for ambition in ancient
Greek was philotimia, ?love of high
esteem in the eyes of others?. This
was considered a virtue in a society
in which competition was endemic
and winning meant everything. The
problem was the tension between
the desire to win and the desire to
be liked at the same time: vaulting
ambition which o?erleapt itself could
soon turn into naked aggression,
which won no friends. And that was
the point: to succeed in the political
arena, one needed friends; but in
making friends it was all too easy to
turn others into enemies.
In his Funeral Speech, Pericles
claimed that a peculiar Athenian
characteristic was to ?acquire friends
not as a result of what others do for
us, but of what we do for them?
we alone confer benefits not after
calculation of our own interests?.
Whether this included enemies is a
good question; but popular wisdom
expounded in fables suggested it
must. Man A bought an eagle and
clipped its wings. Man B bought him
and let his wings grow. The delighted
eagle brought him a rabbit. A fox
said: ?Give that to A. You know B is
a good man. You may need A in the
future.? Such friendships, however,
depended ultimately on trust. A dog
was chasing a hare, and alternately
bit it and then patted it kindly. The
hare said: ?Are you a friend? Then
why bite me? Or an enemy? Then
why fawn on me??
When the poet Horace riffed on
popularis aura, it was to emphasise
its fickleness: virtus always rose
above it. If that is the quality of
a leader in whom one can place
an absolute trust, that alone will
counteract the popularis aura that
now plays so prettily with the tangles
of Mr Corbyn?s beard.
? Peter Jones
28
Y
ou may have noticed that we?re in the
throes of a 21st-century Gin Craze. It?s
not as serious as the one which began in
the 1720s, when London was awash with the
stuff, much of it adulterated with turpentine,
alum and sulphuric acid, but it?s still an irritation with no signs of an imminent hangover.
The big difference between then and
now is that sales and marketing ?creatives?
have been let loose to talk up ?boutique?
distilleries with fancy names, trendy bottles
and romantic back stories about Uncle Jack
dusting off his great-grandfather?s rusting
stills down a remote back alley.
I found one gin, for example, with a tag
line that says ?intricately realised?. What on
earth does that mean ? apart from justifying a price of � a bottle if ordering
direct or � when buying from the likes
of Majestic?
There was another, called Conker Spirit
Gin and produced by Dorset?s ?first gin distillery, nestled in the back streets of Bournemouth?, according to its website. Look out
for ?Dorset notes of elderberries, samphire
and hand-picked New Forest gorse flowers?.
Yours for �.95.
There?s even a Palmers (no relation)
Dry Gin, produced by the Midlands-based
Langley Distillery and launched only a
couple of weeks ago. The blurb says it has
a ?wonderful grapefruit curl that leaves you
wanting more?. It looks impressive on my
drinks tray, but I?m not sure it?s any better
than Tanqueray No. Ten.
The number of distilleries in Britain
has doubled in the past seven years, with
no fewer than 500 UK gins from which to
choose ? make that 6,000 worldwide. Sales
in Britain of ?Madam Geneva? ? as gin was
once known ? have exceeded �billion
a year for the first time.
But let?s not get sozzled by this. Many of
them are wretched, with all kinds of botanicals thrown in to make a concoction that, if
used in a dry martini, would have 007 shaking with rage and stirred with sorrow.
I can do without the hype poured down
my throat about how a gin is produced in
such tiny batches and we?re so unbelievably
lucky to be in a position to buy it. And spare
me all that guff about members of a distiller?s family getting up at dawn to forage
for weird herbs and barks that may or
may not add flavour to Mother?s Ruin.
The floodgates opened in 2009 when Sipsmith managed to get a licence to open
London?s first copper distillery since 1820 ?
and began charging double what it costs for
good old, but disastrously uncool, Gordon?s.
In Notting Hill, there?s a place called
Portobello Road Gin, which has a restaurant, gin museum, two bars and three bedrooms for those who can?t quite face the
stagger home. You can sign up for sessions
at its ?Ginstitute? if really keen.
Dickens was impressed by London?s
first gin palaces in the late 1820s, describing
them as ?perfectly dazzling?, but I suspect
that he might find the modern-day equivalents a little wearisome.
Recently, I turned up for a gin masterclass at the Royal Horseguards Hotel,
hosted by a polite 27-year-old lad from
Fever-Tree (the tonic specialists) and a
26-year-old woman ?gin ambassador? from
Pernod Ricard, the company which has,
among others, Beefeater, Plymouth and
Monkey 47 on its roster.
My goodness they knew their stuff. At
their age I was just graduating from Newcastle Brown to Mateus Ros�. We tasted
various London dry gins (by definition a
London dry must have botanicals in the
mix from the start) and then moved off in
all sorts of hazy directions.
The one rule I learnt is that there are no
rules. Just stick to what you like and know
? and don?t be seduced by gin menus.
My wife and I called in for a drink at the
Kensington Hotel the other day and she
asked for a gin and tonic. ?What kind of gin
would you like?? asked the barman, before
reeling off a list of at least 15 brands, many
of which we had never heard of.
The last one was Monkey 47, which I
knew would appeal to Joanna because she
loves a chimpanzee. ?Make that two, please.?
I should have guessed the outcome. To
be last on the list was the clue. With a splash
of tonic, our two G&Ts cost � ? enjoyed
in a pleasant hotel, but not exactly the H魌el
du Cap. We didn?t stay for a second round.
?Having 300 different gins in your bar is a
gimmick and I don?t like it,? says Alessandro
Palazzi, the famous bartender at Dukes
Hotel, off St James?s Street.
Me, neither. So exactly how many does
Dukes have?
?Well, we have 22, actually.?
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
HEATHROW IS THE RIGHT CHOICE
5,000 new
180,000
apprenticeships
new jobs
�1bn
economic boost
That?s why the Government and local people say
expanding Heathrow
YES! is the right choice
Back Heathrow is an organisation of local residents, businesses, unions,
community and faith groups with over 100,000 supporters.
Back Heathrow
Barley Mow Centre, 10 Barley Mow Passage London W4 4PH
T: 020 3071 0048 E: hello@backheathrow.org
www.backheathrow.org
Recent opinion polls conducted in the parliamentary constituencies surrounding Heathrow Airport show more people support expansion than oppose it.
WHISKY EXPERIENCE
Monday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 5, 2017
12pm and 5.30pm at One Whitehall Place, London
The Telegraph Whisky Experience returns to
iconic One Whitehall Place this December.
Featuring more than 100 new and well-loved
expressions, it is the ultimate luxury whisky fair.
Uncover the secrets of the spirit as you learn from
industry experts while enjoying complimentary
samples from all brands in attendance. Finally, settle
down to indulge in a whisky-inspired two-course meal.
Upgrade your experience with one of three specially
designed masterclasses:
? The Power of Aroma by The Macallan
? Whisky: Behind the Barrel by WSET
? Best of Both Worlds by Glenmorangie and Ardbeg
Spectator readers can claim an exclusive
15% discount when booking tickets with
the code SPECTATOR15
Tickets start at �*
Find out more
telegraph.co.uk/whisky
or call 0800 542 5859
Terms and conditions: *There is a �booking fee per ticket for online transactions. Telephone bookings office hours only. Full terms and conditions can be found at telegraphbespoke.co.uk.
Promoter: Telegraph Bespoke, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT.
LETTERS
What do the Tories offer?
Sir: I have been hoping that someone more
eloquent than me would respond to your
contributors? rants about Jeremy Corbyn,
but as they have not, I thought I?d chip in
(?Corbyn?s big chance?, 30 September).
As someone who is reasonably financially
secure, the Tories would probably consider
me a shoo-in voter. But what do they offer?
Tax cuts, while paying for them by cutting
services and benefits to those less fortunate,
and in effect, pulling up the ladder behind
me. ?Capitalism? to many in this country is
really only a description of how Thatcher
sold, or destroyed, the country?s wealthcreation industries, and a few years later the
government of the day gave the proceeds to
the banks as a bailout. As a result, services
are being cut in every area of our daily lives.
Is it any wonder that a huge proportion of
people feel royally screwed by capitalism?
It doesn?t, and cannot, work if the inevitable
outcome is that the rich get much richer
and the poor get much poorer. So now it
is time to take back those industries and
services which are simply needed by the
country, as stated very clearly at the Labour
conference. I shall soon be joining the
Labour party; it is the only party with the
country?s needs at heart.
John McInnes
North Lincs
omits to mention an invasion of screens
which now make it impossible to enjoy its
architecture in undisturbed contemplation.
The departure board is book-ended by the
constant random misery of a news-ticker
and flashing advertisements shrieking their
wares; electronic hoardings perform their
permanent Orwellian duty at the heads of
platforms, while another group of them is
slap in the middle of the concourse at eye
level, demanding attention like a group of
disaffected youth hanging around a mall.
In a sorry act of cultural vandalism, every
line of sight in this great public space has
been hijacked for private gain. Who are
these marketing people who treat the railtravelling public with such contempt?
William Anderson
Old Knebworth, Herts
Three groans for the Tsar
Sir: I was fascinated to read about the
Victorian culture of giving groans
instead of booing (Mind your language,
30 September). In 1815, the youthful Grand
Duke Nicholas of Russia spent a night at
the King?s Arms hotel, now renamed the
Annandale Arms, in Moffat, Dumfriesshire.
The next PM
Sir: James Forsyth (?A clear run for
Corbyn?, 30 September) is correct in
pointing out that Jeremy Corbyn is the
bookies? favourite to be the next prime
minister. It should, however, be noted that
his current price of 4/1 against implies
a probability of only 20 per cent of this
happening. The bookmakers, in common
with most commentators, are forecasting
that Mrs May will be followed into
Downing Street by her successor as leader
of the Conservative party. It is not obvious
who this will be, so all the contenders are
individually bigger prices than the Labour
leader, but are collectively long odds-on to
be the next occupant of No. 10.
If the betting markets were forecasting
the prime minister after the next general
election, however, I suspect Corbyn, my
local MP, would not only be favourite to
win, but also a much shorter-priced one.
William Claxton-Smith
London N5
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Conference centres
Sir: Susan Hill (Diary, 30 September),
speculates as to why party conferences
are no longer held in her home town,
Scarborough. This puts me in mind (I quote
from memory) of one of your competition
winners more than half a century ago ?
when the Labour leadership was becoming
impatient with the rank and file of the party.
Said Harold the Wizard to Barbara,
?The movement?s beginning to harbour a
Suspicion that we
Would far rather be
Without Blackpool or Brighton, or Scarborough!?
Iain Innes Burgess
Hampton Wick, Middlesex
Taki error
EASTERN
A I R W AY S
A SUPERIOR
MODEL
? Up to 4 daily departures *?
? Same day return journeys *
? Complimentary on board
drinks & snacks
? Express check-in service
? Fast track security channel *
? Executive airport lounges *
easternairways.com
ZK\?\DQ\RWKHUZD\"
A blizzard of screens
Sir: Christian Wolmar (?Going places?,
30 September) admires King?s Cross as
his favourite London station. However, he
Nearly 40 years later, on the outbreak of
the Crimean war in October 1853, a house
party of young people at Moffat House
(built to a design by John Adam in 1761 for
the Earl of Linlithgow) gave three groans
for Nicholas, who by then was Tsar. For
good measure, the house party also burned
Nicholas in effigy on a bonfire.
Elizabeth Roberts
Scotby, Carlisle
* At selected airports ? Except Saturdays
Sir: Taki says that keeping a record is not
his strong point and he is right (High Life,
30 September). Nicholas Tomalin was
not, as Taki says, the biographer Claire
Tomalin?s ?ex-hubbie Nick? when he was
killed by a heat-seeking missile on the
Golan Heights in 1973. They were still
married, and she saw to it that his body was
repatriated, against the wishes of Sunday
Times executives who had wanted him
buried under a tree outside Jerusalem.
Rory Knight Bruce
Crediton, Devon
WRITE TO US
The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street,
London SW1H 9HP
letters@spectator.co.uk
Answers to Mark Mason?s quiz (see page 26)
The avocado derives its name from a South
American word for ?testicle?.
Cristiano Ronaldo is named after Ronald Reagan
(his father?s favourite actor).
The Advocatus Diaboli gave rise to the phrase
?devil?s advocate?.
Henry Blofeld tried his first ever J鋑erbomb
(and then tried several more.)
At the Oscars, La La Land was announced first.
Moonlight was the real winner.
The company was Haribo. (Hans Riegel in Bonn.)
The last widow of a Civil War veteran died in 2008.
Jason Statham has thrown more kicks than
punches. (394 plays 264.)
31
ANY OTHER BUSINESS|MARTIN VANDER WEYER
Monarch was an airline from an earlier era
? but were its owners to blame for its demise?
M
onarch Airlines was the ghost of an
earlier age of holiday travel. When
I used to see its planes lined up at
Leeds-Bradford airport alongside those of
Ryanair and its brash northern rival Jet2, I
sometimes wondered why Monarch was still
there. Now it has been brought down by a
combination of the weak pound, too much
competition on Iberian routes and too little demand for terrorist-threatened ones to
Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt. Even the orderly repatriation of 110,000 Monarch passengers has had an old-fashioned feel to it (perhaps even a touch of Dunkirk, for those who
have seen that excellent film), enhanced by
the reassuring tones of Dame Deirdre Hutton, the veteran quango queen who chairs
the Civil Aviation Authority.
Monarch?s demise reflects changing
European aviation markets ? in which two
other carriers, Alitalia and Air Berlin, have
gone bust this year ? but I?m wondering
how much it also has to do with changed
ownership. The billionaire Swiss-Italian
Mantegazza family who created Monarch in
1967 had evidently tired of injecting capital
to modernise its fleet and become nervous
of its �0 million pension fund shortfall.
They sold it in 2014 to Greybull Capital, a
Sloane Street-based private equity firm run
by two French brothers, Marc and Nathaniel
Meyohas, and a Swede, Richard Perlhagen,
who invest their own families? money.
Monarch staff took 30 per cent pay cuts
and pilots had their pension rights slashed
when the company scheme was transferred
to the government?s Pension Protection
Fund. But Greybull stepped up with an extra
�5 million to renew the airline?s operating
licence last year and is now thought to be
in the hole for �0 million. Marc Meyohas
has said that Greybull has ?some expertise
in turnaround and helping firms through
choppy waters?. But how much? Another of its investments (among a portfolio of
a dozen or so) was the My Local chain of
convenience stores, spun out of Morrisons,
which collapsed last year; a third, Rileys
Sports Bars, has staggered from crisis to
32
crisis. Meanwhile, Greybull?s purchase for
�of Tata Steel?s ?long products? division
in Scunthorpe garnered good headlines
and saved 4,000 jobs, but is the firm?s riskiest punt of all. How does this small team
of high-rolling financiers have the time and
knowledge to manage such demanding businesses across such diverse sectors? It?s a
question 2,000 redundant Monarch employees will certainly be asking.
Labour?s threat to the Bank
Another ghost appeared last week. Gordon
Brown popped up at a Bank of England
conference marking 20 years since he granted its independence in interest-rate setting
in one of the first acts of his chancellorship
? shortly before he took away its role in
banking supervision. Gracious as ever, he
took the opportunity to bash former governor Mervyn King for the Bank?s perceived
failure to cut rates more aggressively ahead
of the 2008 financial crisis, while praising his
own forbearance to interfere.
Brown?s comeback followed shadow
chancellor John McDonnell?s party conference speech threatening to drag the Bank?s
governor into a politically driven ?strategic
investment board? to co-ordinate ?promotion of investment, employment and real
wages?. Together, they reminded us that the
breed of politicians whose real motivation
is the exercise of power above all else will
never be entirely reconciled to central-bank
independence ? and that central bankers
need to stay on their toes accordingly.
Recent remarks from both Mark Carney
and his deputy Sir Jon Cunliffe have emphasised the growing risk of another debt crisis;
wiser commentators than me have questioned the wisdom of maintaining inflationtargeting as the core purpose of rate setting,
and the efficacy of interest rates as a policy tool at all after years of disuse. It would
be hard to argue that the Bank of England
looks more self-confident and better at its
job today than it did in 2007, or is more valued and admired by the public. In the anti-
capitalist mood that might well sweep
Labour to power next time round, the
Bank?s independence could be snatched
away as abruptly as it was once granted.
The last Rickogram
Sir Richard Greenbury, the former Marks
& Spencer chairman who died last week
aged 81, was one of those choleric but thinskinned corporate chiefs (Sir Alastair Morton of Eurotunnel was another) who never
learned to handle journalists. The Telegraph
reporter Kate Rankine famously caused
him to blow his top at a 1997 press conference by asking when he intended to retire;
he made matters worse by describing her
later as ?a silly little girl?. Editors who criticised the retail chain?s performance and
his own perceived failure to reinvigorate it
received blazing letters known as ?Rickograms?, of which one to the female editor of
Investors Chronicle began: ?Dear Sir, What a
load of old tosh??
A suitably blunt answer to the retirement question finally came in 1999, when
Greenbury was forced out after an undignified boardroom tussle and a farewell salvo
from his City-page antagonists. Undoubtedly he clung to power too long and let his ego
get in the way ? but still we can salute his
career-long loyalty to M&S and its founders? precepts of high staff welfare, long-term
supplier relationships, and attention to quality that created both a trusted brand and a
share worth owning. As I?ve said before, that
benign model is worth recalling whenever
capitalism?s critics are on the rampage.
As for Sir Rick, his epistolary style mellowed in old age. His last letter to me, in
May, was on the subject of executive pay, on
which he took another media kicking when
he chaired a CBI enquiry in 1995 and which
he strongly believed should be restrained by
institutional shareholders rather than government intervention. It ended ?Warmest
good wishes, no reply needed?, to which I
replied ?Do keep writing?. I?m sorry I won?t
be hearing from him again.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
IS THERE A VITAL
ELEMENT MISSING
FROM YOUR
PORTFOLIO?
The Old Mutual Gold & Silver Fund
When the going gets tough, should investors be
following the lead of the world?s leading central
banks and invest in gold?
Talk to your ?nancial adviser about the Old Mutual
Gold & Silver Fund.
Please remember that past performance is not a
guide to future performance. Investment involves
risk. The value of investments and the income from
them can go down as well as up and investors may
not get back the amount originally invested.
Talk to your Financial Adviser.
Visit omglobalinvestors.com
For retail investors. This communication provides information relating to funds known as the Old Mutual Gold & Silver Fund (the ?Fund?). This communication is issued
by Old Mutual Global Investors (UK) Limited (trading name Old Mutual Global Investors), a member of the Old Mutual Group. Old Mutual Global Investors is registered
in England and Wales under number 02949554 and its registered of?ce is 2 Lambeth Hill London EC4P 4WR. Old Mutual Global Investors is authorised and regulated
by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (?FCA?) with FCA register number 171847 and is owned by Old Mutual Plc, a public limited company limited by shares,
incorporated in England and Wales under registered number 3591 559. OMGI 07/17/0194. Models constructed with Geomag.
AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE IN WAITROSE, MAJESTIC AND 31DOVER.COM
� STEVE MCCURRY
Lee Langley wonders how
soon sushi will overtake
chicken tikka masala as our
national dish
Horatio Clare is engrossed
by tales of madness and
cannibalism on the high
seas
Sarah Ditum shows us the
bright, funny side of Sylvia
Plath
James Walton now has
something new to say when
pub conversation turns to
the best gigs he?s ever seen
Deborah Ross couldn?t tell
you the plot of Blade
Runner 2049 even if she
wanted to
?Nuristan?, 1992, by Steve
McCurry
Mary Wake?eld ? p48
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
35
BOOKS & ARTS
BOOKS
Wandering Jews
Simon Schama?s great, boisterous history has the Technicolor drama ?
and crude simplicity ? of a Hollywood blockbuster, says Bernard Wasserstein
Belonging: The Story of the Jews,
1492?1900
by Simon Schama
The Bodley Head, �, pp. 790
Simon Schama is an international treasure.
Whether on screen or in print, he is all energy, enthusiasm, dramatic gestures, emotional
intensity. He clutches his readers in a tigerlike grip, then chews them up with relish
until they are almost helpless with mirth or
emotional exhaustion.
If the first volume of his trilogy on the
history of the Jews had something of the
quality of Cecil B. DeMille?s The Ten Commandments, this second, carrying the saga
forward from 1492 to 1900, is no less of a
Technicolor blockbuster. Here too we have
a cast of zillions with all kinds of special
effects. Composed of a dazzling succession of tableaux with linking intermezzi,
this book resembles a medieval pageant.
The geographical range is enormous: one
moment we are in Amsterdam, the next
we are transported to Kai-feng, before the
scene shifts to Cranganore, Senegambia,
or Constantinople. The cumulative effect is
overwhelming.
The source of all this theatricality may
be partly genetic. The Schamas, we are told,
hail from Smyrna (today?s Izmir) where
they bought and sold ?flaking scrolls of cinnamon, each one shaped just like the Sefer
Torah [Hebrew scroll of the Pentateuch.]?
Schama?s father desperately wanted to
tread the boards but was ?informed that
a thespian Schama would be unwelcome
under the family roof?. A great-great-uncle
on his mother?s side is reported to have
ridden bareback in travelling circuses.
No popular history of the Jews on this
scale has been attempted since 1933, when
The Romance of a People was staged before
125,000 spectators at the World?s Fair in
Chicago. Schama can hope for a larger
audience. In this reworking of the birth of
a nation, Schama reveals himself not so
much the D. W. Griffith as the Tintoretto
of historical narrative. By painterly touch36
es, he manages to convey colour, texture,
shape, context, light and shadow, as well as
to stimulate the senses: olfactory, auditory,
gustatory and more. The style is the familiar
Schama hotchpotch: soaring flights of inspirational imagery suddenly descend into
vernacular bathos (here with exclamations
often rendered in cod-Yiddish).
But Schama produces more than just
purple prose and flashing light effects. He
has studied much of the scholarly literature
on the subject (at any rate in west European languages, though not in Hebrew and
Yiddish) and acknowledges his debts punctiliously. When he chooses, he is capable of
lucid exposition of complex ideas ? as in
his accounts of the thought of Baruch Spi-
In this reworking of the birth of a
nation, Schama reveals himself as the
Tintoretto of historical narrative
noza and of Moses Mendelssohn. In such
passages Schama displays reflective intelligence and discerning human insight.
His talent, however, is descriptive rather than analytical. The book opens with a
strange meditation on the Sambatyon, a
mythical river across which some of the
lost tribes of Israel were said to have been
exiled. Schama then introduces a number of exotic adventurers who appealed
to the messianic yearnings of Jews in early
modern times: David Reuveni, possibly
a Falasha (Ethiopian Jew), who claimed
descent from the House of David and was
received by Pope Clement VII in 1524; Solomon Molcho, a Portuguese-born Marrano
(crypto-Jew), saved from the stake by the
same pope (who compassionately arranged
for someone else to take Molcho?s place)
but was nevertheless burned shortly
afterwards on the orders of Emperor
Charles V; and the better-known pseudomessiahs Shabbatai Zvi ? a convert to
Islam ? and Jacob Frank, who died a Christian.
Their stories, recounted con brio in
extravagant detail, illustrate the book?s central theme: the unending quest of the Jews
for a home that they could call their own,
and their enduring faith that God would
send a saviour-figure who would lead them
back to the Land of Israel.
As with much of Schama?s writing, it
would be easy for the captious critic to point
out this or that error or omission. But to
dwell on such failings would be to miss the
point. Like other English masters of historical haute vulgarisation, from Thomas Carlyle
to A. J. P. Taylor, Schama?s concern is with the
big picture. Like them he is imaginative, epigrammatic and fearless. Like them he sometimes collapses into flippancy ? as when
he suggests that a shared interest in kabbala (Jewish mysticism) shows that Brooklyn
hasidim have ?something in common with
Madonna Ciccone?. But for the most part he
is an effervescent cicerone who instructs and
entertains in like measure.
Yet behind the anecdotage lurk gremlins. While apparently keen to break down
received wisdoms about Jews, Schama himself often sinks into tired stereotyping.
?Jews,? he pronounces, ?do food first.? Jewish
mothers, he tells us repeatedly, want their
children to become lawyers or physicians.
