70-page glossy quarterly magazine with Roger Scruton, Sarah Vine, Helen Lederer and Michael Heath, and featuring… Killer robots by Mary Wakefield Kingsman uncovered 23 september 2017 [ £4.25 by James Delingpole www.spectator.co.uk [ est. 1828 Brexit wars er H LI O N EL BAHRAIN BD3.20. CANADA C$7.50. EURO ZONE €6.95 SOUTH AFRICA ZAR79.90 UAE AED34.00. USA US$7.20. c S th olum H R is w n s IV ee ta ER k r ts James Forsyth on the new Tory battle line 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’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. Book a wealth review, register for a seminar or ﬁnd out more. Call Email Go to 020 3823 8826 email@example.com www.7im.co.uk/spectator 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. established 1828 A fallen idol F ew world leaders have fallen from grace as quickly as Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel prize-winner, who also holds the US Congressional Gold Medal for her bravery and peaceful resistance to Burma’s military junta, now stands accused of aiding and excusing the suppression — even the genocide — of the Rohingya Muslims, more than 400,000 of whom in recent weeks have fled from Burma, which elected her leader nearly two years ago. There have been calls from her fellow Nobel laureates for her peace prize to be annulled. The UN has described action against the Rohingya as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ and complained that its observers have been denied access to Burma to judge the situation for themselves. Our Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, himself under fire, has weighed in this week, also using the term ‘ethnic cleansing’. The plight of the Rohingya in Burma has been a cause for international concern for decades. Yet their recent treatment at the hands of Buddhist mobs and the military takes their persecution to a new level. What seems baffling to so many is the fact that this horror is happening under Suu Kyi, a human rights campaigner who was herself kept under house arrest for 15 years by the military. How, it’s asked, can she now be colluding with her former captors, looking the other way as they use the tactics — mob violence and murder — once deployed against her supporters? The answer is that she is an extreme case of a much-repeated phenomenon — a campaigner fêted in opposition for admirable principles, but who then takes power and is found wanting. Suu Kyi said this week that she intends to find out why half of the Rohingya population in Burma have fled. But the satellite images of about 80 burning villages are clear enough. Her spokesmen claim that the Rohingya are burning down their own villages to draw attention to themselves, even planting landmines to draw condemnation against the Burmese army. Her efforts to deny their sudden desperation to leave Burma as ‘fake news’ fools no one. About half of Burma’s Rohingyas have now fled to Bangladesh, most arriving in the past few weeks. Such an exodus does not take place without good reason. But even if Suu Kyi did want to take on Aung San Suu Kyi has been a woman of the people. But now the people of Burma emerge in a different light the military, she would probably fail. While she won a mandate in the 2015 election, Burma cannot be said to be democratic in a genuine sense. Her post, that of ‘state counsellor’, cannot be compared to that of a western president or prime minister. Burma has not undergone a democratic revolution but remains under the ultimate power of the military, over which she has little control or even influence. Having been placed under house arrest for much of the two decades between 1990 and 2010, Suu Kyi is now under a more metaphorical form of imprisonment. Ought she to rediscover the bravery that led her through two decades of peaceful opposition to the military junta and make a stand against the army? That is what a true martyr would do, even if it led her to prison. Suu Kyi might, of course, have refused the position of state counsellor altogether on the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk the grounds that it wasn’t a truly democratic position. But where would that have got her — and Burma? She would have been condemned for turning down an invitation to effect change from within. Moreover, if she condemned — or even acknowledged — the treatment of the Rohingya then she’d be in trouble, not just with the military but the public that elected her. The Buddhist-majority Burmese population has never seen the Rohingyas as fellow citizens. The partial relaxation of the dictatorship has exposed the sectarian problems which have always bubbled beneath the surface. All along, Suu Kyi has been a woman of the people. It is just that now the people of Burma begin to emerge in a different light — less an oppressed, homogenous group and more a mass of religious rivalries, with a Buddhist majority at odds with a Muslim minority. Add to this the incident that began the most recent spell of violence — a terror attack on an army post, committed by a group of Rohingya militants and which killed about a dozen — and the conditions for sectarian violence are ideal. The lesson of Suu Kyi is it is far easier to be admired when you are a rebellious outsider than when you eventually win some kind of power. The reputations of Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel and many others also suffered from the same transition, though to a lesser extent than Suu Kyi. One day, perhaps, Burma will settle into peace and democracy. Whatever happens, Suu Kyi will not be winning any further tributes from western liberals. But we should reflect that it is not really her who has changed, so much as the circumstances in which she finds herself and our perception of her. 3 Hero or slimeball? p18 Smile if you hate Tories, p16 The cult of Bob, p32 THE WEEK 3 Leading article 7 Portrait of the Week 9 Diary George Osborne, the Today programme’s Don Corleone Sarah Sands 11 The Spectator’s Notes The truth about Boris’s £350 million Charles Moore BOOKS & ARTS 12 Brexit wars The Conservatives’ last battle over Europe has just begun James Forsyth BOOKS 28 Jane Ridley Victorious Century, by David Cannadine 14 A court’s contempt The ECJ’s quest for ever more power Marina Wheeler 30 Patrick Skene Catling Dunbar, by Edward St Aubyn Owen Matthews Red Famine, by Anne Applebaum 16 Can we be friends? The MP who won’t drink with Tories Isabel Hardman 31 Duncan Forbes ‘Willow’: a poem 18 Ukraine’s last best hope Saakashvili, the great reformer Owen Matthews 32 Ian Thomson So Much Things to Say, by Roger Steffens 25 Letters Christians betrayed, race relations and the Taki effect 20 Close of play I’m enjoying my long goodbye Henry Blofeld 33 Neel Mukherjee Late Essays 2006–17, by J.M. Coetzee 26 Any other business Hoping for a rate rise? Don’t bet on it Martin Vander Weyer 22 Crime and prejudice Is Brexit-based violence real? Ross Clark 17 Rod Liddle Fostering hate 21 Lionel Shriver Let the statues stand 22 Barometer Euro millions, drink driving and Scotland’s last snow 24 James Delingpole The age of terror Richard Davenport-Hines The World Broke in Two, by Bill Goldstein 34 Harry Ritchie How Language Began, by Daniel L. Everett 35 Thomas W. Hodgkinson Viking Britain, by Thomas Williams Cover by Morten Morland. Drawings by Michael Heath, Castro, Mike Stokoe, Evans, Phil Disley, RGJ, Percival, Geoff Thompson, Grizelda, Nick Newman, Dredge 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); firstname.lastname@example.org (for publication); email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Rates for a basic annual subscription in the UK: £111; Europe: £185; Australia: A$279; New Zealand: A$349; and £195 in all other countries. 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ISSN 0038-6952 The Spectator is published weekly by The Spectator (1828) Ltd at 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP Editor: Fraser Nelson 4 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Apple’s terrifying power, p36 Chatty Man, p34 The art of Haeckel, p39 LIFE ARTS SPECIAL 36 Rory Sutherland How Apple came to rule the world 53 High life Taki Low life Jeremy Clarke 38 Museums Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia Daisy Dunn 54 Elaine Feinstein ‘A Ghost in the Rylands Library’: a poem 39 Illustration The art and science of Ernst Haeckel Laura Gascoigne 56 Real life Melissa Kite 41 Exhibitions Basic Instincts Kate Chisholm LIFE Any drive for ideological purity is flat-out creepy Lionel Shriver, p21 57 Bridge Susanna Gross Wine club Jonathan Ray Nobody really goes to the bottle bank to recycle glass: we do it for the fun of smashing bottles Rory Sutherland, p36 43 Art market Why do artists vanish? Martin Gayford AND FINALLY . . . 50 Notes on… Gresham College Mark Mason 44 Opera Pagliacci; L’enfant et les sortilèges Michael Tanner 58 Chess Raymond Keene Competition Lucy Vickery 45 Television Strike; Electric Dreams; Bad Move; Porters; W1A James Walton 60 Status anxiety Toby Young Battle for Britain Michael Heath 46 Cinema Borg vs McEnroe Deborah Ross 47 Radio Kate Chisholm 48 The listener LCD Soundsystem: American Dream Rod Liddle Theatre Oslo; Prism Lloyd Evans Noam Chomsky has done his very best to make his work on language as arcane and incomprehensible as string theory Harry Ritchie, p34 59 Crossword Pabulum 61 The Wiki Man Rory Sutherland My children have impeccable manners, although my daughter has inherited my violent side Taki, p53 Your problems solved Mary Killen 62 Drink Bruce Anderson Mind your language Dot Wordsworth 49 Music Simon Rattle’s non-job Norman Lebrecht CONTRIBUTORS Lionel Shriver, the novelist, is now a fortnightly columnist for The Spectator. She writes about pulling down statues on p21. Marina Wheeler is a barrister and member of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal. She’s also Boris Johnson’s wife. She writes about the European Court of Justice on p14. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Henry Blofeld has retired from commentating for Test Match Special. He reminisces on p20. Jane Ridley is a historian and broadcaster. She reviews David Cannadine’s book about 19thcentury Britain on p28. Rory Sutherland is executive creative director of OgilvyOne and The Spectator’s Wiki Man columnist. He doesn’t have an iPhone. He writes about iPhones on page 36 and trade on p61. 5 “As a boy, I picked up an extra paper round in Petersfield to save for flying lessons.” —Richard Pillans, Boeing UK Chief Test Pilot “As a boy, I picked up an extra paper round in Petersﬁeld to save for ﬂying lessons. I managed to get my pilot’s licence before I could even drive a car. It’s freeing to get up in the air and see the world from that perspective. Even though I left the British military I still feel like I’m part of it as a civilian test pilot. The data we gather proves the Chinooks are safe before the frontline ﬂy them. We feel good about supporting the team overseas.” SEE HOW RICHARD IS BUILDING A STRONGER UK AT BOEING.CO.UK PARTNERS YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. Home B oris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, issued a manifesto for a ‘glorious future’ for Britain outside the European Union as ‘the greatest country on Earth’. This was seen as a challenge to Theresa May, the Prime Minister. People like Sir Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, and Kenneth Clarke, the Tory arch-Remainer, said he should have been sacked. Mr Johnson’s lengthy piece in the Daily Telegraph came six days before a big speech on the subject promised by Mrs May, in Florence, before the next round of Brexit negotiations. He declared that Britain should pay nothing for access to the EU single market. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, went on television and accused him of ‘back-seat driving’. Others got up a row over his claim that ‘once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS’. Sir David Norgrove, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, said this was ‘a clear misuse of official statistics’. Oliver Robbins, the government’s top Brexit official, was transferred from the Department for Exiting the European Union to the Cabinet Office in order to work more directly for the Prime Minister. A home-made bomb ignited in a wall of flame in a morning rush-hour Underground train at Parsons Green station, injuring 30 people but failing to explode. Police arrested an 18-year-old Iraqi orphan (who had been in foster care in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey) at Dover, a 21-year-old man in Hounslow, Middlesex. and and 25-year-old man in Newport, Monmouthshire. It was found that people who shopped on Amazon for an ingredient of a popular bomb-making compound would receive the information that it was ‘frequently bought together’ with the other ingredients. Britain is the fifth-biggest audience in the world for extremist internet content after Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to a study by Policy Exchange. T he number of people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire may be fewer than the estimate of 80, according to police, who have so far seized 31 million documents in their investigations. Ryanair began cancelling 40-50 flights a day for six weeks without much notice. In response to loud complaints, it published the details of which flights would be cancelled up to the end of October. A ship detained and held at Aberdeen for more than a year was ordered to be auctioned to pay the crew’s wages. Acidic vapour wafted over part of Hull when a dockside tank containing 580 tons of hydrochloric acid leaked overnight. Abroad P resident Donald Trump of the United States said at the UN that if America is ‘forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea’. Of Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, he said: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission.’ His words followed the firing of a missile by North Korea over Japan and 2,300 miles into the Pacific, which happens the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk to be the distance to the American territory of Guam. Within minutes, South Korea fired a missile into the sea, which happened to travel the same distance that could have taken it to Pyongyang. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva demanded to be allowed into Rakhine state in Burma to assess the reason for 400,000 Muslim Rohingyas having fled to Bangladesh. Bangladesh attempted to stop the refugees from dispersing in the country. H urricane Maria devastated Dominica; ‘We have lost all that money can buy,’ said the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, who lost the roof of his own house. It then moved west across the Caribbean. Many were killed when a strong earthquake struck Mexico City. Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Canada. J. P. Donleavy, author of The Ginger Man (1955), died at 91. Equifax, the American credit reporting company, said it might have had data stolen relating to 143 million Americans and 400,000 Britons. I n Egypt, a mass trial concerning the violence that followed the removal of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 sentenced 43 to prison for life and 300 to terms between five and 15 years. Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of Iraq, demanded the suspension of a referendum on Kurdish independence. In Spain, the Civil Guard searched print works for the ballot papers to be used on 1 October in a Catalan referendum on independence, which has been declared illegal. Plumbers unblocking sewage pipes in Geneva found the problem was cut-up €500 notes. CSH 7 K I R K E R HOL I D AY S f o r d i s c e r n i n g t r av e l l e r s Kirker Holidays provides carefully crafted tailor-made holidays to over 140 destinations in 40 countries - including the services of the Kirker Concierge to book a table at a recommended restaurant and entrance tickets to museums and art galleries. Autumn brings a host of important art exhibitions, with a common theme being travel: Dutch art collected by the Russia Tsars will return to Amsterdam, Vienna gathers Rubens paintings from around the world, and in Paris a new exhibition traces the exotic influences on Paul Gauguin. Prices are per person include flights or Eurostar, return transfers, accommodation with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants, museums and sightseeing and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book expert local guides, exhibition or concert tickets or reserve a table for a delicious dinner. Paris - Grand Palais Vienna - Kunsthistorisches ‘Gauguin: l’Alchemiste’ 11 October 2017 - 22 January 2018 ‘Rubens: The Power of Transformation’ 17 October 2017 - 21 January 2018 Paul Gauguin lived in diverse parts of the globe including Peru, Tahiti, Brittany and Martinique. This new exhibition includes over 200 works in a chronological journey through the artist’s use of various materials to create vivid and striking images inspired by his travels. This landmark new exhibition showcases the genius of Rubens and the inspiration which he took from Classical and Renaissance art, with seventy loans from collections around the world – including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Prado in Madrid and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Pont Royal **** Superior In the artistic heart of the Left Bank, this traditional hotel has 75 bedrooms, a small Japanese garden and Joel Robuchon’s popular restaurant ‘L’Atelier’. 3 night price from £868 until 31 October 3 nights for the price of 2 from 1 November 31 March - price from £646, saving £164 Complimenary upgrade to Eurostar’s Standard Premier when booked before 31 October. Altstadt **** Superior Tehamana Has Many Parents, 1893 Paul Gauguin Includes 48hr museum pass, Seine cruise & carnet of Métro tickets The Altstadt is 10 minutes’ walk from the Volkstheater and the spectacular Museum Quartier, with an attractive bar, 42 comfortable rooms and many works of art throughout. The Judgement of Paris, 1638 Peter Paul Rubens 3 night price from £682 Includes entrance to the Kunsthistorisches and Leopold Museums Florence - Palazzo Strozzi Amsterdam - The Hermitage ‘The Cinquecento in Florence’ 21 September 2017 - 21 January 2018 ‘Dutch Masters from the Hermitage. Treasures of the Tsars’ 7 October 2017 - 27 May 2018 Including a number of international loans as well as newly restored works, this new exhibition at the magnificent Palazzo Strozzi focuses on the Renaissance art of 16th century Florence, including over seventy paintings by artists including Michelangelo, Bronzino, Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino and Pontormo. Russia’s Tsars, including both Peter and Catherine the Great, were enthusiastic collectors of 17th century Dutch art, and this new exhibition will see 63 paintings by 50 different artists of the Dutch Golden Age return to Holland. Ambassade **** Deluxe Degli Orafi **** Superior Located a few steps from the Uffizi Museum overlooking the River Arno, this attractive ancient residence has 42 rooms, an attractive bar and a terrace with panoramic views. The Palazzo Strozzi is ten minutes’ walk away. 3 night price from £764 The Deposition from the Cross, 1528 Pontormo Includes entrance to the exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi Speak to an expert or request a brochure: 020 7593 2283 quote code XSP www.kirkerholidays.com The Ambassade consists of 10 beautiful 17th century Dutch houses, overlooking the Herengracht and Singel canals. With a wealth of original paintings, porcelain, antique clocks and furniture, this privately-owned hotel offers impeccable service and attention to detail. Flora, 1634 Rembrandt van Rijn 3 night price from £967 Includes entrance to the exhibition at the Hermitage Sarah Sands N ext month, the Today programme marks its 60th anniversary, so I have been mugging up on the archives. If there is a lasting characteristic, I reckon it is curiosity about how the world works. After four months in this job, my sense of wonder is undimmed that global experts on everything from nuclear warheads to rare plants can be conjured on to the show. Political debate is at the heart of Today, but it is knowledge rather than opinion that I prize most, and even the most avid political interviewers have a hinterland. They also understand the cumulative effect of unsocial working hours. The great Sue MacGregor, who is chairing a reunion of Today old hands as part of our anniversary programme, reminds me that she once fell asleep while interviewing Michael Heseltine. I recite the Reithian principles of educating, informing and entertaining like morning prayer. I didn’t go to one of the grand universities that can no longer appear on CVs at the BBC, and so regard Today as a news version of Open University, an educational utopia. Some commentators have objected to the 30 seconds we devote each day to a puzzle, set by GCHQ and other brainboxes. It is there to celebrate mathematics and to remind us that problem-solving and decoding run deep in the nation’s past and its future. A tech entrepreneur told me it has become the perfect start to her day. description of Theresa May as a dead woman walking on both political and literal grounds: ‘If she is walking, she can’t be dead.’ O London, Mona Juul, slip into the studio alone. The hefty entourages tend to come with business folk or with Jonathan Sacks for Thought for the Day, two very different types of security needs. S o far as domestic politicians are concerned, I understand that the former chancellor George Osborne always used to bring the biggest crowd, a detail which plays to his recent Don Corleone image. Incidentally, a former cabinet member, possibly unversed in US jail culture, takes issue with Osborne’s T he team teases me for having a fondness for ambassadors, but the best provide the kind of enlightened conversation that our listeners appreciate. Some come with large entourages, others, such as the Norwegian ambassador to the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk I want to try to tell the story of Brexit through concrete examples rather than positions. We looked at the fashion industry the other day and the designer Patrick Grant made a simple case. When he is making a suit, he imports parts from different countries. He can order a zip from Italy overnight. If he deals with America, he has to fill in a great pile of forms. He dreads the additional regulation. Boris Johnson wrote in his 4,000-word article that was meant to have been a speech (journalists so hate wasting material) that leaving the EU would lessen regulation. Can he explain to Patrick how? W T here has also been grumbling that science, arts and culture feature more in the programme than they used to. I refer back to our origins. The late Robin Day, who conceived it, was steeped in politics, but one of his first ideas was for a daily item on an arts first night. Coming from newspapers, I find it natural to mix subjects. A New York Times journalist asked me just before I started whether all its listeners were in hospitals or prisons, because those subjects always led its news. A daily show must be familiar but not predictable. Real news needs to advance and expand our knowledge. n Brexit bias, tone has become almost as important as argument. I notice that cheerfulness can grate on some, who regard it as political comment. When the Australian high commissioner asked on the Today programme why Brits were so gloomy, it was categorised as an anti-Remain intervention. It is true that whoever came up with the word ‘Remoaners’ delivered a lasting blow. The Brexiteers own optimism just as Remainers claim reason. Precious Mysteries 26 September – 8 October 2017 Closed 2 October Fine Jewellery and Contemporary Silver goldsmithsfair.co.uk #goldsmithsfair e are all trying to figure out China and our relationship to it. A friend in the arts world who spends much time there, shrugs that it is ducks and drakes. He says there is less worry in Beijing about the military capabilities of North Korea than of triggering a humanitarian crisis, with refugees pouring into China. Meanwhile, Chinese leaders are fearful of a ravenous capitalist appetite among the young. They believe materialism will lead to spiritual impoverishment. So the government is commissioning art and music ventures on a grand scale to restore a hinterland among their population. Imagine it happening here. T he Civil Service, like the BBC, is looking for a workforce that represents equality of opportunity. Having examined age, race, gender and class, they are keen to search out invisible anomalies. I am told they have introverts next in their sights. Presumably one of the less vocal lobby groups. 9 Charles Moore S ir David Norgrove, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), is an honourable man. When he publicly rebuked Boris Johnson for his use of the famous £350 million figure about our weekly EU contribution, I am sure he was statistically, not party-politically motivated. But two points occur. The first is that Sir David was, arguably, mistaken. He thinks Boris said that, after Brexit, Britain would have £350 million a week more to spend. He didn’t. He said ‘we will take back control of roughly £350 million a week’. This is correct. So long as we are in the EU, that £350 million a week is out of our control, because even our rebate, which forms part of that figure, is EU-dependent. When we leave, it will all be under our control. Sir David’s reaction came too fast. The UKSA had already attacked the £350 million figure when first used by the Leave campaign in the referendum. Is it in a grudge match with anyone who answers back? W hich leads to my second point. Never a week goes by without a senior politician using a statistic controversially. This is part of the adversarial character of politics. If a public official comments on one such remark, one naturally asks why he ignores others. Why attack Boris alone? People begin to doubt his neutrality. Looking at the authority’s record since Sir David became its chairman in March, I see that it has rebuked only one other politician — complaining to Amber Rudd about a misleading leak of immigration figures. Is it credible that Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell or numerous Remainers have brandished no figures which do not add up? As Treasury private secretary to Mrs Thatcher (and a very helpful witness for me in my biography of her), Sir David had painful experience in the ‘shadowing the Deutschmark’ saga of how hard it is to disentangle the economic and statistical aspects of the European issue from its politics, so it should give him pause. The schoolmasterly role of UKSA is part of a bad trend in modern governance which sets officials in judgment over our elected rulers. The W intention is to uphold higher standards. The effect is to impose rule by a bureaucratic establishment which we, the voters, have no opportunity to kick out and which — not coincidentally — is full of Remain supporters. In an interview with the magazine Civil Service World in June, Sir David said, of the £350 million: ‘I thought it was clear that the Brexiteers didn’t mind about the number so long as there was focus on it.’ No doubt this is his sincere belief, but on this most divisive subject, such words will not be seen as impartial. O n Tuesday, for the first — and undoubtedly last — time in my life, I found myself mounting the platform at the Liberal Democrat conference. This was because my father, Richard Moore, was receiving a richly deserved award there. He is 85, so I was assisting him up the steps in Bournemouth. Part of his distinguished service to his party consists in the fact — surely unique in human history — that he has attended every Liberal annual conference since 1953: these shows have taken up a year of his life. He told me that he spoke at the first one he attended, in Llandudno, in favour of what was then referred to as the Schuman Plan, the embryo of what is now the European Union. It is sad for him that Britain will leave the EU more than 65 years later. No doubt my euroscepticism is partly attributable to delayed teenage rebellion, but the funny thing is that my father and I have extremely similar views about the importance of European civilisation: we just disagree about how best to uphold it. It was touching that the audience recognised his integrity and commitment. What nice people — quite unsuitable for politics. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk hat is this? ‘2017. It’s 50 years since the Summer of Love and the same number since I was born. Perhaps I was touched by the extraordinary moment I was born into, because my life has been coloured by all sorts of love from the start. My passionate parents set the tone, dripping in love for each other… my sister… my loud-laughing friends… And then there are the lovers… that I have walked beside and hold tightly in my heart. Love. I celebrate it, practise it, mourn it, and fight for it.’ Then the subject shifts: ‘But my appreciation and experience of this most delicious of topics, is dwarfed by Shakespeare’s understanding of love. My mind spins when I imagine how his life must have been: how hard he worked, how far he travelled, how dark and scary the landscape he lived in was. If I close my eyes and propel my imagination back in time, I hear the tectonic plates of the planet creak. I see the ground opening up and Shakespeare clambering out of a deep crack in the earth’s surface, dusty, desperate and gasping for air… then, with the clarity of clear water, he sings from the earth he was born… Pre Freud, pre therapy, pre equality or civil rights, he asked all the big questions. “What a piece of work is a man?” And my! I love him for it! And in this light I shout the same question into the Thames breeze.’ T he above outpouring is by Emma Rice, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. It is less than 50 per cent of her programme notes on a new play at the Globe — part of her ‘Summer of Love’ season — called Boudica, which she only mentions in her final paragraph. In dusty, desperate, gasping Shakespeare’s original, the line Rice loves him for is not actually a question. It is Hamlet’s exclamation. Luckily, she won’t spend much longer shouting it half-comprehendingly into the Thames breeze, because the Globe’s board realised their mistake in appointing someone who knew Shakespeare so little. She leaves the job in the spring. The search for novelty in the arts, from which she benefited, is undoubtedly necessary, but it does often produce what Dr Johnson (speaking, in fact, of Cymbeline) called ‘unresisting imbecility’. 11 Brexit wars The Tories’ latest titanic battle over Europe JAMES FORSYTH T he time for choosing is fast approaching for Theresa May. Soon she must make a decision that will define her premiership and her country’s future. The past few days have shown how hard, if not impossible, it will be for her to keep her entire cabinet on board with whatever EU deal she signs. It is imperative that she now picks what kind of Brexit she wants. But doing so will risk alienating — or even losing — various cabinet members. She has been trying to blur the lines for months, but as one of those closely involved in this drama warns: ‘She can’t fudge this forever.’ Another participant in the struggle says: ‘She’s got to decide who she wants sitting round the cabinet table.’ Mrs May had planned to reveal the next part of her Brexit plan in her speech in Florence, but the political tussle started long before she left for Italy. We have seen the Foreign Secretary defying his boss, then being attacked by the Home Secretary, while Brexiteer cabinet ministers were forced to deny that they had agreed to resign en masse. Yet these are merely the opening skirmishes in the latest battle of the Tories’ 50-odd-year civil war over Europe. The Brexit referendum did not settle this question; it just redefined it. This battle now threatens to be the bloodiest. The cabinet is split between those who want to stay as close as possible to the EU single market, copying regulations and transposing European Court judgments where necessary, and those who want to chart a more independent course and go for a free-trade agreement with the EU based on the one recently struck by Canada. A basic (and reasonable) question hangs in the air: what does Britain want? Yet the government has managed three rounds of Brexit talks with the EU without saying which is its preferred option. This is not a clever negotiating tactic borne out of a desire to keep Brussels guessing. Rather, it is a consequence of the government not knowing the answer. It might seem remarkable, incredible even, that more than a year after the referendum and almost six months after Article 50 was triggered, the cabinet cannot agree. But it is true. Barely a week ago a ministerial meeting about the Florence speech broke up without agreement because Michael Gove had concerns 12 about the ‘end state’ that it indicated. No one in the cabinet disputes that Britain must leave the EU single market. Free movement of people — the price of single market membership — is out of the question after the Brexit vote. But a close second to single market membership is being proposed. This would involve Britain ending free movement, but doing everything else it can to stay in regulatory alignment with the EU’s internal market: what one cabinet minister calls EEA-minus (meaning European Economic Area). Britain would have something close to internal market membership on condition that it would not diverge from the EU on an issue without prior agreement. To Brexiteers inside government, this removes one of the main points of leaving: the chance to chart a different course on issues such as the economy and technological and medical research. One laments: More than a year after the referendum the cabinet cannot agree what kind of deal they want with the EU ‘They’ll have us over a barrel for ever more. It is the opposite of taking back control.’ Critics complain that this plan ‘is coming from a place of trying to keep everything the same as far as possible’. They fear Brexit might not mean Brexit after all. But the EEA-minus crowd — led by Chancellor Philip Hammond and Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood (one thing that Brexit should explode is the myth that the civil service are impartial actors) — are the ones with their tails up. Talking to keen Brexiteers in the past few days I have sensed an immense nervousness about where things are going. There is a general feeling that they are being successfully cast as zealots and are losing the internal argument. By contrast, the cabinet ministers pushing for EEAminus (who voted Remain) are upbeat. One predicts: ‘That’s where we’ll end up. Not in but very close.’ They believe that civil servant Olly Robbins’s move from the Brexit department to No. 10 should help secure that shift. One senior Brexit department figure tells me: ‘Olly Robbins and Treasury civil servants are in favour of EEA-lite’. That’s why those pushing for this course are so delighted that Robbins is working for May. They believe his presence, and his close relationship with the Prime Minister (they worked together at the Home Office), will help steer her down this path. The EEA-minus crowd hope that the Florence speech will advance their agenda. One says this is a ‘crunch week’. They believe that if Boris Johnson goes to Florence ‘he’s dipped his hand in the blood’ and it will be impossible for him to resign over Brexit — at least with any credibility. But those close to the Foreign Secretary believe that his very public intervention against EEAminus, in the form of his 4,000-word article for the Daily Telegraph a week ago, will have helped constrain the Prime Minister. His declaration that Britain should not pay for access to the single market and should enjoy ‘regulatory freedom’ after Brexit, is seen by his allies as making it ‘harder for him... but it also makes it harder for her to go as far as Hammond wants’. Boris had become fed up at being cut out of the picture: not invited to key meetings and not allowed to use his talents properly. The last straw was what one source close to him describes as a ‘sneak attack’ while he was out of the country earlier this month. On Monday 11 September, No. 10 emailed various cabinet ministers asking them to hold a time two days later for a meeting with the Prime Minister without saying what the meeting was about. The Foreign Office said Boris would not attend, as he would be in the Caribbean inspecting hurricane damage. Then No.10 said the meeting was about Brexit. But still no indication was given about its crucial importance. Michael Gove was invited. But, as No.10 would have known, he is much more relaxed about the terms of transition than the Foreign Secretary. Unlike Boris, he’s been comfortable for a while about making mem- the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk ber-state-sized budget contributions to the EU during this period. Why? Because he is sceptical of the civil service’s ability to get the bureaucracy ready for leaving in March 2019, and so doesn’t regard a two-year transition as a particularly bad thing. To Boris, the cash matters. He was furious when he was briefed on the plans for the Florence speech, as he remains determined to honour his pledge to ‘take back control’ of £350 million a week. If the UK pays into the EU as normal during any transition, there will be no extra cash available for the NHS, or any other public service. This would severely hamper any Johnson leadership bid when May steps down. His opponents would say: we’ve left the EU, Boris, where’s the money? This is a particularly sensitive point for Boris because ever since the referendum his internal critics have been warning Tory MPs that the £350 million line is the equivalent of Nick Clegg’s tuition fees pledge: an unforgivable act of perfidy in the eyes of the public. As one of those who will be involved in any Johnson leadership bid says: ‘He needs to detoxify himself with that money.’ When Boris was told he couldn’t deliver a speech ahead of May’s visit to Florence, he went public — and repeated the £350 million figure. He pointedly made no reference to transition, and suggested that the money the UK sends to the EU would come back straight after Brexit. In recent days, he has calmed down. I’m told he could ‘live with the transition’ but as long as the Prime Minister makes clear that it will be followed by ‘a complete, clean Boris had become fed up at being cut out: not invited to key meetings and not allowed to use his talents break’ with the EU. On this point, Gove agrees. He is concerned about any system in which the UK would have to keep mirroring the single market in the entire economy rather than just being EU-export compliant. One friend of Gove’s says that the role of the European Court of Justice is crucial. May has previously said she will not accept its writ. But what Gove worries about is the UK being bound by the ECJ indirectly, and forced to copy its judgments in some way. ECJ rulings are not always in this country’s best interests, as Marina Wheeler explains on page 14. If opposition to some kind of EEA-minus deal is the hill on which Boris chooses to fight, others will back him. One minister stresses that if May goes down that route it would be ‘very dangerous for her’. To date, she has been supported by the 80-odd Tory MPs who are belong to the European Research Group, which campaigns for a clean Brexit. But they would turn on her if it looked as if Britain would be made to march in lockstep with the EU’s regulatory framework. May has three problems. She is sincere in her desire for a deal that respects the referendum result, so a lot of energy will be focused on trying to persuade her that an EEA-minus deal fulfils this function. Its advocates argue that it does so because free movement would end. Dissenters say — with some justification — that it does not, because this country would not be ‘taking back control’ in any meaningful sense. The next issue is whether the UK could walk away without a deal. May famously said that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. But there is growing concern in government that preparations for ‘no deal’ are so inadequate that the UK couldn’t actually do that. I understand that civil servants in David Davis’s Department for Exiting the European Union have taken to writing emails setting out the problems, chiefly to ensure that their backs are covered should any Chilcotstyle inquiry look into what went wrong. The chances of ‘no deal’ may be as low as one in five. But even that should demand a level of preparation that is simply not happening. Some even suspect that Sir Jeremy Heywood is relaxed about the lack of planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario because he thinks this means the government won’t walk away without one. One Tory Eurosceptic complains: ‘We prepared for the millennium bug, we stockpile vaccines for bird flu and all sorts of epidemics. So, why aren’t we preparing for “no deal”?’ It is a good question and makes you wonder whether it is incom- the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk petence, complacency — or a more cynical desire to rule out this option out by stealth. Then we come to the third issue: one that the British Brexit debate too often forgets: there is another side in this negotiation. Even if May is persuaded to hug Europe close, the EU may have other ideas. One figure who has the ear of Davis at the Department for Exiting the European Union says: ‘EEA-lite is a non-starter as the EU won’t accept it without free movement’, which the referendum took off the table. If this is the case, it will render much of the governmental discussion of the past few weeks irrelevant. Europe has destroyed the past three Tory prime ministers. After the referendum, one figure turfed out with David Cameron said that at least it would stop the Conservatives banging on about Europe. Instead, the fight is intensifying as the endgame approaches. Whatever deal May agrees will be a compromise, both within her own party and with the EU itself. To the Remainers, the deal won’t be as good as membership, while the Brexiteers will have to admit that the new arrangement does not take back as much control as they would like. So, the 50-year Tory civil war over Europe continues. The battleground will be how much Britain should diverge from the EU and chart its own course in the world. This might not turn into the Tories’ own Hundred Years’ War. But it would be no surprise if it did for another three Tory prime ministers before it is finally over and done with. 13 A court’s contempt The ECJ’s quest for ever-more power MARINA WHEELER T he issue of sovereignty has mysteriously disappeared from the debate over Brexit. Some business-focused commentators even like to assert that in a ‘global, interconnected world’, sovereignty is meaningless. But a court judgment, delivered earlier this month, perfectly illustrates what is at stake. The case is about national security. Specifically, it is about the legality of techniques used to identify and disrupt people intent on unleashing terror: the kind of terror we have seen recently in Manchester, Westminster, Borough Market and Parsons Green. The technique at issue is the bulk collection of communications data (BCD). This data is the ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘with whom’ of communications, not what was written or said. It includes, for example, information about a subscriber to a telephone service or an itemised bill. This is acquired by commercial service providers and supplied to the intelligence agencies for them to analyse. According to David Anderson QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the use of these powers saves lives. Interrogating such data has enabled terrorists’ intended targets to be identified swiftly, even where the individuals involved were not already under surveillance. Nevertheless, privacy campaigners oppose the collection of BCD, and use the courts to try to outlaw it. In October 2016, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) — a specialist court set up by the British parliament to scrutinise the activities of the intelligence agencies — rejected one such attempt, ruling that the existing communications data regime complied with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). But the claimant, Privacy International, hasn’t given up. Now, it argues that BCD must also comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is the EU’s bespoke human rights instrument from which the UK government claimed — wrongly — to have secured an opt-out. The existence of two parallel European human rights charters is confusing. The ECHR, which is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights (in Strasbourg), and since the Human Rights Act, by the national courts, predates the EU and has 14 nothing to do with it. The Charter of Fundamental Rights, by contrast, is an EU instrument, enforced mainly by the EU’s European Court of Justice (in Luxembourg). After testing the evidence in the Privacy International case, the IPT found that only a ‘minuscule proportion’ of the data collected was ever examined, that the intrusion was minimal and that the only people whose data was accessed were those believed to pose a security threat. Isn’t that the end of the matter? In any case, issues of national security are supposed to lie outside the remit of the European Court of Justice. Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union states that ‘national security remains the sole responsibility of each member state’. However, that is not how the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has chosen to view it. Issues of national security are supposed to lie outside the remit of the European Court of Justice In a series of recent, poorly reasoned decisions involving the collection of BCD, the ECJ has ignored Article 4 as well as provisions in directives to similar effect. It has also failed to refer to its own previous judgments which recognised public security as being outside its remit. In the latest case, called Watson (as in Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party), the ECJ’s Grand Chamber ruled that the indiscriminate collection of com- 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 munications data was unlawful. It imposed requirements about accessing data, in order to safeguard privacy rights under the Charter. According to the government, if applied, these would ‘effectively cripple’ the agencies’ bulk data capabilities. The IPT went further: ‘We are persuaded that if the Watson requirements do apply to measures taken to safeguard national security, in particular the BCD regime, they would frustrate them and put the national security of the United Kingdom, and, it may be, other Member States, at risk.’ Despite this chilling conclusion, the IPT is prevented by EU law from deciding whether the Watson requirements apply and whether the Privacy International challenge succeeds. The case must be sent to the ECJ, and given the ‘supremacy’ of EU law, whatever it rules must stand. On the day of the IPT judgment, Mr Justice Mitting was reported as saying that the case raised profound political questions about the role of the EU and the nation state. He is right. This is an astonishing state of affairs. Apart from anything else, the ECJ is ill-equipped to rule on such matters. It is not a human rights court (unlike the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg). It has no facility to handle security-sensitive evidence, unsurprisingly, given member states did not intend it to have a national security role. In due course the ECJ will rule on the scope of its own jurisdiction. There is no reason to think it will choose to limit its reach. On the contrary, it has shown itself to be increasingly willing to thwart the will of member states. To the dismay of human rights groups, it blocked a long-standing wish that the EU become a signatory to the ECHR. Why? Because deferring to judgments from Strasbourg would impede its own ambitions to become the EU’s premier human rights court. In other words, governments of countries that are signatories to the ECHR are bound by decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. But the EU decided that it stands above any such external check on its powers. Many people were surprised by the integrationist ambitions set out by Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address. This is because they have chosen to look the other way while power and authority have moved ineluctably to the EU’s federal institutions — away from member states, and their citizens. Reclaiming sovereignty allows the nation to decide for itself how to balance the needs of security with the requirements of privacy and keep its citizens (and visitors) safe. Co-operating with others to improve security plainly makes sense. Giving up the right to decide does not. Marina Wheeler is a barrister and member of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Can we be friends? Labour MP Laura Pidcock isn’t half as fierce as she seems ISABEL HARDMAN H ave you heard the one about the new Labour MP who refuses to be friends with Tories? When Laura Pidcock dropped into an interview with a left-wing website that she has ‘absolutely no intention of being friends with’ any Tories, she was surprised by the fuss that followed. It might have seemed odd to her, but within Parliament it’s well known that friendships that cross the divide spring up the whole time. Sometimes it’s personal: Kezia Dugdale, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, caused headlines when she started dating a nationalist MSP. But more often, political: to achieve something, MPs from different parties often have to work together. But the new member for North West Durham sounds as if she is appalled at the whole system. Her first speech in the House of Commons was a denunciation of it. ‘The clothes, the language, the obsession with hierarchies, control and domination, are symbolic of the system at large,’ she told her fellow MPs. Then she elaborated in her interview, saying she’s ‘not interested in being cosy’ with the Tories (or ‘the enemy’), as she’s ‘disgusted at the way they’re running this country — it’s visceral’. It was such strong, almost hateful language that I felt a little nervous trotting up to her in Parliament and asking if she’d like to be interviewed by The Spectator. The strangest thing about the 29-year-old is that, in person, there is no trace of the angry tribalist. She’s constantly smiling, giggling quite often, and has a warmth to her that is so at odds with her public image as to be rather discombobulating. So what’s going on? ‘From a very, very young age I was taught to see everything through a political lens and through a class lens,’ she explains. She attended anti-Thatcher protests in her buggy and in her final year of primary school she recalls her parents celebrating Tony Blair’s landslide victory in the 1997 election. At secondary school she was known as ‘the political one’ and a ‘swot’. ‘I 16 always felt compelled to stand up for people that were being ribbed because they didn’t have the best trainers. There were very visible signs of poverty in the school that I was very aware of.’ She’s on the left of her party, but dislikes being described as a ‘Corbynite’, which to her makes Labour sound like a ‘cult of personality’. But she says she can’t think of anything she really disagrees with him on. Before entering Parliament she was a trade unionist and anti-racism campaigner, working on the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. She was also a councillor, but lost her Northumberland seat to a Tory a month before being elected to Parliament. Her constituency has the highest rate of suicides in the country. She says she often feels ‘close to tears’ after her surgeries with people in crisis, often as a result of government policies such as benefit cuts and the rather clunky introduction of universal credit. ‘I do feel genuinely sick and frustrated and, yes, angry. But really upset that there can be this picture painted that is so starkly removed from what I’m seeing in my constituency.’ She is in politics both to confront stereotypes and those who she thinks propagate stereotypes. But here is the puzzle: Pidcock may be appalled at some ‘nasty party’ Tories who are relying on stereotypes of the people she represents. But might she, now, be relying on a stereotype of a Tory? It isn’t just that Pidcock doesn’t want to go drinking with Conservatives. She doesn’t seem to want to do much drinking (whether coffee or wine) with anyone. She mentions the importance of ‘professionalism’ throughout our interview, and ends up admitting that she doesn’t really socialise with politicians of any political persuasion. ‘I want to reach out more because I don’t really socialise much,’ she says. ‘I’m just so insistent on doing a good job and I don’t know if they [her fellow MPs] are all off having a good time.’ She has said already in the chamber that she finds the place ‘intimidating’ — and it isn’t unusual for a new MP to pitch themselves as standing outside the system. But Pidcock doesn’t seem to want to enter it at all, save in a professional capacity. She even believes that she and other Labour MPs with strong northern accents, like her colleague Angela Rayner, are treated like ‘exotic creatures’ merely because of the way they speak, not what they say. Is this just a new MP sounding a bit earnest? Perhaps, but normally newly elected folk like to emphasise the camaraderie in their intake, rather than suggesting, as Pidcock does, that they see each working day in Parliament as a ‘shift’ and save their energy and time for their friends at home. It might actually be that Pidcock’s refusal to be friends with Tories has as much to do with being a ‘swot’ as it does with her discomfort about their beliefs. It will be interesting to see whether she keeps this up, or whether she finds drinks and dinners with unlikeminded colleagues help her get things done. But my more immediate concern is whether, having had a coffee and an hour’s interview with me, she would want to be my friend. She bursts out laughing. ‘I’m sure there’s humanity in you, Isabel,’ she jokes. ‘From what I gather from you, you are a very genuine person or I wouldn’t have agreed to do the interview.’ I’m happy to take the compliment, but I don’t think this makes me particularly unusual in Parliament. Indeed, I wonder whether if Pidcock ends up accidentally having a coffee with a real-life Tory MP she might find there’s humanity in them, too. She might even find she wants to be their friend. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk ROD LIDDLE Poor old Ron and Pen, just trying to help H ere’s the problem. An Asian bloke gets on to the Tube holding a bulging Lidl bag with wires sticking out of it. I don’t know if it had the words ‘large bomb’ written in Magic Marker on the side of the bag. Anyway, a little later, it blows up, and lots of people are injured. Later again, surprise is expressed that he had been able to get through with his primitive bag of tricks. We are continually exhorted to be vigilant on public transport, so why wasn’t he apprehended? Did nobody think it looked a bit suspicious? I have the feeling we know the answer to that. Just think of the howl-round, the furore, if the man had been pulled over and it hadn’t been a bomb. Like the Muslim chap who was evicted from a flight last year because he had mentioned 9/11 and felt compelled to take legal action. And so that’s where we are, right now. Pinned to our seats by over-sensitivity, as the train enters the darkness of the tunnel, next stop paradise. Both of the men so far arrested for last week’s outrage were the foster children of two elderly, respectable, caring, decent and honest mugs, Ronald and Penny Jones, from Sunbury-on-Thames. According to a neighbour, they were gutted to read that their charge may have carried a bomb on to a Tube train full of commuters. Better gutted than decapitated, I suppose, or incinerated. Apparently Ron and Pen had experienced a certain amount of trouble with the young man suspected of planting the bomb. We don’t know what sort of trouble. Wandering around chanting stuff in Arabic? Perhaps they thought it was just a difficult phase he was going through, like acne or heavy metal. ‘They just need to be loved,’ one of the Joneses told the press, adding, ‘It’s so rewarding… They are grateful to be safe.’ Well, indeed, and how spectacularly that gratitude is expressed. The couple have housed at least 250 ‘children’ from war-torn countries, i.e. Iraq, Syria, Somalia, the usual suspects. ‘We just like to be able to help people,’ they said, plaintively when they received their MBEs for… well… um… I’m not absolutely sure you are helping, if I’m honest. Your kindness and good intentions may be unquestionable. But helping? Really? Ron and Pen might well complain later that the number of foster children they reared who may have later gone on to try to bomb the rest of us was only 1 or 2 per cent of the total but it would still be too large a proportion for me. I am a bit Trumpish in the number of people from Iraq, Syria and Somalia I wish to be let into the country. I have a number in mind, a smallish number, and it is one we are told What sort of checks are made before these supposed refugees are farmed out to the kindly and the gullible? was actually invented by Islamic scholars. When nasty people aver that Islam has given us nothing, they are at least partly right. Several points occur as a consequence. First, the speed with which the Parsons Green bombing dropped down the news agenda. At roughly the same time as our little bomb, a jihadi went berserk with a hammer in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, and attacked two women. Before this a French policeman was stabbed trying to arrest three female Muslims, just returned from Syria, who were driving with some haste towards NotreDame, their car full of gas cylinders. Hear much about that? We have become a little like the warren of sleek, cultured, sheltered, liberal rabbits in Watership Down whose number reduces each day because they are snared by the man who protects and feeds them. They, too, dislike talking about their plight and the deaths are not mentioned: we must accept our fate, they say. I don’t know what the Islamic view of rabbits is. Second, Mr Jones is approaching his nineties and his missus is in her seventies. Have they not been taken advantage of by the authorities? ‘Have we got anyone for Ron and Penny this week? I see a new batch have arrived.’ ‘Yeah, give them young Mohammed for a few months and see how they get on.’ What sort of checks are made before these supposed refugees are farmed out to the kindly and the gullible? But then, I suppose, what checks are made before they are let into the country in the first place. And then there is this. The narrative we are expected to buy into is that terrorism is nothing to do with Islam and, further, that it is a state of mind imposed upon young and ‘vulnerable’ Muslim men and women by an outside agency — a foreign agency and an agency which, again, has nothing to do with Islam. This is the process of ‘radicalisation’ we keep hearing about and I have never bought into it, having a certain respect for the concept of free will. And, I would contend, a rather less generous view of Islam’s worldwide beneficence and pacific nature than the one we are all enjoined to take. And yet here we have a young man taken into the kindly, if somewhat wrinkled, bosom of an English couple who, it may emerge, still ended up trying to terrorise people in the name of his weary God. If the Joneses had been a Muslim family, then the press and the police would be demanding to know what they knew of this process of radicalisation, and what they had done to counter it. But there is nothing to be done. The religion itself sets its people apart from the rest and, in all too many cases, this apartness leads to a hatred. Radicalisation is nothing to do with it. SPECTATOR.CO.UK/RODLIDDLE ‘He’s been downgraded to a Category One.’ the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk The argument continues online. 17 Ukraine’s last best hope Mikheil Saakashvili is a reckless narcissist – but he might just transform the country OWEN MATTHEWS ou have to hand it to Mikheil Saakashvili: the man doesn’t give up. After a tumultuous nine years as president of Georgia, which began with a furious anti-corruption purge, culminated in a short but disastrous war with Russia in 2008 and ended with accusations of embezzlement and authoritarian practices, he is determined to return to power — not in his own country, but in Ukraine. Saakashvili is brilliant and divisive. His many fans, principally drawn from the educated and the young of Georgia and Ukraine, see him as exactly the kind of clear-thinking, fearless leader who can sweep away the tangle of cronyism that has turned most former Soviet states into kleptocratic autocracies. To the sceptics, who include the many hundreds of thousands of officials he has put out of a job, he’s a reckless risk-taker who provoked Russia into invading the breakaway Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008. They also accuse him of being a relentless self-publicist more interested in showboating than actually making things work. Having spent time with Saakashvili (at the presidential palace in Tbilisi during the war, where I scribbled furiously to keep up with his mile-a-minute conversation as he drank red wine with correspondents late into the night, and later in New York, where he transformed himself into a Williamsburg hipster during a brief post-presidential retirement), I have come to believe that both sides are right. Saakashvili combines high principle with almost manic personal ambition, rashness with ironclad self-belief. It makes him both one of the most inspiring and flawed political figures of modern times. Saakashvili stepped down as President of Georgia in 2013, his once-popular party destroyed in the polls. The regime which succeeded him, in classic post-Soviet fashion, brought a slew of embezzlement and abuse-of-office charges against Saakashvili, and stripped him of his Georgian citizenship. But in 2015 his political career was re-launched when Ukrainian President (and chocolate billionaire) Petro 18 Poroshenko offered Saakashvili the post of governor of the Odessa region. Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, tying last year with Russia for 131st place out of 176 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. And Odessa is the most corrupt region of Ukraine; in fact, the multi-ethnic port city has been famous for its criminality pretty much since its foundation by a halfSpanish, half-Irish mercenary-adventurer in 1794. Saakashvili swept in on Odessa’s crooks like a righteous avenger. In Georgia, he reformed the crooked traffic police by firing every single officer, and he cleaned up corruption in the port of Poti by temporarily scrapping customs duties altogether. Saakashvili believed that the same zerotolerance tactics would work in Odessa. He appointed Yulia Marushevska, a 27-year-old political activist, as director of the mafiacontrolled port and installed a high-tech system for tracking all shipments and customs payments that was publicly accessible, in real time, online. Saakashvili also got an old ally from Georgia, Giorgi Lortkipanidze, appointed chief of police. He drafted in foreign advisers to help his anti-corruption effort, including an anti-fraud officer from the City of London Police and an official of the EU border agency. Bate Toms, an American-born lawyer and chairman of the British-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, spoke optimistically of Odessa becoming ‘one of the richest cities in eastern and central Europe’. It didn’t happen. In November 2016, Saakashvili and Lortkipanidze resigned their posts, complaining that their efforts to kill off Odessa’s crime syndicates had been stymied by none other than Poroshenko himself. Fighting dismal approval ratings and an ongoing war against Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko faced a choice between angering the criminal clans on whose political support he depended and supporting Saakashvili’s house-cleaning campaign. Poroshenko chose political expediency. Then, in late July, Saakashvili — who studied law in Kiev Saakashvili combines high principle with almost manic personal ambition, rashness with ironclad self-belief and speaks fluent Ukrainian as well as Russian — was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship on an obscure technicality while on a speaking tour in America. That left him officially stateless. Saakashvili could easily have applied for political asylum in any number of countries: he has many powerful allies, including Arizona senator John McCain, who described him as ‘my great young Georgian friend’ in a presidential foreign-policy debate against Barack Obama in 2008. Instead he chose to crash right back into Ukrainian politics — quite literally. Earlier this month Saakashvili, accompanied by several hundred supporters, a handful of European parliamentarians and Ukrainian politicians, attempted to cross the Polish-Ukrainian frontier by train. Poroshenko mobilised a large force of border guards to stop him. Abandoning the train, the Saakashvili party boarded buses and tried another crossing, which they were told was closed because of a bomb threat. Undeterred, they headed for a third border control point, where around 100 supporters formed a flying wedge with Saakashvili at its centre and the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk charged through a cordon of Ukrainian riot police. Later than evening he was addressing cheering crowds outside the Mayor’s office in Lviv. Saakashvili claims, with some justice, that the cancellation of his citizenship was illegal and that he plans to challenge it in court, as is his right as a Ukrainian. But he is also running a massive risk. Georgian courts have requested his extradition (Saakashvili, again with strong justification, has dismissed the abuse-of-office charges as politically motivated). Though the Ukrainian prosecutor-general has said that he will not prosecute for the illegal border crossing, Saakashvili’s liberty is now at the mercy of local party politics. The question is whether Poroshenko has the cojones to risk making Saakashvili a martyr — and himself an international pariah. Poroshenko desperately needs economic support from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, both of which have already balked at Kiev’s dismal failure to tackle corruption. Imprisoning Saakashvili, the longtime darling of the West, would destroy the last vestiges of Poroshenko’s credibility. He also needs support from the US. In July, Poroshenko travelled to Washington to ask Donald Trump personally to maintain pressure on Russia by sanctioning Krem- ‘Let’s call him Brexit.’ lin-connected individuals and companies as punishment for their ongoing support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko also asked Trump to send weapons to fight what he calls the ‘Russian occupiers’, something the US has hitherto shied away from. Both efforts would be seriously complicated by throwing Saakashvili in jail. But the more profound conundrum is whether Saakashvili, with his flamboyant and confrontational style, can actually succeed in his crusade to transform Ukraine from a dysfunctional mafia state into a prosperous European country. In June, Saakashvili founded a political party based on anti-corruption, and though its ratings remain tiny, the new political movement is generally thought to have played a major role in Poroshenko’s decision to exile his turbulent rival. Saakashvili has now vowed to stand against Poroshenko in the next presidential election. Much more is at stake than just Saakashvili’s political career and freedom. The whole vector of the West’s foreign policy towards the former Soviet Union, including Russia, since the end of the Cold War has been to encourage the rule of law, democracy and free speech, on the promise that reform will lead to prosperity. Two popular revolutions in Ukraine and one in Georgia (the Orange and Maidan revolutions in 2004 and 2014, and the Rose revolution in 2003) have seen people angrily rise up to depose corrupt Moscow-backed regimes in favour of supposedly clean, pro-European, pro-Nato governments. The hopes of all three revolutions, thanks in part to Russian interference, military and otherwise, have collapsed in ignominious failure and corrupt businessas-usual. If there’s to be any hope that postSoviet nations can, in the pungent Russian phrase, finally ‘live like people’, then feisty reformers like Saakashvili have to succeed. A reckless egomaniac he may be, but he’s the closest there is to someone who’s on the side of the angels in a corner of Europe beset with ultra-nationalism, kleptocracy and Russian aggression. 6IGSVHMRƽEXMSRGSRXMRYIWXSSYXWXVMT[EKIWEW squeeze on UK household incomes intensifies. -WRS[XLIXMQIXSQSZIMRXSKSPH# 9/MRƽEXMSRLEWLMXEƼZI]IEVLMKLSJERHXLIZEPYISJ]SYV[IEPXLGSYPH FIXVMGOPMRKE[E]7XMPPXLIVIMWSRIMRZIWXQIRX]SYGERLSPHMR]SYVLERHTL]WMGEPKSPH -RMRƽEXMSREV]XMQIWKSPHFYPPMSRFEVWERHGSMRWGSYPHHIPMZIV]SY[IEPXLMRWYVERGIERH PMXIVEPP]TVSZMHIEWSPMHTEVXSJ]SYVMRZIWXQIRXTSVXJSPMS &YPPMSR&]4SWXWXSGOELYKIVERKISJFYPPMSRFEVWERHGSMRWMRKSPHERHWMPZIV 4VMGIWEVIYTHEXIHIZIV]X[SQMRYXIWMRPMRI[MXLKPSFEPTVMGIW;MXLJVIIMRWYVIH HIPMZIV]SVJYPP]EPPSGEXIHWXSVEKI&YPPMSR&]4SWXEVIXLI9/ƅW2SSRPMRIFYPPMSR HIEPIV *JSV]SYVTL]WMGEPTVIGMSYWQIXEPW -J]SYLEZIER]UYIWXMSRWEFSYXFYPPMSRMRZIWXQIRXTPIEWIJIIPJVIIXSGSRXEGX SYVORS[PIHKIEFPIERHJVMIRHP]FYPPMSRXVEHIVWSR0121 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 *Source: Experian Hitwise based on market share of UK internet visits March 2016 - March 2017 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk www.BullionByPost.co.uk 19 CLOSE OF PLAY Henry Blofeld T his retiring is a hectic business. When I said in June that it was going to be my last year with Test Match Special, it never occurred to me that I would have to do much more than float quietly into the sunset. Yet I suddenly became a much greater object of interest than I had managed to be in my previous 46 years behind the microphone. In no time at all, I found myself sitting on Andrew Marr’s sofa, before shifting to Piers Morgan’s boudoir for Good Morning Britain. And on it went. I flitted from studio to studio and on the journeys in between I was bombarded with calls from local radio stations as far apart as Radio Cornwall and Radio Norfolk. O n one such journey, a remarkable coincidence occurred. The evening before, my wife Valeria and I had talked for a long time about TMS and all the adventures I have had. I remarked that one sadness was never establishing any contact with Howard Marshall, who pioneered cricket commentary before the war. In a wonderful voice, his commentary on Len Hutton making 364 at the Oval against Australia in 1938 was highly recognisable as the start of what we do in the commentary box today. Marshall himself was dead and I never made contact even with someone who knew him. My agent Ralph Brünjes and I were snarled up in traffic on the Embankment by Chelsea Old Church when he received a message from his office. Apparently a lady who was a relation of Marshall’s wanted to speak to me. We arranged to meet. She said that when Marshall died she had inherited a number of his things, including a picture he had painted of the tavern side of Lord’s from the top deck of the pavilion. She wanted to give it to me. for BBC television. Alongside him was the formidable Jim Swanton of the Daily Telegraph, a figure who would have made Bismarck look to his laurels. When this huge chimney suddenly started to belch smoke, Fingleton said immediately, ‘I see Jim Swanton’s been elected pope.’ D uring the Lord’s Test against South Africa I was asked to ring the fiveminute bell before the start on the Saturday. This privilege is normally reserved for former Test players so I was greatly honoured. Michael Vaughan appointed himself my main advisor. He assured me that, when holding the bell, the two-handed interlocking grip was the way forward. He also suggested, somewhat mischievously, that as it was the fiveminute bell, I should clang away for the full five minutes. The MCC secretary Derek OVER AND OUT: AN EVENING WITH HENRY BLOFELD 19TH OCTOBER 2017 EMMANUEL CENTRE, WESTMINSTER S he and her husband brought it round to our house. It is charming, with that tall black chimney still in place far back on the other side of St John’s Wood Road. Seeing that chimney always reminds me of when the Australians were playing a Test match at Lord’s in the 1950s, and the mildly irascible former Australian opening batsman Jack Fingleton was working 20 BOOK TICKETS NOW www.spectator.co.uk/blofeld 020 7961 0044 Brewer, who actually supervised my performance, told me that Dickie Bird had also intended to do this and had to be restrained. The members gathered in force below the balcony of the Bowlers’ Bar where the bell hangs. When the moment arrived, I gave it six deafening clangs. What fun it was. I was also selected to commentate on the second Test against South Africa at Trent Bridge, a special joy for me as it is my favourite Test ground. I played there in a first-class match in 1959 when that great Australian allrounder Keith Miller turned out for Nottinghamshire against Cambridge University in one of his last games, and made a hundred. My main thrill this time came on the first day. I was taken during the lunch interval to a bus stop in the neighbouring Loughborough Road where I launched a new gleaming green Number 6 bus with ‘Henry Blofeld OBE’ painted on the front of the bonnet. Nottingham City Council was thanking me for all my years of spotting its buses at Trent Bridge. I wonder what Robin Hood would have made of it. A nd so to my final Test at Lord’s, where for three days the full-house crowds were so encouraging it felt more than faintly surreal. On the third and final day my last spell of commentary passed off smoothly enough. When I finally handed over to Ed Smith, there was only a mild skirmish when my headphones became inextricably entangled with my binoculars. At the end, I walked all the way round the ground between the boundary rope and the stands and the full house crowd stood and cheered me to the echo. It was wonderful, but I have to say I found it slightly embarrassing. It was all so staggeringly unbelievable. Then Joe Root, the England captain, asked me up to the dressing room for a glass or two of champagne and presented me with a shirt signed by the England players. I also spotted Alastair Cook holding his one-year-old daughter with scarcely a fumble and much more certainty than he had held any recent catch at first slip. She is a brave young lady. What a day. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk LIONEL SHRIVER At this rate, we’ll have to rename New York G rowing up in Raleigh, North Carolina, I took the monuments around the state capitol for granted. The first Confederate soldier killed in the Civil War, Henry Lawson Wyatt, has leaned into the wind on those grounds for 100 years. Atop a pedestal inscribed, ‘To North Carolina women of the Confederacy’, a mother in billowing skirts reads to her young boy, his hand on his scabbard. Only in adulthood have I done a double take. I was raised in a slightly weird place. In an era of fungible Walmarts, regional distinction in the US is hard to come by, and I treasure Raleigh’s funk factor. Yet I didn’t grow up around folks who wished the South had won the Civil War and wanted to bring back slavery. For much of my lifetime (OK, NC isn’t in a salutary political place in Trump World), cities like Raleigh have had better race relations than many Northern ones. Up against the movement to cleanse the American South of Civil War tributes, aesthetic attachment to regional oddity constitutes a weak argument. I’ll make it anyway. These sculptures are curious, interesting, specific to one part of the country and often better crafted than anything that would replace them. Some are defiant; many others have a mournful cast. They are sobering reminders of a dreadful juncture in American history, and you have to remember a war even to regret it. Junking all these memorials off in some cluttered museum would result in an ineffable atmospheric loss for my complicated home town. Yet post-Charlottesville, any reflective discussion of the fate of these relics is regarded overnight as over. Mysteriously, after one unfortunate woman was murdered by a single right-wing malefactor with a driving licence, it’s a given that every Confederate monument must come down. Dissension, even ambivalence (like mine), means you’re a white supremacist. Predictably, the push to politically sanitise public spaces isn’t stopping at Civil War monuments. In New York City, a mayoral commission will examine what iconography might get the axe. Under consideration for removal is the statue of Christopher Columbus towering over 59th Street, at an inter- section perhaps soon to be called something other than ‘Columbus Circle’. In the past few weeks, a smaller Columbus statue has been defaced with red paint; another Central Park statue, of a renowned gynaecologist who experimented on slaves, was also vandalised. Columbus cost indigenous peoples dear. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. As Oxford University was recently reminded, Cecil Rhodes was an imperialist. Prior to 1960 or so, every celebrated man in the Western world would probably qualify in today’s terms as a ‘misogynist’ (a strong word thrown around with well too much abandon). We now require those we admire for particular achievements to be blameless in every respect, while the very definition of blamelessness, ever more strict, is a moving target. Applying today’s demanding standards of rectitude to previous generations — requiring all past notables to have We require those we admire to be blameless, while the very deﬁnition of blamelessness is a moving target embraced racial equality, feminism, disability rights, anti-colonialism, non-smoking and gender fluidity — means pulling down virtually every statue standing. Named after the Duke of York, involved in the slave trade, New York could be in for rebranding. This campaign is potentially limitless, not to mention anti-historical. More, any drive for ideological purity is flat-out creepy. Can we have a little more ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’? This rampage against any regard for ancestors who didn’t tick every modern political box has a totalitarian texture, and would leave Americans a sterile public environment with only statues of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman — until, that is, some eager beaver unearths, say, their insensitive remarks about cross-dressers. Aside from contributing to a general ambience — a sense of something having happened once, of someone having done, you know, whatever — most public statuary functions as outdoor furniture. It’s decorative. With signal exceptions (DC’s Vietnam memorial), most people ignore monuments, the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk never reading the inscriptions — and the older the statuary, the more oblivious the public. They’ve no idea who’s up on that pedestal, and they don’t care; at best, little girls fancy the horses. (Don’t imagine that I recalled those two bronzes around Raleigh’s capitol. I had to look them up.) The only folks I see study big dated statues are bored foreign tourists. Consequently, the terrible injury these tributes ostensibly cause a range of minorities feels manufactured. Thus, while I’m happy for statuary to be ‘recontextualised’ with a contemporary slant on subjects that can’t pass today’s purity test, the real effect would be negligible. No one to speak of would read the plaques. In contrast to the spontaneous, celebrative destruction of homages to Stalin or Saddam in the heat of overthrow, this drive to politically decontaminate public memorials is a cool power contest. The social justice brigade is muscle-flexing. Yet their righteous efforts will have little palpable effect on people’s lives. Perhaps the most expedient solution is to ‘recontextualise’ what a monument is: a three-dimensional record of what and whom some predecessors wanted to remember at the time it was erected, rather than a lauding in the present of absolutely everything these figures ever said and did. Symbolism is important, but purely symbolic gains belong low down the list of vital social reforms, when in the US, blacks’ median income is half that of Asians and twothirds that of whites. Take a jackhammer to Jefferson’s visage on Mount Rushmore and what have you got? Gesture without substance. Do American progressives really want to confront, ‘Never mind that we let cops shoot whomever they like and never serve a day in jail, because we chucked that bronze of Robert E. Lee that you’d never even noticed before’? Bulldozing statuary long part of a local landscape is gratuitously divisive (people do notice memorials when you smash them). We’ll have too little to show for these scuffles once the dust settles. Neither the UK nor the US needs more discord. This shortof-monumental matter is an elective conflict. Amid the Trump/Brexit turmoil, this is a time to pick battles with care. 21 Crime and prejudice BAROMETER Roll up, roll up Beware of jumping to conclusions about Brexit-induced violence Party conferences this year revolve around the familiar settings of Bournemouth, Brighton and Manchester. But one party used to be more adventurous. — For its first conference in 1981 the newly formed Social Democratic Party (SDP) opted to have a rolling conference with meetings in Perth, Bradford and London, with the entourage travelling between them (to quote the Conservative Research Department) ‘rather like Trotsky in his armoured train’. — The following year the train rolled between Cardiff, Derby and Great Yarmouth, but broke down between Peterborough and Ely on the last leg. — The travelling conference was then abandoned, but during its last assembly as a major party in 1989, leader David Owen gave his speech on the seafront at Scarborough due to a bomb scare. ROSS CLARK Euro millions How much do we send to the EU per week? £350 million gross contribution excluding rebate (due to rise to £375 million by 2019). £235 m gross contribution minus rebate. £155 m gross contribution minus rebate and EU funding of UK public projects. £106 m gross contribution minus all EU money spent in UK, such as farm payments. Last orders Wayne Rooney was banned from driving for two years, fined £170 and given 100 hours of community service for drinkdriving. In addition to disqualification, how are drink-drivers punished? — In 2015 there were 37,578 convictions, 30,357 of them male and 7,007 female. This compared with 72,127 a decade earlier. Fines ...................................................... 76% Community orders............................... 16% Suspended sentence ............................... 3% Immediate custody ................................. 2% Conditional discharge ........................ 0.5% Absolute discharge ............................. 0.2% N othing spoke of the fractious atmosphere in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum more than the death of 40-year-old Arek Jozwik in a shopping centre in Harlow, Essex in August 2016. What might, on any other weekend, have been passed over as just another grubby Saturday-night incident on Britain’s drunken high streets became elevated into a symptom of Brexit-induced racial hatred. James O’Brien, an LBC radio talk-show host, declared that certain Eurosceptics had ‘blood on their hands’ as did ‘anybody who has suggested speaking Polish in a public place is in any way undesirable’. This was the premise of almost all reporting on the story: a man seemed to have been murdered for being Polish. Viewers of BBC1’s News at Six were told, ‘the fear is that this was a frenzied racist attack triggered by the Brexit referendum’. The story was taken up by the world’s media with the New York Times writing that Jozwik ‘was repeatedly pummelled and kicked by a group of boys and girls’ because, according to his brother, he had ‘been overheard speaking Polish outside a takeout pizza restaurant’. Razem, a left-wing Polish party, released a statement saying ‘the racist and xenophobic attitudes are reaping an increasingly horrid harvest.’ In Harlow, residents held a candlelit vigil to protest against what was explained to them as a wave of hate. To people at home and abroad, Britain Source: drinkdriving.org Melting point The final surviving snow patch from last winter in the Scottish Highlands was reported to be on the point of melting — for only the sixth time in 300 years. How many snow patches have survived from winter to winter in recent years? 2011-12 ....................................................... 2 2012-13 ....................................................... 6 2013-14 ........................................................ 6 2014-15 .................................................... 21 2015-16 ..................................................... 74 2016-17 ....................................................... 7 Source: Scottish Snow Patch Survey 22 ‘This area’s popular with people who go on to develop special dietary requirements.’ seemed to be a far less pleasant place. The idea of anti-Polish murder in postBrexit Britain was understandably shocking. But what was the evidence for it? Crimes take time to investigate, the truth takes months to come out. When the answer came in Chelmsford crown court last week, there was far less media interest. Given the prominence of the story, it’s worth setting the record straight. The killer, a 16-year-old, was sentenced to three years’ detention for manslaughter. The court ruled he threw a punch which caused Jozwik to fall to the ground and sustain fatal head injuries. Rightly, his violence has been punished, but was it an unprovoked hate crime? It emerged from the case that there was a racial element to the incident James O’Brien, a host on LBC radio, declared that certain Eurosceptics had ‘blood on their hands’ — although the racism was not aimed at Mr Jozwik. On the contrary, the court heard it was Mr Jozwik and his friends who made racist comments against the then 15-yearold and those he was with. As the defence counsel put it: ‘They made racist remarks to the youngsters, then invited violence from them, and they were considerably bigger and stronger than the young people.’ The tragic death of Mr Jozwik brings shame on Britain for conditions in town centres late at night. But what evidence of a link to Brexit? None at all. Drunkenness and violence have been a problem for decades. So what about the great surge in hate crime that was reported after the Brexit vote, of which the death of Mr Jozwik was said to have been part? In October last year, the Home Office reported a spike in reported hate crimes in the July — 5,468 of them, a 41 per cent increase on the same month in 2015. Quoted in a Guardian article which carried a photograph of Mr Jozwik, David Issac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, declared that the figures ‘make it very clear that some people used the referendum result to justify their deplorable views and promote intolerance the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk and hatred’. Maybe; but then again maybe not. The figures have to be considered in the context of rising reports of ‘hate crime’ since it was first introduced as a category of crime five years ago. In 2013/14 there were 44,577 hate crimes, followed by 52,465 in 2014/15 and 62,518 in 2015/16. Interestingly, the figures have spiked in July each year, perhaps as people take advantage of long evenings to spend more time on the street. If Britons have been becoming more hateful over the past few years it is a trend which began long before the EU referendum. An alternative explanation is that there has been an increase in reporting of this type of crime owing to the publicity given The idea of anti-Polish murder was understandably shocking. But what was the evidence for it? to it, aided by the somewhat loose official definition: ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’ In other words, for a ‘hate crime’ to be recorded no one has to prove that a crime was motivated by hate on the grounds of race, nationality, sexual orientation or so ‘We need you to lead the Brexit negotiations.’ on — mere perception is enough. When you consider that an Oxford physicist last year tried to report the Home Secretary’s speech at the Conservative party conference as a hate crime, you see the problem. In the event, the police recorded Amber Rudd’s speech as a hate ‘incident’ but decided it wasn’t a crime. Mr Jozwik’s death was not the only reported post-Brexit ‘hate crime’ which turned out to be nothing of the sort. Among other high-profile incidents, the window of a Spanish restaurant was broken in Lewisham — recorded on that trusty record of crime, Facebook, as a result of Brexitinduced hate but later treated by police as a burglary. Then there was the abusive graffiti which appeared on a Polish cultural centre in Hammersmith. This produced understandable horror and a local MP, Greg Hands, underlined that Poles are welcome. Only later did it emerge that the graffiti read ‘Fuck you OMP’ — OMP being a Polish centre-right think-tank which had backed Brexit. The Jozwik case provides a salutary lesson for anyone who is tempted to jump to conclusions about crimes before the full facts are known. Such reactions are themselves a form of prejudice, which in this case has been committed by people who considered themselves to be standing up against prejudice. Racism and xenophobia should never be tolerated, and it is good that greater efforts are being made to stamp them out than in the past. We should rightfully feel ashamed that Mr Jozwik met his death here and ask what is it that makes our town centres at night such breeding grounds for violence and aggression. But the idea that the referendum unleashed a frenzy of violence against foreigners culminating in the murder of Arek Jozwik — something which caused a lot of soul-searching among Leave as well as Remain voters at the time — has turned out not to be true. On that point, people on both sides of the Brexit divide should surely be relieved. PROSPERITY BRITAIN: A PROGRAMME FOR PRODUCTIVITY Thursday 30 November, 8 - 10.30 a.m. | Landing Forty Two, Leadenhall Street, London New technology is constantly emerging – yet the country’s productivity stagnates. Why is it that the output of an average British worker lags behind that of our overseas competitors and what is the Government doing about it? Chaired by Andrew Neil. Speakers to be announced. In association with REGISTER HERE www.spectator.co.uk/productivity | 020 7961 0044 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 23 JAMES DELINGPOLE Accept this as the new normal? Never N ot long after the Parsons Green Tube bombing, another of those viral, defiant-in-the-face-of-terror cartoons started doing the rounds. It was quite witty — a section of Tube map, redrawn in the shape of a hand giving those pesky terrorists the middle finger. But it wasn’t remotely funny. In order for humour to work it has to spark a feeling of amused recognition. This did the opposite. It said something that all but the most deluded among us know to be a complete lie. The lie is that when a terrorist bomb fails to detonate properly and injures ‘only’ a dozen or so people, rather than killing scores, this constitutes some kind of moral victory; that Londoners — indeed Britons generally — now accept such incidents as ‘part and parcel of living in the big city’; that our mood is not one of fear, helplessness and apprehension but of cheery optimism and determination not to have our lifestyles altered in the face of terror. Really? Perhaps someone should have explained this to the passengers on the London to Birmingham train a couple of days after the Parsons Green bomb. The teenage daughter of some friends was in one carriage and told me what happened. ‘There was a weird beeping noise which no one could explain. Then a funny smell. Everyone was looking at each other, like: “What are we going to do? This is horrible! We’re not going to make it home. We’re going to die here now!” Then this man next to me pulled the emergency cord and the train stopped.’ It turned out to be a false alarm. With impressive speed, a railway employee appeared and assessed that it was safe to resume the journey. So: not a drama you’re going to read about it in the papers. But my point is, look at how all those passengers reacted; see how quickly their terrified imaginations were triggered by sounds and smells (brake fluid, probably) that, not so long ago, they would have accepted as part of the routine rattle, whistle and pong of a typical railway journey. This is the new normal. Yet our political class remains in a state of denial. As does the BBC. Just this morning, I heard it vox-popping sundry unflappable District Line commuters — the modern equivalent 24 of that presumably staged but iconic second world war photo of the jolly milkman doing his rounds in the rubble of the Blitz — as part of its now familiar, life-goes-on-asnormal response to every terror event. ‘No, we’re not bovvered,’ the doughty commuters all insisted — those the BBC felt worthy of quoting, at any rate. But frankly, what other option do they have? We can’t all be like Marco Pierre White Jr, the son of the celebrity chef, who tweeted: ‘Parsons Green Tube station this morning was targeted by terrorists, this is why I don’t take the tube #theRichDontDie.’ Tasteless it may have been, which is why he apolo- The longer this ‘Keep buggering on and it’ll go away’ narrative persists, the longer MPs can delay doing anything gised and withdrew it, but it contained more than a grain of truth. Of course we’re going to go on taking public transport, because how else are we going to get to work? But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to squirm involuntarily every time someone of Middle Eastern appearance gets on with a rucksack or a coat that looks a bit too bulgy. Nor that we’re not going to spend our whole journey feeling like cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse. In private, people admit this. Rarely in public, though, as it contradicts an official narrative that seeks to brand those who express such qualms as letting the ‘Who’s going to kick off?’ side down, apparently because it’s not how British people should behave. It goes: ‘We stood up to the Nazis during the Blitz. We stood up to the IRA. Now we’re responding with the same sangfroid and stiff upper lip to all this bothersome, but perfectly manageable nonsense from Johnny Muslim.’ What’s odd is that the people who most commonly express this point of view are the kind of people — BBC journalists, celebrities, Guardian columnists, lefty students — who would hitherto have felt embarrassed by such jingoism. There has been a weird inversion where robust, right-wing Churchillian types who think something must be done have been cast as lily-livered surrender monkeys, while the progressive appeasers portray themselves as indomitable heroes. It’s canny politics and an excellent way for open-borders, SJW types to goad Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson on Twitter. But I don’t think this Keep Calm and Carry On nonsense — which reached peak stupid when breakfast TV presenter Phillip Schofield filmed himself walking fearlessly over Westminster Bridge the day after the attack there — is doing anyone much good. In fact it’s only putting us more gravely at risk. The longer this ‘Keep buggering on and it will all eventually go away’ narrative persists, the longer our MPs will be able to delay doing anything to address the problem. Barely four months ago, 22 children and adults were blown to pieces, and 250 injured, for the crime of going to an Ariana Grande pop concert. In any other era, so appalling an incident would be as seared into the public consciousness as, say, the sinking of the Titanic or the immolation of the R101, with concerted action from politicians of all parties to make sure such a terrible thing never happened again. And what has our generation of politicians done? Called a few Cobra meetings. Declared the occasional Level 5 security threat. Claimed emptily that ‘enough is enough’. Meanwhile, there are an estimated 32,000 Muslims eager to commit the next terror atrocity — with another 100,000 prepared to give them moral support. When did any of us ever vote for this to be our new normal? Isn’t it about time something was done? the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk LETTERS Christians betrayed Sir: Michael Karam’s article (Ya Allah!, 16 September) is timely. Many Westerners seem to be unaware that there is such a person as a Christian Arab (a Christian who speaks Arabic as their first language), yet there are millions. At the time of the Crusades, Christians were a majority in the Near East. In 1914 about 25 per cent of the Near and Middle East was still Christian. The percentage is now much lower because events have forced massive Christian emigration, especially to North America. The serious consequences of this ignorance were not only felt by the Christian Iraqi removed from a flight after another passenger heard him speaking Arabic. The West’s ill-thoughtout interventions in the Arab and wider Muslim world have had dire repercussions for the Christians of the region, who have become targets of Muslim revenge. It was clear to me at the time of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq that President Bush and Blair had no idea that there was a Christian community in Iraq, nor that it would be put in extreme peril once the invasion started. Today it has almost disappeared. The final betrayal has been the inadequate response of the West to the plight of Christian refugees from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. In justice they should be given priority as genuine asylum seekers; instead, politically correct immigration authorities seem to be prioritising Muslims and the Christians are in danger of being forgotten. Alistair Kerr Louth, Lincolnshire sector will doubtless encounter highflying second- and third-generationers as colleagues and managers. Yet why does much of the public sector still feel so different? By veering into mental health and crime statistics, Munira Mirza (Theresa May’s phoney war, 16 September) risks missing the point. While institutions are not necessarily racist (or sexist or homophobic for that matter), they are often ossified after years of dominance by narrow cliques disconnected from a fast-changing wider society. If Mrs May’s race ‘audit’ can begin to tackle this, it will achieve something worthwhile. Sanjoy Sen Aberdeen The Taki effect Data Roman Sir: I write to disagree with Theo White’s proposal that government should interfere in any way with people’s choice of food (Letters, 16 September). In 1979, a report came out which suggested that we should cut down on sugar, cut down on salt, cut down on saturated fat, and increase fibre in our diets. Professor John Yudkin also wrote a book, Sweet, White and Deadly, which set out how bad sugar is for us. It was widely publicised, and as a nutritionist I had to write a review of it when at university. I concluded then as now, that sugar is the culprit for many of our woes. Our enemy is sugar. But do I want a sugar tax? No. People have to make their own decisions and take responsibility for themselves. Did either of these or any other books and articles make a scrap of difference? Not a bit. Despite plenty of research and reports, the public take notice of either what suits them, or what suits the media. In the case of salt and fat, subsequent research has shown that all the hype about cutting down on saturated fat and salt was misguided. In the case of sugar, Professor Yudkin’s book has been swept under the carpet and the result is the massive increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Until we get away from lobbyists and fad diets, and start to believe the results of proper research, we will never improve our eating habits. Dy Davison Rothbury, Northumberland Sir: Every week I turn to ‘Ancient and Modern’ in the hope that the Roman soldier who heads the column will have been issued with a smartphone. He will never conquer the barbarians with such outdated technology. Perhaps Peter Jones could put a word in Caesar’s ear? Alison Sproston London SE16 The Mass in Maltese Sir: Michael Karam is quite right to point out that the Arabic word for God is shared by all major faiths represented in the Middle East. But one doesn’t have to travel outside Europe to hear that designation used hundreds of times daily, and by nonArabs. In very Catholic Malta and Gozo, there are more than 1,000 masses a week, most in Maltese. As a first-time visitor last year I was delighted to listen to the familiar forms recited in that fascinating language and to join with the people saying: ‘[I believe in] Alla.’ It felt good to do so. Dr Clare Hornsby London SW1 Out of the race Sir: Visitors to any British town centre will have no trouble spotting all manner of thriving businesses built up by immigrants. And anyone working in the private the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Sir: Taki does not seem to realise just how famous and influential he really is (High Life, 16 September). In his column of 9 September he urged readers to obtain my book Facing the Persians. It deals, among other poems, with the minds of his revered Spartans at Thermopylae. Within days it had sold out, requiring urgent reprinting, with requests coming both nationally and worldwide, from Germany to western Canada. Unrecognised indeed! Ian Olson Aberdeen A fat lot of good Sovereign territory Sir: Any of the 1,600 inhabitants of Barbuda who take The Spectator will be surprised to read that it is a British overseas territory (‘Portrait of the Week’, 16 September). Barbuda, along with its sister island Antigua, became an independent country in 1981. Jeremy Stocker Willoughby, Warwickshire 25 ANY OTHER BUSINESS|MARTIN VANDER WEYER A rate rise in November? After years of dithering, don’t bet on it I t is more than three years since Bank of England governor Mark Carney was accused by Labour MP and Treasury Select Committee member Pat McFadden of behaving like ‘an unreliable boyfriend, one day hot, one day cold’ in his hints about forthcoming interest-rate rises. And it’s more than a decade since the last time the official UK bank rate actually moved upwards: the only shift since McFadden’s remark has been a cut from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent in August last year. In fact there’s a palpable sense that the Bank, in common with other central banks, has all but lost the power to deploy interest rates as a monetary tool, having left them so low for so long. So we wait to see whether this week’s round of rate-rise signals lead to action at the Monetary Policy Committee’s next meeting on 2 November, or fades into the new year. The flurry began when MPC member Gertjan Vlieghe, previously labelled as the panel’s ‘über dove’, said, ‘We are approaching the moment when the bank rate may need to rise’ in response to inflation close to 3 per cent and ‘a modest rise in wage pressure’. Carney echoed that view in a speech in Washington, cautiously adding ‘over the coming months’. Their remarks pushed the pound above $1.35 (its post-referendum low was $1.20) and to €1.14 from an August low of €1.07 and tourist-rate parity. A stronger pound is itself anti-inflationary, since it reduces import prices; and if inflation thereby ticks down again, the urgency of a rate rise will begin to evaporate. Hence the Bank may be trying temporarily to deploy the exchangerate tool, at the expense of UK exporters, in the hope of being able to leave the interest rate tool in the box. Why? Because there are also fears — expressed by Carney to the irritation of Brexiteers who still regard him as a mouthpiece of Project Fear — that Brexit uncertainty is contributing to a slowing of growth and business investment, which won’t be helped by higher rates. Nor will the housing market, which is now in a doldrums of stagnant prices and 26 low turnover. Then there’s the looming consumer debt crisis, which gets worse month by month so long as disposable incomes fail to keep pace with inflation and credit is readily available. Would it be better to prick that bubble sooner or later? The last quarter-point rise in bank rate, in July 2007, was the 35th rate change of the decade that preceded it. In those days, the mechanism was well oiled and well understood by markets — even if hindsight tells us the cheap-money era of the early 2000s laid the foundations for the financial crisis that followed. Now, central bankers are not so much unreliable boyfriends as petrified ones in a perpetual dither. The more finely balanced and scrutinised their decisions, the more potential negatives that might follow from a single move, the greater the temptation to do nothing until it’s too late. I’m not betting on a rate rise in November. Those Ratner moments I was intrigued to read that Moira Ratner, wife of former chain-store jeweller Gerald, urged her husband not to use the notorious passage of his speech to the Institute of Directors at the Royal Albert Hall in April 1991, in which he joked about earrings in his shops being ‘cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but [they] probably won’t last as long’, and about being able to offer a sherry decanter at such a low price ‘because it’s total crap’. His business promptly shed £500 million in market value and was gone by the following year, along with his fortune. The ‘Ratner moment’ entered the language of business — and we witnessed a classic example in Lord (Tim) Bell’s shambolic Newsnight interview earlier this month, in which the once-invincible veteran of spin tried to declare himself innocent of Bell Pottinger’s association with the Gupta family in South Africa while Kirsty Wark read out an internal email from him claiming credit for winning the account. The PR firm he co-founded went into administration eight days later, the clients who had paid so handsomely for the benefit of its looseness with the truth all these years having stampeded for the exit. This week’s Ryanair news story, however, almost certainly isn’t a Ratner moment in the making. The cancellation of 50 flights per day — 2 per cent of a daily schedule of 2,500 low-cost flights — in order to fulfil pilots’ holiday entitlements without spoiling the airline’s punctuality record, threatens to leave 250,000 customers uncompensated and has also wiped £500 million off the airline’s stock market value. But Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary built his business on the principle that passengers can ‘bugger off’ if they don’t like it, and says he doesn’t ‘give a rat’s arse’ about the share price. On that basis I suspect he’ll fly through this turbulence unscathed, chiefly because passengers on the uncancelled 2,450 daily flights will continue, grudgingly, to admire the costcrushing operational ruthlessness that has transformed air travel to their benefit, however rudely they are sometimes treated. Dangerous automata Likewise, I predict one-click shoppers will not shun Amazon, despite the revelation by Channel 4 News that if you use the online retailer to buy a combination of household chemicals that could create a homemade bomb, the algorithm informs you that ‘customers who bought this’ also bought another lethal component, ball bearings. Like the promulgation of jihadist material through Google, Facebook and Twitter, this raises a whole other debate about the impossibility of effective surveillance, and the absence of any moral compass within internet automata that grow far beyond human scale. But businesses like these that are highly efficient can, it seems, get away with amoral and uncaring attitudes because consumers still value them for what they offer, especially when it’s cheap or free. Only when the wider world has already recognised a brand to be a con trick at heart does that Ratner moment await. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk DE AGOSTINI PICTURE LIBRARY/BRIDGEMAN IMAGES Jane Ridley is amazed that David Cannadine has found a new way to view 19th-century Britain Harry Ritchie hails an unlikely hero: homo erectus taught us how to speak Thomas W. Hodgkinson says that Alfred the Great saved our island from a savage horde, much as Churchill did Rory Sutherland admires the success of the iPhone – but worries about the downsides Daisy Dunn learns that the Scythians attached the remains of their enemies to their horses Laura Gascoigne is dazzled by the illustrations of a dodgy German biologist ‘The Falconer’, c.1880, by Hans Makart Martin Gayford — p43 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 27 BOOKS & ARTS BOOKS Britain über alles The 19th-century belonged to us, according to David Cannadine’s ambitious new history. Jane Ridley is mesmerised by it Victorious Century: The United Kingdom 1800–1906 by David Cannadine Allen Lane, £30, pp. 555 David Cannadine was a schoolboy in 1950s Birmingham, which was still recognisable as the city that Joseph Chamberlain had known. In the 1960s the town planners demolished much of Victorian Birmingham. The bulldozing of 19th-century cities coincided with — and helped to cause — a boom in Victorian history, led by Asa Briggs. As a postgraduate student at Cambridge, Cannadine wrote a thesis on Birmingham’s 19th-century aristocratic landowners. Since then, there has been a torrent of academic research on 19th-century history, and this has had a ‘deadening and dampening effect’. The Victorians have gone out of fashion. Historians have migrated to the rich pastures of the 18th century or the newly available archives of the 20th. So much has been written about 19thcentury Britain that a new interpretation seems almost impossible. But in this magnificent Penguin history, Cannadine pulls it off. At first sight the book seems conventional enough. This is a narrative history. It is also a political history. As Cannadine explains, the vital feature of 19th-century Britain was the extraordinary importance of Parliament. Other countries had parliaments, but none were as enduring or as prestigious as Westminster. Most histories of 19th-century Britain begin in 1815 and end in 1914. Cannadine’s account, by contrast, starts in 1800 with the Act of Union with Ireland, which created the United Kingdom, and ends with the Liberal landslide election of 1906; both dates are landmarks in Britain’s parliamentary history. But this is not a clichéd textbook story of the triumph of democracy and reform. Nor is it an insular, inward-looking narrative of Westminster high politics. There is something else going on here. Cannadine begins his history in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars with France. Throughout the book the story of Britain’s relations 28 with Europe and with its expanding empire is integrated into the narrative of domestic politics. This is a global history, a spellbinding account of Britain’s rise and fall as a great power. Starting the story in 1800 shifts the conventional perspective. The Act of Union with Ireland, as Cannadine points out, was an expedient forced upon Prime Minister Pitt by the war with France. It seemed the only way to prevent a rebellion in Ireland or a French invasion. It pleased none of the Irish. Nor was the Younger Pitt’s strategy of fighting the French by defeating them at sea, and financing coalitions of the continental powers on land, a success. The co- As every schoolboy used to know (but now doesn’t), Lord Grey bowed to the people with the Great Reform Bill alitions always broke apart and Napoleon’s domination of the land seemed comprehensive. Not until Pitt had fallen did Britain begin to win. The Napoleonic War of 1803–14 was the only major conflict in recent history where Britain had no strong political leader; merely a succession of mediocre prime ministers. These included Spencer Percival, the only British PM to be assassinated, and the second-rate Addington (‘Pitt is to Addington/ As London is to Paddington’) — though Cannadine reckons that the latter has been much underestimated. The war was a triumph for Britain’s military-fiscal state. It was financed by massive borrowing, made possible by a buoyant wartime economy and a sophisticated banking system. Military success was enabled by the efficiency of the Whitehall bureaucrats, overseeing ships, weapons and supplies. For France, by contrast, the war was an economic disaster. The result was that Britain, whose future had seemed in the balance in 1800, emerged in 1815 as the strongest and richest power in the world. The 1830s was the hinge decade. As every schoolboy used to know (but doesn’t any more), the Whig government under Lord Grey bowed to the people and pushed through the Great Reform Bill. This was the prelude to a decade of reform, of sustained legislative engagement with contemporary issues, which was something entirely new. It marked the end of the old military-fiscal state and the beginning of the so-called age of improvement. Overseas, this was a pivotal decade too. European peace coupled with the opening of new markets in China and Latin America offered unprecedented opportunities for trade and investment. The UK was more engaged with the world than ever before. In 1848 the historian Macaulay declared that the history of England was ‘essentially the history of physical, of moral and of intellectual improvement’. The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a defining moment, celebrating Britain’s material progress. But, as Cannadine shows — and this is a major theme — for every Macaulayan self-congratulatory optimist, there was a doom-laden Matthew Arnold, wracked with doubt and wringing his hands. The backwardness of Britain’s education by comparison with its European neighbours was much bemoaned (as it is today), and so was the rise of overseas competitors. The most extraordinary part of the story was not visible to contemporaries. Industrial supremacy gave the United Kingdom a global hegemony, which was at its zenith in the 1850s and 1860s, but Britain’s wealth didn’t translate into military might. At home, governments came under constant pressure to reduce defence spending, and the British army was by far the smallest of all the European great powers. The price of parliamentary government was an empire on a shoestring. It’s a miracle that the Victorians managed to hold on to their empire. So how did they do it? One way was by devolving power to white settlement colonies, many of which were granted selfgovernment in the 1850s. The 1857 Indian Mutiny or Great Rebellion was the most significant crisis of the 19th-century British empire: the stakes ‘were at least as high the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk BRIDGEMAN IMAGES Bristol ablaze: anger at the Lords’ rejection of the Second Reform Bill sparked riots in Queen’s Square, Bristol, October 1831 (William James Muller) as they had been at the Battle of Waterloo’, says Cannadine, and it too was a close-run thing. Afterwards, the Brits economised by ruling India in collaboration with the traditional elites. The Second Reform Act of 1867 created an electoral system where ‘the Liberals would need the votes on the margins to enable them to dominate England, whereas the Conservatives would use their powerbase in England to try to dominate the UK’. This, as Cannadine observes, explains Gladstone’s preoccupation with Ireland, which was an attempt to buy Irish votes and undercut the nationalists by offering reforms. Gladstone’s attempts to conciliate Ireland, culminating in his conversion to Home Rule, failed. Also unsuccessful were his attempts to repair the weaknesses of the mid-Victorian state with education bills and civil-service and military reform. Cannadine has little time for Disraeli, though he gives his government credit for what in the long run was a truly significant piece of legislation, though few thought much of it at the time: the 1867 Canadian Confederation Act, which welded Canada into a vast, land-based nation bordering America, effecting a major geopolitical reorientation. By the 1880s the signs of decline were clear. Britain still accounted for 23 per cent of world manufacturing output. But in Ireland (and to a lesser extent Scotland and Wales), nationalists were fighting a land war and the Union was under strain, while Germany and the US were powering ahead of the British economy. During the second government of the anti-imperial Gladstone, Britain occupied Egypt, and gained further African territory at the Congress of Berlin, but this expansion was defensive and pessimistic. It was soon to lead to imperial overstretch, when the British found themselves in possession of an empire which, even on shoestring economics, they couldn’t afford. Kipling’s ‘Recessional’, written at the time of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, articulated the mood. ‘Even though the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk the foundations had been in some ways fragile and fortuitous,’ writes Cannadine, ‘the nineteenth century had “belonged” to the United Kingdom more than to any other power, and as it ended there was serious concern, which turned out to be wellfounded, that the twentieth century would “belong” elsewhere.’ Britain’s humiliating performance in the Boer War, when 450,000 imperial troops took three years to subjugate 60,000 Boer soldiers, rubbed home its failings. There followed an episode of selfdoubt and the abandonment of Britain’s policy of splendid isolation. This is a thumping great book, and it is probably destined to become a classic. Cannadine writes long sentences and his paragraphs go on for a page or more, but there is something hypnotic and compelling about his majestic delivery. Extraordinarily for a history book there are no footnotes. Only a historian at the very top of his game can do that and get away with it, and Cannadine succeeds triumphantly. 29 BOOKS & ARTS Harsh, but entertaining Patrick Skene Catling Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn Hogarth, £16.99, pp. 211 When millionaires become billionaires they become even greedier and more ruthless. At the highest level, Trumpian economics can be lethal. Edward St Aubyn, in his powerful new novel Dunbar, applies the oxyacetylene brilliance and cauterisation of his prose to bear on the tragic endgame of a family’s internecine struggle for control of a global fortune. St Aubyn is a connoisseur of depravity, yet also shows he cherishes the possibility of redemption. Henry Dunbar is an 80-year-old Canadian mogul who founded and developed the world’s second-most influential media conglomerate. His older daughters, Abigail and Megan, want the wealth and power; his youngest daughter, Florence, wants only his love. The rivalry is freakishly intense, but one can endure the horrors and enjoy the author’s stylish craftsmanship. At first the old man’s situation seems terminally dire. The diabolically acquisitive daughters have bribed his personal physician to commit him to a supposedly secure psychiatric hospital in the Lake District. Demented and further confused by drugs, Dunbar has been incapacitated so that he should be unable to resist the final quashing of his authority by a hostile takeover at an imminent board meeting in New York. Surprisingly, however, Dunbar’s hospital roommate, Peter Walker, an alcoholic comedian with a multifaceted personality disorder and voices to match, proves to be providentially sympathetic and resourceful. ‘I really did have an empire, you know,’ said Dunbar. ‘Have I ever told you the story of how it was stolen from me?’ ‘Many times, old man, many times,’ said Peter dreamily, who is moved not to achieve justice in big business but to contrive their escape to the nearest bar. Dunbar, as instructed, spits out his medication and follows Walker out through the kitchen’s back door. They find a vehicle suitable for rugged terrain, with the ignition key conveniently in place. Dunbar’s captors have confiscated all his credit cards, except one he managed to hide, a card for a Swiss account with unlimited credit. The alcoholic, having served his narrative function, is recaptured and kills himself. Dunbar is then free for a lonely, dangerous escape in the snow, pursued by hospital guards. Dunbar is saved from frostbite and collapse by a tramp, a defrocked vicar who was ruined by Dunbar’s newspapers. ‘When he had been running a global empire, his cruelty and his vindictiveness and his lies and his tantrums were disguised as the neces30 sary actions of a decisive commander-inchief, but in his current naked condition the naked character of these actions screamed at him, like ex-prisoners recognising their torturer in the street.’ An Aubynesque simile can brighten a grey passage: ‘A gaudy sunset, like a drunken farewell scrawled in lipstick on a mirror.’ But the overall focus, satisfactorily, is on contemporary social pathology and Dunbar’s moral transcendence. Most of the novel is harsh; all of it is entertaining. The hunger Owen Matthews Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum Allen Lane, £25, pp. 496 In 1933 my aunt Lenina Bibikova was eight years old. She lived in Kharkov, Ukraine. Every morning a polished black Packard automobile would draw up to the door of the handsome pre-revolutionary mansion her family shared with other senior Party cadres to take her father to his job as Party boss at the Kharkov Tractor Factory. When he returned in the evening her father would be carrying bulging packets of sausages and meat from the factory canteen. Lenina did not remember wanting for anything. Yet in reality Kharkov, like all Ukraine’s cities in that terrible year, was an island of plenty in a sea of starvation. All over Ukraine millions of peasants were dying of hunger in a massive, man-made famine deliberately unleashed by the Soviet state. As Anne Applebaum chronicles in her wrenching, vivid and brilliant account of the Holodomor — literally, the ‘hunger-death’ — famine had become the main weapon of a war unleashed by Stalin on both the reactionary peasant class and on Ukrainian national identity itself. During the famine years those peasants who managed to crawl to Ukraine’s cities, bellies bloated from hunger, were rounded up by special trucks that patrolled at night on secret orders from the municipal authorities to pick up the living and the dead. By morning there was no trace, for those who chose not to see, of the horror which was unfolding all around. That wilful blindness has continued ever since. For Ukrainian nationalists, the Holodomor was a genocide unleashed against their people that is today commemorated in a day of national mourning akin to Holocaust memorial day in Israel. For the Soviet authorities — and now, disgustingly, Putin’s tame historians — the great famines of the early 1930s were nothing more than a natural disaster. As Applebaum shows, drawing on a wealth of witness accounts and Soviet archi- val sources, there was little natural about it. From the earliest days of the Revolution, she writes, ‘the link between food and power was something that the Bolsheviks also understood very well… constant shortages made food supplies a hugely significant political tool. Whoever had bread had followers, soldiers, loyal friends.’ As early as 1921 Maksim Litvinov — later Soviet foreign minister — told a group of visiting American aid workers coming to help the starving of the Volga, in his precise but accented English, ‘Yes, but food is a veppon…’ It took Stalin’s ruthless genius to fully weaponise hunger as a tool of total war against the enemies — real or imagined — of the Soviet regime. The first Five Year Plan of 1928 called for peasants’ private land to be confiscated and all herds and grain to be turned over to the new collective farms. All over the Soviet Union, peasants slaughtered their livestock and gorged themselves rather than give them up to the Soviet state. Eyewitnesses from the Red Cross reported seeing peasants ‘drunk on food’, their eyes stupefied by their mad, It took Stalin’s ruthless genius to fully weaponise hunger as a tool of war against enemies real or imagined self-destructive gluttony, and the knowledge of its consequences. Harvests from the new collective farms fell disastrously. By the summer of 1932, it was clear that Ukraine — for centuries the grain-basket of the Russian empire thanks to its fertile black earth and twice-yearly harvests of winter barley and summer wheat — had catastrophically failed to meet the production quotas set by the Kremlin. Stalin reverted to what he knew best from his days as a bank-robber in Tbilisi — violence, and theft. Requisition gangs were sent to seize grain reserves, seed reserves, animal fodder and, ominously, daily food supplies. The unfulfilled portion of the Plan had to be ‘fulfilled unconditionally, completely, not lowering it by an ounce’, Stalin’s lieutenant Vyacheslav Molotov told the Ukrainian authorities in October 1932. Already, the secret police had rounded up wealthy peasants who had resisted collectivisation and shipped them to newly built gulags in their tens of thousands — the guards dubbed the trainloads of humanity ‘white coal’. Now, the Soviet authorities unleashed something very close to a war on their own Ukrainian citizens. ‘During the Revolution I saw things that I would not want even my enemies to see,’ wrote the Politburo member Nikolai Bukharin. ‘Yet in 1919 we were fighting for our lives… but in 1930–33 we were conducting a mass annihilation of completely defenceless men together with their wives and children.’ On 1 January 1933 Stalin demanded that the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Mykola Bokan’s photograph of his family, including a memorial to ‘Kostya, who died of hunger’, July 1933. Bokan and his son were arrested for documenting the famine — both died in the gulag the Party use a recent law on ‘theft of state property’ to prosecute collective and individual farmers in Ukraine who were allegedly hiding grain. That telegram is probably the closest thing we have to a direct command from the Kremlin ordering the Holodomor. Stalin’s cable, writes Applebaum, ‘was a signal to begin mass searches and persecutions… in practice that telegram forced Ukrainian peasants to make a fatal choice. They could give up their grain reserves and die of starvation, or they could keep some grain reserves hidden and risk arrest, execution or the confiscation of the rest of their food — after which they would also die of starvation.’ The result was ‘such inhuman, unimaginable misery, such a terrible disaster, that it began to seem almost abstract, it would not fit within the bounds of consciousness’, wrote Boris Pasternak after a trip to Ukraine. The young Hungarian communist Arthur Koestler found the ‘enormous land wrapped in silence’. The British socialist Malcolm Muggeridge took a train to Kiev, where he found the rural population starving. Embittered, the idealistic Muggeridge left the Soviet Union, convinced he had witnessed ‘one of the most monstrous crimes in history, so terrible that people in the future will scarcely be able to believe it ever happened’. The enduring tragedy of the Holodomor — which left at least five million dead, including almost four million Ukrainians — is that Muggeridge was right. Plenty of modern Russians still don’t believe it ever happened. Since Ukraine’s independence — and even more so since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ensuing Russian-backed separatist war in Donbass — the Holodomor has become an ideological touchstone, as vehemently denied by the Kremlin as it is promoted by nationalist Ukrainians. Applebaum resists the passions of that raging ideological battle and sticks to the relentless, horrifying facts, unequivocally documented in the Soviet secret police reports, eyewitness accounts and the correspondence of senior Party leaders. She squarely places the Holodomor in the wider context of the Soviet regime’s battle with Ukrainian identity itself (an imperial crusade against separatism inherited from Willow Of all the trees, the willow is The last to lose its yellow leaves And yet among the first to try Its newborn growth in early spring When it can glisten gold and green As trees come back to life again, But when it rains it seems to cry, To hang its head and tear its hair As down the leaves the water seeps And forms a droplet on each leaf And, while the rain and wind are there To wave its arms and shed a tear, We think of it as him or her Although in truth it does not care, But we need company in grief And that is why we like to hear The willow is the one that weeps. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk — Duncan Forbes the Tsars). ‘Famine was only half the story,’ she writes. ‘While peasants were dying in the countryside, the Soviet secret police simultaneously launched an attack on the Ukrainian intellectual and political elites. As the famine spread, a campaign of slander and repression was launched against Ukrainian intellectuals, professors, museum curators, writers, artists, priests, theologians, public officials and bureaucrats.’ The archives show that Stalin’s aim was demonstrably not just to exterminate the reactionary peasantry but to squash all memory of the independent Ukrainian state that had flickered briefly in the aftermath of the first world war. Perhaps most controversial is the debate over whether the Holodomor was, in fact, a genocide. Some commentators have accused Applebaum of shying away from that loaded word — though in fact she is perfectly clear that the debate is a purely semantic one. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who invented the word ‘genocide’, spoke of the Holodomor as the ‘classic example’ of his concept: ‘It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.’ The controversy stems, as Applebaum explains in a carefully written epilogue, from the later, more legalistic definition of ‘genocide’ as set down by the United Nations in 1948. The Soviet delegation to the first UN General Assembly had argued that political persecution was ‘entirely out of place in a scientific definition of genocide’, and successfully lobbied that the official definition be restricted to the annihilation of entire ethnic groups. ‘Genocide’ thereafter became ‘organically bound up with fascismnazism and other similar race theories’, Applebaum writes. ‘The Holodomor does not meet that criterion. The Ukrainian famine was not an attempt to eliminate every single living Ukrainian; it was also halted, in the summer of 1933, well before it could devastate the entire nation.’ Applebaum’s summary of the reality of the genocide debate says more about Moscow’s successful — and cynical — manipulation of international discourse than it does about the events of 1930–34 in Ukraine. But it will also anger Ukrainian nationalists who see the Holodomor — as they see today’s conflict in Donbass — as a species of epic blood feud between the two Slavic nations. They are wrong. Both conflicts are about the Kremlin’s imperial programme of power and control rather than blind ethnic hatred. Today’s ideologically charged conflict between Kiev and Moscow often reduces history to the cannon fodder of propaganda. That makes Applebaum’s meticulous study — the first since Robert Conquest’s excellent but inevitably poorly sourced The Harvest of Sorrow (1986) — so important. The Soviet state successfully concealed the real31 GETTY IMAGES BOOKS & ARTS Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Crystal Palace Bowl, 7 June 1980 ity of the Holodomor even from children like Lenina Bibikova who were growing up in its midst — then spent 70 years denying its crimes. Applebaum has drawn back the veil — with the same force, clarity and readability as in her earlier books on the Gulag and on the Soviet postwar conquest of Eastern Europe — on one of the 20th century’s most egregious crimes. The cult of Holy Bob Ian Thomson So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley Text and photographs by Roger Steffens W.W. Norton, £20, pp. 434 The Harder They Come, Jamaica’s first (and still finest) home-grown film, was released in 1972 with the local singer Jimmy Cliff as the country boy Ivan Martin, who becomes a Robin Hood-like criminal outlaw amid the ganja-yards and urban alleys of the Jamaican capital of Kingston. The film’s director Perry Henzell, a ganja-smoking white Jamaican who had been sent to board at Sherborne school, was influenced by the gritty ‘newsreel’ school of Italian neo-realism (Bicycle Thieves, Obsession), which aimed for a documentary immediacy off the street. The soundtrack, assembled by Henzell in under a week, effectively introduced reggae 32 to white British audiences. Without the soundtrack album, it is fair to say, reggae would not have taken hold in Britain in the way it did. Fashionable dinner parties in early 1970s Britain often enjoyed a musical accompaniment of the Maytals’ gospel-hot ‘Pressure Drop’ or Desmond Dekker’s ‘007 (Shanty Town)’. Earlier, in the 1960s, scooter-riding Mods had adopted Jamaican ska as a supplement to their diet of imported American soul, but reggae was a ganja-heavy newcomer, whose strangely hymnal, incantatory quality insinuated itself happily into the middle-class hippie culture which Mods (and indeed skinheads) professed to despise. Prior to Henzell’s film, reggae had been given only minimal airplay on BBC radio, and the British press was hardly enthusiastic. It was ‘black music being prostituted’, Melody Maker reported Deep Purple and the Edgar Broughton Band as saying. In 1985, going one better, Morrissey of the Smiths announced: ‘Reggae is vile.’ (Bizarrely, in October 2007, British Conservatives adopted Jimmy Cliff’s rousing ‘The Harder They Come’ as a Tory anthem, the party of law and order thus endorsing, if unwittingly, the crime habits of a Kingston rude bwoy.) The Harder They Come, a favourite, oddly, with George Melly, was part-financed by the Island Records founder-boss Chris Blackwell, who saw in Jimmy Cliff’s rebel film image a means to promote his lat- est signing, Bob Marley. In many ways the groundwork for Marley’s eventual success was laid by Henzell. The first Bob Marley and the Wailers album, produced by Blackwell, Catch a Fire (1973), was a JamaicanAmerican hybrid, whose hard-driving Kingston rhythms had been overlaid in a London studio with rock guitar solos. It was Blackwell’s, not Marley’s, idea to aim the music at a ‘rebel’ white college audience. Unsurprisingly, Catch a Fire was ignored by Britain’s black reggae crowd (to whom the Harrow-educated Chris Blackwell was ‘Chris Whiteworst’). To date, more than 500 books have been published on the ‘Reggae King’ Bob Marley, who died of cancer in 1981, aged 36. For many non-Jamaicans, Marley is reggae: he remains an international celebrity, honoured with a waxwork at Madame Tussaud’s and, as Roger Steffens reminds us, listed in Forbes magazine at Number 5 among the ‘highest-earning dead celebrities’ for 2014. Steffens, a US-based music critic and longtime Marley fan, has spent years interviewing friends, associates and admirers of the Jamaican superstar. So Much Things to Say, an ‘oral’ account of Marley’s life and times, amounts to an absorbing alternative biography. Among the author’s many interviewees are Blackwell (whose mother Blanche Blackwell, incidentally, died last month at the age of 104), Carlton ‘Carly’ Barrett, Junior Braithwaite and Peter Tosh of the Wailers (all three of whom would eventually be murdered by Kingston gunmen), as well as the reggae singer-songwriters Bob Andy and Joe Higgs. According to Higgs, the word reggae, originally spelled ‘reggay’, first appeared in 1968 with a Leslie Kong-produced hit called ‘Do the Reggay’ by Toots & the Maytals. It was a black music imaginatively rooted in the soul of ancestral slave Africa. Marley himself was not, however, black. With a Caucasian father (Captain Norval Marley of the British West Indian Regiment), he found it easier to deal with the world at large — that is, with white people. Although Marley was brought up in Kingston’s impoverished Trench Town ghetto, his mixed race complexion and handsome aquiline features lent him an acceptable ‘uptown’ look. In his brief introduction, the BritishJamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk speaks admiringly of Marley’s ‘iconic status’ and (in another cliché) his ‘consummate professionalism’. Through all the ‘trials and tribulations’ (another cliché) of his fame the Trench Town rocker continued to embrace universal love, smoke ganja (he was ‘no joker-smoker’, says a friend), and eat nut cutlets. Unfortunately, Marley’s proto-hippy ‘One Love’ vibe died a death in Jamaica long ago: there is too much violence for kindly, dreadlocked Rastafari idealists who grow cannabis plants and hope to save the planet by smoking them. So Much Things to Say (the title is taken from a song on Marley’s Exodus album) offers lots of new information on the Jesus-like cult of Holy Bob. Deep learning Neel Mukherjee Late Essays 2006–2017 by J.M. Coetzee Harvill Secker, £17.99, pp. 304 Given the brilliance of his career as a fiction-writer, it is easy to forget that J.M. Coetzee has a commensurate career in nonfiction. He trained as an academic (English literature, mathematics, linguistics and computer analysis of stylistics), taught for several years in the US and in South Africa, and continues to translate, write essays and reviews — most notably for the New York Review of Books — and introductions to books. This third volume of non-fiction pieces, Late Essays 2006-2017, gathers a selection mostly from the NYRB and from his introductions to a series of novels translated into Spanish and published by the Spanish-language press El Hilo de Ariadna. The current crop seems to be simpler essays than the ones that appeared in Stranger Shores (2001) and Inner Workings (2007). In the earlier works, we’ll find a discussion of the concept of hybridity in the memoirs of Breytenbach, or a long piece on Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’, or references to Homi Bhabha’s notoriously impenetrable book The Location of Culture, or a bravura lecture, ‘What Is A Classic?’, which forensically dissects T.S. Eliot’s own lecture bearing the same title that breathtakingly positioned the modernist project in a redefined map of European literary greatness. Certainly, one can see the differences between the introductions and the NYRB pieces, but this is not a failing, rather an intelligent understanding of genres: the demands of a short introduction to a European or English-language classic in Spanish translation are different from those of an intellectual (but not academic) literarypolitical magazine. Coetzee’s lifelong interest in Beckett — his PhD dissertation was on the Irish writer — appears here in no fewer than four essays, the last of which, ‘Eight Ways of Looking at Samuel Beckett’, is original, revelatory, dense with thought and ideas that could be used as a springboard for several doctoral theses. There are two essays on Patrick White, one of the greatest novelists of the last century (and a fellow Nobel laureate); the essay on White’s posthumously published unfinished novel, The Hanging Garden, has an illuminating discussion on The Vivisector and how the novel ‘was… fated to be an elegy not only for the school of painting represented by Duffield [the novel’s protagonist] but also for the school of writing represented by White himself’. A startling essay on Les Murray sails close to personal criticism, augustly reprimanding the poet for carping about his status as an outsider in Australian literary life, a status Coetzee thinks is largely a pose. Unsurprisingly, given Coetzee’s deep knowledge and abiding interest in German language and literature, there are essays on Goethe, Hölderlin, Kleist and Walser (Coetzee is a great standard-bearer for this sui generis Swiss writer). The essay on translating Hölderlin presents a clear (and gripping) summary of the life and works of the poet, finds time to talk about his appropriation by the National Socialists and contest the appropriation, before moving on to the merits and shortcomings of Michael Not a single page goes by in this collection when you don’t learn something Hamburger’s translation of the poetry. One can only feel humility and gratitude in the presence of such deep learning, so lucidly conveyed. It brings to mind a similar essay, ‘Paul Celan and his Translators’, in Inner Workings, and the long essays, on translating Kafka, and Robert Musil’s Diaries, in Stranger Shores. A spare, dry sense of humour occasionally flashes through the essays. Making a list of the jobs (and their corresponding locations in parentheses) which the young Beckett applied for, Coetzee writes, ‘…advertising copywriting (in London), piloting commercial aircraft (in the skies)’. And Coetzee’s own stylistic austerity can make certain riffs in the ‘Eight Ways…’ piece look positively like flights of fancy. His powers of syntheses and linkage are formidable, something only possible to pull off if an author has seemingly boundless reserves of knowledge and reading. Not a single page goes by in this collection when you don’t learn something: he will pick out the moment from Beckett’s letters when, talking about Cézanne, Beckett will strike ‘the first authentic note of [his] mature, post-humanist phase’. The term ‘late style’, certainly in the Said-ian connotation of it, is often meant to signify jaggedness and incompletion married to a the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk simplicity born of wisdom and maturity, but here, Coetzee’s ‘late style’ is all lucidity. Muddled in minutiae Richard Davenport-Hines The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year that Changed Literature by Bill Goldstein Bloomsbury, £25, pp. 336 ‘Publitical’ is a neologism worth avoiding. Bill Goldstein uses it to describe T.S. Eliot’s activities when launching and promoting his quarterly review of literature, the Criterion, which had its first issue in October 1922. Eliot wanted an eminent French author as a contributor: ‘the only name worth getting is Proust’, he told Ezra Pound. As the founding editor of the New York Times books website, Goldstein is attuned to cultural fashions, publicity drives and the politicking of literary factions. And so he makes a painfully reductive explanation of Eliot’s remark: ‘The importance of Proust was publitical above all.’ 1922 was the publication year of P.G. Wodehouse’s The Clicking of Cuthbert and of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophus. It was the foundation year of the Laugh-a-Gram cartoon film company (proprietor, Walt Disney). But there was nothing ‘publitical’ about Wodehouse or Wittgenstein, and so Goldstein turns his focus on Eliot (who finished and published The Waste Land), D.H. Lawrence (who wrote a novel set in Australia, while living in a small town in New South Wales), E.M. Forster (who overcame writer’s block and began his last novel), and Virginia Woolf (who wrote a short story, ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’, which she expanded into a wonderful novel). As Kangaroo was published in 1923, A Passage to India in 1924 and Mrs Dalloway in 1925, the reality behind Goldstein’s chronological arrangement seems weak. Goldstein is an enthusiast for literature with the right measure of self-belief. He crackles with excitement about the making of books and the creating of literary reputations. His admiration for his four chief protagonists gives a nice temper to his own book: there is no one whom he wants to show up or do down. Einstein and Patrick Hennessy, scientist and historian, both took as their motto: ‘Never lose a holy curiosity.’ But although Goldstein reveres his quartet, his inquisitiveness is neither discriminating nor hallowed. He gives his readers a trudging chronicle, week by week, sometimes even day by day, of his protagonists’ activities and ideas during 1922. His purpose is to convey the tensions, fumbling, frustration, arousal and joyous climax of creativity. But the fore33 BOOKS & ARTS ‘Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street’, Kangaroo and The Waste Land all declared the glaring contradiction of 1922: the war was over, but had not ended. This is too trite a theme to bear the weight of significance that is piled on it in The World Broke in Two. The title is one of the best points in Goldstein’s book. ‘The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts,’ Willa Cather wrote in 1936 of the year when Joyce published Ulysses and Eliot The Waste Land. The phrase looks catchy on the book cover, but Goldstein is ungrateful to Cather. In the modernist ascendancy of 1922, ‘the form of storytelling she prized, and excelled at, was no longer of signal importance’, he says on the first page of his book. ‘She was the relic of an old literature, the value of which had not been preserved against the new literature that Joyce and Eliot represented.’ This is the New York literary publitician talking like a commodity dealer taking a short-term position. Cather’s novel of 1922, One of Ours, is a lopsided, risk-taking triumph with flaws that increase its fascination: it would be acclaimed for its war writing if she had been a man. Her next novel, A Lost Lady (1923) is a marvel of emotional richness: Madame Bovary set in a small American community called Sweet Water; little known in England, but unforgettable to anyone who has read it. Both novels leave A Passage to India bowled middlestump. Goldstein’s dismissal of Cather as démodée gives an early warning of what is wrong with his over-researched, unreflective and lustreless book. 34 ments remains unaware of it, but Chomsky’s crazed theories — about humans’ innate language-learning devices and the deep structure of a universal grammar that creates all languages — have been comprehensively disproved. The new orthodoxy is the empirical school of cognitive linguistics, and Daniel Everett is its star pupil — and the one thinker with the credentials and ambition to try to reach the general public. Here, Everett takes on one of Chomsky’s daftest claims — that the innate neural gizmo which makes us able to talk didn’t evolve gradually but just turned up, created by accident, by some genetic mutation that miraculously gave us brains wired for words. Chomsky estimates that this fluke happened about 50,000 years ago... when rock art and cave paintings also began to appear. And cue the Twilight Zone theme tune. Complete nonsense, of course. There is no innate linguistic machinery in our brains, there was no magical quirk in our DNA that gave us a language-learning machine, and it did not all happen 50,000 years ago. This is now so universally accepted that Everett doesn’t have to spend much time debunking what is obviously a preposterous theory. Instead, he can concentrate on the alternative explanation — that language developed slowly, at proper evolutionary pace, not jumping into complete existence all of a sudden, just as the first giraffe didn’t appear out of nowhere to the surprise of the rest of the short-necked herd. Giving language enough time to evolve means that it must have started much further back than a mere 50 millennia ago. About 1.9 million years further back, Everett estimates. Since we, homo sapiens, turned up only 200,000 years ago, this means that it wasn’t us who invented language but an ancestor species — homo erectus. Like us, homo erectus emerged in Africa and, like us, they soon spread far and wide — throughout Europe, China and Indonesia. They were smaller than us, and their brains were smaller than ours, but not that much smaller, and the speed and extent of their roaming indicates some level of collective organisation — and communication. The archaeological record, however, is scant: a carved seashell, some sharpened stones that formed the most basic of toolkits, and the most amusing item in archaeBRIDGEMAN IMAGES play is so fidgety and inconclusive that the reader is left panting for a cup of cocoa. Goldstein is a man for the microscope rather than the telescope. His readers are given such close and tiny details that the big vision is lost. There is nothing interesting in Eliot’s decision to wear black tie at a dinner of Lady Rothermere’s or in the stewed pears offered to Lawrence for breakfast. Inordinate quotation from his subjects’ letters and diaries makes for choppy, disjointed reading and peppers Goldstein’s pages with too many inverted commas. He seems remote in his understanding of Woolf as a woman, and at his most sympathetic in writing of Forster’s doubts and anxiety. Yet Goldstein’s account of Kangaroo will be new and appetising to most readers. If only he had written more about this half-forgotten novel, and less about people’s ailments and squabbles. He puts Eliot, Lawrence and Woolf, if not so much Forster, into a mental landscape of postwar trauma. The scale of death from the war of 1914–18 and the subsequent influenza epidemic left its survivors grieving and haunted: memories of the past were encased in everybody’s present thoughts. Goldstein reiterates: Our hero, homo erectus Learning to talk Harry Ritchie How Language Began: The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention by Daniel L. Everett Proﬁle, £25, pp. 384 One of the great achievements of science is that so many of its branches, from astronomy to zoology, have been blessed by such great popularisers — your Attenboroughs, your Sagans, your Dawkinses. Alas, there is one inglorious exception to this marvellous rule — linguistics. A discipline that has produced enormous and enormously important advances over the last century — but not one linguist who has managed to tell the rest of the world about them. Steven Pinker did have a bestseller with The Language Instinct, but he was moonlighting from his day job in neuropsychology. Linguistics does have one world-class intellectual celebrity, but Noam Chomsky is celebrated mainly for his radical politics, and he has done his very best to make his work on language as arcane and incomprehensible as string theory. The world outside linguistics depart- the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk ology — the ‘Erfoud manuport’. Formerly the prized possession of some homo erectus who carried it around his or her person, this is a cuttlefish bone that looks like a phallus. In fact, in a phallus lookalike competition, any actual dick would be pushed into second place by this cuttlefish bone, which looks so like a phallus that it undermines its supposed significance as a symbolic artefact. Symbol? The Erfoud manuport just is a dick. There is, however, startling evidence from the fossil record — the remains of homo erectus which have been found on Flores and Socotra, dating from about 700,000 years ago. Both Flores and Socotra are islands, not visible from the mainland, reachable only by challenging seas. And to establish successful communities, at least 50 people must have made the crossing together. If they could sail, they could certainly talk, Everett reasons. Reasonably enough — those fossils provide melodramatic proof of homo erectus’s planning, social organisation, technology and cooperation, their individual intelligence and collective culture. And, surely, surely, Everett argues-cumpleads, their ability to communicate with each other using some sort of language. Their chat wouldn’t have been up to much, Everett has to concede. Homo erectus lacked our vocal prowess and their brains were smaller and slower, so these were dimwits saying dull, basic things slowly with grunts and moans. ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’ — that really is the kind of thing homo erectus must have said to each other. Which doesn’t sound like much of an advance on a dog’s bark, but it really is — because even a basic language is an extraordinary achievement, requiring theory of mind, the creation of a shared attention space, honed physical control and, most startling of all, the collective creation of a symbolic communication system involving thousands of communally agreed meanings and conventions. That’s why no other species has managed to create even the most basic sort of language. Getting to that stage requires a fizzingly creative and aware brain, so maximum respect to homo erectus for having made that intellectual leap. Me Tarzan, you Jane — simple and dull, but a huge breakthrough. Everett’s case isn’t new — the idea that homo erectus invented language has been around for a couple of decades — but his is a new and ambitious attempt to explain it to that fraction of the population that doesn’t have a linguistics degree. He doesn’t quite pull his populist schtick off — his prose is a bit costive and repetitive and the illustrative anecdotes tend to clunk. But it’s a laudable effort, the subject-matter is completely enthralling. Though he may lack the Dawkins touch, Everett is at the very top of his intellectual game and field. Demonised by history Thomas W. Hodgkinson Viking Britain: An Exploration by Thomas Williams William Collins, £25, pp. 416 Some oleaginous interviewer once suggested to Winston Churchill that he was the greatest Briton who ever lived. The grand old man considered the matter gravely. ‘No,’ he replied at length. ‘That was Alfred the Great.’ In his hefty, hard-to-pick-up History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Churchill expatiated on King Alfred’s foremost quality: it was his ‘sublime power to rise above the whole force of circumstances, to remain unbiased by the extremes of victory or defeat, to persevere in the teeth of disaster, to greet returning fortune with a cool eye, to have faith in men after repeated betrayals’. Remind you of anyone? But perhaps it isn’t surprising that Churchill should have singled out for reverence another wartime leader who had saved his island from a savage horde. Alfred’s ultimate victory over the Vikings remains our foundation myth, a ninth-century fore-echo of the clash with Nazism. And this, according to Thomas Wil- Did the Anglo-Saxons glimpse in the Vikings a garish, nightmarish image of their former selves? liams in his robust new book, is one among many reasons why the Vikings have tended to be demonised by history. The more brutal and bristle-bearded the enemy, the greater is Alfred’s Greatness for subduing them. And the greater, therefore, are we. Viking Britain — an engrossing account of the skirmishes, wars and final symbiotic absorption that occurred between AngloSaxons and Scandinavians from the late eighth to the early 11th century — suggests that another motive for exaggerating the differences between the Vikings and ourselves is a queasy awareness of the similarities. The idea is that the Anglo-Saxons glimpsed in the enemy a garish, nightmarish image of their former selves. After all, it hadn’t been so many generations earlier that they too had arrived by sea, calling on a comparable pagan pantheon (they worshipped Woden; the Vikings Odin) for the courage to ride roughshod over the natives, rape their women and ransack their wealth. Since then, they had converted to Christianity. Which made them the good guys, up to a point. Yet as Catherine Nixey has detailed in a recent book, the early Christians were often as vile and violent as their foes. She focused on the Middle East and Maghreb. Williams describes the brutality of Charlemagne’s wars against the Saxons the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk in northern Europe, how in 782 the Emperor had 4,500 prisoners beheaded on the banks of the Weser, and later decreed that anyone who refused baptism should be executed. It may have been this, Williams suggests, that persuaded the Scandinavians to step up their raids to the West. Fearsome as they were, they were fearful of these ruthless, self-righteous Christians in the South, who worshipped a son-sacrificing God and ritually ate his flesh. There’s an argument that their long-shafted, two-handed, horseslaying axes were developed in response to the threat from evangelical Frankish cavalry. Williams’s revisionist zeal doesn’t prevent him from admitting that the Vikings were, in some ways, very different from us. Their slave girls were occasionally forced to immolate themselves on the funeral pyres of their deceased masters, having first submitted to gang rape at the hands of their friends and relatives. And the warriors had a peculiar way of celebrating victory. They would bugger the vanquished foe. It was not, as far as we know, a practice in which King Alfred indulged after routing Guthrum at Edington. This even-handedness makes Viking Britain a better work, if not necessarily a better read. Williams is scrupulous to avoid the easy pub-chat message. He writes fluently and with feeling. It did, though, strike me as odd that a book with such a title should devote only ten pages to the quarter-century when Britain was ruled by the Scandinavian king Cnut and his sons, or the Knýtlinga, as they were collectively known. That was the period, arguably, when the country could most truthfully have been described as ‘Viking Britain’. Williams’s answer may be that by then the Knýtlinga weren’t really Vikings, since they were no longer marauding hoodlums, nor pagan. But this is to restore the stereotype he has already dismissed. I found myself wondering if the author was drawn, despite himself, to the old story, and if this might be part of the reason for his mild air of gloom as he traipses off, in several wryly entertaining autobiographical vignettes, to scrutinise a rune stone or brood upon a tumulus. It is usually raining. One time, he has argued with his wife. Glance at the author photo on the dust jacket and you’ll see that, with his mighty beard, Williams himself resembles the popular image of the Viking. Was it this that led him to become curator of early medieval coins at the British Museum? Or did he grow the beard later, consciously or subconsciously absorbing the style notes of his specialism? It’s impossible to be sure. But I like to imagine that in the photograph for his next book, which will no doubt deal with the Vikings’ adventures on the continent and elsewhere, Williams will be wielding a long-shafted axe. 35 BOOKS & ARTS ARTS SPECIAL iAddicts Rory Sutherland doesn’t have an iPhone. But he knows why you do F or many years The Spectator employed a television reviewer who did not own a colour television. Now they have decided to go one better and have asked me to write a piece to mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. I have never owned an iPhone. (In the metropolitan media world I inhabit, this is tantamount to putting on your CV that you ‘enjoy line dancing, child pornography and collecting Nazi memorabilia’). But, even though I’m a diehard Android fan, I still cannot help paying attention to every single thing Apple does and says. I don’t think this happens in reverse. I doubt Apple owners pay any attention to the next phone announcement from LG or Nokia — any more than Anna Wintour lies awake wondering what Primark’s autumn season has in store. How has it achieved this? Well, like De Beers before it, Apple has exhibited a rare marketing genius in creating something that defies the usual rules of economics. By stubbornly resisting the pressure to chase volume sales by producing cheaper variants of the iPhone, and through fanatical attention to design, Apple has, ingeniously, become a technology company with the characteristics (and the margins) of a luxury-goods company or a high-fashion brand. On the one occasion that Apple deferred to the bidding of financial analysts and introduced a lower-cost alternative to the flagship iPhone (the plastic-bodied 5C), it failed. Just as there is very little demand for the world’s second most expensive champagne, or for private jets with densely packed seating, there is very little demand for the world’s second-best flagship phone. As someone wisely once said to me, in response to a business proposal, ‘Yes, there may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap?’ Notice that, for the world’s most valuable company, Apple sells remarkably few things. Ring up Samsung, and they won’t just sell you a phone, a vacuum cleaner and a television, they can also build you an offshore oil rig or a supertanker. By contrast, I can name every current Apple product from memory. But it isn’t only the range that is kept tightly controlled: so, too, is the pace of replacement. 36 With Apple’s control over both hardware and software, any new product or upgrade is a media event worldwide (Android upgrades take place piecemeal, depending on your handset). Apple’s tempo of innovation is hence kept at a humanly comprehensible level. Together these two things mean that, once you decide you are an Apple person, choosing an Apple phone is easy — as is deciding when you will next upgrade and to what. For an Android user, the ‘choice architecture’ is baffling: new phones are launching all the time at every different price-point imaginable. Unless you want to spend weeks reading reviews, you can lose the will to live. It is often the case with super-dominant brands that they possess a superpower that When Apple created the smartphone, did it unwittingly create 20 Marlboro in electronic form? is so strong that we accept it without thinking. It is, when you think about it, a remarkable quality of Coca-Cola that, aside from water, it is the only cold, non-alcoholic drink you can order anywhere in the world without having to think for a second whether or not it is available. You can be in the bar of the Colombe d’Or, a McDonald’s in Taipei, or a beach shack in Belize and, if you ask for a Coke, you’ll get it. If they don’t have it, that’s their fault, not yours. Ask for a Dr Pepper or a ginger beer in those places and you’ll get an ‘I’m sorry, no’ accompanied by an eye gesture that somehow implies that you are a weird idiot just for asking. Like a fashion brand, Apple’s peculiar magic lies in taste-making. Conventional business logic suggests that you should find out what people want and then provide it to them in volume at as low a price as possible. Apple’s approach is closer to that of an artist, chef or couturier — it exists to inform and improve your taste, rather than to reflect it: ‘It’s not the customer’s job to figure out what they want,’ as Steve Jobs put it. In some ways, Apple is more like a French brand than a democratic American one. In France, the more expensive the hotel, the more likely it is to refuse to make you a sandwich. There’s only one extortionate prix-fixe menu, but the view from the ter- race is so good you’re happy to go along with it. In the same way, we accept a proprietary charging cable and no headphone jack because the Apple taste-sommelier tells us to. Apple hence has the extraordinary power to make people accept things they didn’t previously want. No other tech brand can seduce to the same extent. This gives it exceptional power to innovate. How can we not admire this? The only reason to worry is scale. Let’s be clear. Humans do almost everything to generate feelings. We don’t have sex predominantly to produce children — or buy Prada sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun: we do it because of how it feels. Nobody really goes to the bottle bank to recycle glass: we do it for the fun of smashing bottles. Or take those alcohol-based hand sanitisers you get in public lavatories: if asked, you would explain that you are using it to reduce the risk of infection, but really it’s because of the pervily enjoyable sensation you get when the liquid evaporates on your hands. We do things that feel good, then we post-rationalise. And Apple’s greatest insight is that a phone’s appeal lies less in what we can instrumentally do with it than in how it feels when we do it. But there’s one important difference. We don’t (well, I don’t) spend five hours a day having sex, buying sunglasses or recycling bottles. There aren’t one-and-a-half billion people spending an hour a day sanitising their hands. Apart from anything else, there’s a time and a place for all these things. But for a smartphone the time and place is ‘all the time, any place’. When something changes behaviour to the extent the smartphone has done, do we need to ask what the downside may be? (Silicon Valley professes to be improving the world, but is wilfully blind to unintended consequences.) Are 40 billion working hours being wasted every year because it feels better to write on a lovely touchscreen rather than an ugly but functional keyboard? When it is a rainy day in Peckham, how does it improve your life to see pictures of your friends on holiday? When Apple created the smartphone, did it unwittingly create 20 Marlboro in electronic form? Though at least when people smoked they were paying attention to the other people in the room… the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk APPLE INC/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK iPhone 8 Plus, unveiled last week at the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Headquarters, Cupertino, California. The new features include a Retina HD display, A11 Bionic Chip and wireless charging the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 37 BOOKS & ARTS © THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM, ST PETERSBURG, 2017. PHOTO: V TEREBENIN Museums The icemen cometh Daisy Dunn Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia British Museum, until 14 January 2018 You wouldn’t want to stumble upon the Scythians. Armed with battle-axes, bows and daggers, and covered in fearsome tattoos, the horse-mad nomads ranged the Russian steppe from around 900 to 200 BC, turning squirrels into fur coats and human teeth into earrings. At their mightiest, they controlled territory from the Black Sea to the north border of China. They left behind no written record, only enormous burial mounds, chiefly in the Altai mountains and plains of southern Siberia. Chambers that weren’t looted in antiquity were preserved in the permafrost only to be discovered millennia later. It is thanks to Peter the Great and the expeditions he launched that so many objects have now been retrieved from the ice. There are hats for horses topped with felt cockerels, lumps of cheese kept in pretty pouches, a stick-on beard dyed chestnut Chambers were preserved in the permafrost only to be discovered millennia later brown. Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia is unlikely to leave you pondering how little humans have changed. Herodotus said that the Scythians were cleverer than their Black Sea neighbours. They did their best work in gold, punching and pummelling appliqués from flat sheets and moulding huge belt buckles into shapes of animals in combat. A vulture tramples a tiger to maul a yak. A tiger chews the hind leg of a panther-wolf-bird hybrid. Scythian men wore their buckles over sheepskin coats and leather trousers. Some tribes completed the ensemble with tall pointy hats. The Scythians were racially diverse. Several women buried in mounds at Pazyryk, near the modern Chinese/Mongolian border, look European, while the chiefs have Mongol features. Standing face to face with one of these heavily tattooed, mummified, injured warriors is as unsettling as it sounds. Was it the third blow of the battle-axe to his skull that killed him, or the thrust of the sword to his brow? At least he was dead by the time he was scalped and relieved of his brain. Herodotus said that the Scythians scalped their enemies, too, attaching the remains to their horses’ bridles. They embalmed their own dead, stuffing them with straw, pine needles, herbs and larch cones from the 38 War horse: horse headdress made of felt, leather and wood, late 4th–early 3rd century BC the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Siberian forests. The remains were placed in coffins made from whole trees and interred in felt-lined chambers. When a chief died, says Herodotus, his horses were killed and his cupbearer, cook, groom, squire, messenger, and one of his concubines strangled and buried with him. The mounds at Pazyryk contained dozens of horses and enough saddles, bridles and bits to keep them going in the afterlife. One of the most beautiful objects in the exhibition is a small saddlecloth decoration of a winged bull. Discovered in northern Kazakhstan, it was embroidered from wool with a delicacy one wouldn’t expect from a people so enamoured of triple-blade arrowheads. It was delicacy, though, that the Scythians used to define themselves. Pass the cases of terrifying war implements, and you come to a copy of a felt tomb hanging featuring men with neat Herodotus said that the Scythians would ‘howl in wonder’ as they inhaled cannabis bobbly haircuts and cheerful moustaches riding horses. They look almost cute. Although the human remains suggest the Scythians were clean-shaven, the Greeks and Persians characterised them with beards. Perhaps they aspired to grow facial hair (no one really knows what the false beard was for). Their women, after all, were trouserwearing, horse-riding warriors — Amazons, according to Herodotus. In his Histories, the Amazons sleep with the Scythian men but refuse to cohabit with the existing Scythian women because they are not outdoorsy enough. The Amazons therefore set off with their Scythians to establish a new people. With their peculiar wooden hats — topped with tall plaits of hair — and weaponry, the women of Scythia must have looked terrifying to the Greeks. It’s now thought that they really did inspire the Amazon myths. It would have been nice to see something of the Amazons in this otherwise exhilarating exhibition. One senses a slight tentativeness on the part of the curators to draw too much from Herodotus, even though the evidence from the mounds corroborates so much of his colourful account. He said the Scythians would ‘howl in wonder’ as they inhaled cannabis. A brazier with burned hemp seeds is on display. He described stages in their burial practices that the archaeology confirms. The Scythians were much as he described them: formidable horsemen, horsewomen and warriors with a taste for fine craftsmanship; they worked gold as if it fell ‘from the sky’. Illustration Frills and furbelows Laura Gascoigne Over the winter of 1859–60, a handsome young man could be seen patrolling the shores of the Gulf of Messina in a rowing boat, skimming the water’s surface with a net. The net’s fine mesh was not designed for fishing, and the young man was not a Sicilian fisherman. He was the 25-year-old German biologist Ernst Haeckel from Potsdam searching for minute plankton known as Radiolaria. In February he wrote excitedly to his fiancée, Anna Sethe, that he had caught 12 new species in a single day — ‘among them the most charming little creatures’ — and hoped to make it a full century before leaving. Haeckel had a degree in medicine but no interest in treating patients, whose visits he curtailed by holding surgeries from 5 to 6 a.m. A man of prodigious energies who survived on a few hours sleep, he preferred to devote his waking hours to documenting in watercolour drawings the intricate structures of different species of Radiolaria, as seemingly infinite in their variety as threedimensional snowflakes. With no formal art training, he had an astonishing ability to record complex combinations of spirals, lattices, stars, needles and radial spokes by looking through a microscope with his left eye while focusing on drawing with his right. The exquisitely illustrated Monograph on Radiolaria he published in 1862, soon after his marriage, won him the German Academy of Sciences’ highest honour, but on the day of the award — his 30th birthday — his beloved Anna died of a ruptured appendix. From that point on, writes Julia Voss in The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel, he was ‘consumed by a ferocious universal loathing’ and ‘gradually gave way to the darkest nihilism’. The image is hard to What do you do with a genius with unconscionable views? square with a 1904 photograph of a twinklyeyed Haeckel standing next to a chimpanzee skeleton with a human skull in his hand, looking like a more benign and less simian Darwin. But it helps to explain his development of views on race, euthanasia and war ‘as a continuation of biology by other means’ that today seem inexcusable. Things would have been fine if this Übermensch of a biologist had stuck to publishing illustrated studies of underwater creatures, from Radiolaria (1862–1888) && "" !"