Jewish doctors became specialists in optics
and the digestive tract ? ?two topics of
perennial Jewish concern?. Veitel Ephraim,
a wealthy ?court Jew? in 18th-century Berlin, laid out a garden with 1,000 blossoming fruit trees, on which ?mourning doves
moaned Jewishly on the branches?. Jews, we
learn, are characteristically noisy, argumentative and prone to making a scene ? ?how
more Jewish can one get?? Schama inquires.
No doubt he is pulling our leg but such
remarks cheapen the tone.
More problematic is an issue of substance. Gradually it becomes clear that
the conceptual framework of the book is
surprisingly conventional, outdated and
wrongheaded. The underlying message
appears to be one propounded a generation
or two ago by apostles of a primitive version
of Zionism (more recent exponents include
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
GETTY IMAGES
David Vital and Robert Wistrich) but since
jettisoned by most scholars, including Israeli
ones, as crude and simplistic. In this view,
European countries, even liberal democracies such as France, were so deeply imbued
with the anti-Semitic virus as to doom any
chance of successful Jewish integration.
Only Jewish national sovereignty in their
ancient homeland offered Jews the prospect of survival.
Nor, in this view, could Jews in the Muslim world hope for much better. Schama
paints a grim picture of the miserable plight
of ?tarboosh Jewry? in North Africa, relying
in part on the dubious authority of Martin Gilbert?s flawed history of the Jews in
Arab lands. Schama sees the parliamentary
election success in 1898 of the anti-Semite
Edouard Drumont as deputy for Algiers as
a critical moment. ?Modern anti-Semitism,?
he maintains, ?now flowed into traditional
A wall painting in an 18th-century rural
synagogue in Germany depicts the Lion of
Judah and the temple of Jerusalem.The itinerant
folk artist was Eliezer ben Solomon Sussman
Islamic disdain for Jews and Judaism and
stayed in the bloodstream of Maghrebi culture with lingering, malevolent power.? But
Drumont owed his election not to Algerian
Muslims, very few of whom had the vote
at the time, but to French colons. AntiSemitism, the howls of the Islamophobes
notwithstanding, is not part of the ?bloodstream? of Muslim culture.
In his discussion of the Enlightenment,
Schama stresses less its liberating force
than its limitations so far as the Jews were
concerned. He returns repeatedly to Voltaire?s anti-Jewish utterances: the sage of
Ferney, he tells us, ?had a thing about Jews?.
The French revolution, the decisive turning-point in the process of Jewish emancipation in Europe, is depicted more as
one of many instances of delusive Jewish
faith in promises of equality. The familiar
story of the travails of Alfred Dreyfus is
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
artfully retold as a cinematic spectacle
but interpreted as another episode in what
the Israeli historian Steven Aschheim has
called the ?cult of eternal victimisation?.
Turning to Jewish settlement in Palestine in the late 19th century, Schama
defends Zionism against the charge that
it should be seen as a ?colonial intrusion?.
His reasoning is odd. ?The ecology of Palestine? was unstable and, in many parts
of the country, deteriorating.? Consequent
?environmental degradation? provided an
opening for ?different incoming populations?: bedouin, German members of the
Christian millenarian ?Tempelverein? (confused by Schama with the knightly ?Order
of Templars?) and Jews. There is, no doubt,
a case to be made against the easy equation
of Zionism and colonialism. But Schama?s
argument that ecological change somehow
absolves Zionism from the taint of collusion with imperialism is unconvincing.
He concludes with an account of the life
of Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist
movement, portrayed as yet another quasi-messianic figure, but this time a serious
political actor rather than a confidence
trickster. Perhaps with a certain fellowfeeling, Schama notes Herzl?s theatricality: ?A big piece of him was Wagnerian
and Nietzschean? Herzl now cast himself as the dramaturge of a Jewish-national
awakening.?
The book closes with what Schama calls
Herzl?s ?Jerusalem epiphany?, when he
climbed the Mount of Olives and conjured
in his mind?s eye a new Jerusalem, rebuilt
and redesigned on modern lines by his
Zionist followers. The moral is clear: the
anguish of centuries-long homelessness,
punctuated by persecution, massacres and
hankering after false redeemers, will be
resolved (in volume 3) by a return to Zion.
This, then, is a reductionist view of Jewish history, enlivened by boisterous storytelling. The book is handsomely produced
and lavishly illustrated. No doubt it will
launch a thousand barmitzvahs.
37
BOOKS & ARTS
That?s no lady
A.N. Wilson
Mrs Osmond
by John Banville
Viking, �.99, pp. 376
Did I enjoy this novel? Yes! Nevertheless,
it dismayed me. How could John Banville,
whom I?ve admired so much ever since he
published his first short stories, whose great
novel The Sea deservedly won the Booker and whose thrillers, written under the
pseudonym Benjamin Black, so hauntingly
evoke 1950s Dublin, have wasted however
long it took to write it?
The answer, perhaps, was given some
years ago, in an interview with a journalist, when he confessed: ?The guiding light
has always been Henry James.? Probably
all serious novelists in our language revere
James beyond idolatry. He calls us to raise
the craft of fiction to the level of art. And the
trouble is that anyone with an ear soaked
in the Jamesian music falls into the danger
of parody.
There are two Irish ways out of this. Not
so long ago, Colm T骾b韓 published The
Master, to enormous acclaim. It was the
most devoted act of homage imaginable ?
the tale of a sad old bachelor of the 1890s
? and yet, at the same time, it is hard to
think of any book published since James?s
death 101 years ago which would have horrified him more. Not because it ?outed? him
as a homosexual (was he, in any meaningful sense?) but because it ?outed? him as
anything ? he, the Master, that most inner
and enclosed of imaginations.
And now this from Toib韓?s fellow
countryman: a continuation of The Portrait
of a Lady. Two technical problems loom
immediately, and even so masterly a craftsman as Banville cannot overcome them.
First, does he assume that the reader has
already read James?s novel? In Mrs Osmond,
38
it is hard to tell. In case you have not read The
Portrait of a Lady, an innocent, rich, young
American woman, Isabel Archer, marries an
American in Italy called Gilbert Osmond,
who has a teenaged daughter ? assumed
to be the child of his first marriage. In fact
Pansy Osmond is the daughter of Gilbert?s
mistress, Madame Merle, who has urged him
to marry Isabel so that the pair ? still lovers,
one assumes ? can spend her money.
In this book, it is page 123 before we
are told that Pansy is really the daughter of
Madame Merle. If you?ve read James?s novel,
you?ll know that. And if you haven?t, why
should you be interested in the paternity of
a young woman who has not yet appeared?
The second technical problem is: does
the modern writer attempt a parody of
James or write in his own idiom? At first, we
assume that Banville is going for the option
of pure parody. And there are paragraphs
which are brilliant ? slightly over the top,
but of the sort which would have won the
competitions which used to be set in this
magazine, in which parody so predominated. But then there are extended passages
in which James is not obviously parodied,
and, indeed, there are certain key passages ? in the descriptions of food, for example, which James himself almost always
eschewed ? where a completely cruder
idiom is employed.
This is a feisty, 21st-century (really) Isabel Archer, who returns to 19th-century
Italy to get her revenge on her cheating husband and the ghastly Merle. As we should
expect from Banville, the plot twists are
ingenious, and Isabel?s particular form of
revenge is subtle as well as effective. We all
cheer her on, but she has to do so by expressions which, in a real James novel, she would
never have used.
Yes, I enjoyed this book, and would love
to hear Banville speaking about Henry
James. But when the evening was over,
I would want him to go back to being
John Banville.
The keys to Chinese
Mike Cormack
The Chinese Typewriter: A History
by Thomas S. Mullaney
MIT, �.95, pp. 480
The history of industry is the story of the
reduction of complexity to easily manageable, replicable components or actions. But
what if some things appear to remain irreducible, complex and laborious? The Chinese writing system is one such case. For
early information technologists, it presented what appeared like insoluble problems.
Unlike an alphabet of 26 (English) or even
84 (Siamese) letters, the huge number of
Chinese ideographic characters could
not easily be reduced to a typeable common corpus. (Three 20th-century compilations totalled between nearly 50,000 and
over 80,000 separate characters). So while
the standardised Remington-style typewriter conquered the rest of the world,
China remained awkwardly to the side,
leading some to lament the seeming backwardness of the Chinese character system.
But others refused to be deterred, with the
inventor Zhou Houkun declaring:
Blame the engineer, but do not blame the
language... An engineer who cannot build
machines according to reasonable specifications is not an engineer in the best sense of
the word.
But statistical analyses of key Chinese
texts, from Confucius to the Chinese Bible,
demonstrated that perhaps a few thousand characters formed a body of common usage ? radically simplifying the
issue. Numerous attempts at reimagining
the typewriter to handle this range were
made. Zhou Houkun used a metal finding rod which would hover over a bed of
3,000 common characters (replaceable via
tweezers, if less frequently used characters
were required), corresponding to characters on a connected metal cylinder. When
the rod was pressed down on a character
on the tray, the other end brought the corresponding character on the cylinder to the
printing position.
This model was bought by Commercial Press in Shanghai and became the first
popular commercial machine, and indeed
the subject of China?s first animated film in
the 1920s. Others attempted to boil down
Chinese characters into their most common components (commonly known as
?radicals?) and have the ?typewriters? overlay these into coherent ideographs, almost
like a dot-matrix, but these fell by the wayside, the Betamax to Zhou Houkun?s VHS.
Later models utilised some of the innovations of the Japanese during their occupation of Manchuria, though the needs
of the era meant this was swiftly for-
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
gotten. The Double Pigeon typewriter
that became almost as much a symbol of
communist China as the Racing Pigeon
bicycle had its roots in the Wanneng model
(handling Chinese, Japanese, Manchu and
Mongolian) which had spread under Japanese occupation. The MingKwai typewriter would finally use a traditional keyboard, but for its own purposes, its 72 keys
acting as ?switches? to retrieve characters
? 36 upper keys acting as the first level,
28 lower keys the second level, and eight
numbers keys the third level, in combination giving over 8,000 possible characters.
But it remained little more than a prototype.
What about computers? These use
QWERTY keyboards, but in their own fashion, as characters can be corralled via several input methods. In the most common,
typing in Pinyin (the Romanised version of
written Chinese, which supplanted WadeGiles), the letters ?da? will bring up a range
of options, leading off with the most common such as (da, big) and (d, to beat). And
today, with touchscreens, input systems
have come full circle, fingers tracing characters on the screen as on the sand several
millennia ago.
Other technologies demanded different
approaches: the telegraph system of having perhaps 40 combinations of dots and
dashes represent individual characters was
utterly incapable of handling Chinese. An
additional layer of mediation was necessary: each Morse code referred to a number, which then referred to an individual
character. But as this used around 6,800
commonly used characters, the code had
to use five dots or dashes in each number
(so that 10,000 combinations were available, leaving around 3,000 spaces available
for individual operators to add their own
characters essential for their work), making the system enormously cumbersome:
the shortest ?character? was five dots, compared to just one dot used elsewhere, leading to codes, signs and systems, and ever
greater mediation ? just as emojis have
become inescapable aspects of online communication.
The Chinese Typewriter: A History has
a great subject, but perhaps doesn?t make
the most of it. This might seem unfair: its
scholarship is broad and deep, it?s mostly
well organised and it conveys the struggles of those trying to drag Chinese
into a more manageable condition. But
Thomas S. Mullaney has a tendency to beat
more out of his subject than the reader
wishes; you sense him labouring to serve up
every available scrap, rather than focusing
on delivering the choicest cuts. You crave
a lighter touch, as you find in popular academic writers such as Niall Ferguson or J.K.
Galbraith. The Chinese Typewriter?s gravity
of manner means it ultimately informs and
illuminates, but rarely delights.
Portrait of
Gabrielle
Renard and
Jean Renoir.
Gabrielle was
an important
part of the
Renoir
household,
both as nanny
and artist?s
model
GETTY IMAGES
August Auguste
Honor Clerk
Renoir: An Intimate Biography
by Barbara Ehrlich White
Thames & Hudson, �.95, pp. 432
In 1959 the formidable interviewer John
Freeman took the Face to Face crew to the
81-year-old Augustus John?s studio. The beetling brow, piercing eye and a succession of
roll-ups stuck to his lower lip offer almost a
caricature of the undimmed rascality of the
old devil. Like all the films in that remark-
Though Renoir thought women artists
?completely ridiculous?, he was a close
friend and admirer of Berthe Morisot
able series, it offers a glimpse into a world
that we thought television was invented too
late to record. But how much more extraordinary it is to watch, in a three-minute film
made in 1915, another elderly artist ? the
74-year-old Pierre-Auguste Renoir, crippled
with arthritis, working at his easel. The externals are similar ? the beard, the arty getup,
the cigarette ? but even in this silent film
Renoir?s chatty urbanity speaks volumes
about a man built in a very different vein.
Renoir was the only one of the great
Impressionist painters to come from truly
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
humble origins ? his father was a tailor
and his mother a seamstress ? and he
entered art school after an apprenticeship
painting figures and flowers on porcelain
and decorative schemes on window blinds.
For most of his fellow artists the struggle
was for recognition of their artistic innovation ? the vibrant portrayal of light and
reflected light in short, brightly coloured
brush strokes. For Renoir the struggle was
also a financial one, and, according to Barbara Ehrlich White, the struggle of the outsider to swim in a social world where he
was out of his depth.
To this cause she attributes his anxiety,
nervous tics, inability to make decisions and
fear of confrontation. To Pissarro he was
?that most inconsistent of men?, and in trawling through some 3,000 of Renoir?s letters,
White has attempted to chart his inconsistent life in an exhaustive study that stands as
a companion piece to her earlier Renoir: His
Life, Art and Letters.
Renoir?s artistic career, like those of
the other Impressionists, had no straightforward trajectory. His work was shown
alongside that of Monet, Sisley, Morisot,
C閦anne and Pissarro at the first ?Impressionist? exhibition in 1874; but as he tailored
his style to suit the public taste his work was
accepted by the Salon and he abandoned the
company of the refus閟 for the more lucrative possibilities of establishment favour.
For more than a decade he was still
39
BOOKS & ARTS
dependent on the generosity of friends and
patrons, but by interleaving his more daring landscapes and figure paintings with
commissioned portraits he was able, more
or less, to stay financially afloat until, at the
end of the 1880s the American market recognised his genius and secured his future.
His ?intimate? life similarly proceeded in
an irregular fashion ? by his first model
Lise he had two children, one of whom disappears into the mists of time; the other,
Jeanne, Renoir supported for the rest of
his life, though kept her existence secret
from his wife. As the family fortunes rose
Renoir?s relations with Aline, his wife, the
mother of his three sons and the model
for many of his major works, deteriorated to the point where they rarely lived in
the same house at the same time. From his
mid-fifties Renoir?s health also declined, as
rheumatoid arthritis began its pernicious
course ? by the time the 1915 film was
made he could only paint with the help of
his son Coco inserting a paintbrush into his
clawlike hand.
Beneath the surface, too, the anxieties
and inconsistencies raged ? he feared
being tarnished by association with Pissarro?s anarchism; he dreaded Monet?s
disapproval when he accepted the L間ion
d?Honneur; he expressed anti-Semitic
views, while being friendly with both relations and business associates who were
Jewish; and he told a journalist that ?the
woman artist is completely ridiculous?
while remaining a close friend and admirer
of Berthe Morisot.
But his worries and adversities were
never the subject of his paintings, and the
exuberance evident in canvas after canvas
was echoed by the testimony of his many
friends, who marvelled at his good humour
and stoicism. He continued painting until
the last day of his life, his style evolving as
his physical condition changed. By the time
of his death in 1919 it could justly be said
that his work slotted into a continuum that
ranged from Pompeii frescoes to Raphael
and Rubens and on into the future: his influence was felt by both Matisse and Picasso.
This book is the fruit of 60 years of
research and scholarship ? about the same
length of time as Renoir?s career. There is
probably no one, including Renoir himself,
who has ever known more about Renoir,
and this book will doubtless remain the
ultimate quarry for any future biographer
or scholar. For the general reader however,
its comprehensiveness is also its problem. If
you want to know every last detail of every
address where Renoir lived; read every
word on every birth, marriage and death
certificate of every member of his family; if
you want every statement backed up with
a quotation, then this is the book for you.
If not, then perhaps his son Jean?s memoir,
with all its warmth and with all its faults,
still has something to say.
40
a camera with its shutter open, registering
new sights, new delights. Now the family is
back for a second helping, but this is a very
different odyssey. Booth is famous, an aficionado on a gourmet grand tour: top restaurants, knockout menus and star chefs. He
treats us to ?the best meal in Japan?, which
basically means the best meal in the world
in his view. Occasionally, disaster strikes:
Octopus beaks
and snake soup
Lee Langley
The Meaning of Rice, And Other Tales
from the Belly of Japan
by Michael Booth
Bloomsbury �.99, pp 350
Driving across Japan?s Shikuko island, the
food and travel writer Michael Booth pulls
into a filling station to find, alongside the
fizzy drinks and chewing gum, ?vacuumpacked octopus beaks?. Who could resist?
Not Booth. ?Very crunchy,? he reports. ?And
not in a good way.?
Booth is drawn to the offbeat, and The
Meaning of Rice gives us a banquet of the
unfamiliar: seaweed caviar, live squid sashimi, sea-urchin tongues, snake soup, bonito
guts, silkworm pupae, and more, with all their
smells, flavours and textures. I recall my disconcerting first meal in a traditional ryokan:
pink wafers of raw horsemeat, boiled firefly squid and dark, gleaming eel. It was delicious; Booth would have approved.
Ten years ago he took his wife and two
toddler sons on a three-month Japanese trip,
eating their way from the tip of Hokkaido
to the toe of Okinawa. His book, Sushi and
Beyond, became an international awardwinning bestseller. In Japan, Sushi spawned
a manga graphic book and a cartoon TV
series starring the family; they had morphed
into celebs ? The Simpsons with soy sauce!
Anim� superheroes!
On that first trip Booth travelled innocent and wide-eyed, taking in everything;
Autumn
Autumn days are misty mellow.
Leaves are red and brown and yellow.
Blackberries are on the brambles.
Families go out on rambles,
In their jerseys and their wellies,
Picking fruit to fill their bellies,
Taking chestnuts home to roast
To eat with tea and buttered toast.
Late dog-walkers quit the park
Ere the fast-encroaching dark.
Softly falls September rain.
Springtime tastes like fine champagne.
Autumn tastes like mild and bitter.
Crickets sing and swallows twitter.
Distant hunting horns are blowing.
Everything is going, going.
? John Whitworth
The rice bran had turned the fugu milt from
white to muddy brown. It looked like a flattened piece of clay, smelled like an abandoned
caravan and had a texture like overcooked
liver...
Fugu milt is the roe of the poisonous blowfish ? the author puts his life on the line in
several culinary tightrope walks.
In The Almost Nearly Perfect People, the
author lifted the lid on his Danish wife?s
homeland. Eat, Pray, Eat, saw the Booth
quartet exploring Indian food. The family
is part of his shtick. The sons are teenagers
now, and perhaps it was to reward the boys
that they take in so many theme parks. And
rather too often, the reader finds the dead
hand of the local tourist board piloting the
itinerary: the corporate meet-and-greet by
the suits, the guided tour round the factory,
the headquarters, a distillery. A ?global challenge? to find the world?s best sushi chef is
actually a promotional exercise sponsored
by the Norwegian Seafood Council.
What Booth does best is a masterclass in
Japanese cuisine from haute to caff counter;
he relishes a traditional, five-hour lunch and
the skills that underpin it, but occasionally
he turns against high-end pretensions:
I don?t want a concept, or a deconstruction, or
a poshed-up bowl, I want thick, slightly chewy
noodles, a soft-boiled, soy-soaked egg, a slice
of tender chashu and a deep, rich soup? all
for under a thousand yen. Is that too much
to ask?
What eludes him in city after city is spirit
of place. Unforgivably, in Nagasaki we get
pages on the local Castella cake, the tourist
museum on Dejima island and China Town
en f阾e. Nothing of the vibrant city I remember, with remnants of the horrific past given
their place among the rebuilt present. The
atomic bomb memorial, a soaring tribute to
the survival of the human spirit, merits no
more than a brief paragraph; no mention of
graceful stone temples clustered above the
amphitheatre bay with its low, encircling
hills. Booth moves on, to Sasebo ? ?hamburger city?, a nod to the 50,000 American
servicemen based in Japan. And yes, the
head of local tourism is waiting to show him
around.
Happily, away from the organised tours
are vivid encounters off the beaten track
where Booth finds humbler heroes to celebrate. He joins fishermen harvesting seaurchins on a pre-dawn expedition; talks to
men and women working, fishing and cook-
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
BRIDGEMAN IMAGES
ing, with obsessive commitment. He meets
a farmer living in the shadow of Fukushima,
determined to produce the best rice in the
world; an elderly couple dedicated to the
refinements of rotten fish.
Beneath the light-hearted surface is a
depth of research, respect and affection for
Japanese culture and the quiet stoicism of
its people. Rice itself remains unexplained,
though the author and his sons learn how
to plant it.
Finally, Booth points up a piquant irony:
in 2013 Unesco awarded Japanese cuisine
?Intangible Cultural Heritage? status, but
as others embrace their gastronomy, the
Japanese have learned to love western fast
food, taking on more fat and carbs, cutting
down on their own traditional healthy diet
and eating less rice. Meanwhile Japanese
food has taken up residence on the British
high street: supermarkets stock sushi lunchpacks with wasabi peas stacked alongside
salt and vinegar crisps. Ponzu dipping sauce
is so popular that Tesco and Asda do their
own. Is sushi the new chicken tikka masala?
The worst things
happen at sea
Horatio Clare
Off the Deep End:
A History of Madness at Sea
by Nic Compton
Adlard Coles, �.99, pp. 288
This horrifying and engrossing book could
scarcely be improved upon. In this age of
HRHs Harry, William and Kate-led openness about our mental health, I declare an
interest: diagnosed as cyclothymic, and having known more than two attacks of depression and hypomania in the past 30 years, I
would have been disqualified from passage
as an emigrant to New York by the 1907 US
Immigration Act, which prohibited ?All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons and persons who
have been insane within five years previous....?
Unfortunately, no Act would necessarily have been enough to prevent me or
them from embarking (or being forcibly
embarked) on such a ship, and going loopy
aboard, according to Nic Compton?s Off the
Deep End: A History of Madness at Sea.
Grotesqueries deriving from such regular misadventure, exacerbated by shipwreck, starvation, sinking, scurvy, calenture
(heat madness), alcohol or seawater-drinking are partly the plot of this book.
Compton?s subject is mental peril and
catastrophe. His book is a lightly-worn
but gripping contribution to the field, well
researched and full of anecdote and comparison. (You know about Darwin and Fitz-
?A new Raft of the Medusa?.Two survivors, Maurice Anderson and Goodman Thomasen,
of the Norwegian ship Drot turned on their German companion in an act of cannibalism ?
after which Anderson savagely attacked Thomasen (From Le Petit Journal, 1899.)
Roy, but have you heard of the ?Curse of the
Beagle??) Compton ? raised on a variety
of boats by his naval officer father, who was
torpedoed in 1941? has set himself to study
men?s and women?s minds under pressure
at sea. As readers of Conrad, Melville and
Alistair MacLean will know, the waves
reveal the mental processes of mankind like
nowhere else.
Advances in mental health care concern many. Treatments have ranged from
incarceration in irons and faeces (reported
aghast by Dr Burnett, for the Royal Navy,
1840) to ?the moral management of the
patient? (Burnett again, 1824). On land, we
have progressed from Bedlam to Prozac
and counselling. But even so, our understanding of mental health may hover near
where Nelson?s Navy were with limb trauma at Trafalgar: rum, strap, saw.
Off the Deep End visits the Bounty of
Captain Bligh, who had a ?brief psychotic disorder?); the Whaleship Essex (survivors driven to delirium by dehydration
and cannibalism); Columbus (?hypomanic,
increasingly delusional, possibly psychotic?); numerous open boats in which ?children, foreigners, minorities? and the weak
were eaten; and the international trade in
?Maniaks?.
Question: if people who are willing to
fling themselves into an untried passage
to an unknown world are not likely to be
slightly batty and at the margins of society
anyway, why is New Zealand full of nutters?
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
The predominance of this fearful malady
(insanity) in New Zealand is, perhaps, partly
ascribable to the fact that many of those who
emigrate to this country are of a romantic and
unsettled disposition, and this leads to excesses of various kinds which, I have no doubt,
very frequently result in mental disorder.
Thus the Scottish physician William
Lauder Lindsay in his 1869 study Insanity in British Immigrants of the Middle and
Upper Ranks. Most writers, teachers and
health professionals are half way to being
New Zealanders by this definition. Compton remarks:
That?s just another way of saying that anyone
who was willing to contemplate up to four
months at sea in search of a new life must have
a spirit of adventure and non-conformity...
So far so good, but then the ship strikes
a sandbank, like the Medusa, sailing in 1816
to replace British governance in Senegal
with French colonists, and next thing it?s
the raft. Two days and nights exposed to the
sea and a disproportionate quantity of wine
to water lashed aboard a raft carrying 147
produced nightmares of mayhem, murder
and that grim ?custom of the sea?, caught so
memorably in G閞icault?s famous painting.
To make it more palatable, they hung strips
of flesh from the rigging to cook in the sun.
It was a scene of utter debasement...Only 15
of the 147 people who had boarded the raft
13 days before were left alive. The rest had
all been murdered or washed over the side, or
41
BOOKS & ARTS
The second pillar of the plot in this winning book is the use to which individuals
and institutions, led by the Royal Navy,
have put knowledge of the sea?s madness. Treating mental illness turns oceans
to therapeutic effect. Sail training is a lifesaver for veterans, the lost and the young,
among others.
Inevitably, a trainer recalls a group of
young offenders on drugs off Cape Wrath
who ?became quite agitated... we had to
talk to them on their level and take an
unconventional approach. They were eventually taken off in handcuffs.? There are
hopeful tales too. We have much to learn
about charting and navigating mental illness: this is an invaluable almanac.
Lost in the metropolis
Hugh Pearman
A Place for All People
by Richard Rogers
Canongate, �, pp. 336
Four Walls and a Roof
by Reinier de Graaf
Harvard, �.95, pp. 528
Richard Rogers is to architecture what
Jamie Oliver is to cookery. It is not enough
for either of them just to be very good at
what they do and to bank the proceeds: they
want so much more. They want to use their
skills and money to improve society more
broadly. They are old-school campaigning
idealists (and Oliver trained in the kitchen
at the River Caf�, run by Rogers?s equally
committed wife, Ruthie).
The downside of being a do-gooder in
the UK, of course, is that people can find
you irritating. Just because you and a mate
(Renzo Piano) won the competition in
1971 for the Pompidou Centre in Paris and
went on to become international architectural superstars doesn?t necessarily mean
that everyone?s going to accept your prescriptions on how to live ? which Rogers
famously offered as Blair?s urban advisor,
a working peer of the realm alongside the
deputy PM John Prescott. He was mostly
right ? urban densification is indeed what?s
needed, not sprawl ? but there will always
be those who resent what they might see as
preaching.
A Place for All People seems aware of
this ? Rogers, with his co-writer and fellow
urban theorist Richard Brown, sweetens the
manifesto stuff with plenty of self-deprecating autobiographical details. The privileged
Florentine childhood, the family move to
42
were so close?) a still harder
blow in 2011 was the sudden
death from a seizure of his and
Ruthie?s youngest son Bo. He
was 28. As Rogers says, ?There
is no recovery from the death
of a child.? Once again, family
and friends pulled him through.
All this will interest most
people more than the urban
manifesto sections, which are
familiar from his co-authored
earlier books. Now 84, he
concludes by commending a
new generation of architects
and an ?incredible diversity of
approach?. Oddly he cites two
who are dead (Jan Kaplicky
and Zaha Hadid) plus one,
Frank Gehry, who at 88 is no
spring chicken.
Reiner de Graaf?s book
Four Walls and a Roof is a
more cerebral thing, a series of
essays on what architecture is
and does. Unlike Rogers he is
of working-class background,
a partner in OMA (Office for
Metropolitan Architecture), a
celebrated firm headed by the
much more famous Rem Koolhaas. De Graaf is an excellent,
witty and perceptive essayist. The heart of the book is a
series of astonishing accounts
of the protracted ? and as it
turns out, all doomed ? sagas
to get big urban projects approved and built
in London (just pre-crash), Moscow (just
pre-Putin), the Emirates (just pre-oil slump),
and Kurdistan (just pre-Isis). The way de
Graaf builds up to each (in hindsight) inevitable disappointment is masterly. ?If there is
a modern London, it is not the result of conviction but of slowly conceding ground,? he
despairs. ?Every new modern building suggests the possibility that it could be the last.?
De Graaf is not terribly impressed by
Rogers. A wicked vignette depicts him slurring platitudes at a big conference as disconnected slides flash up on a screen behind
him. He muses:
GETTY IMAGES
had committed suicide, lost their minds ? or
been eaten. There was uproar in France when
news of the disaster leaked out, and the story
soon became a symbol of the corruption of
the Bourbon regime.
Escalators in the atrium of
Richard Rogers?s Lloyds building
England as war threatened, his near-suicidal
misery when ? as an extreme undiagnosed
dyslexic ? he was sent away to school. But
he developed a survival strategy: to use his
charm and cleverness to recruit support. ?A
gang of us began to coalesce around a small
muddy pond in Epsom, where we would
catch newts and tadpoles, or practise falling
through trees, using the branches to moderate and slow our descent,? he relates. Practise falling through trees? Without missing
a beat, he relates how he met another boy
there called Michael Branch who became
a lifelong friend, ??and Pat Lillies, my first
girlfriend ? a beautiful tomboy three years
older than me?. Rogers was a sexier Just William!
?Now I had my own people close round
me,? he says, and indeed his Outlaws have
carried him through life. Another girlfriend saved his bacon by helping him with
his drawings at the Architectural Association school; his first professional partner
was none other than Norman Foster; then
it was Renzo Piano; later he had a variety
of strong sidemen such as John Young, who
attended to the tricky details that Rogers
finds irksome. Although he got through the
death of his beloved mother Dada in 1998
(?Everybody was convinced that I was going
to go to pieces when she died, because we
They had interesting careers once, Rogers,
Foster, and Renzo Piano ? perhaps the last
members of a generation of true modernists. But something odd happened to each of
them? Rogers chose to dedicate himself to
the city, which he viewed as the pursuit of a
larger social good, but its complexities landed
him out of his depth (and evidently still do).
Oof.
Rogers?s book is aimed more at the average reader while de Graaf?s is more intensely intellectual, demanding concentration.
He lacks the vivid personal history, but has
much more mental stimulation to offer. He
emerges as an unlikely, deeply sceptical
architectural Everyman. I like that.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
A poet in prose
Peter Stanford
in The Golden Bridle. He unashamedly laid
out the case for ?impure poetry? ? where it
was put to political ends:
To the idea of poetry as exclusive, esoteric,
amoral, the private affair of the poet, moving
in a different world from prose, creative of its
own reality, I should oppose the idea of poetry
as catholic, diverse in function, moral, everyone?s business (potentially at any rate), assimilating not rejecting prose meaning, a way of
synthesising and communicating reality.
The Golden Bridle:
Selected Prose
by C. Day-Lewis, edited by Albert Gelpi
and Bernard O?Donoghue
OUP, �, pp. 432
Literary reputation can be a fickle old
business. Those garlanded during their
lifetimes are often quickly forgotten once
dead. Yet there is a daily procession of
visitors to Keats?s grave in the English
cemetery in Rome, where the headstone
reads, ?Here Lies One Whose Name Was
Writ in Water?, so sure was the poet that
the neglect he had suffered up to his death
would continue ever after.
By any standards, C. Day-Lewis ? he
disliked Cecil, the name given to him by
his Church of Ireland vicar father ? was
among the most glittering figures on the
20th-century British literary scene, celebrated, well-connected, a bestseller and
Poet Laureate for the four years up to his
death in 1972. Since then, though, he has
all but slipped off the radar, save for passing references in articles about his famous
son, the triple Oscar-winner Sir Daniel
Day-Lewis.
Too derivative, some say of his poetry. Too much in Auden?s shadow, say
others. But two distinguished admirers,
keen to encourage a resurgence, have collected the best of Day-Lewis?s prose writings in a single elegant volume as The
Golden Bridle. The award-winning poet,
Bernard O?Donoghue, and Albert Gelpi,
the Emeritus Professor of English at Stanford University, are not simply looking
back in nostalgia at a man they continue
to believe was a major not a minor poet.
They also make a persuasive case that
Day-Lewis?s thoughtful contributions to
the eternal debate on poetry, its purpose
and its perfectibility, remain illuminating
and highly relevant today.
In simple terms, he believed that poetry
must have a place in public debates, even
if it meant compromising its much vaunted purity. It was a conviction that began
when ? alongside Auden, Spender and
MacNeice ? he was lionised as one of the
?Poets of the 30s?. Together, they rejected
the aloofness from world affairs of the
great Modernists of the previous decade,
T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and instead
incorporated in their verse an appeal for
radical economic and political change during a decade that began with a depression
and went on to witness the Spanish Civil
War as part of the rise of fascism across
Europe.
In A Hope for Poetry in 1934, DayLewis provided a prose manifesto for this
new poetic movement ? quoted at length
If it sounds like an internal argument
amongst poets, then it is hard for a modern audience to grasp quite how famous
the poets of the 1930s were. Today poetry exists largely in the quieter corners of
the Radio 4 schedule and on small stages at specialist events. But 85 years ago,
Day-Lewis et al (collectively damned as
?MacSpaunday? by one arch critic) were
on front pages and shared political platforms with the men of the hour. Indeed,
T.E. Lawrence, in a much-reported remark
to Winston Churchill in 1934, once called
Day-Lewis ?the one great man in these
lands?.
Auden was to tire of ?political? poetry. The melancholy conclusion to his
great 1939 elegy for W.B. Yeats famously
declared that ?poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/ In the valley of its making where executives/ Would never want
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
to tamper?. Its influence persists to this
day. But Day-Lewis disagreed, and never
renounced his youthful commitment.
In 1940s Cambridge, 1950s Oxford (as
Professor of Poetry, beating C.S. Lewis to
the post in an election), and 1960s Harvard, he never tired in his lectures and
prose writings of arguing that poetry must
be about something bigger than the poet?s
life and loves ? though there was a fair
amount of his love affairs with Rosamond Lehmann, Elizabeth Jane Howard,
A.S. Byatt and his second wife, the actress
Jill Balcon, in some of the memorable collections he produced in the second half of
his life ? notably in his raw writings about
Lehmann in 1953?s ?An Italian Visit?:
All woman she was. Brutalising, humanising,
Pure flame, lewd earth was she, imperative
as air
And weak as water, yes all women to me.
For anyone wanting an elegant, accessible, thought-provoking exploration of
poetry and its unique power to change
minds as well as hearts, the texts collected
here are less a golden bridle and more a
gold mine. The jury may be out on whether
Day-Lewis was a first- or second-tier poet,
but as a critic, thinker and theorist of his
craft, he unquestionably belongs at the
very top of the tree.
Pre Order Now. Visit www.wilkinsonpublishing.com.au
43
GETTY IMAGES
BOOKS & ARTS
Bogart and Bacall in The Big Sleep
Band of bickering brothers
Christopher Bray
Warner Bros: The Making of an
American Movie Studio
by David Thomson
Yale, �.99, pp. 220
There aren?t many downsides to being a
film critic, but one of them is being asked to
name your favourite movie. You bluster and
bluff, and then cop out by saying the answer
changes from year to year and sometimes
from day to day.
Then you read David Thomson?s new
book and realise that from now on you?re
going to say that while you?ll probably never
have a definitive favourite film, you do have
a favourite film factory. Any movie that starts
with kettledrums and a blare of brass, and a
black and white escutcheon (in later years,
gold and blue) emblazoned with the initials
WB is likely to be a cut above: intelligent,
liberal and seriously amusing. As Thomson
says at the end of this brief, bracing, not-quite
biography, Warner Brothers is ?the best studio there ever was?.
It was the brainchild of a family of
Ashkenazi Jews. Moses, Aaron and Szmul
Wonskolasor were young children when
their shoemaker father, Benjamin, brought
them and their mother, Pearl, to America
from Poland in the late 1880s. (The boys were
44
renamed Harry, Albert and Sam Warner in
the process.) Then, in 1892, with the family
now living in Ontario, another son ? Itzhak,
or Jack ? came along.
Largely because we know least about
him, Sam seems like the most approachable
of the bunch. He died young, in 1927, the day
before the mid-shoot magic he had worked
to transform The Jazz Singer from a silent to
a talkie took America by storm. Albert was
a businesslike bruiser whom nobody crossed
and nobody dissed. Harry, the eldest, fancied
himself the moral conscience of the family.
Eleven years senior to Jack, he cleaved to
the old morality of the shtetl. He never forgave the baby of the family for having gone
Warner Bros ?lms are obsessed
with sibling rivalry and pals
who become enemies
native ? for getting married more than once,
and for the afternoon ritual on the office sofa
with the latest chorus-line hopeful.
A band of brothers, then, though hardly
we happy few. But this was crucial, argues
Thomson, to the movie studio they formed.
?What emerges from decades of Warners
pictures,? he writes, ?is the obsession with sibling rivalry and pals who become enemies.?
What emerges from his book, meanwhile,
is the idea that the auteur mode of criticism to which cinema has been subject since
the 1960s won?t wash. Never
mind, says Thomson, that
East of Eden was directed by
a Broadway-cum-Hollywood
big-shot called Elia Kazan.
Never mind that it was based
on a book by a big-shot writer
called John Steinbeck. Never
mind, indeed, whether Jack or
Harry or Albert had even read
that novel. If this update of the
Cain and Abel story is anyone?s
brainchild it?s that of the Warner brothers, who ?did not want
to escape a vein of fraternal
opposition?.
No, I?m not convinced
either. But Thomson is on
surer ground when it comes
to the most famous picture
that Warners ever produced
? Casablanca. Directed by
a journeyman hack (Michael
Curtiz) whose ?greatest characteristic was versatility, or
the ability to do whatever the
studio required?, and scripted by a small army of writers
and rewriters (the producer,
Hal B. Wallis, apparently came
up with the film?s famous last
line ? ?Louis, I think this is the
beginning of a beautiful friendship?), this wartime paean to
extranational loyalty and the thrill of heartbreak is no more the product of a single
voice than the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
If pressed, most people would call
Casablanca a Bogart movie. Thomson
explains that Bogart did all his best work ?
The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, To Have
and Have Not, The Big Sleep ? at Warners.
So it is little wonder that Bogie gets a chapter
to himself. It?s a great read, but since Thomson has already published a full-length study
of The Big Sleep, and a monograph on Bogart (and on Bette Davis, who is also given her
own chapter), there?s an air of d閖� vu. Play
it again, Sam?
Don?t get me wrong. Warner Bros thrums
with the kind of insights and asides that
have long made Thomson the finest film
critic ever. It takes wit to see that the ?secret
to being Jack Warner was that he knew he
was a terrific guy?. And wisdom to see that
?America might have been happier without
the pursuit of happiness?. It takes a sense
of history to see that we are not far off the
time when ?the hard facts of 1939?45 will go
into soft focus? [while] Casablanca endures
and becomes a passive, fraudulent version of
what happened in the war?.
But if the downside of movie criticism for
Thomson is, as it starts to seem, that he has
seen through the movies, mightn?t it be time
he was through with them, period? Come
on, David! Try writing about the real world!
It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Who is Sylvia ? what is she?
Sarah Ditum
The Letters of Sylvia Plath,
Volume I: 1940?1956
edited by Peter K. Steinberg
and Karen V. Kukil
Faber, �, pp. 1424
In May 1956, three months after meeting
Ted Hughes, one before they will marry,
Sylvia Plath writes to her mother Aurelia
about the talented man she has fallen in love
with: ?He will start some portraits of me! A
combination of both witch and ghost, perhaps.? Because of Hughes?s editing and writing of her work, a combination of witch and
ghost is precisely how we know her, and he
strongly encouraged the idea that the version of Plath he offered was the ?real one?, a
core of personality born in an inevitably fatal
struggle narrated through the Ariel poems.
Ariel, in his view, was her only true work. ?All
her other writings, except these journals, are
the waste products of its gestation,? he wrote
in the introduction to his 1985 edition of
her diaries, a strange classification that consigned to the slag heap both the brilliant Bell
Jar and all her other diaries (conveniently
including the ones he destroyed).
But before Plath killed herself and
Hughes got his hands on the manuscript,
Ariel was a very different collection: one of
personal rebirth, yes, but specifically rebirth
after the agonising dissolution of her marriage. ?My mother had described her Ariel
manuscript as beginning with the word
?Love? and ending with the word ?Spring?,?
wrote Frieda Hughes in the introduction to
the Restored Edition of Ariel, published in
2005. Gradually, as the volume of her writings available to the public has become
near-exhaustive, another Plath has become
visible. Neither the magnificent harpy of
Ariel, nor the haunting Dido figure of Birthday Letters, and not a cypher for female
To the boys she falls in love with
Sylvia writes wild, experimental,
perversely ?irtatious letters
suffering under male brutality or a model
of madness either; but a woman entire:
funny, ambitious, paradoxical, wildly clever
and alive.
From her first letter, written to her father
when she was seven, this volume contains
much that?s new. There?s also repetition:
Plath often related the same events multiple times to various intimates, with minimal
variation. And there?s a lot that builds up
the texture of young female life in the mid-
20th-century American middle class, but
is less than fascinating in every particular:
the importance of dating to her social life at
Smith college is interesting in a Mass-Observation-Project way, but the detail on every
boy she goes out with is legitimately skippable. (Some may feel the same about her
attention to clothing styles and make-up; I
don?t, and wish the editors had added to their
burdens by glossing some of the brands she
mentions.)
She?s a generous, expansive correspondent. She?s also very witty. When a summer
job as a live-in mother?s helper turns out to
involve drudging for three appalling children, the 19-year-old Plath writes to her
friend Marcia B. Stern with a faux-news
report about a babysitter driven to murder:
When asked what she had done to the eldest, she cried, ?I fed him down the chromiumplated disposal unit in the kitchen sink.?
Even when she mangles her leg in a skiing accident, she telegrams the news to her
mother in a sharp Tennyson parody: ?BREAK
BREAK BREAK ON THE COLD WHITE
SLOPES OH KNEE.?
The skiing accident is one of many events
here that eventually made it into The Bell
Jar, along with her first suicide attempt,
and an obscurely alluded-to gynaecological haemorrhage which may have been
OVER AND OUT:
AN EVENING WITH
HENRY BLOFELD
THURSDAY 19TH OCTOBER | 6.30 P.M.
EMMANUEL CENTRE, WESTMINSTER, LONDON
For more than 40 years, his voice on Test Match Special has been the sound
of summer for thousands of cricket lovers in Britain and the world over.
Join us for an unmissable evening with Henry Blofeld in conversation
with Roger Alton, The Spectator?s sports columnist, to discuss the cricket
broadcasting legend?s eagerly anticipated book, Over & Out, and to
mark his retirement after a superb innings in the commentary box.
TICKETS
BOOK NOW
Standard rate with book: �
Subscriber rate with book: �
www.spectator.co.uk/blofeld
Standard rate without book: �
Subscriber rate without book: �
020 7961 0044
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
45
BOOKS & ARTS
caused by a rape. The vast amount of spry,
acute observation that she never repurposed causes pangs for what she might yet
have done in the line of novels. She writes
with hackish persistence to editors, offering
stories and poems to magazines. She is
unnecessarily polite to unpublished young
men who criticise her stories and tell her
to read Hemingway. To the boys she falls in
love with, she writes wild, experimental, perversely flirtatious letters ? perhaps this is
the whole purpose of falling in love.
She eventually writes, prodigiously,
to and about Ted Hughes (pet-named ?Teddy-ponk?, extraordinarily). She luxuriates in
their domesticity, and plays the submissive
part: ?You must scold me, beat me, help me,?
she writes to him during an enforced separation after their secret marriage. Despite
Frieda?s introductory plea that these letters
be taken to show ?my parents are as married
in death as they once were in life?, they have
inevitably revived the Plath-Hughes drama.
Was Hughes the brute with a brute brute
heart of ?Daddy?; or was Plath a masochist
who wished him to be so? The answer is, a
bit of both, and the latter can hardly excuse
the former.
But then part of the experience of reading these letters is to see Plath firmly in her
own time. In his 2015 Unauthorised Life of
Hughes, Jonathan Bate chided feminists for
making Plath ?a martyr of a movement of
which she was not really a part?, and it?s true
that Plath was not affiliated to the women?s
movement: she died before it began. Betty
Friedan?s The Feminine Mystique came out
the day after Plath?s funeral. The feminist
analysis of rape, male violence and domestic labour had not yet been invented; Plath
was helping to invent it. She finds in Sons
and Lovers a ?great smorgasbord for thought
about mother-child relationships?. Adrienne
Rich?s feminist analysis of motherhood,
Of Woman Born, was not published until
1976 ? and in fact drew on The Bell Jar and
Letters Home.
She makes unsisterly snipes at Cambridge?s bluestocking dons, but she intuitively grasps the injustices of being quizzed
about her marriage plans by a scholarship
panel, and of the sexual double standard.
To her friend Ann Davidow-Goodman: ?I
hate public opinion for encouraging boys to
prove their virility & condemning women for
doing so.? And though she thrills to be ?part
of a miniature cosmos all of which revolves
around my dear darling Ted?, she revolts at
the misogyny of Schopenhauer?s On Women:
?What poverty of experience he must have
had to deny us minds and souls ? and make
of us mere procreating animal machines!?
As this unedited Plath subsumes the
version crafted by Hughes, one of the realisations is how much she created him: by recognising his talent, by acting as his agent and
ensuring his first collection was published, by
inventing the myth of the ?strongest man in
46
the world ? a singer, story-teller, lion and
world-wanderer and vagabond who will
never stop? in which his admirers still believe.
The Hughes we know is her Hughes, and his
best work was often either directly facilitated by her (Hawk in the Rain) or about her
(Crow, Birthday Letters). In her correspondence, we find more of the writer she was
without him, and the artist she could have
been had she survived.
Tales out of school
Mark Mason
So They Call You Pisher!
A Memoir
by Michael Rosen
Verso, �.99, pp. 256
In 1952, the five-year-old Michael Rosen and
his brother were taken on holiday along the
Thames by their communist parents. The coronation was approaching, and the trip was an
effort to ?ignore it away?. All went well until
they reached Wallingford, where Rosen?s
father and a friend visited a pub, not knowing it had a TV set. They entered ?at the very
moment the Archbishop was putting the
crown on the Queen?s head. The whole purpose of the punting holiday was ruined.?
His family?s political convictions are a
recurring theme in Rosen?s account of his
childhood and university years. Their experience was typical of many Jewish people at
the time: branches of the family in Europe
had been wiped out by the Nazis, driving
the survivors not only abroad but leftwards.
Rosen?s father pronounced ?bourgeoisie?
as ?buggers are we?, and held Tuesday night
Communist Party branch meetings at his flat
in Pinner. When (as sometimes happened)
no one else turned up, Rosen?s parents went
ahead with the meeting anyway.
His father had been born in the US, and
so joined the American rather than the British Army. While stationed in Berlin after
the second world war he was charged with
writing a history of the Army?s occupation
of that city. ?Somewhere deep in the archives
of Omgus (Office of Military Government,
United States),? Rosen points out, ?sits a
report, written by someone who would come
?It?s true what they say ? get a dog and you?ll
meet all sorts of people.?
to be called in the following decades a ?cardcarrying member of the Communist Party?.?
For a while, the young Michael assumed that
everything good ? for instance the butcher his family used ? must be communist,
?until one day I was playing football with the
butcher?s son and he said that his dad said
that we should drop the bomb on Russia?.