#/**$'%(',+)+.-,- Daisy Dunn is the author of Catullus’ Bedspread and The Poems of Catullus (HarperCollins). the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 39 BOOKS & ARTS © TASCHEN KÖLN/NIEDERSÄCHSISCHE STAATS- UND UNIVERSITÄTSBIBLIOTHEK GÖTTINGEN ‘Cnidarians’ from Haeckel’s book Art Forms in Nature, 1899–1904 40 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk to Siphonophorae (1869–88), Calcareous Sponges (1872), Arabian Corals (1876), Medusae (1879–81) and Deep-Sea Keratosa (1889). The trouble started when he strayed from marine biology into human biogenetics. Carried away by Darwin’s theory of evolution, he sought to introduce some Teutonic order to the vagaries of natural selection. Darwin scented danger when his young disciple sent him a copy of his General Morphology of Organisms in 1866: ‘My dear Haeckel, Your boldness sometimes makes me tremble,’ he wrote, ‘but… someone must be bold enough to make a beginning in drawing up tables of descent.’ Haeckel’s illustration of the descent of man in the embryology textbook Anthropogenie he published eight years later showed a chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan and African up the same tree. What do you do with a genius with unconscionable views? If he’s an artist, judge him by his art. Fortunately for history’s verdict on Haeckel, his art has lasted better than his science: while his Radiolaria have been renamed Radiozoa and downgraded from multicellular to unicellular organisms, his dazzling draughtsmanship remains undiminished. It takes an illustrator’s skill to describe such minutiae, but an artist’s imag- It takes an illustrator’s skill to describe such minutiae, but an artist’s imagination to bring them to life ination to bring them to life: if the frills and furbelows of Haeckel’s ‘Desmonema annasethe’ (1879) evoke lacy lingerie blowing in a breeze, it reflects the fact that he named this particular jellyfish in loving memory of his first wife, just as he later immortalised his young lover Frida von Uslar-Gleichen — lost to a morphine overdose in 1903 — in the nomenclature of the jellyfish Rhophilema frida. (His longer-lived second wife of 30 years, Agnes, didn’t have so much as a sea slug named after her.) It was Frida who assisted him with the preparation of what would become his most influential work, Art Forms in Nature, published in ten instalments between 1899 and 1904. Coinciding with the birth of art nouveau, its treasury of biomorphic wonders was plundered for inspiration by architects and designers. Amsterdam’s new Stock Exchange, opened in 1903, and Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum, launched in 1910, both boasted chandeliers modelled on Rhophilema frida, but the most extraordinary monument to Haeckel’s art was the entrance to the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris designed by René Binet after Clathrocanium reginae, a species of Radiolaria resembling a Prussian spiked helmet. Haeckel’s influence on the fine arts is harder to measure. The connections Voss makes with Kandinsky and Klimt seem a little forced, but Max Ernst’s snappily titled ‘The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses’ (1920–1) is a clear descendant of Haeckel’s calcareous sponges. The 600 pages of stunning plates in this sumptuous book could win him a whole new generation of artist followers, just as long as they stick with the marine invertebrates and avoid the apes. The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel is published by Taschen. Exhibitions Mothers’ ruin Kate Chisholm At the heart of Basic Instincts, the new exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London, is an extraordinarily powerful painting of a mother and baby. At one time the ‘Angel of Mercy’ was sold as a greetings card by its owner, the Yale Center of British Art in Connecticut, presumably intended as something you might send your own mother or child. But take a second glance and you might well wonder who bought the card and who they might have sent it to. In Joseph Highmore’s Georgian scene, a young, fashionably dressed woman is splayed across the canvas, her feet in delicate silk shoes, a tiny baby, naked, resting precariously on her lap. On her left cowers a veiled figure in grey, resolutely turned away from her; on her right, a huge figure in classical robes and wearing a pair of massive feathery wings offers a guiding hand, pointing towards the buildings in the background which are meant to represent the Foundling Hospital, established in London in 1739. Closer study reveals that the delicate pink ribbon stretched between the woman’s hands is poised around the baby’s neck; a tiny pink brushstroke indicates the baby’s tongue, gasping for breath. It becomes clear that this is not a typical virginal scene. The woman has been stopped in the nick of time from strangling her baby to death. But her fashionable silks, her desperate expression, the hooded, cowering figure all suggest the baby is the consequence of rape, not wanton sex, and the woman has been abused, ruined and now abandoned, possibly by the very people who are now looking at the painting. Her baby just-born, perhaps on that very spot, arrives not in a comfortable bed but in a dark cavern, outwith the safe domestic space. There’s a shocking immediacy about the portrait, a sense that what is unfolding in the picture is happening around you. This woman could be your daughter, Highmore seems to be saying. The picture, from about the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 1746, was never put on public display. Highmore, who was a friend of the artist William Hogarth, a fellow governor of the Foundling Hospital and responsible for the image on the subscription roll, appears to have realised it was way ahead of its time. When it did eventually appear in a sale catalogue at Sotheby’s in the 1960s it was attributed to the more famous Hogarth, not Highmore, and described as ‘An angel succouring a foundling child’, the focus diverted from the mother’s actions to the act of mercy, of rescue. Now at last it is being shown here for the first time, and at the end of an exhibi- The woman has been stopped in the nick of time from strangling her baby to death tion designed to show that Highmore (1692– 1780) was much more than just a society painter, depicting the respectable front of the Georgian middle class. His choice of murder weapon — the pink ribbon — is a very poignant reminder of why the Foundling Hospital was established by Thomas Coram, a retired sea captain. On his return from roaming the world in the 1720s Coram was shocked by all the starving, threadbare children he saw on the streets of his home city, abandoned and 41 BOOKS & ARTS YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART, PAUL MELLON COLLECTION ‘The Angel of Mercy’, c.1746, by Joseph Highmore struggling to survive, and he determined to rescue them. The charitable foundation, which still bears his name and still works ‘to create better chances for children’, accepted 228 children between 1741 and 1745, schooled at the hospital and trained for future employment. Many of the mothers left a token as a distinguishing mark, in case they should ever be in a position to reclaim their child, and many of these tokens were ribbons, very often pink. ‘We need to rethink Highmore as an artist but also rethink that period, when even middle-class women were in danger of assault and social exclusion,’ says Dr Jacqueline Riding, curator of the exhibition. Another portrait on show is of the famous courtesan Teresia Phillips, who claimed to have fallen into prostitution after being raped at the age of 13. Highmore gave per42 mission for the picture to be used as the frontispiece to her memoirs, published in 1748, and for a note to be inserted in the text indicating that the portrait could be seen at his studio in Lincoln’s Inn. It was an adver- In the 18th century even middle-class women were in danger of assault and social exclusion tisement for his work, but it was also a huge risk, aligning himself with such a notorious female celebrity. Visitors to his studio could also have viewed a portrait of ‘the noble Clarissa’, heroine of Samuel Richardson’s eponymous novel, also published in 1748. Clarissa, from an educated, wealthy family, dies of hunger and self-neglect after being abandoned by them for refusing to marry the man they had chosen for her and then duped and raped by her persecutor Lovelace. The novel was a huge success, some of the girls deposited at the Foundling Hospital were named after her, and it remains (at just under a million words, or four volumes of 600 pages apiece) perhaps the most profound dissection of male and female desire ever written. Highmore’s earlier portraits of women are very much of their time — decorous, fashionable, somewhat dull. But his connection with the Foundling Hospital alerted him to the inequalities and injustices of his time and to the plight of women and children at the mercy of men who always held the keys. ‘Angel of Mercy’ still has the power to shock and, sadly, tells a very modern story. Basic Instinct is at the Foundling Museum from 29 September until 7 January 2018. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Art market Fickle fortune Martin Gayford Here’s an intriguing thought experiment: could Damien Hirst disappear? By that I mean not the 52-year-old artist himself — that would be sensational indeed — but the vast fame, the huge prices, the hectares of newsprint, profiles, reviews and interviews by the thousand. Could all that just fade from our collective memory into a black hole of oblivion? The answer is: yes, quite easily. Artists vanish all the time. Take the case of Hans Makart (1840–1884). He was a contemporary of Monet, Manet and Degas, but enormously more acclaimed in his lifetime than any of those. A period of Viennese life was dubbed the ‘Makart era’, a fashionable idiom was named the ‘Makartstil’. One reason for his success was that he was a master of PR. Makart transformed his studio, an old foundry, into a vast stage set crammed with floral displays, sculpture and opulent bric-à-brac. Cosima Wagner described it as a ‘wonder of decorative beauty, a sublime lumber-room’. To a 21stcentury eye, old photographs of the space look like installation art. Makart was able to put on a tremendous performance, too. In 1879 he designed a spectacular parade to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of the Emperor Franz Joseph, with floats, costumes, every detail conceived by the artist — and Makart leading the entire caboodle in person on a white horse. The Viennese liked it so much they carried on repeating the ‘Makart parade’ until the 1960s. He gave his age what it wanted: masses of voluptuous naked flesh depicted with sub-Rubenesque gusto, mixed with jewels, rich textiles and maybe a spot of blood. But Could Damien Hirst fade from our collective memory into a black hole of oblivion? who remembers Makart now? To be fair, a few art historians do — and probably more in Austria than elsewhere. But compared with Cézanne or Sisley — obscure nobodies when he was riding that white horse — his is a very dim name these days. Makart’s is not an isolated case. Many of the most familiar figures in the history of art passed through periods — lasting in some cases for centuries — during which nobody paid them or their works any attention at all. In 1786, Goethe — one of the most cultivated and erudite people in Europe — passed through Assisi without looking at the frescoes of the Upper and Lower Churches of San Francesco. Giotto, Simone Martini and Cimabue simply weren’t then on the list of interesting things to see. Similarly, nobody took much interest in El Greco between his death in 1614 and the mid 19th century. For a long while, Johannes Vermeer was, if not a complete artistic nonentity, then no more famous than dozens of other 17th-century Dutch genre painters. Even within recent times, the rise of Vermeer’s reputation has been stratospheric. In 2014, the most popular art exhibition in the world was a show in Tokyo in which the biggest attraction by far was one of his paintings, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ (seen by 750,000 people at a rate of 10,000 a day). Twenty-five years ago this picture was not even the most celebrated Vermeer. The market in artistic fame — even of old masters — is surprisingly volatile. The examples above are, of course, those who got remembered again. But plenty, famous in their day, never get rediscovered. Alternatively, they may be hugely admired by one age, then relegated to a much less prominent spot in our collective consciousness. Raphael Mengs, Guido Reni and the Carracci are among those currently in this position: their works still hang on the walls of major art galleries, but they are not paid much attention. Tours that lead you up the garden path. As market leaders in cultural tours we enjoy privileged access to historic KRXVHVDQGJDUGHQVWKURXJKRXW%ULWDLQ(XURSHDQGIXUWKHUDĆHOG Led by eminent academics and horticulturists, MRT’s all-inclusive house DQGJDUGHQWRXUVFHOHEUDWHWKHĆQHVWDUFKLWHFWXUHDQGJDUGHQGHVLJQ From the formal to the frivolous, from Suffolk to Sanssouci, many offer additional elements such as country walks or wine-tasting. Tours include: Gardens & Villas of Campagna Romana Walking & Gardens in Madeira | Gardens of the Riviera Gardens & Villas of the Italian Lakes Gardens & Palaces of Berlin & Potsdam the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk ‘The houses chosen were an excellent mix. The private, off-hours guided tours arranged by Martin Randall impressed us greatly.’ Contact us: +44 (0)20 8742 3355 martinrandall.com ATOL 3622 | ABTA Y6050 | AITO 5085 43 BOOKS & ARTS PHOTO BY VCG WILSON/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES ‘The Japanese’ by Hans Makart, 1870–75 but only for a short period (approximately 1988–93 in Hirst’s case; 1959–63 in Smith’s). He certainly managed to provide just what a particular era wanted (future historians may call it ‘the plutocratic period’). His auction of new works at Sotheby’s — held, by eerie coincidence, on 15 September 2008, the day Lehman Brothers collapsed — realised £111 million. But his prices and reputation have been bobbing up and down since then. His current exhibition, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, which fills two large museums in Venice until December, looks like an attempted relaunch. It has pulled in the crowds but received some hostile reviews (‘undoubtedly one of the worst exhibitions of contemporary art staged in the past decade’ according to ARTnews). The numerous exhibits, fabricated at a cost of millions and priced accordingly, might well sink back down into the cold, green depths of collective indifference. The good news, from Hirst’s point of view, is that what disappears may always resurface. Makart, Smith and Denny may yet make a comeback. To echo Hockney, it would require an incredibly perceptive person to know what, if anything, being made today will fascinate future centuries. Opera Small wonders Michael Tanner Pagliacci; L’enfant et les sortilèges Leeds Grand Theatre, and touring until 18 November When it comes to art that is being made right now, the volatility is even greater. Recently, I’ve been looking at Private View, a lavish coffee-table book published in 1965. It was intended as a snapshot, as the subtitle puts it, of ‘The Lively World of British Art’, including gallery owners, writers and many others, but mainly artists. In many ways it’s a marvellous volume, with wonderfully evocative photographs by Lord Snowdon. Quite a few of those featured are still highly familiar: Bridget Riley, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud. But dozens of names are now known only to specialists in the period. Some of them even the experts would have to look up. David Hockney, who got a few pages in Private View, once observed that ‘very few people would know what the truly significant art of today is. You’d have to be an incredibly perceptive person to do so. The history books keep being changed.’ That’s demonstrably true. And it’s possible to climb a long way up the pole, then slip right down again. Some years ago, I was lining up to go into a lunch in honour of the artist representing Britain at the Venice Biennale. I fell into conversation with an elderly man stand44 ing behind me in the queue whose face I couldn’t quite place. After a bit he remarked in a melancholy tone: ‘In 1970, this lunch was given for me.’ It was Richard Smith. During the 1960s and early 1970s Smith, and his friend and art-school contemporary Robyn Denny, were among the brightest stars in British art. The glittering prizes — Venice, Tate retrospectives while they were still in early middle-age— were theirs. Then it all went away. There are 85 works by Denny in the Tate collection, but only one is currently on view (which is more than there have sometimes been). Towards the end of his life, Smith reflected sadly: ‘I was the right kind of artist for that kind of time. Then… I don’t know.’ Denny kept telling him, Smith said, ‘Our time will come, Dick. Our time will come.’ But he’d been saying that for a long time: ‘years and years and years’. So the answer is that it would be entirely conceivable for Hirst — mega-rich and colossally well known though he is — to melt away like mist. Indeed he has several resemblances to Makart and Smith. Like the former he is a master of self-presentation. Like the latter, it seems to me, he had good ideas, It has been a reasonably good week for peripatetic opera-loving female-underwear fetishists. In La bohème at Covent Garden Musetta slipped out of her knickers and swung them round, as everyone, except me, mentioned in their reviews; and now, in Leeds, in the first of Opera North’s ‘Little Greats’, what laughter the actors in the drama got was from Tonio and others trying on Nedda’s bra. This new production of Pagliacci by Charles Edwards, sadly under-attended, was possibly too ingenious. It is set in a rehearsal room, and we see the first day of rehearsals and then the final run-through. It kind of works, but anyone unfamiliar with the opera would have found it mysterious, and some of the time I felt I was on shifting sands. Still, the central thrust of this sole real masterpiece of verismo hit one powerfully, from the superbly delivered prologue by the Tonio of Richard Burkhard to the final despairing cry that the comedy is over. There are occasional vulgarities in the score, the last few bars being the most egregious case. But mainly it is dramatically pungent, wonderfully melodious, and frequently inspired. Its usual the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk twin, the shameless Cavalleria rusticana, is perhaps more coarsely enjoyable, but Pagliacci has refinement and, in the relatively complex figure of Tonio, the deformed (not that he was here) and jealous clown, pathos and unease. With an all-round excellent cast, Peter Auty’s Canio stood out, dramatically frightening and with his superb voice on its best form. But Canio is given the most chances; the build-up from suspicion to conviction to crime passionnel is plotted by the composer-librettist with skill, the performer of the role just having to be careful that he doesn’t feel too much too soon. Jon Vickers set the standard here, but Auty can be ranked alongside him. And the Nedda of Elin Pritchard was excellent too, in her Madame Bovarylike dreams, and her growing nervousness. Opera North’s orchestra showed that it is not only the Ring that they are consummate performers of, and Tobias Ringborg, not previously known to me, found plenty of colours in the score. These Little Greats will come in various combinations, and audiences can pick which ones they prefer, or just go to a single one — there is a separate programme book for each of them. The second on this occasion was Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, to Colette’s marvellous text. A much trickier piece to bring off, it actually triumphs in this production by Annabel Arden to an extent I’d hardly have thought possible, especially after the Glyndebourne production, one of the few that I have taken as definitive. Wallis Giunta is brilliant as the Child (it’s performed in French), more plausibly boyish in figure and movement than any other I’ve seen. The cast clearly adore doing it, with John Graham-Hall outstanding as Tea Pot, a large upwards- curving black spout in just the right place. Maybe the Tom Cat and Female Cat could make more of their duet, but though Colette might have liked them to, Ravel might not have. Martin André conducted with the gusto that is often lacking when people tackle this piece, and brought the work to a close that was both charming and moving. It occurred to me midway through the piece that it is really Ravel’s Parsifal, not perhaps an insight that everyone will want to share. But the Child is shown us, to begin with, very much in a state of nature, bent on self-gratification and failing to notice the feelings of others. When Parsifal is hauled on to the stage for shooting a swan and declares, ‘If I see something flying, I shoot it’, he has to learn pity, which he is able to do only through the recognition of his ill-treatment of his mother, leading to her death. The things that we have seen the Child mistreating, from furniture to live creatures, are all moved when he bandages the Squirrel’s wounded paw, and they murmur that ‘Il est bon, l’enfant’ — Ravel’s version of Parsifal’s final healing of Amfortas’s wound, with the knights’ approving chorus. In the programme book there are heavyweight quotations from Melanie Klein, but she is only, as is so often the case with psychoanalytic thinkers, emphasising a point that has already been made with clinching conviction by artists. Television Loose ends James Walton On Sunday night, Holliday Grainger was on two terrestrial channels at the same time playing a possibly smitten sidekick of a gruff but kindly detective with a beard. Even so, she needn’t worry too much about getting typecast. In BBC1’s Strike, she continued as the immaculately turned-out, London-dwelling Robin, who uses such traditional sleuthing methods as Google searches. On Channel 4, not only was she dressed in rags, with a spectacular facial scar and a weird hairdo, she was also living in an unnamed dystopian city, where her detective work relied on a handy capacity to read minds. This was the first and highly promising episode of Electric Dreams, which has set itself the ambitious task of adapting ten scifi stories by Philip K. Dick, each with a different writer, director and cast. Sunday’s programme opened with a demonstration understandably protesting against a new law that all citizens must have their minds read by the mutants known as Teeps — as in telepathics. Unfortunately for the protestors, a Teep called Honor (Grainger) was already deploying her psychic powers to identify the ringleader for the cops. And once she had, it didn’t take her long to discover either his most shameful secrets or his co-conspirators. Her reward was to be made the assistant to Agent Ross (Richard Madden) in his quest to root out more anti-government, anti-Teep subversives. At first, it seemed as if the pair had risen above the mutual suspicion between ‘Normals’ and Teeps — who’ve been banished to their own ghetto. The longer the episode went on, though, the less certain this became. Dick’s stories, written during the Cold War, are already famous for their ability to resonate in any era. And here — without the programme ever stinting on the thrills — the parallels with our anxieties about state and corporate surveillance, the death of privacy and the fear of minorities (justified or otherwise) came across in a way that managed to feel both unignorable and unforced. It was also nicely tricky to work out whose side we were on. My only slightly sheepish reservation is that the ending was one of those inconclusive ones, where the final revelation — in the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk this case, the real nature of Ross and Honor’s relationship — was left unrevealed. As ever, you could appreciate how smart and grownup it was to let us make up our own minds. But as ever too, in a less sophisticated part of the mind, there was a definite twinge of disappointment at being left dangling. The other big new programmes of the week were all sitcoms — which I’ll take in ascending order of quality. On Wednesday, ITV brought us Bad Move, co-written by and starring Jack Dee as a man who’s moved to the countryside with his wife — or at least to that version of the countryside generally found in sitcoms. Cue rude shopkeepers, smug neighbours who announce their visits with a hearty ‘Coo-ee!’ and much anguish about the lack of internet access. The result isn’t wholly terrible, but it is distinctly plodding, as if Dee had given himself a creative writing assignment in which the aim was to reproduce as faithfully as possible all the elements of a bog-standard prime-time sitcom. Far better, and far more idiosyncratic, is Porters (Dave, Wednesday), a pitch-dark show featuring a group of hospital porters who vary between the unpleasant, the The people most depressingly ﬂuent in BBC bollocks are the ones who’ll have been promoted next time you see them deluded and the psychopathic. Subjects for hilarity on Wednesday ranged from mental illness to a bloke smashing a dead rabbi on the head with a mobile phone. This is not, then, a programme for those who like their comedy lovable. On the other hand, the plotting is inventive (at times alarmingly so), there are plenty of good lines, and, as in Green Wing, the heartlessness somehow ends up being bracing rather than mean-spirited. And so to the best of the lot: BBC2’s W1A, now back for a third series. The makers claim that their feelings towards the BBC are a mixture of exasperation and affection — but on Monday, once again, the exasperation was much easier to spot. We rejoined the BBC management team as they launched a new initiative that requires ‘finding what we do best and doing less of it better’. (Incidentally, in my intermittent experience, the people most depressingly fluent in BBC bollocks are the ones who’ll have been promoted next time you see them.) Meanwhile, the more cutting-edge types have decided that ‘nobody watches television any more’ and that the future lies with ‘BBC Me’, where viewers provide content for the corporation instead of the outmoded other way round. As usual, enjoying W1A’s pin-sharp, sideof-the-angels satire was undercut by just one thing: the thought that somewhere in the real BBC there’ll be people wondering if all this doesn’t sound like rather a good idea (going forward). 