Rosen?s description of his schooling
shows what a horrible place 1950s Britain
could be. His primary school playground was
segregated by gender: a girl got into trouble
for handing him a skipping rope across the
line that ran down the middle. Pupils were
taught the spellings of words but not their
meanings. ?We coughed up piles of facts?,
says Rosen ? the best phrase I?ve ever read
about Britain?s absurd text-based approach
to education. And his classmates? rebellion against a teacher who beat them was
inspired: they indulged in invisible humming,
?delivering volleys of quiet droning sounds,
with our mouths just a tiny bit open and
smiling so that it was impossible to spot who
was droning?.
There?s plenty of cultural theorising as
Rosen relates how his literary, theatrical and
musical tastes developed. Some of this gets
a touch heavy, though thankfully the batteries in his pseud-alarm are tested on a regular
basis. He and his brother laughed at a book
called What Happens in Hamlet, primarily because it was longer than Hamlet. He
knew that the 1960s folk music scene could
be over-earnest: ?There?s nothing more lethal
for entertainment than being told you ought
to like it.? An early lesson in plain talking was
provided by his father, who on a family visit
to Zeffirelli?s Romeo and Juliet remarked:
?That Juliet?s quite broad in the beam.? It was
Judi Dench.
Rosen is now 71, an age when people
are told they should be ?writing it all down?.
Unlike most, he has; and while some sections will only be of real value to the relatives
mentioned in them, he?s too good a storyteller for this book not to be worth your
while as well. There?s the corned beef scare
during an outbreak of typhoid in South
America: Rosen?s mother had tins of the
stuff, and after worrying for a while she
decided to eat them ? but only after the outbreak was over. There?s his father, during a
holiday to France, nipping over the border to
get some cheap fags in Spain. On his return,
a policeman asked whether he?d bought
anything, only for Michael to pipe up: ?Don?t
forget to tell him about the cigarettes!? And
there?s the tale of Maurice Bowra, Warden of
Wadham, Rosen?s Oxford college. Students
were locked in at 11p.m., but could sneak
out along a route that included Bowra?s sitting room. One night an escapee, realising
that Bowra was still there, dived behind the
sofa. He stayed hidden for two hours, breathing as quietly as possible. Finally Bowra got
up and left the room. Reaching the door, he
said: ?Turn the light out when you go to bed.?
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
GETTY IMAGES
The uninhabited island of Fuday in the Sound of Barra, Outer Hebrides
Our islands? story
Hugh Thomson
Islander: A Journey Around Our
Archipelago
by Patrick Barkham
Granta, �, pp. 351
Britain has 6,000 islands. Not as many as
Sweden?s 30,000 but quite enough to be
going on with. Only 132 of ours are populated, on a scale that slides from the 85,000
people on the Isle of Man to tiny St Kilda,
with its summertime population of just 15.
Patrick Barkham is a skilled compiler of
lists. His charming and successful first book,
The Butterfly Isles, chronicled the sighting of
every one of Britain?s 59 butterflies within a
single summer. It is high up on my own list of
?I wish I?d thought of that? ideas.
Clearly trying to gazetteer all Britain?s
islands in a similar way might be indigestible, so he has restricted himself to a representative First Eleven, a team of big hitters
scattered evenly around the mainland from
Orkney in the north to Alderney in the
south.
Islands make their presence felt. They
have character. Some, like Skye, are even
celebrities. As Barkham remarks, ?a few
square miles of small island looms far larger than the equivalent pocket of land on the
mainland?.
They also have their own ecosystems ?
often simplified and reduced, with fewer
species. Barkham is one of our most acces-
sible nature writers and has a deft touch
for painting in both landscape and animals.
Here he is on the smells that assault him
when he arrives on the Isle of Man: ?The
air is moist and perfumed ? by heather on
the purple uplands, by freshly cut lawn in
the suburbs, and then by pungent dashes
of seaweed, flung by the waves onto shoreside roads.? The seals of Eigg are as fat
as slugs.
Barkham is blessed with a talent far rarer
in nature writers than a corncrake in Surrey
? he has a wonderful sense of humour and
can be very funny. Nor does he take himself that seriously. This is a writer who once
dressed up in a badger onesie to promote a
book at a literary festival.
He also has an eye for the quirky and
counterintuitive in the human world. On
the Isle of Man, he explores how online
gambling came to the rescue when their
tax haven status was called into question
? and how new cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin may now give them a third wind.
Running like a thread throughout the
book are the island adventures of Compton Mackenzie. Whisky Galore, set on fictional ?Little Todday?, may be well-known,
but Mackenzie?s wider obsession with
islands is less so. Although born in mainland Hartlepool, this wildly eccentric writer bought and sold a series of small islands
throughout his lifetime, both in the Channel Islands and the Hebrides. Most proved
financial disasters. Islands, Barkham
reminds us mournfully, are almost always
expensive. On Eigg, for instance, the com-
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
munity still pays twice as much for its electricity as the mainland, despite generating
it themselves from solar power.
With considerable brio, Compton
Mackenzie rode out these insular losses and
ended up on Barra, with a mistress 30 years
younger than him, while his wife stayed on
the mainland. Mistress and wife maintained
an amiable correspondence about how
to manage Compton?s more complicated
habits, like staying up all night to write
while listening to Sibelius at full volume.
His perseverance paid off when in 1942
the SS Politician ran aground on rocks visible from his Barra home. A friend presented
him with some of the 264,000 whisky bottles
from the hold, and fuelled by a great deal
of all-night Sibelius and liquid refreshment,
Mackenzie rattled out Whisky Galore, which
became a much-needed hit both as a book
and as a film. Of his 100 works, some far
more ambitious and laboured, it is the only
one still in print.
Islander is a charming and attractive book, somewhat in the spirit of an
Ealing comedy itself. As Barkham travels
from one lump of sea-girt rock to another, he
makes the gentle point that mainland Britain is of course also an island, albeit a very
large one; his shrewd study of the islander
mentality, which can veer wildly between the
piratical, conservative and just plain bloodyminded, could stand for the entire country.
None of us, after all, would want Customs
and Excise to confiscate a wrecked tankerload of whisky when it could be put to so
much better use.
47
BOOKS & ARTS
ARTS
Savage beauty
The photographer Steve McCurry talks to Mary Wakefield about the ethics
of making pain look pleasing
C
ould it, at times, be frustrating to
have taken one of the world?s most
famous photographs? Steve McCurry?s ?Afghan Girl? (1984) is, according to the
Royal Geographic Society, the most recognised photo on the planet. You can summon
it to mind in a trice: a beautiful young refugee of about 12, her head covered with a
rough red shawl, stares out at the camera
with those pale green eyes.
But what Steve McCurry?s vast, World
Atlas-sized new retrospective portfolio
shows is just how many other, perhaps even
better, photographs he?s taken of the country over the past 40 years; how many other
Afghan girls there are in the shadow of that
green-eyed superstar. One portrait of a child
in blue-grey taken in Ghazni six years later
is especially intense.
If, after an afternoon with McCurry?s
Afghanistan, I rather resented that original
girl, it?s only a tribute to the rest.
McCurry?s known as a war photographer and his biography sure fits the bill: he
caught his first break, just before the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, by crossing the
Pakistan border in local dress. He escaped
with his film sewn into his clothes. McCurry has shot in Beirut, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia,
Afghanistan and Tibet. He has a Robert
Capa Gold Medal for exceptional grit and
courage. But for all that, McCurry is most
definitely also an artist.
He talked to me on the phone from a
hotel room in Portugal. Other phones were
ringing in the background and the feeling of
an itinerary was heavy in the air. But on the
subject of how to learn his art, McCurry was
suddenly focused.
?If you love pictures you should want to
look at great pictures and pore over them,?
he said. Do some students not want to do
that? ?Well, if I say it?s a great pleasure to
look at the work of someone like Cartier-Bresson, they look at me like I?m from
another planet. . . . If you want to know
about light, composition, shape and form
and timing, that?s what to do. I guess if you
are Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo or
Orson Welles you could probably do things
without any kind of inspiration or reference,
but most of us mere mortals need to look
and learn. And practise. Practice has a lot to
do with it.?
There?s practice, and there?s patience.
McCurry?s famous for rushing in to the hot
48
spots but also for his ability to wait for the
right conditions for the right shot. His subjects look so trusting and unguarded I had
half-imagined that McCurry hid behind
bushes, taking his subjects unawares.
He laughed: ?Oh no, no never! You just
get to know people. We spent time with
Afghans and they are extremely friendly
and hospitable, and they have a great sense
of humour. I think, really, you start to see the
humanity ? the shared humanity.?
Has Afghanistan and have the Afghans
changed much over the decades he?s been
there? ?Yes,? said McCurry despondently. ?When the Afghan world was more
untouched, or when it was less influenced
by neighbouring countries, there was a way
they wore their hair, what they wore, it was
all Afghan, it was their unique way of look-
Steve McCurry?s ?Afghan Girl? is the
most recognised photo on the planet
ing. Now everybody ? even in small villages
? has the internet, has TV and they start to
feel self-conscious about their clan, their turban, maybe their pants or their this or their
that. It?s just the way of the world, that?s the
way of the whole world ??
Does this book then mark the end of
your Afghan adventure? Would you go back
to photograph Afghanistan again?
?I was there last year, yes. I was in
Kabul, it was crowded, there?s a lot of traffic, there?s always this nagging sense that
at any moment there could be a car bomb
somewhere. And I thought, wait a minute,
I?m kind of repeating myself here. I walked
down the same street ten years ago and it
looked pretty much the same.?
The Taleban are taking the country again.
Can you see, from your experience there,
how that could happen. Why local people
might accept them back?
?Yes, they?re neighbours. They speak
the same language, they?re Pashtun,? said
McCurry. ?Then, on the other side, there
are these foreigners running around who
don?t speak the same language and in many
cases don?t respect local customs. They come
through your village, search your homes.
They have drones. You can see how the negativity starts to stack up. The Taleban are
doing terrible things as well but if you?re an
Afghan you?re not going back to Cleveland
at the end of your tour, you know. You?re
there for ever. It?s a stalemate that makes
no sense. Trump is saying send more troops
in and it just doesn?t make sense.?
McCurry clearly feels the futility of war
and the horror that all the Afghans have
been through, but one of the most striking
things about his book is how un-angry it
feels. The photos are, for the most part, sensuous and lyrical. I asked: isn?t it sometimes
uncomfortable for a distressing shot to be so
beautiful? I was thinking in particular of a
woman in a soft, ochre-coloured burka holding her injured son in Kabul in 1992. You
can?t help but take pleasure in the light on
the cloth, though the child in her arms is in
tears. And of two boys in Herat in 1992, seen
from behind, on crutches.
McMurray seemed oddly flustered: ?Well
I think that I had a particular interest and
concern with composition and light so I
never really thought about pictures as being
? but yes, it has a certain poignancy...?
If he sounds defensive it?s perhaps
because he?s recently taken some flak for
seeming to tinker with his photographs
post-production. In the spring of last year
an Italian photographer, Paolo Viglione,
noted that he?d moved a street sign on one
photo, to better balance the composition,
then other eagle-eyed puritans spotted
other anomalies.
Once he?d gathered his thoughts on
the subject of making pain look pleasing,
McCurry gave a reply that seemed designed
to answer all critics: ?If I am making bad pictures to try to please somebody else, I?m not
being true to myself and I?m not having fun.
I?m not doing what has meaning to me. I
basically photograph in a way that seems
right for me and I guess if people don?t like
it that?s perfectly fine, but I don?t know?
It?s all good. There?s nothing else I?d rather do, and I feel like I?ve done with my life
what I want to.?
?If you wait,? McCurry has said in the
past, ?people will forget your camera and
the soul will drift up into view.? Inevitably,
any great photographer reveals his own
soul, too, and what this book demonstrates
is that it?s a mistake to think of McCurry as a
reporter. He?s not recording a truth so much
as, in the manner of all artists, making his
own. ?I?m a visual storyteller,? he said during the Photoshop business last year, not a
photojournalist. And all the better for that.
Afghanistan by Steve McCurry is published
by Taschen.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
� STEVE MCCURRY
?Logar Province?, 1984, by Steve McCurry
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
49
BOOKS & ARTS
Radio
Split decision
Kate Chisholm
Think back to that morning in September
1967 when the Light Programme was split
in two, Tony Blackburn launching Radio 1
with a jaunty new jingle announcing it was
all ?Just for Fun? while staid old Radio 2
went on with the Breakfast Show and told
its listeners to ?Wake Up Easy?. What is so
surprising is just how radical the changes at
the BBC were. On that unsuspecting morning, as the Pope urged for peace in Vietnam
and a cannabis farm was discovered in Bristol, the Beeb?s radio output was completely
overhauled.
It was not just that a new station was
launched, addressing the problems posed to
the BBC?s listener profile by the lurid temptations of the pirates ? those radio stations
anchored offshore and unbound by the protocols on which Auntie was run. Much more
drastically, the Light Programme, Third Programme and Home Service were all done
She would climb in a bikini, coming
back down covered in scratches,
as if she?d been whipped
away with and replaced by networks known
only by number. How on earth could listeners identify with something called merely 1
or 2, let alone 3 and 4?
No wonder the powers that be were anxious. Early-morning listeners on 1500 metre
Long Wave would have heard the controller warning them in advance: ?We can
only hope they [the new stations] will find
acceptance.? No rehearsals had been possible, so ?like a new pair of shoes we shall be
breaking the networks in until they fit properly. We must crave your indulgence if the
shoes squeak a bit.?
Last weekend?s pop-up vintage Radio
1 station (only available in digital format),
taking us back to those heady days of Fluff,
Emperor Rosko and the inimitable Kenny
Everett, was a trip too far down memory
lane for some of us. While younger listeners
must have been bewildered by some of the
accents (so ultra RP), the cheesy jingles and
the overwhelming maleness of it all, to me
it was too much of a blast from a very longdistant past to feel comfortable. The music
was good, though.
Saturday-night?s Between the Ears
feature on Radio 3 was an atmospheric
adventure in 3-D sound, taking us up a
mountainside in the company of the poet
Helen Mort and veteran climber Gwen
Moffat, with every footfall etched on air.
Give Me Space Below My Feet (produced
by Clare Walker) was inspired by Moffat,
who took up climbing during the war after
picking up a hitchhiking conscientious
50
objector (and climber) while driving her
army van. She fell in love, deserted from
the army, and lived in the wild instead. On
my first two climbs, she said, ?the rocks
were alive. I was pulling myself up, using
my body. I think I found something? I
found myself.?
As Mort pulled herself up the rockface
above the Langdale valley in the Lake District, we heard Moffat looking back on her
life in the mountains. ?They are more part
of me than anything else? I think of them
more as home than I do a stone structure.?
Often, she would climb in a bikini, coming
back down covered with scratches, ?as if I?d
been whipped?. Now 93, she can only dream
about rockfaces, and the rasping sound of
rope across granite, but until she was 90 she
was still out there on the hills. ?It?s so dull,
life, otherwise.?
Stuff ? those piles of unread books,
useless ornaments, out-of-date papers that
clutter up our lives but prove so difficult to
dispose of ? was the subject of The Essay
this week on Radio 3 (produced by Arlene
Gregorius). Joanna Robertson wonders not
so much why it can be so wrenchingly difficult to throw any of it away, or whether the
Japanese ?clean-living? guru Marie Kondo
has a point, or not. Her quest is simply to
achieve that state, as advised by William
Morris, ?to have nothing in your house that
you do not know to be useful or believe to
be beautiful?. But how do you determine
what?s useful, beyond the kitchen knife,
kettle and bar of soap? Does something
that has emotional connection but no function or beauty have to be consigned to the
recycling bin?
Along the way we are reminded how
a seemingly casual postcard, an ancient
reproduction of a Matisse painting,
unearthed from a hidden drawer, can conjure up memories of the delicious Sunday
lunches Robertson had as a child in the dining-room where a large-scale print of that
same Matisse hung. Or the emotional resonance of a mere bottle, as captured by the
Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. Stuff does
matter.
Robertson was prompted to embark on
her sifting project by the arrival at her small
apartment in Paris of belongings from her
mother?s house. All the wrong things had
been sent across the Channel, none of which
she really wanted, but all of which remind
her, painfully, that her mother has gone for
ever. In the end, she says, we have to accept
that from what remains, although random,
unplanned, unrepresentative, will emerge
?the evidence shaping family stories?. A tin
box contains the obituary of a long-dead but
recognised relative, war medals and a sepia
photograph. There are books with handwritten dedications and bookplates. Her words
resonated powerfully, having just gone
through the process myself. Anyone know
how to dispose of a fur coat?
Dance
Pretty vacant
Louise Levene
Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland
Royal Opera House, in rep until
28 October
Acosta Danza ? Debut
Sadler?s Wells, and touring until
11 November
Alice is at it again. Christopher Wheeldon?s
2011 three-act ballet began another sell-out
run at Covent Garden last week. It?s a joy
to look at and packed with featured roles
that show off the Royal Ballet?s strength in
depth. If only it weren?t such a bore: thinly
written characters; anodyne choreography
and zero dramatic tension.
To be fair, the episodic dream logic of
the original doesn?t make for a coherent
or involving narrative. Wheeldon and his
scenarist, Nicholas Wright, have done their
best to correct for this by tacking on a Wizard of Oz-style prologue in which the Caterpillar, Dormouse et al. are human guests
at an Oxford tea party. Carroll?s heroine
becomes a teenager (and thus eligible for
romantic duets), and a modern-day epilogue has been added to reunite her with
the Knave of Hearts. But this perfunctory
happy ending doesn?t engage us and Joby
Alice is a joy to look at. If only it
weren?t such a bore
Talbot?s brassy, percussive score can?t fill
the emotional gaps.
Lauren Cuthbertson showed off her long,
clean lines and light jump at last Wednesday?s opening and Federico Bonelli brought
boyish charm and classical elegance to the
Knave, but the night belonged to Laura
Morera?s Queen of Hearts. The Spanish star
relishes the physical comedy of Wheeldon?s
parody of the Rose Adagio from Sleeping
Beauty, but Morera?s Queen is far more than
a comic turn and her hilarious playing of the
axe-happy monarch is all of a piece with
the neurotic ch鈚elaine of the deanery in
the opening scene. Tierney Heap, who took
over the role at Saturday?s matinee, nailed
the slapstick but missed that sense of a personality in meltdown.
Saturday afternoon?s Alice was Francesca Hayward, who brings the right mix of
girlish charm and grown-up technique, feet
bourr閑-ing exquisitely in straight-from-thebox pink satin pointe shoes and a jet� like a
paper plane.
The cameos were all vividly danced and
played. David Yudes was a spring-driven
frog footman. Tapmeister Steven McRae
makes short work of the Mad Hatter?s solo
but young Calvin Richardson also rattles
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
DAVID TRESS
Clouds Climbing, Early Sun (Dartmoor), 2016
mixed media on paper 54 x 63 cms
211?4 x 24 3?4 ins
?[ Tress?s] pic tures are not snapshots of nature, so much as ways of thinking
about landscape. This more open approach allows his emotional response
to the subjec t to direc t the vibrant application of pastel or watercolour
pencil that of ten overlays the paint.?
Andrew Lambir th
Catalogue � inc p&p
11 October ? 3 November 2017
2 8 Cor k S t re e t , L o nd o n W1S 3N G
Te l: +4 4 (0)2 0 7437 55 4 5
info @ me s su m s .co m
w w w. me s su m s .co m
BOOKS & ARTS
JOHAN PERSSON
of portable smoke machines and much use
of small flashlights. It bills itself as ?a reflection on the incomprehensible? but it looked
more like a power cut at a delousing centre.
Television
Playing it safe
James Walton
Dancers of the Royal Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon?s
Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland
through the routine with manic glee.
And it really does look fabulous (so I
should hope, given a rumoured spend of
�million). Designer Bob Crowley steers
clear of Tenniel?s illustrations to create his
own take on Wonderland: a Gilliamesque
world of woodcuts, coloured scraps and
toy theatres supplemented by shape-shifting video projections from Jon Driscoll and
Gemma Carrington. Each stage picture is
more striking than the last: a wall of locked
doors; a waltz of living flowers; a panoramic
boat ride through a silhouetted forest like a
Gall� glass vase.
Meanwhile, two postcodes away, former
Royal Ballet superstar Carlos Acosta had
brought his new company, Acosta Danza,
to Sadler?s Wells with Debut, a (very) mixed
bill. Acosta, conscious that his own rags-toriches story was made possible by the opportunities given him by dance, was determined
to give others the same chance. Two years
ago, he founded his Havana-based company with backing from the Cuban government. It?s a laudable initiative and its success
seems assured, given the selling power of
the Acosta brand (standing ovations guaranteed). But it was a disappointing evening.
The night began with a revival of Marianela Bo醤?s 1987 The Crossing Over Niaga52
ra, inspired by Charles Blondin?s piggyback
tightrope feat of 1859. Alejandro Silva and
Carlos Luis Blanco, flaunting his Stretch
Armstrong physique in the skimpiest of posing pouches. The two men gave a 24-minute
display of glacial bends and nerveless balances accompanied by canned Messiaen and
faint whimpers of pleasure: part anatomy
lesson, part floorshow.
The programme closed on a high with
Jorge Crecis?s Twelve, in which 12 dancers
The 24-minute display of glacial
bends to canned Messiaen was part
anatomy lesson, part ?oorshow
lob and catch three-dozen water bottles in a
larky but precision-drilled display of handeye coordination.
Sandwiched between was Sidi Larbi
Cherkaoui?s Mermaid, a short duet starring the still mesmerising Acosta (every
lift a caress). The normally reliable Justin
Peck, resident choreographer of New York
City Ballet, supplied Belles Lettres, an overwrought, rather old-fashioned number for
swooning couples danced to C閟ar Franck?s
Piano Quintet, but the evening?s wooden
spoon went to Goyo Montero for Imponderable. The nine-man piece involves a lot
BBC1?s latest Sunday-night drama The Last
Post, about a British military base in Aden in
1965, feels like a programme on a mission:
that mission being to avoid getting shouted
at by either the Guardian or the Daily Mail.
To this (possibly doomed) end, it goes about
its business very gingerly, with an almost
pathological devotion to balance, and a safety-first reliance on the trusty methods of the
well-made play, where each scene makes a
single discrete point and the characters are
as carefully differentiated as the members of
a boy band.
The first episode opened with the base?s
new captain landing at Aden airport with his
wife. ?It must be a hundred degrees,? she said
scene-settingly as they descended from the
plane. ?This isn?t Aldershot, is it,? he helpfully
added. Then, as they waited for their driver,
we caught up with what was happening on
the base itself, where the popular outgoing
captain was engaged in the kind of farewell
that Henry Blofeld might have considered
a bit protracted. He joshed with his Scottish
sergeant (the Salt-of-the-Earth One). He
commiserated with Lt Ed Laithwaite (the
Conflicted One) for not being appointed his
replacement. He had sex one last time with
Ed?s wife Alison (the Drunken Slutty One
? played with some relish by Jessica Raine,
who appears to have her hand sutured to a
vodka glass for the role). When the new captain (the Uptight One) arrived, it was clear
that he was the equivalent of one of those
fast-tracked graduate officers in cop shows,
whose main job is to be regarded with deep
suspicion by his underlings.
But to the annoyance of all concerned,
possibly including the programme-makers,
there was also the pesky business of colonial politics to deal with. Outside the walls,
the natives were not just restless ? and to
prove it, jabbering excitedly ? but heavily armed and increasingly well organised.
So how could the Brits most effectively get
some information out of a prisoner they
were holding? The question was debated
with due efficiency by Lt Ed, who believes
? modern parallel alert ? that ?torture is
the best recruiting sergeant for terrorists?,
and Major Markham (the Rule-bound One)
who thinks these matters are best left to the
intelligence services. And with that, the two
moved on to colonialism more generally,
laying out the cases for and against in the
same neat way.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
The Last Post, then, is not for those who
like their TV drama fearless and innovative.
(Give or take the occasional swear word,
the programme could have been broadcast
at any point in the past 50 years.) On the
other hand, there?s something quite touching about its resolute old-fashionedness. By
the end of the first episode, in fact, it didn?t
seem to be merely depicting the values of
a British base at the fag end of colonialism
but embodying them: trying hard to stay
The Last Post is not for those
who like their TV drama fearless
and innovative
unflappable in the trickiest of circumstances; determined to be well-meaning even if it
wasn?t entirely sure what it was doing there;
and all while either not noticing or not
caring that it might perhaps belong to
another time.
A rather different aspect of British colonial history lay behind Race and Pace: the
West Indians in East Lancashire, a terrific
30-minute documentary tucked away on
BBC4 on Monday. This took us back to the
long-lost days when the populations of Lancashire mill towns would dress up in their
finery to go and watch local league cricket,
where each team was allowed to employ one
professional. In the 1950s and ?60s, many of
the pros were from the Caribbean, and as
a result Lancashire club cricketers found
themselves playing alongside some of the
greatest players in the world.
The programme spoke to several Lancastrians who?ve stayed friends with their Caribbean team-mates, including one man who still
phones Charlie Griffith (a legendarily fearsome fast bowler of the 1960s) every Christmas morning. It also met many of the former
pros, including Sir Wes Hall (ditto), who made
the unexpected declaration that ?Accrington
was the defining moment of my life.?
The last hurrah came in 1987 when the
era?s leading batsman signed for Rishton,
where the skipper was a brewery manager called David Wells. On Monday, Wells
looked back on the experience as if remembering a strange but pleasant dream. ?I?ve
captained Viv Richards,? he said in a wondering tone.
But, as we learned, the man who started it all was Learie Constantine, who
joined Nelson cricket club in 1928. When
he did, most of the locals had never seen
a black man before, and some crossed the
road to avoid him. A few years later, he?d
become a bona fide folk hero and the highest paid sportsman in Britain. By 1969, he
was a member of the House of Lords ?
where he took the title Baron Constantine
of Nelson.
Classical
Vice and virtue
Alexandra Coghlan
The Judas Passion
St John?s Smith Square
City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra/Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
?Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?? screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a
spears-and-sandals soap opera in a sentence.
Thankfully, this really isn?t the premise of
composer Sally Beamish and poet David
Harsent?s new oratorio. Instead, the two
authors pose a more interesting problem:
is betrayal still betrayal when it?s divinely
ordained, the price of salvation? A performance of Mahler?s Fourth Symphony this
week celebrated the innocent joys of heaven; The Judas Passion invited us to count
their sinful cost.
You see them before you hear them. The
30 pieces of silver catch the light as they
hang suspended as part of the ?Judas chime?,
an instrument created especially for The
Judas Passion. The sound is at once a warn-
CRAIGIE AITCHISON
Paintings & Prints
6 October ? 3 November 2017
Monday - Friday 10.00-5.30
Saturday 11.00-2.00
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Washing Line, Montecastelli II, 2001, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches
E-catalogue & pricelist available upon request.
53
BOOKS & ARTS
ing jangle and a seductive shimmer of promise. It?s just one of several striking musical
textures that punctuate Beamish?s new
work. Jointly commissioned by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and San
Francisco?s Philharmonia Baroque, it takes
the period orchestra of Bach?s passions as its
toolbox, his musical structures as scaffolding, and constructs a contemporary work ?
a passion for our own age.
Three centuries on and the focus has
shifted. The official gospel accounts are
muddied by the problematic gnostic gospels; Judas, not Christ is the hero for our
complicated times. Painted in more shades
of grey than a Farrow & Ball catalogue, his
betrayal becomes quite a different act, motivated not by the empty clatter of silver but
Painted in more shades of grey than
a Farrow & Ball catalogue, Judas?s
betrayal becomes quite a different act
by destiny and, even, love: ?His hand in mine?
he repeats again and again. Mirroring and
sharing lines between Judas and Jesus, Harsent guides us towards a reading that sees
the men as two halves of a whole, each the
equal and opposite of the other, two lives
sacrificed to the same end.
Sitting somewhere between Bach?s contemplative St Matthew and the dramatic
St John passions, Beamish?s work is a fluid
affair cast in eight discrete scenes. The narrative passes freely between characters and
the all-male chorus ? sometimes onlookers,
sometimes active participants. The period
instruments of the OAE are pastels to the
modern orchestra?s oils ? pitted and ridged
with texture, but chalky-soft in colour.
The result is episode after episode of
delicate, precise drama. A nervy tambourine ticks like a pulse at the temple during the betrayal, the infernal rasp of early
brass trumpets the fateful cock crow.
Beamish gives us a gorgeous musical vision
of the nocturnal Garden of Gethsemane
? plaintive night-bird calls in the flutes,
plucked violins the water droplets from
a fountain, the scrunch of crickets in the
harpsichord. The heavy tread of the Via
Dolorosa marches doggedly forwards in
plucked cellos.
Against this intricate backdrop the singers are silhouetted in deeper, darker colours.
As Mary Magdalene, Mary Bevan?s soprano is charred and scarred into great bleeding
slashes of emotion, while Brenden Gunnell?s
Judas grows from a crooning start to a roaring, defiant close ? a contrast to the potent
stillness and control of Roderick Williams?s
Christ.
The Judas Passion might claim kinship with Bach, but it shares more musical DNA with works such as John Adams?s
The Gospel According to the Other Mary
and El Ni駉, James MacMillan?s Clemency,
even George Benjamin?s Written on Skin.
54
The opera-oratorio has become a secular
world?s way into a sacred space ? parable
turned pageant. But along with the rest of
the genre, Beamish?s work suffers from a
sense of lack. When you take the Bible out
of the church and relocate it to the concert
hall, you exchange the framework of faith
for something else ? the question is what.
It?s one to which neither Beamish nor anyone else has yet offered a completely convincing musical answer.
Closing with a child?s vision of heaven,
Mahler?s Fourth Symphony is a return to
prelapsarian innocence that, like William
Blake?s, is anything but sentimental. The
closing movement ? a setting of the Des
Knaben Wunderhorn poem ?The Heavenly
Life? ? is scored for ?a singing voice? and
orchestra, and usually features a soprano
soloist. For her performances with the City
of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, however, music director Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla
opted for a trio of trebles ? a decision with
precedent in Bernstein, among others, and
one that set the tone for her woodcut-bold
reading of the symphony.
While it?s fashionable to draw out the
darker underlying menace of the Fourth
(whose Scherzo Mahler marked as ?Death
strikes up?), Grazinyte-Tyla took the music
at face value, giving us musical rusticity as
direct as folk art and, in the skilled hands
of the CBSO, just as lacking in kitsch. The
rough blend and often approximate tuning
of the three trebles from the Trinity Boys
Choir tempered sweetness with a pleasantly
abrasive directness ? musically no rival for
a soprano, but free from any of the queasy
faux-innocence that can sometimes crowd
the beauty of this music.
Cinema
Back to the future
Deborah Ross
Blade Runner 2049
15, Nationwide
Ridley Scott?s original Blade Runner first
came out in cinemas 35 years ago, which I
was going to say probably makes it older
than some readers, although this being The
Spectator, perhaps not. It wasn?t successful in
its day, but has since become a beloved classic (rightly), whereas this sequel, Blade Runner 2049, will likely do great box office today,
but no one will give a fig tomorrow, once all
the silly hype has died away.
This is Blade Runner as a dull mainstream
blockbuster populated by men who are the
epitome of masculine cool and women who
are needlessly sexualised fembots. And
Harrison Ford doesn?t even appear until
the third act, which, given the film is two
hours and 45 minutes long (oh, for heaven?s
sake), awards you plenty of time to wish you
were? I don?t know? dead?
The 1982 original was a neo-noir which,
essentially, explored the horror of not knowing if you?re real or not. Set in a dark, decaying LA, the film followed Deckard (Ford), a
?blade runner? charged with running down
six replicants created as slave labour to
help humans populate other planets (?offworlds?) but who returned to earth, and
were in danger of developing human emotions. Thirty years later, we now have Ryan
Gosling as our blade runner, K, in a world
where replicants are still produced, this
time by Wallace (Jared Leto), a mogul who
sits atop a vast corporation and talks a lot
of New Age gibberish. I think he?s meant
to be evil, but he just seems like the worst
kind of yoga teacher. You do have to wonder
why anyone still has any faith in replicants,
given their troublesome history, or why they
are made so lifelike. They?d be much more
useful slaves if, say, they had multiple arms
shaped like shovels, plus you?d also be able
to spot them a mile off. Just saying.
But back to K, who is instructed to find
older replicants, ones who have outlived
their programmed life expectancies, and
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
PICTURES AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION BY SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL
Ryan Gosling as K and Sylvia Hoeks as Wallace?s sidekick Luv in Blade Runner 2049
have gone into hiding. In the film?s opening
minutes he locates one such dude, and kills
him, but makes a discovery that might be
able to tell him not just who he is, but may
overturn all thinking about replicants ? and
more than this, I genuinely cannot say.
At the screening I attended, a Warner
Bros executive read out a letter from the
director, Denis Villeneuve, asking critics not
When Ford ?nally makes it to the
screen, it?s such a blessed relief you
want to kiss his feet
to reveal plot details, which is fair enough,
but wishful thinking. The fact is, even if you
subjected me to waterboarding followed by
a foot-whipping, I wouldn?t be able to reveal
much of anything as the storytelling is so confusingly Byzantine. Because I have no wish to
show my ignorance, I conferred with another
critic, who expressed the same bewilderment
but has since declared it ?a masterpiece?, as if
not making sense just doesn?t matter. Well,
it?s not the first time I?ve said this, but I will
say it again: It. Matters. To. Me.
With Roger Deakins as the cinematographer, and with CGI now being what it is,
it is often ?visually stunning?, as they say,
with spinning aerial police cars, decimated landscapes and vast rolling seas. But it
never properly creates its own world, the
drama is plodding, and every character is a
tiresome type.
We get from Gosling that bland masculine cool. Sylvia Hoeks, as Wallace?s number
two, is the icy kick-ass woman in figure-hugging get-ups that you have to have these
days. There?s also a prostitute (Mackenzie
Davis) because, I guess, you have to have a
prostitute. As for K?s true love, she?s Joi (Ana
de Armas), a kind of software-generated hologram, who can become anything he wants
at any given moment: a 1950s housewife;
a sex kitten; a bookish companion. Every
man?s dream, one must conclude, and also
she devises a way for them to have sex. K
seemed to like it, but I just went: ?urggh?.
So when Ford finally makes it to the
screen, it?s such a blessed relief you want
to kiss his feet. At least he can do action
hero with humour, vulnerability, presence.
As for any profundities, if there were any,
they passed me by. I?m not saying you?ll
also wish yourself dead, but the chances?
Quite high.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Theatre
Verbal diarrhoea
Lloyd Evans
Wings
Young Vic, until 4 November
B
Royal Court, until 21 October
In Beckett?s Happy Days a prattling Irish
granny is buried waist-deep, and later neckdeep, in a refuse tip whose detritus inspires
a rambling 90-minute monologue. ?An avalanche of tosh? was the Daily Mail?s succinct summary. Wings is similar but worse.
Mrs Stilson (Juliet Stevenson), an American
pensioner sheathed in white, hovers over
the stage on ropes and talks non-stop gibberish. ?Three times happened maybe globbidged, rubbidged uff to nothing there try
again window up!? Thus begins her battle
with intelligibility. ?And vinkled I,? she goes
on, ?commenshed to uh-oh where?s it gone to
somewhere flubbished what??
The cause of her aphasia is unclear
but vague images of scudding clouds and
snorting biplanes suggest an air crash. She
continues to speak nonsense while dan-
She dangles in midair like a streak of
saliva from a ruminating Friesian
gling in midair like a streak of saliva from
the lips of a ruminating Friesian. ?Hapst
aporkchop fleetish yes,? she tells us. Some
doctors appear. ?Are there seven days in
a week?? An interminable pause. ?Seven,
yes,? she says. We?re making progress. ?Can
you cough, Mrs Tilson?? ?I?m not bort you
know with plajits or we?d see it wencherday.? We?re going back again. Finally, we
get some information. Nurse: ?You?ve had
what?s called a stroke.? Right-oh. And what
were the biplanes about? No idea. Mrs Tilson, still trussed in her elasticated lederhosen, drops into a clinic where she?s due to be
treated alongside two more aphasiacs. The
scene that follows is not one Oscar Wilde
would have written. In the last moments,
her affliction fades and she speaks lucidly
about flying, but it?s hard to pay attention
because she has, by this stage, comprehensively trashed one?s patience.
Afterwards I read the play?s preface,
which solved the mystery. The script arose
from a chance encounter between the
author and a wing-walker trying to recover
from a stroke. They might have told us that
earlier. Sitting around me at the Young Vic
were 20 bored, fidgety schoolchildren who
handled their frustration with commendable restraint. A few chatted softly, others
dozed politely. I expect they were victims
of a ?gateway drug? programme that lures
youngsters into theatres with free seats in
55
BOOKS & ARTS
the hope of hooking them on drama permanently. This scam will succeed only if the
gateway drug is of high quality. A clumsy,
artless, philistine obstacle course like this
can only destroy the clientele it seeks to
engender. Very few of those hapless kids
will tempt fate and return to a theatre for
decades. Some will never go back. I wonder
if Wings is sponsored by Netflix.
B at the Royal Court opens like a TV
skit about terrorism. We?re in a safe house
where two female activists are joined by
a man. He teaches them how to build a
nail bomb in a bucket. The mood is secretive and hush-hush. They wear masks and
refer to bombs by code names, calling them
?cows? or ?cheeses? interchangeably. The
set-up feels like a satire but the gags are
not quite world-class: the man jokes that
smearing faeces on the nails will convert
the bomb into a biological weapon. The
I wonder if Wings is sponsored
by Net?ix
play becomes ever more baffling because
it refuses to reveal its cultural and historical settings. Where are we? The characters
have Spanish names but speak English with
London accents. What year is it? The activists talk about bank raids, which suggests
the Allende/Pinochet era when terrorists
funded their campaigns with robberies. But
no, it seems we?re in the present day. Sort
of. The man laments the decline of political
violence in the digital age.
?We used to kill kings. We used to kill millionaires. Now all we do is make threats on
the internet.?
As a summary of modern terrorism
that seems, shall we say, a little incomplete.
Because the characters are masked it?s
impossible to read their faces and to discern
what feelings they?re displaying or struggling to avoid displaying. Have they met
before? Are there pre-existing relationships
developing in the bomb factory? Apparently
not. One of the she-terrorists claims to have
planted 70 ?cheeses? in the past so she seems
an odd candidate for a tutorial in bombmaking. She suddenly expresses the hope
that their device will cause damage but no
deaths. This demotes the play?s subject from
terrorism (which is interesting, at least) to
vandalism (which is rather less interesting).
Then a nosy neighbour thumps on the door
and demands admission. And the secretive
terrorists, who speak in code and hide their
identities, proceed to let this complete stranger into their safe house. At which point the
play expires as a drama.
This is just a mirthless charade about
three twerps indulging in make-believe radicalism. Any artistic director can, I suppose,
choose a bad script by mistake. But there?s
a difference here: the threat level. To stage a
larky play about nail bombs in a theatre that
adjoins a Tube station is the act of a cretin.
56
Opera
Pole position
Richard Bratby
Cavalleria rusticana; Trial by Jury
Leeds Grand Theatre, and touring until 18
November
Aida
Coliseum, in rep until 2 December
Did you know that they used to make the Fiat
126 in the Eastern bloc? They did, apparently.
There was a plant at Bielsko-Biala, and the
car was widely driven throughout Poland in
the 1970s, when you only had to wait a couple of years to buy one. It became an emblem
of personal freedom, and Poles even gave it a
nickname: Maluch, or ?little one?.
That?s the principal insight that I gleaned
from director Karolina Sofulak?s decision
to set Cavalleria rusticana in communist
Poland. She explains her thinking in the programme book: essentially, 19th-century Sicily was Catholic and repressive, and 1970s
Poland was Catholic and repressive, so why
not? Cue the latest one-size-fits-all operatic
design clich� ? fastidiously rendered depictions of 1970s squalor. In recent seasons I?ve
seen the same basic combination of nylon,
stained walls and greasy hair applied to Bellini, Humperdinck and Stephen Sondheim.
Charles Edwards?s sets and Gabrielle Dalton?s costumes are in the best tradition of
the genre, even down to the eyestrain-inducing lighting, which at times made it impossible to see anyone?s face properly.
On the other hand, Alfio?s little red Fiat
stole the show every time it trundled into
Mamma Lucia?s sausage shop (this is one of
those stagings where religious processions
take place in someone?s living room). It might
seem harsh to say that the car upstaged both
the male leads, but neither Phillip Rhodes?s
blustery Alfio nor Jonathan Stoughton?s palevoiced but lyrical Turidd� gave you much to
root for. Characters and relationships were
barely sketched in. The cast stalked portentously about the stage, pressing themselves
against walls, and Santuzza (Giselle Allen)
performed a creepy mock-crucifixion on
Turidd� during the Easter Hymn.
Allen was unquestionably the star of the
night, with a faintly maniacal demeanour of
clenched purity and a voice that was by turns
searing and tremulous ? though Rosalind
Plowright brought a brooding dignity to
Lucia, even while perched impassively at the
side of the action dressed as Dot Cotton. The
conductor, Tobias Ringborg, did lovely things
with the brief moments of delicacy between
Mascagni?s raw splashes of colour. Overall, though, this punishingly ugly production
takes one of opera?s punchiest shockers and
turns it into a disjointed and confusing symbolist allegory. Pity the marketing team at
Opera North, who?ve promised their audience a ?red-blooded tale of jealousy and
revenge?, though with its realistically staged
bread queues this vision of socialist utopia
might be an ideal introduction to opera for
the young Corbynista in your life.
Then, after the interval: Gilbert and Sullivan. Seriously. ON?s six ?Little Greats? ? a
season of one-act operas ? appears to mix
and match its double bills with the randomness of a fruit machine. All you really need
to know about the veteran Savoyard John
Savournin?s 1920s updating of Trial by Jury
is that it?s a delight; a screwball P.G. Wodehouse world of blustering bobbies, stuffed
chihuahuas, tweedy jurors and cakewalking
judges in straw boaters, cast and conducted
(Oliver Rundell was in the pit) to sparkling
perfection. Oh, and that anyone who still
thinks G&S can?t be sexy hasn?t seen Amy
Freston as Angelina shimmying down the
edge of the jury box. It?s the best Trial by
Jury I?ve ever seen, and it?s actually designed
by the same team who did Cavalleria rusticana. That?s professionalism.
And all you really need to know about
Phelim McDermott?s new production of
Verdi?s Aida is that the musical perfor-
This vision of socialist utopia might be
an ideal introduction to opera for the
young Corbynista in your life
mance alone would make it worth seeing.
The American soprano Latonia Moore sings
the title role, and she?s a knockout: a voice
of glowing, searching sweetness, capable of
sinking to a shuddering pianissimo, or lighting up the vast space of the Coliseum with
arcs of liquid fire. Moore lifted the level of
every ensemble in which she sang, equally
compelling in her duets with Gwyn Hughes
Jones?s slightly stiff Radam鑣 and her confrontation with her father Amonasro (nobly
sung by Musa Ngqungwana). Michelle
DeYoung?s imperious Amneris didn?t really stand a chance, though there was a sympathetic warmth to her singing that would
have been more affecting if McDermott had
opted for more eye contact and less standing
around and hand-waving.
Not that the costumes and sets left scope
to do much else. Like your Aidas grand?
Well, here?s grand: towering obelisks and
arches, swathes of jewel-coloured silk and
all the gold, mist and leopardskin you could
ask for. No PC qualms about orientalism
here. There are leaping acrobats, mummified crocodiles and semi-naked temple girls,
while the chorus (at their best in the quiet
passages) wear costumes that range from
Robocop to Vivienne Westwood. Some of
them have antlers. It is, in short, bonkers, and
it?s all swept vividly along by Keri-Lynn Wilson, a conductor who can do both intimate
and epic. I?m still trying to decide whether
the whole ludicrous spectacle was magnificent or just camp. But it wasn?t dull.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
ROWAN ALLEN
From desolation to euphoria and back again: Nick Cave at the O2
Rock
Mourning glory
James Walton
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
O2 Arena, and touring until 20 November
On the face of it, Nick Cave & the Bad
Seeds aren?t exactly a natural fit with the
O2. Cave?s songs range from the thrillingly
cacophonous to the quietly lovely. But with
their recurring themes of death, violence
and religion, and a muse that rarely leads
Cave in the direction of the mainstream,
very few have ever seemed particularly arena-friendly. And that was before his latest
album, Skeleton Tree, which forms the basis
of his current tour ? and which Cave completed after his 15-year-old son Arthur died
falling from a cliff in Brighton.
Cave has warned against seeing the
album as a direct response to the tragedy,
emphasising that many tracks were written
before it happened. Yet, while it?s true there
are no explicit references to a child?s death,
Skeleton Tree does open with the lines, ?You
fell from the sky/ Crash-landed in a field?
before serving up eight sparse, piercingly sad
songs of loss, disorientation and yearning for
the impossible return of a loved one. So how
would this stuff come across in a concrete
bowl of 20,000 iPhone-wavers? The answer,
it turned out, was utterly triumphantly, with
the incongruity of the setting somehow only
adding to the admittedly weird beauty of
Saturday?s show.
Wearing his usual dark suit and implausibly shiny shoes, Cave began uncompromisingly ? sitting on a crooner?s stool and
half-singing, half-whispering Skeleton Tree?s
?Anthrocene?, with its aching cry of ?I?m begging you please to come home now.? But
then he leapt on to the thrust stage, started
grabbing fans? outstretched hands and even
did some stage-diving of the kind that most
other 60-year-olds might consider unwise.
Which would, I suppose, have been stand-
How would this stuff come across
in a concrete bowl of 20,000
iPhone-wavers?
ard rock-star behaviour, expect for what he
was singing as he did so: more mournfully
stripped-down songs from the album, with
lyrics such as ?And in the bathroom mirror I
see me vomit in the sink.?
As the showmanship continued, Cave
was at times positively genial ? even if
his songs still weren?t. ?Sorry?? he responded to a cry from the audience. ?My wife?s a
fox? Yes, not bad for a little guy from Warracknabeal.? After a while, too, the newer
songs were interspersed with what would
be some of his greatest hits, if they?d actually been hits. Blistering versions of ?Tupelo?, ?From Her to Eternity? and, above all,
?Red Right Hand? ? the one used as the
Peaky Blinders theme tune ? allowed
Cave to demonstrate his ability to sound
menacing and scared at the same time, and
also proved that the Bad Seeds are just
as great at making a glorious racket as at
providing perfectly judged gentle backing.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
We were invited to sing along with the gorgeous ?Into Your Arms?, which we rather
movingly did: again standard arena tactics, except that not many arena singalongs
begin, ?I don?t believe in an interventionist God?. Nonetheless ? and yet another
way in which this wasn?t your average rock
concert ? the intensity never dipped when
Cave returned to the latest album.
During an unforgettable encore, he
alarmed the security guards by running halfway down the huge standing area, climbing
on to the shoulders of anyone who?d have
him and, at one point, leading a complicated clapping sequence for ?The Weeping
Song?. ?This takes concentration,? he told the
crowd, by now gathered around him with all
the fervour of people at a revivalist meeting. ?You can?t do it with a fucking iPhone in
your hand.? When he returned to the stage
he took a few dozen audience members
with him, and, pausing only to admire an ?I
Love Take That? T-shirt that one of them was
wearing, led a full-on, all-dancing, all stagediving version of the exhilaratingly filthy
?Stagger Lee?. On his further audience travels, he bumped into Bobby Gillespie from
Primal Scream, who joined him for the concluding ?Push the Sky Away?.
Looking back, I?m still not sure how Cave
managed to keep moving from desolation to
euphoria and back again without striking a
single inauthentic note, or how he made the
whole experience so ultimately joyous. What
I do know, though, is that I?ve now got something new to say when a pub conversation
turns, as pub conversations will, to the best
gigs you?ve ever seen.
57
NOTES ON ?
Soho drinking clubs
By Henry Jeffreys
W
hen someone says ?Let?s go for
a drink at my club?, what do you
imagine? A grand St James?s
establishment like Boodle?s or White?s, or
perhaps a media hangout such as the Groucho or Soho House? What you probably
don?t think of is an unmarked door and a
flight of rickety stairs. Yet through unpromising-looking doorways in and around
Soho are little clubs where you can take
a break from the 21st century. Places such
as the Phoenix beneath the Phoenix theatre on Charing Cross Road, Gerry?s on
Dean Street and the Academy on Lexington Street are relics of a time (Gerry?s has
been going since 1955) when pubs had to
close after lunch and not open again until
the evening. People needed somewhere to
drink in the afternoon and after 11 p.m. last
orders. These clubs met the demand.
They are subtly different from places like
the Groucho, where the successful and the
ambitious congregate to sell things to each
other. Nobody ever got any work done at
Gerry?s. Chris Evans won?t be at the next
table at the Phoenix. Not that you won?t
run into celebrities ? they?ll just be of the
loucher sort. At the artist Sebastian Horsley?s 40th birthday at the Colony Room,
I found myself drinking alongside Shane
MacGowan and Bryan Ferry. A friend
Hidden den: Gerry?s Club on Dean Street
reminisced about hearing David Soul of
Starsky & Hutch fame belting out his hit ?Silver Lady? at Gerry?s one night. The Academy,
in contrast, is generally more sedate, and
you can order food and wine from Andrew
Edmunds, the excellent restaurant below.
To gain entry to these establishments
you are supposed to be a member, but I
would often get into Gerry?s late at night by
claiming to be a friend of the crime writer
Martina Cole. All the booksellers on Charing Cross Road seemed to have honorary
membership of the Phoenix. At the New
Evaristo Club on Frith Street, aka Trisha?s,
aka Hideout, there?s a sign saying ?Membership available? but I never met anyone who
was a member. To me these places are only
technically ?clubs? in order to circumvent
normal licensing laws.
What they have in common is a dominant personality at the door or behind the
bar. The Academy has Persian beauty Mandana Ruane and her team of small dogs.
People tell me the Phoenix hasn?t been
the same since proprietor Maurice Huggett died in 2011. Dying too young is something of a theme of Soho clubs: Bernie Katz,
the face of the Groucho, died in August.
Michael Wojas went out aged 53 shortly after the Colony Room closed for good
in 2008, and dear old Sebastian Horsley
overdosed on heroin and cocaine in 2010.
Being a legend of Soho takes its toll.
With London property prices the way
they are, it?s a miracle any drinking clubs still
exist. They are an anachronism but, despite
all the talk of London being a 24-hour city,
they are often the only civilised places to
get a drink after midnight. Treasure their
dilapidated doorways, for they are portals into another world: the Soho of Keith
Waterhouse or Julian MacLaren-Ross. Some
mornings I?d emerge onto the streets of
Soho, find my way home and sometime later
think: did I dream that?
Theatre
58
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
CLASSIFIEDS
Travel & General
AROMATHERAPY
MASSAGE
LUXURIATE. FULLY QUALIFIED
and experienced English therapist
offers a range of treatments in
Paddington. For further details
please call Nina on: 07597 485185
HOLISTIC MASSAGE. UK
qualified therapist offers a variety of
professional relaxing and deep tissue
body work massage service. Old
Brompton Rd near Earl's Court SW
London Tel. Tanya on: 07974 066409
BOOKS
OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS FOUND.
Free search. No obligation to
purchase. Tel: 01376 562334
Email: jeremy.dore@tesco.net
CARS
WANTED ? CLASSIC CARS
1950s/60s/70s. Polite, friendly, prompt
service. Leigh ? Classic Auto Revival.
07785 303402
CLOTHING
HENRY HERBERT TAILORS. Bespoke
Suit & Shirtmakers.
www.henryherbert.com
Tel: 020 7837 1452. London, WC1X 8ED
We can visit you or you can visit us!
HEALTH
CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR
MEMORY?
Maintain your intellectual edge and
quality of life. Improve your memory
and cognitive performance with
working memory training. University
Researched. Evidence Based.
Discover how at: www.lifemind.us
Email: contact@lifemind.us
Creating A Better Memory
For A Better Life
INTRODUCTIONS
SEEKING: SINGLE ELIGIBLE
GENTLEMEN
for introductions with successful,
attractive ladies of elite dating
agency. COMPLIMENTARY
MEMBERSHIP to
eligible gentlemen.
Call Caroline 01483 418958 or
email contact details to
caroline@bowes-lyonpartnership.co.uk
LEGAL SERVICES
Not Just Building Corporate
Strength?
BILMESLAW
160 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DQ
TRAVEL
Call to discuss any of your travel needs
Worldwide Holidays & Flights
First, Business & Corporate Travel
Private Touring
Cruise Trail?nders
European Travel
Group Travel
Honeymoons & Wishlist
Visa & Passport Service
Travel Insurance
trail?nders.com
Email: law@bilmesllp.com
Tel: 020 7490 9656
Solving Difficult Problems Effectively.
020 7368 1440
020 7368 1441
020 7368 1442
020 7368 1443
020 7368 1452
020 7368 1453
020 7368 1454
020 7368 1455
020 7368 1457
GARDINERS SOLICITORS.
Domestic & Commercial
Conveyancing. Tel: Paul Gardiner,
020 7603 7245. Email:
paulgardiner@gardinerssolicitors.co.uk
INVESTMENT
SUPER HIGH RISK (high potential
reward) OT(S)EIS) investments, or
very high risk (good potential reward)
OTEIS. www.oxfordtechnology.com
ITALY
VENICE CENTRAL. Tranquil,
sunny apartment. Wonderful
canalside location. Two bedrooms,
two bathrooms. Tel: 020 7701 7540 or
www.venicecanalsideapartment.co.uk
ITALY
UMBRIA. Spacious centuries old
farmhouse villa - our home. Etruscan/
Roman site. Sleeps 11. Pool. Magical
views. Therapeutic atmosphere. Brilliant
feedback. www.ladogana.co.uk
AUSTRIA
VIENNA CENTRE. Self catering
apt: musician's country-style home in
peaceful Biedermeier cloister. Sleeps
2/3. Tel: 00 43 1712 5091.
Email: valleycastle@compuserve.com
JEWELLERY
STYLE NEVER GOES OUT
OF FASHION
TUSCAN/UMBRIAN BORDER.
Hilltop house in 11 acres. Looks
amazing on the website.
Even better in real life. Check it out:
www.myhomeinumbria.com
Cobra & Bellamy
is the leading name in classically designed
watches, retro in style reminiscent of the
1930s, 40s and 50s. Pictured here is the Cobra
watch available in Stainless Steel at �, Rose
Gold Plated and 21 Carat Gold Plated at �5.
Sienna Miller has chosen to eschew more
??????????????????????????????????????
Cobra & Bellamy?s retro inspired watch
?????????????????????????????
?Cobra & Bellamy watches are classic,
?????????????????????/???????????????
www.spectator.co.uk/
classifieds
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
To see the whole Cobra & Bellamy watch
??????????????
www.cobrabellamywatches.co.uk
or call 01736 732112
59
CLASSIFIEDS
General & Property
ARTS
FLORISTS
Commission
a Portrait
Family run since the 1920`s, Dovers is a modern
繰ULVWZLWKDULFKKHULWDJH%DVHGLQ:HVWPLQVWHU
LQWKHKHDUWRIFHQWUDO/RQGRQSame day delivery.
020 7930 6844
www.therp.co.uk
Dovers Flowers
EST. 1925
23 Churton Street, Pimlico, London, SW1V 2LY
Tel: 020 7834 8784
ZZZGRYHUV繰ZHUVFRP
ROHINGYA REFUGEE CRISIS
HUNGRY, WEAK
AND SICK. WHO
WILL HELP THEM?
Or post urgently to:
UNHCR, York house, Wetherby Road,
Long Marston, York. YO26 7NH
Please accept my gift of:
�
�0
�0
Other �
I enclose a cheque or postal order made
payable to UNHCR
Thousands of Rohingya refugees are
?eeing for their lives in search of safety.
Most are women and children. Some have died
trying to seek safety. Those who have made it
to Bangladesh are in extremely poor conditions.
Most have walked for days from their villages
with what they could salvage from their homes.
They are hungry, weak and sick.
First name
Last name
Address
Postcode
� UNHCR/Vivian Tan
Please help us provide them
with shelter, food, water and
core relief items.
Email
Phone
��
COULD PROVIDE
FAMILIES WITH
SYNTHETIC MATS TO PREVENT
THEM FROM SLEEPING ON THE
COLD GROUND.
Give online at
www.unhcr.org/rohingya
or call us on
020 3761 9525
60
See how your donation makes a difference
to the lives of refugees.
Please tell us if you are happy to hear more
about UNHCR?s work:
By post
By email
By phone
Your donation will support
UNHCR?s emergency work
in Bangladesh and where
refugees and internally
displaced people are in need.
SPEPRABD17
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
?You can get better coffee in a truck stop
now than at Claridge?s in 1990?
? Rory Sutherland, p69
High life
Taki
The death of the richest woman on this
planet, as the tabloids dubbed Liliane
Bettencourt, brought back some vivid memories, mainly of the gigolos I?ve known and
their disgraceful pursuit of the fairer sex.
Although my great friend Porfirio Rubirosa acted the gigolo at times ? he married
three of the world?s richest women, and two
of the most beautiful for love ? he was also
a man?s man, a pistolero, an ambassador, a
racing driver, boxer and polo player, and a
great seducer of beautiful women. He died
on 6 July 1965 at the wheel of his Ferrari.
After Rubi, the whole business took a
nosedive. Thierry Roussel, French, effete and
greedy as hell, took tens and tens of millions
from Christina Onassis, and then dumped
her for his regular mistress. Just as bad as
Roussel ? or worse ? was Francois-Marie
Banier. But before I get to that particular
leech, a few words about a friend of mine
who actually went through a Rockefeller
fortune, the Marquis Raymundo de Larrain.
Raymond, as his real name was, was a
marquis alright, but of his own making. His
demonic charm seduced both very rich men
of that persuasion and high-born women. He
went after me like gangbusters in Paris when
I was not yet 20, but once he got the message he remained a good friend until?well,
I?ll tell you in a jiffy. Raymundo was birdlike, had impeccable manners, and out of the
blue managed not only to become a ballet
dancer in the Marquis de Cuevas (another
dubious title) corps de ballet, but also a choreographer and a designer of ballets. He was
Cuevas?s lover, but also the lover of a leading Parisian society hostess. He once told me
that he was about to marry Douce Francois,
a niece of the fabulously rich Arturo LopezWillshaw, assuming that she would inherit
her uncle?s estate (he was gay and lived with
Alexis de Rede). I warned him that Douce,
a good friend of mine, was penniless, but he
wouldn?t listen and introduced her to Rudi
Nureyev in order to impress her. Disaster.
Douce fell for Rudi and spent a lifetime
pursuing probably the greatest dancer ever.
Who was very gay.
After the dissolution of the Cuevas ballet
and Douce?s rejection, Raymundo set out
for New York. One night he took me and
Cee Zee Guest, my girlfriend at the time, to
meet Margaret de Cuevas, the granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller. She was a very
old lady, lived in a huge Fifth Avenue apartment, and had her face painted all white,
like a Kabuki dancer. She hardly spoke. The
next thing I knew Raymundo had married
her. She was 80 and he was 42. The ?marriage? lasted eight years and when Margaret
died of natural causes, her children discov-
Salvador Dal� was up for anything
sexual as long as he didn?t have
to partake
ered that Raymundo was the sole beneficiary. But soon afterwards, he died of Aids,
the fortune having gone up in smoke. This
was in about 1988.
Back in Paris, in the meantime, a young,
gay, good-looking hustler was about to
make all of the above look small-time.
Fran鏾is-Marie Banier was the son of a
low-born Hungarian Jew who emigrated
to Paris and, after working on an assembly
line, slowly made his way up in life enough
to afford a small flat on Avenue Victor
Hugo. His son the arriviste was a bit more
ambitious. He realised early on that the
very rich and famous are easy prey if one
does not kowtow in deference. He mocked,
scorned and tried to humiliate those who
couldn?t defend themselves ? mostly old
men and women ? but also flattered,
cajoled and amused those whose bank
accounts were in the stratosphere.
His first protector was Salvador Dal�, a
voyeur who was up for anything sexual as
long as he didn?t have to partake. Banier
then became the lover of decorator Jacques
Grange, followed by a platonic friendship
with the very aged widower Louis Aragon.
Marie Laure de Noailles helped him to
meet intellectuals and artists, and soon the
young hustler was writing novels and taking
pictures and painting on canvas. He got lots
of publicity because of his contacts, but his
talents were minimal, if they existed at all.
His worse trait, apart from being as nasty
as hell, was the name-dropping. He never
once opened his mouth without uttering the
names of Truman Capote, Princess Caroline,
Prince Charles, Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Mick Jagger, David Rocksavage (they
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
owned a house together for a while), Andy
Warhol?
Banier conned everyone but not Father
Time. When he turned 40 ? he?s 70 today
? his hair began to fall out and he turned
a bit simian. That?s when he decided to go
for broke and went after the richest woman
on earth, the L?Or閍l heiress Liliane Bettencourt. You know the rest. The older woman
gifted her younger-by-25-years friend close
to ?1 billion euros, and at one moment even
contemplated adopting him, which meant
that he could have ended up with 25 billion
big ones and by far the richest man in Europe.
After her daughter sued, Banier had to give
lots of it back but avoided the three-year
prison sentence on appeal and got to keep
?158 million. Plus a great art collection and
various houses ? all paid for by madame.
It just goes to show: we?re all in the wrong
business.
Low life
Jeremy Clarke
The temperature gauge needle heeled
hard over into the red. ?Not again,? I said
to Oscar, sitting beside me on his booster
seat. Sunday evening, and I was returning
him to his mother after having him to stay
for the weekend. The distance door to door
is around 20 miles: about 40 minutes along
country roads. After ten miles, a steep uphill
climb proved disastrous. Steam was pouring in through the heater vents and fogging
up the inside of the windscreen. I tried the
demist blower on maximum heat but only
cold air came out. So I drove the car with
one hand and wiped the steam from the
glass with a sodden little tissue, searching
for somewhere to pull over.
Oscar was as calm as an adobe wall in
the moonlight, as Raymond Chandler once
put it. He never knows what sort of car his
grandfather will turn up in next, and this 1.3
Fiesta automatic is the smallest and slowest
one he?s ridden in yet. But he is accustomed
to automotive fiascos because whatever the
make and model of his grandfather?s latest,
61
LIFE
it is invariably old and clapped-out.
I swung over into the entrance to a
muddy lane and cut the engine. Then I got
out and propped open the bonnet. The coolant reservoir was empty: all the water had
turned to steam. I refilled it with our emergency supply and went a little way up the
lane to take a leak. Oscar decided he?d get
out and have one too.
Lying in the grass was a magnificent
dog fox. He was stretched out on his side as
though sleeping. He must have been hit by
a car. The only sign of injury was congealed
blood around the nostrils. I prodded him
with my toe. The corpse was ramrod stiff.
Oscar and I contemplated him as we urinated on either side of him into the hedge. We
paid him the tribute of aiming away from his
corpse. Then I went to the car to fetch my
penknife from the seat pocket and cut off
his beautiful brush.
Twice more in the last ten miles I had
to stop and refill the coolant reservoir. But
after I?d dropped Oscar at his mum?s, the
temperature gauge needle remained in the
normal zone for the entire return journey
and I made it back in one go. The overheating problem was a mystery.
I couldn?t afford to have it looked at by a
mechanic, so I went online and searched the
Fiesta 1.3 Zetec chat rooms for discussions
on engine overheating. They are a contumacious online community, Fiesta 1.3 owners,
and much given to sarcasm. After reading a
score of posts, I narrowed my problem down
to three possibilities: a stuck thermostat, a
blown head gasket, or a problem with the
heater coil unit. I looked at YouTube videos
made by home mechanics in Arkansas, Texas
and Russia showing where the thermostat is
located and how to replace it. The Russian
guy had taken his engine out of the car and
mounted it on a pivoting swivel to demonstrate the operation as clearly as possible, but
I would have to remove one of the headlights
and the alternator drive belt to access mine.
The Russian mechanic showed me what to do
in the most methodical manner imaginable.
He assumed no prior knowledge in his audience. But when I tried to put his lesson into
practice, I couldn?t even get the headlight off.
There seemed to be no rhyme or reason
to the overheating. Sometimes I could go for
miles with no problem. At other times the
car would overheat after five miles. Sometimes a steep hill would sent the temperature soaring into the red, at other times a
steep hill would send the temperature back
down to normal. Sometimes the temperature gauge needle roved back and forth as
though it had taken leave of its senses. When
I went to pick up Oscar the following weekend, it took 40 minutes to get there and an
hour and a half to get back.
After that I surrendered, and drove the
Fiesta to my local car mechanics ? out of
interest as much as anything else. The workshop is four miles away. The car was feverish
62
that day and I arrived in the mechanics yard
with steam pouring out of the bonnet and
coming in through the heater vents. Johnny
the chief mechanic happened to be standing in the yard and witnessed my entrance.
And my entire point is, I think, that whereas
I had got nowhere in spite of spending hours
online trying to diagnose the problem, Johnny knew instantly, and without even looking
under the bonnet, that it was a shot plastic
connector to the heating coil.
?It?s always a problem with these Fiestas,?
he said. It took about five minutes to replace
and cost hardly anything.
Real life
Melissa Kite
How reassuringly like old times it is, going to
a God-forsaken retail park with Stefano.
We mooch about the DIY store together
like an old couple, me with a face like thunder, he quietly pointing out boring things
that we need like door handles, whispering
the price, knowing exactly when I am liable
to blow up.
It doesn?t seem five minutes since he was
a brave young adventurer from the wilds of
Albania making his way in London, colliding with me one day while painting the outside of my neighbour?s house.
I pounced on him and got him to paint
the outside of my house as well, then made
him take me to Croydon Ikea in his Skoda
estate car to buy my ideal Nigella shelf for
stacking plates above the sink.
He drove all the way in fourth gear, seemingly impervious to the choking sound as he
told me about corruption in his homeland
that I didn?t like to say sounded identical to
the official policies of Lambeth council.
When we got there, he refused to follow the arrows one way around the showroom. Also, despite being a Muslim devout
enough to have a Koran on the dashboard of
the Skoda, he was freaked out by the sudden
appearance of a ?prayer and contemplation
room?. He went inside for a look, laughing so
loud I had to call him back.
When we got home, half the bits were
missing from the box and he had a meltdown even though I told him this was normal. Then, as he attempted to fit the shelf, he
hit a pipe near the ceiling and a tide of water
hit him in the face. He cursed and spluttered
water, finger in hole, and I had to run and get
Tony the plumber.
That must have been nearly ten years
ago. He has come back into my life uncomplainingly to fill the void left by the builder
boyfriend. And void is the right word.
Holes in walls, holes in floors, holes in
roofs, a crater in the basement.
My most finished room is the bathroom,
but even there the BB left one tile gap
ungrouted. Just one. It was almost as if he
didn?t want to finish anything. I?m sure the
reason for that is quite poetic, but it?s not
going to get me anywhere to wonder about
it now.
I wake up every morning and the horror
of the holes in the walls and the floors bears
down on me.
The only thought that makes me get out
of bed is that ?Stefano is coming today?.
He has told me his fully costed plan in
detail. It is: ?I come?bish bash bosh? do
do do? everything? do do? bang bang?
maybe sit on grass, lunch in sun, don?t worry,
Melissa happy. I say I come, I come. You
know I come. I don?t come, I say. So when
I here it?s this this this? bang bang? done.
Yes??
I actually know exactly what he means.
He arrives with two or three of his boys,
they set about banging and clattering, and
usually, after a day of ?bish bash bosh do do?,
they finish something. Door frames, floors,
fitted wardrobes take shape. I come home
and find them sitting on the sofa smoking
and eating, quaintly enough, scones. Always
scones. I don?t mind their smoke or their
crumbs. They make me happy.
But when they leave, and the silence settles down, the house begins to frighten me.
One bit or another becomes maddening.
Everything will be fine when I get a new
floor laid in the basement, I decide. The
BB dug up the old floor to dry it out after
it flooded and to lay a new damp course. I
have been walking over heaps of rubble to
the garden for months. The dogs think the
inside is the outside. Ideal for them. Not so
much for me.
But once the concrete lorry has been, and
the floor has set, I go down there and stand
on my new floor and cry and cry.
Because, of course, the concrete floor
doesn?t change how I feel at all. I still feel
desperate.
So I decide that everything will, in fact,
be fine when Stefano makes me a mezzanine rail around the gap in the secondfloor ceiling that leads to the loft, a sort of
skylight feature clumsily designed by me
against all professional advice because of
the vicious draft.
And that is why we stand in the DIY
warehouse and he counts out spindles. ?Is
one? hundred? needed to make,? he says,
really quietly. ?What?? I shriek.
We add it up and it is going to cost �000.
?Or I could just do? stud? bang bang?
done,? he whispers. ?Yes??
?Yes, yes, do stud, put stud around it. Bang
bang. Done. Please. Bang bang done soon??
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
3 issues of
Apollo for �
PLUS A
FREE
TOTE BAG
One of the world?s oldest and most respected magazines, Apollo covers
everything from antiquities to contemporary work ? with the latest art
news, interviews with leading international artists and collectors, expert
insight into the art market and coverage of exhibitions worldwide.
www.apollo-magazine.com/M084D
+44 (0)330 333 0180 quoting M084D
Offer available to new UK and overseas customers subscribing by continuous payment only
($15 for payments in US dollars; ?15 for payments in euros).
Wild life
Aidan Hartley
Laikipia
Ripping up the black cotton soil on the
farm?s high savannah I get a sense of what
it must have been like to be a sodbuster on
the Great Plains of America 150 years ago.
Riding my big yellow tractor I find it thrilling to plunge through virgin land that has
been innocent since time began, but it also
makes me feel intensely sad that it had to
come to this. Through the clouds of dust and
diesel fumes I can see a giraffe pouting at
me from above a stand of acacia trees that
will soon be torn out. Herds of zebra, oryx
and eland are retreating as the lines of freshly turned tilth advance across tawny grasslands stretching northwards all the way to
Ethiopia. I am destroying wildness in order
to survive.
We never built a safari camp for tourists.
It might have justified keeping it ?wild? but
we enjoyed having this to ourselves. Where
I am tearing up the earth today I often
watched cheetah hunting. When the troubles
began, it became hard to attract visitors and
tourism would have been a bad bet. Instead
we opted to ranch beef cattle and we still do
that. Today a herd of my Boran bulls grazing on wild pasture made for such a perfect
sight that I could not imagine why anything
must change.
A year ago a multitude of men armed
with guns came down from the north ?
where, across 14 million acres, all the grass
is gone and the soil beneath it too, so that it
is nothing but rocks and gullies. They burst
into our farm and took our grass. We had
protected the pasture but many people
said we were mean not to share it with all
those cattle from 14 million acres, and in
time our land started to resemble an eroded planet too. Keeping Boran cattle did not
seem such a great idea if you cannot save
your grass.
The men with guns started to retreat two
months ago, after their leaders lost in elections. There are still a few cattle raids, and
acts of violent mischief persist, but nothing that will subdue us. On the farms people are mending slowly. An example is the
story of one askari, or security man, who
lives nearby. He was horribly wounded by
a Pokot bandit in an ambush, but returned
fire and killed his attacker. After taking a
bullet he was rushed to hospital to save him
from bleeding to death, but this prevented
him from following his people?s tradition,
which was to slash open the dead bandit?s
stomach, in order to release his spirits from
lingering on earth. Trapped in the guts of
the corpse, the bandit came back from hell
to haunt the askari for months ? until, as
it began to rain and the politics improved,
his tormentor finally evaporated into the
clouds. I hear the wounded askari is now
fine in his head though physically scarred.
Looking around, my other neighbours all
seem to be much happier than they were
when we met at a meal on the eve of elections in August and dubbed it ?the Last
Supper?.
Still, things change. Protecting wildlife, whether we had a tourism business or
not, was what we had always done out of
love. That made us a target as the gunmen
stormed across the plateau, wiping out 84
elephant and hundreds of buffalo, antelope
and predators. Their camp dogs brought distemper, which then infected rare African
wild dogs and exterminated almost all of
them in the district.
Slowly, the game numbers will hopefully recover as green grass grows up through
skulls and bones. But to rescue any por-
I am destroying wildness in order
to survive
tion of the natural beauty and animals left
on the farm, my belief is that we have to
become sodbusters like the homesteaders
of 19th-century Kansas, growing crops and
fodder for a young population. In modern Africa, tractors and combine harvesters make a landowner more popular than
the sight of a zebra and, as it is often said,
?elephants do not vote?. On at least half the
ranch the ground is being chisel ploughed
and harrowed, after which it will be farmed
in a ?no till? system the Australians have
perfected over many years. We will grow
sorghum for the breweries, or silage and
hay for dairy cows, or wheat for the city
people. We might survive as farmers and
it will be good if the big yellow tractors
and monoculture help save even a patch of
the farm for the wilderness, and so that we
become ?relevant? to the leaders in Nairobi
? but I will miss those cheetah hunting on
the plains.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
?I?m sitting in the bay of the doc.?
Bridge
Susanna Gross
Twenty-five years ago, Zia Mahmood
offered a �million bet that no team of his
choosing could ever be beaten by computers. A mere four years later, he withdrew the
bet: robots were already exceeding expectations, and who knew how rapidly things
would progress? In fact, computer bridge
still hasn?t reached world-class levels (unlike
computer chess). But it?s not that far off.
For the past two decades, robots have even
competed in their own world championship,
which runs alongside the human one, and
although it gets next to no coverage, it?s well
worth watching. Robots may lack a certain
flair and imagination, but you can be sure
that every move they make has been analysed to perfection. At this year?s championship in Lyon, there were seven contestants
(robots and their developers) from seven
countries, including France, Germany, Japan
and China (who eventually won).
Here?s an example of the US?s Bridge
Baron (EW), competing against Japan?s
Micro Bridge (NS):
Dealer West
Both vulnerable
z K6 4 2
y86
X8 6
wQ8 6 3
z AT
y42
XK J
wK 7
7
N
7 3 2
5
W
E
S
z 8
y AK Q
XA 9 5
w A9
2
zQJ 9
yT9
X QT4
w JT 4
5 3
J 75 3
West
North
East
South
1X
Pass
Pass
Pass
1z
Pass
4y
West made the excellent lead of a trump
(any other card but a trump or the zA gives
away the contract). Declarer now led a low
spade. West rightly rose with the Az and
shifted to a low diamond to East?s queen.
Declarer ducked, and East continued with
the X4 taken by declarer?s ace. On the run
of the hearts, West discarded a club and then
(slowly ? a lot of computing was needed) ?
the king and jack of diamonds, thus avoiding
being thrown in at the end. East could now
win with the X10 and push a club through
? one down.
65
LIFE
Chess
Historic
Raymond Keene
Congratulations to the organisational team of
the Isle of Man Masters, which concluded last
weekend. They assembled what must have been
the strongest ever field for an open tournament
in the history of international chess. Magnus
Carlsen showed the kind of dominance he can
achieve when he moves into overdrive. Leading
results were: Carlsen 7�/9, Viswanathan Anand
and Hikaru Nakamura both 7, with Michael
Adams, Fabiano Caruana and the former world
champion Vladimir Kramnik sharing 4th prize.
Competition
Get a life
Lucy Vickery
Diagram 2
rDWDrDkD
0pDWDp0p
W1nHWDWD
DWDWDWDW
WDWDPhWD
DWDWDQDP
P)WDWDBI
$WDRDWDW
Perelshteyn-Carlsen: chess.com Masters Isle of
Man 2017
W4WDWDW4
DW0WhkDW
WDW0W0WD
DWDnDW0W
W)W)WDWD
$WDNDWDW
W)WGW)PD
DW$WDWIW
Although Black is a pawn down, his compact
pawn structure and active play give him the
advantage. 36 ... Rh4 37 Bc3 Rbh8 38 g3
Rh1+ 39 Kg2 R8h2+ 40 Kf3 g4+ After this
the white king becomes exposed. 41 Kxg4 Rxc1
42 Nxc1 Rxf2 43 Be1 f5+ 44 Kh3 Rxb2
45 Nd3 Rc2 46 b5 Nf6 47 Rb3 Re2 48 b6
cxb6 49 Rxb6 Ne4 White resigns 50 ... Ng5+
followed by ... Nf3+ will be decisive.
Wagner-Nakamura; chess.com Masters Isle of
Man 2017 (see diagram 2)
Nakamura appears to be struggling as his rook
and knight are both threatened and he must lose
material. 25 ... g5! This powerful strategic move
cements his knight on f4 and generates excellent
compensation for the exchange. 26 Nxe8 Rxe8
27 Qg3 h6 28 Rd2 Ne5 29 Rad1 Nc4 30
PUZZLE NO. 477
White to play. This is from Anand-Esserman, Isle
of Man 2017. White now killed off the exposed
black king. What was the key move? Answers to
me at The Spectator by Tuesday 10 October or
via email to victoria@spectator.co.uk. There is a
prize of � for the first correct answer out of a
hat. Please include a postal address and allow six
weeks for prize delivery.
Last week?s solution 1 Qxc8
Last week?s winner Alan Norman,
Impington, Cambridge
66
Rd7 Qxb2 31 Rf1 Ne5 The black knights
are utterly dominant. 32 Rd6 Neg6 33 Rf2
Qe5 34 Rd7 Rc8 35 Rxb7 h5 36 Kh1 Rc3
37 Rf3 Rc2 38 Rf2 Rc3 39 Rf3 h4 40 Qe1
Rc2 White resigns
Adams-Shirov; chess.com Masters Isle of Man
2017
rDWDW4Wi
DWDWDW0p
WDWDQDWD
Dp0WDWDq
nDWDWDWD
DW)WGp)W
W)WDW)W)
$WDW$WIW
28 h4 Nxb2 29 Rxa8 Rxa8 30 Qc6 Rg8
31 Qxb5 Qf5 32 Kh2 Nd3 33 Rd1 Ne5
The threat of ... Ng4+ looks worrying but White
has the situation under control. 34 Qxc5 h5
35 Bd4 Re8 36 Bxe5 Rxe5 37 Rd8+ Kh7
38 Qf8 Once White exchanges queens the
endgame is an easy win. 38 ... Kg6 39 Rd6+
Kh7 40 Rd8 Kg6 41 Qg8 Qe6 42 Qxe6+
Rxe6 43 Rf8 Black resigns
W4rDWDkD
DWDWDWDW
WDWDp!WD
DWDWDWDp
RDpDWDW)
hWDW1PDW
WDPDWDPD
DWDRDWDK
In Competition No. 3018 you were invited to take your lead from Meik Wiking ?
CEO at the Happiness Research Institute
and author of The Little Book of Hygge and
The Little Book of Lykke ? and provide an
extract from your own Little Book of?.
When I set this challenge, I had in mind
the words of the Austrian psychiatrist and
neurologist Viktor Frankl (he was speaking
of American culture): ?? again and again,
one is commanded and ordered to ?be
happy?. But happiness cannot be pursued; it
must ensue.?
You probably don?t need to tell that to
Svend Brinkmann, whose book Stand Firm:
Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze is a
robust response to our relentless, self-helpmanual-propelled quest to create a better,
happier self. Brinkmann suggests that we
resist the prevailing pressure to move forwards and be ever more agile and innovative, and learn instead to stand still, suppress
our feelings and focus on the negative.
Jennifer Moore was unlucky to miss out
on a place in the winning line-up. Those
that made the final cut, a satisfyingly varied bunch, are rewarded with � each. Paul
Carpenter scoops the extra fiver.
Ever felt the warm cosy feeling of having written a
book that states the obvious but sells in huge
quantities? Then you are experiencing flogge.
Flogge has become fashionable recently but at
heart it reflects the basic human desire to exploit
the foolishness of others. It is hard to define with
precision but you will know your life is floggelig
(full of flogge) when you are sitting in a snug,
prestigious bookshop with a queue of glowing
readers snaking down a luminous high street,
waiting to share flogge with you.
You?ll find it in a relaxed candlelit meal with a
close friend ? your accountant, for example ?
who can scarcely believe his luck. This incredible
feeling of comfortable wellbeing can also be found
in a book festival?s VIP tent, where, in the
company of other flogge writers, you can toast the
depthless credulity of the middle classes.
Paul Carpenter/The Little Book of Flogge
When people ask, ?What exactly is Brygge??, we
Brits say ?Brygge means Brygge?. We didn?t get to
be the 19th happiest nation, or to win the Battle of
Agincourt, by lighting candles, making pleated
paper hearts, sitting around an open fire on
unpronounceable pine sofas, playing with Lego,
drinking cocoa, eating fancy pastries, and listening
to Bj鰎k. Brygge is tough and no-nonsense. Brygge
is do-it-yourself. Brygge is getting back control of
your borders, staffing your own hospitals and
performing your own operations with the
proceeds. Brygge is doing your own plumbing,
going down to Lincolnshire to pick your own fruit,
queuing in coffee shops to make your own
cappuccinos, looking after your own granny,
collapsing your own economy. Above all, Brygge is
that cosy, fuzzy, warm, happy feeling that you can
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
LIFE
only get when a group of close friends get together
for a bloody good moan about the weather.
David Silverman/The Little Book of Brygge
Sometimes it?s hard, isn?t it, for the real ?you? to
find its voice? Chugge can free the ?me? that you
may have been repressing. Its simple principles
will give you more wonderful ?me-time?, while
radically readjusting your work-life balance!
You deserve a treat. Phone the boss and say
you won?t be in today. Then, at breakfast time ?
not before 10 a.m. ? take a six-pack of Special
Brew to a public park and chug with unapologetic
relish while exchanging banter with passing
strangers, especially women. Your sixth can
could perhaps be chugged while you?re lying flat
on a park bench. Mind those dribbles!
Having breakfasted, it is good to examine your
inner spiritual core. Tense? Are you holding back
your feelings of rage? Don?t. Shout boldly at
passing traffic. And don?t worry if the words
leaving your mouth are unintelligible even to you.
They are yours. They are precious.
George Simmers/The Little Book of Chugge
Boo! Welcome to the Little Book of Silly, the only
exhaustive guide to British silliness outside
Hansard. Here, in such chapters as ?Sir Cloudesley
Shovell, Largely? and ?Whither the Sporran??,
all your questions ? provided they?re silly ?
will be answered. Why must the BBC continue to
broadcast shipping forecasts modern mariners
don?t require? Can kiss-me-quick hats backfire?
Tea cosy: kitchenware or evening wear? For
centuries, silliness has been the defiant response of
the British to living lives of quiet despair on an
under-provisioned island with an unreliable
climate. With Brexit looming, what better occasion
to brush up your Duckworth-Lewis calculations,
cultivate outsize vegetables no one wants to eat,
take up Morris dancing or learn to whistle
The Archers theme through your teeth? Boasting
12 colour illustrations (11 of them depicting
Boaty McBoatface) and a guest index from a
biography of Boris Johnson, this book isn?t merely
about silly, it is silly. Weeee!
Adrian Fry/The Little Book of Silly
To date, literature has been kinder than history to
those who are prepared to let loose their inner
couch potato. Where are the records of real-life
Oblomovs, Mary Musgroves and Bartlebys? Yet so
much is to be said for inactivity, and there has
never been a better time for it. If one does nothing,
how can one be castigated for one?s actions?
Avoiding exercise reduces the contribution from
waste heat and gases to global warming. Modern
communications devices mean that there is no
need to leave one?s chair to maintain a semblance
of an existence. Every need is catered for by online
ordering and doorstep delivery. If you have had
the energy to read this far, you definitely need to
read on ? you need slugge[1].
[1] Named for a valley in Bavaria which fell to the
Carolingian Empire, with neither side noticing for
50 years.
A.H. Harker/The Little Book of Slugge
Crossword
2330: Image
by Mr Magoo
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
13
8
12
13
14
15
18
19
20
21
24
27
29
30
32
37
38
39
40
41
42
NO. 3021: NORTHERN FRIGHTS
11
16
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
27
1
10
14
17
Across
Portable furniture
affected county (8,
hyphened)
It?s only fair (4)
Get ready to improve
shepherd?s delight left in
champagne? (10)
Some twin sisters are
demanding (6)
Book wrapping was
double Scotch? (7)
Chemical engineer rejects
classical dry measures (8)
Awfully insecure time for
those lacking control? (9)
Spenser?s bound to study
in plant (9)
Genuinely caught the
criminal (4)
Votes against heartless
bills in US (4)
In Monaco I break a
contract, lacking hearts
and diamonds? (6)
Fever therefore masks
unknown power (6)
I managed to turn round in
shop (4)
Elephant nearly displays
delicacy (4)
Drier city ? until we left
(9, two words)
Planes of symmetry
manoeuvred in air with
pride (8)
In fury, Rice syncopated
music (7)
Coin three-quarters of a
nursery rhyme (6)
Skilled worker without
article tests his skills? (10)
Prot間� died after fighting
(4)
Carnivores are wandering
listlessly ? bother!
(8, two words)
9
12
15
10 5/9/34/30D/7/35/4/1D is a
poem quoted in full in ODQ.
The author?s surname (and
indeed first name) appears at 26.
8
30
25
28
31
26
29
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
Down
2 Warn them to cut heads off
in battle (6)
3 Sun forbidden to run
newspaper (5)
6 Like a prize-winner moved
in hospital? (8)
11 ?Creditor? beginning to
take bank job (6)
16 Was director not concerned
with horse? (5)
17 Take direction from old
Turkish leader (4)
22 Team in which old man
replaces one, one in suit (5)
23 Missing link, perhaps
missing an unconscious
urge to get quite wet (8)
25 Vulgar conduct, with
women rejecting advance
(4)
28 Rag and bone man raising
end, straight down (7,
hyphened)
31 Army regulation disturbed
a military force (6)
33 European allowed to pull
out (6)
36 Seaweed found in tea
garden (4)
A first prize of � for the first
correct solution opened on 23
October. There are two runnersup prizes of �. (UK solvers
can choose to receive the latest
edition of the Chambers
dictionary instead of cash ?
ring the word ?dictionary?.)
Entries to: Crossword 2330,
The Spectator, 22 Old Queen
Street, London SW1H 9HP.
Please allow six weeks for
prize delivery.
Name
Address
Email
SOLUTION TO 2327: EXHIBITION
Five unclued lights (1D, 14, 21, 24 and 41) are titles of
paintings by EDWARD HOPPER (5 39).
First prize J.P. Carrington, Denchworth, Oxfordshire
Runners-up Jenny Mitchell, Croscombe, Somerset;
F.A. Scott, Enfield, Middlesex
The Scandinavians do a fine line in terrifying lullabies. You are invited to follow their
lead and compose one that will give kiddies
nightmares. Please email up to 16 lines to
lucy@spectator.co.uk by 18 October.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
67
LIFE
Status Anxiety
Boris, the conviction politician
Toby Young
I
?m writing this from the Conservative party conference where
I can report that Boris Johnson,
who has just wowed the blue rinses
with a barn-storming speech, isn?t
preparing a leadership bid. At least,
that?s the line from all those closest
to him. Without exception, they say
if he was planning something they?d
know about it and they don?t. It?s a
media concoction. He?s a man without a plan.
I know, I know. That?s exactly
what Boris?s team would say if they
had just press-ganged the last of 48
MPs to sign a letter to the chairman
of the 1922 Committee, which is the
magic number needed to trigger a
leadership election in this Parliament. And there are plenty of reasons to be sceptical. If Boris waits
until Britain has left the EU, which is
less than 18 months away, his chances will be significantly lower because
the party will want a ?clean skin? to
succeed Theresa May, not one of the
protagonists in the Brexit drama.
Someone who can unite the party
around their vision for the future,
not remind them of their disagreements in the past. Needless to say,
there is no lack of younger players
waiting for the ball to come loose
from the scrum. Boris may only have
one more ?try? left in him ? and the
It?s not that
he?s insincere;
he?s just
not good at
appearing
sincere
clock is ticking. But I think his associates are telling the truth. One thing
that is abundantly clear, wandering
the halls of the Manchester Central,
is that the party has no appetite for a
leadership election before 29 March
2019. It would be politically toxic for
the Conservatives to waste several
weeks choosing a new leader when
they should be getting on with negotiating Brexit. It could easily trigger a
general election, given that the Conservatives don?t have a Commons
majority and can?t be sure of the
DUP?s continuing support. And that
would almost certainly mean several
Conservative MPs losing their seats
and ? worse ? a Labour government. God knows what would happen to Brexit in that scenario, never
mind the run on the pound, flight
of capital and the seizure of private
property. It would be Corbygeddon.
The only way to be certain of
avoiding this would be if a succession
could be arranged, with no need for
a contest. That might appeal to Boris,
but I can?t see David Davis, Amber
Rudd, Philip Hammond, Priti Patel
and Nicky Morgan agreeing to it.
The last time Boris ran for the leadership, he was challenged by his own
campaign manager and there would
be no shortage of rivals the second
time around.
So what is Boris up to? Why publish a 4,000-word essay on Britain?s
post-Brexit future and then give an
interview to the Sun on the eve of
conference setting out his ?red lines?
for the negotiation?
As always with Boris, it?s partly to
do with amour propre. His ego was
bruised by what he felt were attempts
to sideline him within the cabinet,
as well as what looked like some
negative press briefings by his political enemies. There?s also the more
general problem that his political fortune is beginning to wane. He wanted to remind people what a big beast
he is. ?Attention must be paid,? as
Willy Loman?s wife says in Death of
a Salesman.
But I think the bigger reason is
that he genuinely cares about Britain?s future and believes that an
indefinite post-Brexit transition period, in which we continue to pay for
access to the single market and are
prevented from making trade deals,
would be a disaster. Cynics might
say that?s only because his own reputation is so inextricably bound up
with Brexit, particularly the notorious �0 million a week pledge. Hard
to give that to the NHS if we?re still
shelling out � billion a year to the
EU. No doubt there?s an element
of that, but there?s also real passion
and conviction.
People find it harder to believe
this of Boris than of other politicians
because of his jokey, ironic style. It?s
not that he?s insincere; he?s just not
good at appearing sincere. But having
known him on and off for 35 years,
I can attest that beneath that bumbling exterior are some strongly held
political beliefs that haven?t changed
much since the day I first heard him
speak at the Oxford Union.
In 2002 I bet Nigella Lawson
�,000 that Boris would be party
leader within 15 years. I?m fairly sure
I?m going to lose ? and I pray to God
she doesn?t try and collect.
Toby Young is associate editor of
The Spectator.
MICHAEL HEATH
68
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
The Wiki Man
Raising the threshold
of crappiness
Rory Sutherland
I
love anything open late at night.
Never mind ?the sigh of midnight
trains in empty stations?; even
mundane activities like filling up with
petrol become enjoyably Edward
Hopperish after midnight. Often the
places are so quiet you wonder why
they bother opening at all.
But it is a strange psychological
fact that opening a shop 24 hours a
day often pays, even if nobody ever
buys anything between 1 a.m. and
6 a.m. Somehow the knowledge that
the shop never closes means people
are far more likely to shop there at
conventional times. This quirk also
explains why the most successful
coach firm between Oxford and London runs services all night: not because
people really want to travel between
2 a.m. and 5 a.m., but because they like
to know that they can.
This, I think, explains the anguished
reaction of many Londoners when it
was suggested Transport for London may refuse to relicense Uber.
It isn?t only that people like using
Uber; they also like knowing it exists.
To operate
successfully as
a coffee shop,
say, you have
to be at least
as good as a
chain or else
you fail
A case in point: ever since Uber
cars became established in London, I
barely drive into London at all (I live
just outside the M25). Previously I did
so once a week. This wasn?t by choice
(after all, if I wished to recreate the
experience of driving in London, I
could sit in a stationary car at home
while stabbing my head repeatedly
with a fork). No, before Uber, I was
forced to take my car into London
simply because if my event overran or
if the trains went funny, or if it started raining and the black cabs were all
taken, or if I was in that 90 per cent
of the city where black cabs don?t go,
then I was irredeemably stuffed. My
car wasn?t a form of transportation, it
was a fallback position.
In all those 50 non-car-journeys
in the last year, I used an Uber to get
home only once. The other 49 journeys took place as planned by train.
But I made those 49 journeys by train
largely because Uber now offered me
an acceptable second-best alternative.
To understand Uber, you have to
look at it not as a replacement for
public transport ? it is a complement to it. Trains are now much better
because of Uber, if only because you
have a possible plan B where none
existed before.
None of this detracts from perfectly justifiable criticisms of Uber. Their
egregious tax avoidance, say, or the
fact that, by losing money on every
journey, it is unfair competition. I also
sympathise with black-cab drivers
who gained the Knowledge only to
find technology had eroded their onetime monopoly of picking people up
on the street. But if Uber disrupts the
London minicab business, which was
generally awful, I can?t say I?m upset.
It is worth remembering that many
unfashionable large businesses create
value in ways that are often underappreciated. No one will ever write
gushingly about McDonald?s or Starbucks or PremierLodgeExpress. But
what these large chains do is valuable, even if you never use them.
They effectively raise what I call the
?threshold of crappiness? in the sectors in which they operate. To operate successfully as a coffee shop or a
sandwich bar or hotel (or a minicab
firm), you have to be at least as good
as a chain or else you fail. This raises
the bar for everyone. You can get better coffee in a truckstop now than at
Claridge?s in 1990.
It is easy to forget how bad the
service sector was in Britain before
these chains emerged. Once in 1989
a meeting overran so I had missed
the last train south. ?Where?s the best
place to stay in Sheffield?? I asked
my host. He paused for a second and
replied ?Leeds.?
Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman
of Ogilvy Group UK.
DEAR MARY YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED
Q. We have moved from London
into a rural area where we are
preparing for the first visit of a
lifelong friend who has become
a self-invented countryman.
I know that he will insist on
foraging for mushrooms, but
none of my family wants to go
on kidney dialysis machines as a
result of being forced to eat them.
None of us (including him) are
mushroom experts. Much as we
love our friend, he is something of
a bully. What should we do Mary?
? Name and address withheld
A. Buy in a store cupboard
supply of dried chanterelles, ceps
etc, and rehydrate them prior to
his visit. Feign enthusiasm for
making a risotto or omelette using
his foraged harvest. Knock this
up while his back is turned and
present it as a fait accompli, after
hiding his foraged mushrooms.
It is only responsible to have
these later authenticated by a
mushroom expert so that you can
alert him if you would have been
in danger.
Q. I work at a well-respected
academic institution with
scientists drawn from all over
the world. I share my office with
two lovely researchers, one of
whom is often away, and the
other who has recently moved
here from abroad. This newest
office mate happens to be the
same nationality as another close
colleague, and they have taken
to having loud conversations
in another language whenever
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
my colleague pops by with a
question. It feels quite excluding
and is irritatingly difficult to
ignore for long. They both speak
perfect English, of course. Should
I feel this way? And if so what is
the etiquette for tackling it?
? Name and address withheld
A. Your colleagues? discourtesy
is quite unacceptable. Put them
right by the following method.
Let?s imagine they are speaking
in Portuguese. Interrupt to say
that you are learning Portuguese
yourself at the moment as a
hobby, and would they mind
terribly translating what
they?ve just said to each other
so that you can get a little bit of
conversational experience. Leave
your desk and walk towards them
beaming each time they break into
Portuguese and always ask for a
translation. You will soon see an
end to the nuisance.
Q. My husband and I are in our
seventies and living in London.
Most of our friends have retired
to the country. We like to see
them but it seems that we?ve
become a free hotel from where
they can go sightseeing and
visit other friends. They do not
reciprocate our hospitality. I don?t
want to end long friendships but
we feel that we are taken for
granted. What do you suggest?
? P.D., address withheld
A. Turn the situation to your
advantage by advertising on
the noticeboard of your local
hospital for a doctor or nurse
who wishes to live with you for
a small rent. Such people are
already DBS-checked and the
whole arrangement can be only
life-enhancing for all parties. This
gives you a perfect excuse to tell
your friends there is no longer any
room at your inn.
69
LIFE
Drink
The pride of Australia
Bruce Anderson
W
hen she graduated from
university in Australia,
Sarah Crowe decided to
travel. So she sold her car, raised
whatever other funds she could, and
bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul. Anxious relatives? doubts were
brushed aside: rightly so. This was a
brave and resourceful girl.
As she made her way across the
continent, Sarah?s embrace of European culture quickly extended to
wine. Arriving in Burgundy, she used
her personality, determination and
zest for hard work to find employment and build up experience. Back
in Australia, she had no difficulty in
persuading a winery to hire her.
Her qualities quickly shone
through. No one at the vineyard put in
longer hours. She did everything and
learned about everything. It was also
apparent that she had an outstanding
palate and was a natural leader. To
her, wine was not a job. It was a vocation. She found it easy to persuade
her team to share her enthusiasm.
So when one of the biggest challenges in Australian winemaking fell
The best wine
merchants
take such
pleasure in
selling good
wine that it
becomes a rite
vacant, she was chosen. Although
some of her rivals were more experienced, she won on inspiration.
The vineyards at Yarra Yering,
north of Melbourne, were created by
Dr Bailey Carrodus, a rich man, absolutely dedicated to the art and craft of
winemaking. Someone once suggested to him that he was a perfectionist.
?I suppose so,? he replied, ?until they
invent something better.? He believed
that with time and effort, Australian
wines could be as good as the best.
For him, the best meant France:
chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and
pinot noir, plus some shiraz and malbec. Yarra Yering has one immense
advantage. It is in a cool valley. So the
vignerons do not have the same problem as some of their Californian confr鑢es: an unrelenting sun inciting the
fruit to overwhelm the tannins and
swamp subtlety in alcohol. Dr Carrodus realised that the climate would
help him to take on the French.
He had died before Sarah arrived:
an abiding regret. She says she would
have loved to consult him, to answer
his quizzical questions; above all, to
win his approval. But his ethos survives. She is a superb disciple.
?Getting stranded anywhere nice this year??
The best wine merchants of my
acquaintance take such pleasure in
selling good wine to appreciative customers that the whole affair becomes
a rite, far above the vulgarities of
commerce. One of them is Mark Bedford of Caviste, who has visited Sarah
in Yarra Yering and promotes her
wines in England.
The other evening, I had the
pleasure of meeting her and drinking some bottles at the Hawksmoor
Guildhall, a City restaurant that
knows how beef should be served:
saignant and well-hung.
That was the right match for
Sarah?s red wines, though we did start
with a chardonnay. Young ? 2016 ?
it underwent several evolutions in
the glass without ever attaining full
Burgundian status. It lacked butter.
But there was plenty of structure.
This is a wine that will keep and I
suspect that future vintages will add
to its stature.
The red wines are there already.
A pinot noir 2015 was classically Burgundian. The shiraz 2012
and a shiraz blend: both were pure
Rh鬾e. These wines were all young
and already accessible. But when it
comes to balance, they have perfect
pitch. So they will keep. That is also
true of the principal cabernet, a dry
red 2010: a really well-made wine.
For a range of reasons, I would like
to try it in 20 years.
There was also a fine cabernet/
malbec blend, an Agincourt 2012.
Agincourt? Other parts of the vineyard are christened Cr閏y, Blenheim
and Waterloo. Rivalling French techniques and twisting French tails: Dr
Carrodus was a truly splendid fellow.
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
Tube
When George Eliot wrote ?The
tube-journey can never lend
much to picture and narrative,?
she was not making an observant
remark about commuting on
the Underground. She was
developing a thought she?d had
of travellers of the future being
?shot, like a bullet through a
tube, by atmospheric pressure
from Winchester to Newcastle?.
She was writing in 1861, and the
world?s first Underground, the
Metropolitan Railway, opened
in 1863.
Two years before her musings
(in her introduction to Felix
Holt, the Radical), the London
Pneumatic Despatch Company
70
was founded to send packages
and mailbags from Holborn to
Gresham Street.
The Central London Railway,
from Bank to Shepherd?s Bush
opened in 1900. From its fixed
fare, it gained the nickname the
Twopenny Tube. Unlike the
original Metropolitan Railway
(built by the cut-and-cover
method) it was a true tuberailway, like the world?s first
electric underground, the City
and South London Railway,
opened in 1890. Its tubes had
a diameter of 10ft 6in, and its
small upholstered carriages were
nicknamed padded cells.
I?m always annoyed when
people use tube for underground
lines that are not deep-tunnelled.
They did so in talking of the bomb
at Parsons Green ? opened
in 1880 as part of the District
Railway, which is there above
ground. Still, people will do it and
I can?t stop them.
Tube has been a productive
word in recent decades. Oddly,
boob tube, meaning in the
Sixties the (idiotic) television,
by a play on words a decade
later, also came to designate a
woman?s strapless top. Since
2005, YouTube, the video-sharing
website, has grown like Jack?s
beanstalk. From 2008, Channel
4 has been showing popular
internet clips on its programme
Rude Tube, which is not
particularly rude.
Our standards might be going
down the tube (or tubes) since
1963, and we have even lost
the cathode-ray tube from our
televisions, but test-tube babies
(foreseen by that name in the
1930s and born since 1978) have
proliferated and, as with so many
scientific discoveries, we know we
cannot put the toothpaste back in
the tube.
? Dot Wordsworth
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
Subscribe to The Spectator
Try 12 issues for just �
HOW I WRITE: Irvine Welsh d Susan Hill d Geoff Dyer d Kamila Shamsie d Nicola Barker
Adam Nicolson d Michael Moorcock
d
Gary Shteyngart d Francis Spufford
12 august 2017 [ �25
www.spectator.co.uk [ est. 1828
Fire and fury
Jacob Heilbrunn on a lethal war of words
Andrew J. Bacevich on Trump?s
weakness for generals
LET
CAMERON
CHILLAX
JAMES
DELINGPOLE
L
FUL
H
E
T
WI EBSIT
W CESS
AC PPS
+A
AN OPTIMIST'S GUIDE TO BREXIT
Your subscription includes
DELINGPOLE
JAMES
CHILLAX
CAMERON
LET
9 Weekly delivery of the magazine
Fire and fury
9 Podcasts and newsletters
9 Unlimited access at www.spectator.co.uk
9 The Spectator?s archive from 1828
Jacob Heilbrunn on a lethal war of words
Adam Nicolson d Michael Moorcock
d
Gary Shteyngart d Francis Spufford
HOW I WRITE: Irvine Welsh d Susan Hill d Geoff Dyer d Kamila Shamsie d Nicola Barker
9 Spectator mobile and tablet apps
THREE WAYS TO SUBSCRIBE
. Go to www.spectator.co.uk/A149B
1
2. Call 0330 333 0050 quoting A149B
3 Post the form to: The Spectator, FREEPOST RTUF-XJLY-HGAL, Haywards Heath RH16 3TW
YES, I would like to subscribe to The Spectator @ 12 issues for �, then �.50 per quarter by direct debit
SUBSCRIBER?S DETAILS
Title
Name
PAYMENT
12 issues for �
Name and address of bank or building society
Address
Sort code
Acct no
Postcode
Tel no
Email
Name(s) of account holders
Please pay The Spectator (1828) Ltd Direct Debits from the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assured by the Direct
Debit Guarantee. I understand this instruction may remain with The Spectator (1828) Ltd, and if so, details may be passed electronically to my
Bank or Building Society.
Originator?s identi?cation number: 916816
Please send me the Spectator weekly highlights email
Please send me Spectator Club special offers and promotions by email
Signature
� introductory offer available to UK direct debit customers only. Special overseas and credit card rates also available.
Occasionally we would like to send you information about exclusive Spectator events, offers and competitions. Please tick if you would like to receive such communications by post
would like to send you carefully selected offers from our partners that we feel are relevant to you. If you are happy to receive such offers, please tick here .
by phone
. From time to time we
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Introductory offer available in the UK only. Your subscription will continue automatically unless you cancel. Any subscription cancellations will take effect at the end of the current term. Refunds will
not be given for any undelivered issues.
us to the quietly lovely. But with
their recurring themes of death, violence
and religion, and a muse that rarely leads
Cave in the direction of the mainstream,
very few have ever seemed particularly arena-friendly. And that was before his latest
album, Skeleton Tree, which forms the basis
of his current tour ? and which Cave completed after his 15-year-old son Arthur died
falling from a cliff in Brighton.
Cave has warned against seeing the
album as a direct response to the tragedy,
emphasising that many tracks were written
before it happened. Yet, while it?s true there
are no explicit references to a child?s death,
Skeleton Tree does open with the lines, ?You
fell from the sky/ Crash-landed in a field?
before serving up eight sparse, piercingly sad
songs of loss, disorientation and yearning for
the impossible return of a loved one. So how
would this stuff come across in a concrete
bowl of 20,000 iPhone-wavers? The answer,
it turned out, was utterly triumphantly, with
the incongruity of the setting somehow only
adding to the admittedly weird beauty of
Saturday?s show.
Wearing his usual dark suit and implausibly shiny shoes, Cave began uncompromisingly ? sitting on a crooner?s stool and
half-singing, half-whispering Skeleton Tree?s
?Anthrocene?, with its aching cry of ?I?m begging you please to come home now.? But
then he leapt on to the thrust stage, started
grabbing fans? outstretched hands and even
did some stage-diving of the kind that most
other 60-year-olds might consider unwise.
Which would, I suppose, have been stand-
How would this stuff come across
in a concrete bowl of 20,000
iPhone-wavers?
ard rock-star behaviour, expect for what he
was singing as he did so: more mournfully
stripped-down songs from the album, with
lyrics such as ?And in the bathroom mirror I
see me vomit in the sink.?
As the showmanship continued, Cave
was at times positively genial ? even if
his songs still weren?t. ?Sorry?? he responded to a cry from the audience. ?My wife?s a
fox? Yes, not bad for a little guy from Warracknabeal.? After a while, too, the newer
songs were interspersed with what would
be some of his greatest hits, if they?d actually been hits. Blistering versions of ?Tupelo?, ?From Her to Eternity? and, above all,
?Red Right Hand? ? the one used as the
Peaky Blinders theme tune ? allowed
Cave to demonstrate his ability to sound
menacing and scared at the same time, and
also proved that the Bad Seeds are just
as great at making a glorious racket as at
providing perfectly judged gentle backing.
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
We were invited to sing along with the gorgeous ?Into Your Arms?, which we rather
movingly did: again standard arena tactics, except that not many arena singalongs
begin, ?I don?t believe in an interventionist God?. Nonetheless ? and yet another
way in which this wasn?t your average rock
concert ? the intensity never dipped when
Cave returned to the latest album.
During an unforgettable encore, he
alarmed the security guards by running halfway down the huge standing area, climbing
on to the shoulders of anyone who?d have
him and, at one point, leading a complicated clapping sequence for ?The Weeping
Song?. ?This takes concentration,? he told the
crowd, by now gathered around him with all
the fervour of people at a revivalist meeting. ?You can?t do it with a fucking iPhone in
your hand.? When he returned to the stage
he took a few dozen audience members
with him, and, pausing only to admire an ?I
Love Take That? T-shirt that one of them was
wearing, led a full-on, all-dancing, all stagediving version of the exhilaratingly filthy
?Stagger Lee?. On his further audience travels, he bumped into Bobby Gillespie from
Primal Scream, who joined him for the concluding ?Push the Sky Away?.
Looking back, I?m still not sure how Cave
managed to keep moving from desolation to
euphoria and back again without striking a
single inauthentic note, or how he made the
whole experience so ultimately joyous. What
I do know, though, is that I?ve now got something new to say when a pub conversation
turns, as pub conversations will, to the best
gigs you?ve ever seen.
57
NOTES ON ?
Soho drinking clubs
By Henry Jeffreys
W
hen someone says ?Let?s go for
a drink at my club?, what do you
imagine? A grand St James?s
establishment like Boodle?s or White?s, or
perhaps a media hangout such as the Groucho or Soho House? What you probably
don?t think of is an unmarked door and a
flight of rickety stairs. Yet through unpromising-looking doorways in and around
Soho are little clubs where you can take
a break from the 21st century. Places such
as the Phoenix beneath the Phoenix theatre on Charing Cross Road, Gerry?s on
Dean Street and the Academy on Lexington Street are relics of a time (Gerry?s has
been going since 1955) when pubs had to
close after lunch and not open again until
the evening. People needed somewhere to
drink in the afternoon and after 11 p.m. last
orders. These clubs met the demand.
They are subtly different from places like
the Groucho, where the successful and the
ambitious congregate to sell things to each
other. Nobody ever got any work done at
Gerry?s. Chris Evans won?t be at the next
table at the Phoenix. Not that you won?t
run into celebrities ? they?ll just be of the
loucher sort. At the artist Sebastian Horsley?s 40th birthday at the Colony Room,
I found myself drinking alongside Shane
MacGowan and Bryan Ferry. A friend
Hidden den: Gerry?s Club on Dean Street
reminisced about hearing David Soul of
Starsky & Hutch fame belting out his hit ?Silver Lady? at Gerry?s one night. The Academy,
in contrast, is generally more sedate, and
you can order food and wine from Andrew
Edmunds, the excellent restaurant below.
To gain entry to these establishments
you are supposed to be a member, but I
would often get into Gerry?s late at night by
claiming to be a friend of the crime writer
Martina Cole. All the booksellers on Charing Cross Road seemed to have honorary
membership of the Phoenix. At the New
Evaristo Club on Frith Street, aka Trisha?s,
aka Hideout, there?s a sign saying ?Membership available? but I never met anyone who
was a member. To me these places are only
technically ?clubs? in order to circumvent
normal licensing laws.
What they have in common is a dominant personality at the door or behind the
bar. The Academy has Persian beauty Mandana Ruane and her team of small dogs.
People tell me the Phoenix hasn?t been
the same since proprietor Maurice Huggett died in 2011. Dying too young is something of a theme of Soho clubs: Bernie Katz,
the face of the Groucho, died in August.
Michael Wojas went out aged 53 shortly after the Colony Room closed for good
in 2008, and dear old Sebastian Horsley
overdosed on heroin and cocaine in 2010.
Being a legend of Soho takes its toll.
With London property prices the way
they are, it?s a miracle any drinking clubs still
exist. They are an anachronism but, despite
all the talk of London being a 24-hour city,
they are often the only civilised places to
get a drink after midnight. Treasure their
dilapidated doorways, for they are portals into another world: the Soho of Keith
Waterhouse or Julian MacLaren-Ross. Some
mornings I?d emerge onto the streets of
Soho, find my way home and sometime later
think: did I dream that?
Theatre
58
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
CLASSIFIEDS
Travel & General
AROMATHERAPY
MASSAGE
LUXURIATE. FULLY QUALIFIED
and experienced English therapist
offers a range of treatments in
Paddington. For further details
please call Nina on: 07597 485185
HOLISTIC MASSAGE. UK
qualified therapist offers a variety of
professional relaxing and deep tissue
body work massage service. Old
Brompton Rd near Earl's Court SW
London Tel. Tanya on: 07974 066409
BOOKS
OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS FOUND.
Free search. No obligation to
purchase. Tel: 01376 562334
Email: jeremy.dore@tesco.net
CARS
WANTED ? CLASSIC CARS
1950s/60s/70s. Polite, friendly, prompt
service. Leigh ? Classic Auto Revival.
07785 303402
CLOTHING
HENRY HERBERT TAILORS. Bespoke
Suit & Shirtmakers.
www.henryherbert.com
Tel: 020 7837 1452. London, WC1X 8ED
We can visit you or you can visit us!
HEALTH
CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR
MEMORY?
Maintain your intellectual edge and
quality of life. Improve your memory
and cognitive performance with
working memory training. University
Researched. Evidence Based.
Discover how at: www.lifemind.us
Email: contact@lifemind.us
Creating A Better Memory
For A Better Life
INTRODUCTIONS
SEEKING: SINGLE ELIGIBLE
GENTLEMEN
for introductions with successful,
attractive ladies of elite dating
agency. COMPLIMENTARY
MEMBERSHIP to
eligible gentlemen.
Call Caroline 01483 418958 or
email contact details to
caroline@bowes-lyonpartnership.co.uk
LEGAL SERVICES
Not Just Building Corporate
Strength?
BILMESLAW
160 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DQ
TRAVEL
Call to discuss any of your travel needs
Worldwide Holidays & Flights
First, Business & Corporate Travel
Private Touring
Cruise Trail?nders
European Travel
Group Travel
Honeymoons & Wishlist
Visa & Passport Service
Travel Insurance
trail?nders.com
Email: law@bilmesllp.com
Tel: 020 7490 9656
Solving Difficult Problems Effectively.
020 7368 1440
020 7368 1441
020 7368 1442
020 7368 1443
020 7368 1452
020 7368 1453
020 7368 1454
020 7368 1455
020 7368 1457
GARDINERS SOLICITORS.
Domestic & Commercial
Conveyancing. Tel: Paul Gardiner,
020 7603 7245. Email:
paulgardiner@gardinerssolicitors.co.uk
INVESTMENT
SUPER HIGH RISK (high potential
reward) OT(S)EIS) investments, or
very high risk (good potential reward)
OTEIS. www.oxfordtechnology.com
ITALY
VENICE CENTRAL. Tranquil,
sunny apartment. Wonderful
canalside location. Two bedrooms,
two bathrooms. Tel: 020 7701 7540 or
www.venicecanalsideapartment.co.uk
ITALY
UMBRIA. Spacious centuries old
farmhouse villa - our home. Etruscan/
Roman site. Sleeps 11. Pool. Magical
views. Therapeutic atmosphere. Brilliant
feedback. www.ladogana.co.uk
AUSTRIA
VIENNA CENTRE. Self catering
apt: musician's country-style home in
peaceful Biedermeier cloister. Sleeps
2/3. Tel: 00 43 1712 5091.
Email: valleycastle@compuserve.com
JEWELLERY
STYLE NEVER GOES OUT
OF FASHION
TUSCAN/UMBRIAN BORDER.
Hilltop house in 11 acres. Looks
amazing on the website.
Even better in real life. Check it out:
www.myhomeinumbria.com
Cobra & Bellamy
is the leading name in classically designed
watches, retro in style reminiscent of the
1930s, 40s and 50s. Pictured here is the Cobra
watch available in Stainless Steel at �, Rose
Gold Plated and 21 Carat Gold Plated at �5.
Sienna Miller has chosen to eschew more
??????????????????????????????????????
Cobra & Bellamy?s retro inspired watch
?????????????????????????????
?Cobra & Bellamy watches are classic,
?????????????????????/???????????????
www.spectator.co.uk/
classifieds
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
To see the whole Cobra & Bellamy watch
??????????????
www.cobrabellamywatches.co.uk
or call 01736 732112
59
CLASSIFIEDS
General & Property
ARTS
FLORISTS
Commission
a Portrait
Family run since the 1920`s, Dovers is a modern
繰ULVWZLWKDULFKKHULWDJH%DVHGLQ:HVWPLQVWHU
LQWKHKHDUWRIFHQWUDO/RQGRQSame day delivery.
020 7930 6844
www.therp.co.uk
Dovers Flowers
EST. 1925
23 Churton Street, Pimlico, London, SW1V 2LY
Tel: 020 7834 8784
ZZZGRYHUV繰ZHUVFRP
ROHINGYA REFUGEE CRISIS
HUNGRY, WEAK
AND SICK. WHO
WILL HELP THEM?
Or post urgently to:
UNHCR, York house, Wetherby Road,
Long Marston, York. YO26 7NH
Please accept my gift of:
�
�0
�0
Other �
I enclose a cheque or postal order made
payable to UNHCR
Thousands of Rohingya refugees are
?eeing for their lives in search of safety.
Most are women and children. Some have died
trying to seek safety. Those who have made it
to Bangladesh are in extremely poor conditions.
Most have walked for days from their villages
with what they could salvage from their homes.
They are hungry, weak and sick.
First name
Last name
Address
Postcode
� UNHCR/Vivian Tan
Please help us provide them
with shelter, food, water and
core relief items.
Email
Phone
��
COULD PROVIDE
FAMILIES WITH
SYNTHETIC MATS TO PREVENT
THEM FROM SLEEPING ON THE
COLD GROUND.
Give online at
www.unhcr.org/rohingya
or call us on
020 3761 9525
60
See how your donation makes a difference
to the lives of refugees.
Please tell us if you are happy to hear more
about UNHCR?s work:
By post
By email
By phone
Your donation will support
UNHCR?s emergency work
in Bangladesh and where
refugees and internally
displaced people are in need.
SPEPRABD17
the spectator | 7 october 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk
?You can get better coffee in a truck stop
now than at Claridge?s in 1990?
? Rory Sutherland, p69
High life
Taki
The death of the richest woman on this
planet, as the tabloids dubbed Liliane
Bettencourt, brought back some vivid memories, mainly of the gigolos I?ve known and
their disgraceful pursuit of the fairer sex.
Although my great friend Porfirio Rubirosa acted the gigolo at times ? he married
three of the world?s richest women, and two
of the most beautiful for love ? he was also
a man?s man, a pistolero, an ambassador, a
racing driver, boxer and polo player, and a
great seducer of beautiful women. He died
on 6 July 1965 at the wheel of his Ferrari.
After Rubi, the whole business took a
nosedive. Thierry Roussel, French, effete and
greedy as hell, took tens and tens of millions
from Christina Onassis, and then dumped
her for his regular mistress. Just as bad as
Roussel ? or worse ? was Francois-Marie
Banier. But before I get to that particular
leech, a few words about a friend of mine
who actually went through a Rockefeller
fortune, the Marquis Raymundo de Larrain.
Raymond, as his real name was, was a
marquis alright, but of his own making. His
demonic charm seduced both very rich men
of that persuasion and high-born women. He
went after me like gangbusters in Paris when
I was not yet 20, but once he got the message he remained a good friend until?well,
I?ll tell you in a jiffy. Raymundo was birdlike, had impeccable manners, and out of the
blue managed not only to become a ballet
dancer in the Marquis de Cuevas (another
dubious title) corps de ballet, but also a choreographer and a designer of ballets. He was
Cuevas?s lover, but also the lover of a leading Parisian society hostess. He once told me
that he was about to marry Douce Francois,
a niece of the fabulously rich Arturo LopezWillshaw, assuming that she would inherit
her uncle?s estate (he was gay and lived with
Alexis de Rede). I warned him that Douce,
a good friend of mine, was penniless, but he
wouldn?t listen and introduced her to Rudi
Nureyev in order to impress her. Disaster.
Douce fell for Rudi and spent a lifetime
pursuing probably the greatest dancer ever.
Who was very gay.
After the dissolution of the Cuevas ballet
and Douce?s rejection, Raymundo set out
for New York. One night he took me and
Cee Zee Guest, my girlfriend at the time, to
meet Margaret de Cuevas, the granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller. She was a very
old lady, lived in a huge Fifth Avenue apartment, and had her face painted all white,
like a Kabuki dancer. She hardly spoke. The
next thing I knew Raymundo had married
her. She was 80 and he was 42. The ?marriage? lasted eight years and when Margaret
died of natural causes, her children discov-
Salvador Dal� was up for anything
sexual as long as he didn?t have
to partake
ered that Raymundo was the sole beneficiary. But soon afterwards, he died of Aids,
the fortune having gone up in smoke. This
was in about 1988.
Back in Paris, in the meantime, a young,
gay, good-looking hustler was about to
make all of the above look small-time.
Fran鏾is-Marie Banier was the son of a
low-born Hungarian Jew who emigrated
to Paris and, after working on an assembly
line, slowly made his way up in life enough
to afford a small flat on Avenue Victor
Hugo. His son the arriviste was a bit more
ambitious. He realised early on that the
very rich and famous are easy prey if one
does not kowtow in deference. He mocked,
scorned and tried to humiliate those who
couldn?t defend themselves ? mostly old
men and women ? but also flattered,
cajoled and amused those whose bank
accounts were in the stratosphere.
His first protector was Salvador Dal�, a
voyeur who was up for anything sexual as
long as he didn?t have to partake. Banier
then became the lover of decorator Jacques
Grange, followed by a platonic friendship
with the very aged widower Louis Aragon.
Marie Laure de Noailles helped him to
meet intellectuals and artists, and soon the
young hustler was writing novels and taking
pictures and painting on canvas. He got lots
of publicity because of his contacts, but his
talents wer
Документ
Категория
Журналы и газеты
Просмотров
0
Размер файла
11 031 Кб
Теги
journal, The Spectator
1/--страниц
Пожаловаться на содержимое документа