45 BOOKS & ARTS The rivals: Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg in Borg vs McEnroe Cinema No balls Deborah Ross Borg vs McEnroe U, Nationwide Borg vs McEnroe is a dramatised account of one of the greatest tennis rivalries of all time — between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe (the clue was always in the title) — that doesn’t hit nearly as hard as it should. It does the job. It gets us from A to B. But it doesn’t dazzle. It doesn’t have the dramatic smarts to lend either surprising tension or excitement to otherwise familiar events, or shed any new light on them. It’s more the pt-pt-pt-pt of a stolid baseline 46 rally and now, you will be thankful to hear, that’s it with the tennis puns. (I only had two anyhow.) The film stars Sverrir Gudnason as Borg and Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and it all plays out in the lead-up to their most famous showdown. That is, the 1980 Wimbledon final that ran to five tempestuous Borg stares dishily out to sea, but what is he thinking? We never ﬁnd out sets. For Borg, the cool Swede, a win would mean a record-breaking fifth consecutive title, but only if he could see off this American upstart with the volatile temper, potty mouth and wild, frizzy hair. It also interlaces their back stories although, being a Scandinavian production, it is far more interested in Borg than in McEnroe. The film could quite easily have been called plain Borg. Yet we still don’t get under his skin. Far from it. Mostly, he is allowed to stare deeply into the middle distance like some dishy Scandinoir detective or, perhaps, a character from a Bergman film. But what is he thinking? We never find out. Directed by Janus Metz, and written by Ronnie Sandahl, the film initially depicts the players as polar opposites. Borg is shown in his Monaco apartment, staring deeply and dishily out to sea, while McEnroe watches TV footage of himself, remonstrating with a referee, prior to appearing on a TV chat show. ‘You and Borg are as different as two people can be,’ the chatshow host tells him. Borg is ‘Ice-Borg’. He is unflappable, seemingly emotionless. He spends the night before matches testing the strings on nearly the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 50 rackets, feeling the tension with his bare feet. Meanwhile, McEnroe (‘Superbrat’) is shown losing his cool every which way. He loses his cool on court, with interviewers, and does not obsessively test his rackets the night before. Instead, he goes clubbing. I think that if the chat-show host hadn’t pointed out that they’re as different as two people can be, we might possibly even have worked it out for ourselves. Except they aren’t, essentially. That different. The film’s big reversal comes at around the halfway mark when we spool back in time to see that Borg was furiously angry as a youngster, but had been taught to channel it by his trainer, Bergelin (Stellan Skarsgard). ‘All that rage, fear and panic,’ Bergelin tells him. ‘Load it in every stroke.’ The young Borg runs into the forest, screams, hits trees, gets over himself, emerges a new man. (What is this therapy and where can I get some?) But where did all the anger come from initially? There’s some suggestion that he suffered from discrimination as a boy, wasn’t considered the The ﬁlm simply pt-pt-pt-pts its way from A to B, like a stolid baseline rally right class for tennis, but this isn’t a sufficient explanation. And as an adult, he had all these weird superstitious rituals — his parents were only allowed to watch him at Wimbledon every second year and had to wear the same clothes; he always had to have the same hire car — which are explained to us in montage but are never interwoven into his psyche. Meanwhile, McEnroe is so barely coloured-in he’s more of a sideshow. LaBeouf does capture his scrappy volatility, but it’s that, over and over. And Gudnason’s performance is ultimately as shallow because he’s never required to show anything beyond that cool detachment. But what is he thinking, ffs? Nope, still haven’t a clue. It does make you long for scriptwriter Peter Morgan to have taken it on. He is the master of warring rivalries: Rush, The Damned United, Frost/Nixon, even The Queen, which was, in effect, the Queen vs Tony Blair. He would have given us a dramatic through line, as well as an understanding as to why any of this might matter, plus those smarts — the ones that bring tension and excitement to familiar events. The final match, told in a 20-minute sequence, may or may not be a decent re-enactment —I’m not enough of a tennis nut to know — but because we’ve never properly understood what’s at stake for both players psychologically, there is little at stake for us. Also, the pacing is so workmanlike that it does not feel like any kind of thrilling culmination. It has simply pt-pt-pt-pt-ed its way to here. This is, in short, a standard sports biopic which, like I said, does the job. But it certainly does not ace it. (Look! I had a third!) Radio Seeing the light Kate Chisholm ‘You can’t lie… on radio,’ says Liza Tarbuck. The Radio 2 DJ was being interviewed for the network’s birthday portrait, celebrating 50 years since it morphed from the Light Programme into its present status as the UK’s best-loved radio station — with almost 15 million listeners each week. ‘The intimacy of radio dictates you can’t lie because people can hear it.’ She’s absolutely right. As she went on to explain, when you’re driving and it’s just the radio and you, no distraction, ‘You can hear things in my voice that I don’t even know I’m giving away.’ It’s what makes radio so testing for politicians, you can see right through them, and why so many of the DJs on Radio 2 have become household names. We love Ken Bruce, Jo Whiley, Liza Tarbuck, Clare Teal, Steve Wright — and so many of those who have gone before — because they sound as if they really want to talk to us, really know how we are feeling, really want to make our days a little more cheerful. Even when, as Ken Bruce told us in the rather clumsily titled Bryan Adams: Radio 2 — a Birthday Portrait (produced by Susan Marling), it used to take four days for a listener’s comment to reach him in the studio, there was always an immediacy about the connection between presenter and listener. On this has been built Radio 2’s success. You might not like the music but it’s hard to switch off when the chat between tracks is so engaging, so energised, so keen to please, without being patronising, overeager or complacent. Your attention is never taken for granted. It’s always been a go-to place for me when I need a pick-me-up, a more lighthearted look at the world, an alternative to gloom and despair. The new season of One to One (produced by Mark Smalley) on Radio 4 is focusing on practical, everyday ways to counteract more serious bouts of despair. Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of this magazine, talked about her own struggles with mental illness and in the first programme on Tuesday took us outdoors, into the countryside, to hear from the psychiatrist Dr Alan Kellas what he has learned about the benefits to health of reconnecting ourselves with the natural world. Kellas is working on research into ‘sustainable’ mental health, suggesting that being outdoors can help us to become aware, to switch on our hearing, engage with the world, while being active may provide a sense of purpose. Hardman recalled how she has been helped by engaging in ‘methodical activities’, forcing herself to go for walks the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk along the shoreline near her home with a notebook and pen. ‘Just writing down every wildflower that I saw… It does seem to help take my mind away from the torture chamber inside my head and to focus on the sea campion or thistles…’ This week on the World Service its daily afternoon programme, BBC OS, presented by Nuala McGovern, has been looking at the experiences of Syrian refugees across Europe and the Middle East in an unusual collaboration with Germany’s Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio station and Swedish Radio (both of which are funded at least in part by licence fee). The intention, part of a European Broadcasting Union initiative, is to find out whether those who have been forced to flee are recovering from being uprooted, from those terrifying journeys by sea and long treks across Europe in the hope of finding refuge. Are they beginning to feel integrated with the communities where they ended up? WDR has established its own digital station for refugees, edited and presented by them. WDRforyou reaches its audience, in Farsi, Pashtu, Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages, mostly through Facebook. Monday’s ‘live’ broadcast on the ‘Writing down every wildﬂower I saw seemed to take my mind away from the torture chamber in my head’ World Service (produced by Zoe Murphy) was from the WDR studios in Cologne and was streamed throughout Europe via the EBU. Salama and May, both from Syria and trained as journalists by WDR and Swedish Radio respectively, gave us their take on what it means to be a refugee. Salama wanted to investigate attitudes to death in Germany. What will happen when I die? Where should I be buried? If in Germany, none of my Syrian relatives will be able to visit my grave. May, who arrived in Sweden in 2012, was married at 15 to an abusive husband. She is now divorced and no longer wears the hijab. She wanted to find out how other Syrian women have been affected by moving to a country where attitudes to marriage, gender equality, the woman’s place are so different. ‘I feel like a teenager,’ she says. ‘I’m finding out who I really am.’ Later in the week we heard from Syrians living in Malmo in Sweden, Berlin, Beirut, Cairo and Athens. What emerges is how different the stories of integration can be, and how surprising, the newcomers to Beirut sometimes finding it far more difficult to settle than those who ended up in Malmo. If you missed them, the reports and live programme can be found online. It’s an opportunity to catch up on stories that have slipped off the agenda. 47 BOOKS & ARTS MANUEL HARLAN THE LISTENER LCD Soundsystem: American Dream Grade: B+ Number one. Everywhere, just about. You have to say that the man has a certain sureness of touch. Hip enough not to be quite mainstream, rock enough not to be quite pop. The knowing nods — to Depeche Mode, Eno, 1970s post-punk and 1980s grandiosity and always, always, Bowie. Fifteen years on from James Murphy’s first excursion in these clothes and the man from New Jersey, now grizzled and greying, has come up with an album as good as any he’s made — which is a qualified nod of admiration: I often find his tunes too eager to please, the neatly corralled stabs of funk a little forced. Murphy always wants to have his cake and eat it, get the dance crowd in and the indie kids too. You have to say that, commercially, this formula works. But it is a very arch balancing act. American Dream — you just know that title isn’t going to be one of exultation — is fashionably morose, full of self-reproach. There are whiffs of the Bunnymen here and there and, as the melodies swarm upwards and power chords come in, even (Christ help us) Simple Minds. But, leaving the lyrics — banal, inchoate, selfpitying — aside, there are some very fine moments. Few people can tweak their little synthesisers to such effect. ‘I Used To’ is ominous, thudding, electro-rock with a crisp, mesmerising drumbeat. ‘Oh Baby’ — fiendishly cleverly constructed — sounds a bit like Yazoo covering Suicide. The best is last — the 12-minute minimalist throb of ‘Black Screen’, where at last the listener is invited to wait a while, to immerse themselves, before the pay-off. If only he had the confidence, or the lack of concern, to do that more often. — Rod Liddle 48 Robert Lindsay as Jack Cardiff in Prism Theatre Speech therapy Lloyd Evans Oslo Lyttelton Theatre, until 23 September Prism Hampstead Theatre, until 14 October Oslo opened in the spring of 2016 at a modest venue in New York. It moved to Broadway and this imported version has arrived at the National on its way to a prebooked run at the Harold Pinter Theatre. It’s bound to be a hit because it’s good fun, it gives a knotty political theme a thorough examination, and it’s aimed squarely at the ignorant. In the early 1990s Norwegian diplomats set up ‘back-channel’ talks between the PLO and Israel. The play follows that pro- cess and it treats geopolitics like a flat-share comedy. The bickering partners are hauled in by the lordly Norwegians and forced to hammer out their differences around the table. Play-goers need have no prior knowledge of Israel and its fraught relationship with the Palestinians. Everything is laid out on a plate and the viewer is made to feel like a privileged observer at the launch of a conspiracy. Each side is guilty of subterfuge and exaggeration. The Norwegians pretend to be impartial while engaging in ‘constructive ambiguity’, i.e. the creation of false obstacles whose removal can be claimed as a victory by either party. Toby Stephens enjoys himself playing the host, Terje Rod-Larsen, as an oily buffoon, and Paul Herzberg’s Simon Peres is an amusing study in majestic vanity. Director Bartlett Sher manages to capture the emotional temper of the talks. The delegates are all chest-thumping males who seem to adore the romance of the process, the schoolboy the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk secrecy, the encrypted language, the hushhush locations, the scent of power, and the awareness that history itself is present at the table. It becomes clear that the simple physical proximities, the sharing of waffles and whisky, can help to break down the barriers. Sworn enemies gradually move from mutual suspicion to grudging respect and finally to amity and friendship. By the end the Arabs are laughing at an impersonation of Yasser Arafat performed by an Israeli wearing his jacket as a headdress. A melancholy truth emerges from all this: if every Israeli and Palestinian were forced to spend a month talking heart-toheart to his neighbours, peace would follow. Terry Johnson’s new play charts the life of Jack Cardiff, an Oscar-winning cameraman, who worked with Hitchcock, John Huston, King Vidor, and many others. We meet the ageing genius in his dotage as he dodders around a converted garage in the care of his wife and a nurse. The set-up is baffling. Cardiff is writing an autobiography and he describes to his nurse the artistic challenges involved in creating a great shot. Yet Cardiff has severe dementia so If every Israeli and Palestinian were forced to spend a month talking heartto-heart, peace would follow his vanishing vocabulary keeps undermining his ability to reminisce articulately. And for some reason the nurse has a dual role as a secretary. Her job is to annotate Cardiff’s random thoughts and shape them into a book. And yet she doesn’t own a computer. She has to bang out his words two-fingered on an old typewriter. It’s very hard to grasp. Robert Lindsay seems content to play Cardiff as a harmlessly dotty old twerp. Claire Skinner, far too young for Cardiff’s wife, potters around in mumsy clothes and a hairdo like an electrocuted hedgehog. It’s all rather dispiriting to watch. After the interval we flip back half a century and we’re in the Belgian Congo, where Cardiff is filming The African Queen. We watch him relaxing between takes as he plays cards with Bogie and Lauren Bacall and swaps catty witticisms with Katharine Hepburn. A sex-mad Bacall drags Bogie off for a quickie in the jungle and Bogie lashes Hepburn with a caustic put-down. ‘No wonder Spencer drinks.’ This half-hour section is so good it deserves to be extended into a full-length play. Claire Skinner is utterly transformed as Hepburn. Her wig and make-up deserve prizes for their creator, Amy Coates. Skinner brilliantly conveys Hepburn’s delicate, prickly manner, and her punctilious diction is matched by the barbed fluency of her prose. The entire scene is wonderful. Then the action shifts again. Marilyn wafts in and we watch Cardiff setting up a shot and easing her frazzled nerves. Then we’re back to Cardiff pootling around in his garage in extreme old age again. There are great things in this flawed play. Fans of Hollywood’s glory years will adore it. But the blunders and missteps are puzzling. Terry Johnson has been allowed to combine the roles of writer, script editor and director. An extra pair of eyes would have helped. Music Director’s cut Norman Lebrecht Much fuss has been made of the title given to Sir Simon Rattle on arrival at the London Symphony Orchestra. Unlike his LSO predecessors — Valery Gergiev, Colin Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Claudio Abbado, André Previn — all of whom were engaged as principal conductor, Rattle has been named music director, a position that bears serious administrative responsibilities. As Rattle put it recently in one of a dozen media interviews: ‘Valery wasn’t interested, nor Claudio. Colin loved them to bits, but he made it very clear that he did not want anything to do with the running or the auditions or the personnel… I will be much more involved with the day to day.’ But will he? Of all the erosions that have affected orchestras in the past generation, among the most significant is the progressive degradation of the music director. Once a towering despot who fired players at will and treated orchestras as personal fiefdoms — think Toscanini, Beecham, Solti — the role evolved first into a chummy primus inter pares and latterly into some way below par. The passing of tyrants is not altogether unwelcome. Boston players still tell of the oboist who, fired in mid-rehearsal, stalked out yelling, ‘Fuck you, Koussevitzky!’ The Russian maestro, no master of English idiom, replied, ‘Is too late to apologise.’ Despotism of his kind was decidedly unappealing. Leonard Bernstein, Koussevitzky’s protégé, pioneered a friendlier style, salting his rehearsals with Jewish jokes and, on occasion, dropping both hands to his sides and conducting by expression alone — as if to say that the conductor is a luxury item, to be sparingly used and widely shared. By the 1980s it was common for the top maestros to be music director on two or three continents, allowing each orchestra a fragment of their golden attention. With maestros away, their powers were usurped. Musicians seized the right to choose new members of the orchestra. In 1989, Herbert von Karajan resigned from the Berlin Philharmonic after years of acrimony, following the players’ rejection of his choice of principal clarinet in 1983, arguing that Sabine the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Meyer — their first female candidate — did not suit their sound. In 2005, Riccardo Muti was ousted at La Scala by a players’ vote of no confidence. Further erosions followed. In the absence of maestros, managers controlled content. ‘I would never let a music director tell me which soloists to hire,’ a US orchestra president assures me. ‘Nor would I accept his preferred guest conductors.’ Patronage used to be a maestro’s perk, giving old codgers access to young talent that some would shamefully abuse. Loss of patronage has all but disabled the role. Except for Muti in Chicago and Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera it is hard to name a musical institution today where the dominant voice belongs to the music director. Take Covent Garden. Antonio Pappano has kept the old ship running at decent speed for 15 years but was powerless to Simon Rattle has a job title that has less clout than a viscountcy stop cuts to his orchestra. Over 45 years at the Met, James Levine has left no lasting imprint. When his friend, Kathleen Battle, was fired for being a pest, Levine was unable to reinstate her. At the Vienna State Opera, all Franz Welser-Möst could do when his productions were cut by the general director was to resign, stating that the music director’s job lacked meaningful authority. So what, exactly, can Rattle hope to achieve at the LSO? He has told friends he would like to see some changes in personnel, but hiring and firing are entirely in the players’ hands. All the music director can do is nudge and wink to his supporters and hope for a desired outcome. Rattle opened the season with a programme of all English composers, most of them living, but he won’t be allowed to push programming any further than the box office will bear — and it won’t bear more than one such eye-catcher per season. What Rattle ought to do is abolish otiose tours that exhaust his best players, along with the recording dates at Abbey Road with fourth-rate wannabees. But LSO needs the dough from these dates and players would not tolerate a music director who interferes with revenue streams. In an ideal world, Rattle would tour the LSO around its own country, instead of everywhere abroad, with a rallying cry to raise standards. That won’t happen either, because the Arts Council won’t fund anything that treads on the toes of regional clients. All of which leaves Rattle with a job title that has less clout than a viscountcy, an honorific to deceive the media into believing in miracles. These inhibitions may help explain why the incoming music director has set such store on getting the public authorities to build him a new hall. That, at least, could be credited as a concrete achievement. 49 NOTES ON … Gresham College By Mark Mason GETTY IMAGES H ow many people need to gather together before it becomes more likely than not that at least two of them will share a birthday? The answer might surprise you. It’s just one of the many intriguing facts that I’ve learned at Gresham College. Gresham was founded in 1597, the brainchild of Thomas Gresham, king of what’s now called the Square Mile. He had also established the Royal Exchange, and decreed that rents paid by merchants there should fund free lectures open to anyone. The arrangement continues to this day. No need to enrol or book: anyone can turn up at any lecture that takes their fancy. So next time you buy a Paul Smith T-shirt or Tiffany ring at the Exchange, congratulate yourself on your contribution to public learning. The logos of both institutions feature a grasshopper: this was Gresham’s emblem. One of his ancestors was abandoned in the countryside as a newborn baby, and was only discovered when a boy chased a grasshopper into the field. Gresham knew that without that insect he would never have existed. From the start, lectures were delivered in English as well as Latin (Oxford and Cambridge used only the latter). Gresham also led its more famous cousins in having professors of geometry and astronomy; an early School of thought: the site of the ﬁrst college in Bishopsgate occupant of the second post was Christopher Wren. In 1660 the college gave birth to the Royal Society, which meant that, for a while, the Society’s members were known as ‘Greshamites’. Samuel Pepys attended a 1666 lecture at which one of the first-ever blood transfusions occurred. ‘There was a pretty experiment of the blood of one dog let out, till he died, into the body of another on one side, while all his own run out on the other side,’ he wrote. ‘The first died upon the place, and the other very well, and likely to do well.’ At that time, professors lived in the college (then sited on Bishopsgate). Robert Hooke knocked a hole in his roof so he could stick a telescope through it. There were more shenanigans in the 1890s, when the professor of geometry Karl Pearson illustrated his lectures on the laws of chance by scattering 10,000 pennies across the floor. By then the college had moved to new premises. They’ve since moved again, to Barnard’s Inn Hall, a 14th-century gem near Chancery Lane. Some of the bigger lectures take place at the Museum of London, while more than 2,000 have been recorded and are available to watch on the college’s website. I love the thought of Thomas Gresham coming back to see his dream of wider learning fulfilled on such a scale. So how many people do have to gather together for a 51 per cent probability of a shared birthday? It’s just 23. Counter-intuitive, I know, but think of it this way. You’re the first person in the room. The second person to enter has a 1 in 365 chance of sharing your birthday. So does the third person, making it 2 in 365. But there’s also the chance they could share each other’s birthday. Imagine those three possibilities as the three sides of a triangle. When you get to four people there are the four sides of a square, plus the diagonals. Now imagine a 23-sided shape, with every point joined to every other point. The possibilities suddenly seem a lot larger than you assumed... Fine Clothing THE SEASON IS CHANGING, SO SHOULD YOUR SHIRTS. 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YO26 7NH Please accept my gift of: £80 £100 £150 Other £ I enclose a cheque or postal order made payable to UNHCR First name Last name Address Postcode Email Phone 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 emergency work where Syrian refugees and internally displaced people within Syria are in need. SPEPRASY17 ‘To try to solve the puzzle of socialism’s enduring appeal, we have to turn to evolutionary psychology’ — Toby Young, p60 High life Taki As everyone who stands up when a lady enters the room knows, the once sacrosanct rules of civility throughout the West have all but disappeared. The deterioration in manners has been accelerated by the coming of the devil’s device, the dehumanising iPhone, as well as by phoney ‘art’ and artists such as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. I don’t know why, but Warhol is a bugbear of mine. He always treated me politely, featured me favourably in his magazine Interview, and referred to me in a good light in his diaries. Perhaps me being violent back then — he headlined a cover story with a reference to me being a terrorist among the rich — made him think twice before he stuck the knife in. Warhol ruined many lives by leading people astray with drugs and false promises, but most of all he ruined art by making it showy. The fact that today’s hustlers sell a picture of a Coke bottle or a shark suspended in formaldehyde for millions is obscene. The worship of money and celebrity is Warhol’s legacy and art’s tragedy. I thought of Warhol and what I call ELCP — Extraordinarily Lower Class People — as I roamed around London this week. Being an ELCP has nothing to do with the old class system; it is all about vile manners while shopping in Bond Street. Most ELCPs are Chinese, with dyed blond hair, wires in their ears and an extremely vapid expression on their faces. The only thing that matters to an ELCP is wealth, and the ability to outshop the next idiot. Comfort and fame are also prerequisites. They are forever posting pictures of their ugly selves via the devil’s instrument. The Tao, which was known as the Way of Heaven, and which embodied the sacred character of ancient China, has gone with the same wind that swept away the antebellum south in the US. I may write as an oldie, but my children agree with me. They both have impeccable manners, although my daughter has inherited my violent side. Her raised voice sends shivers. My son, who is a great athlete and very strong, has a sweet nature and thinks only of girls all day, and definitely all night. Both children have expressed shock to me at how their peers see rules and traditions as something to resist or ridicule on the grounds that they interfere with self-expression. They also agree with me about mass tourism, the bane of modern life. When the hippies first told us that if it feels good, do it, one never imagined that 40 years later their message would have become law. One can even change gender nowadays by declaring oneself a man or a woman, and make the news if anyone expresses shock. It’s all about being a victim. Now everything goes, including activities once considered shameful or criminal. Third-century Rome has nothing on the 21st-century West. Thus, despite the sadness of the occasion, the hundreds of us who attended the memorial service of thanksgiving and celebration for the life of Nick Scott were a welcome sight. Nick was president of Pugs club, dandy, soldier, raconteur, humorist extraordinaire, gentleman, landscape artist, farceur, great friend and as sensitive a soul as it is possible to be without being too precious for words. They say that you can tell a man by his friends. Well, just check out the following: the Maharajah of Jodhpur did a round trip from India — 20 hours’ flying time — on his magic carpet. The crown prince of Greece, Pavlos, hopped on a plane in New York, flew all night, attended the service at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, then drove back to Heathrow and caught a plane back to the Bagel. His brother, Prince Nikolaos, flew in from Greece, as did George Livanos, whose doctor has prescribed rest. Bob Geldof changed the dates of his singing tour in order to address us. I’ll get to that in a moment. A part of the church was reserved for Pugs club members and we were all advised by the president pro tem Count Bismarck to the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Saying it with ﬂowers wear our club tie. Everyone, including Arki Busson and Rolf Sachs, who never wear neckties, did so. Celebrations of a life are bittersweet occasions. Some are too corny, others downright false. This was as good as it gets. The Revd Emma Smith was perfect, the choir divine, and things began to rock with Sir James McGrigor’s childhood memories of Nick. Rolling in the aisles, as they say. He was followed by Commodore Tim Hoare, a lifelong friend and Eton schoolmate. Tim is a very serious man who shows only his funny side to people. He spoke briefly and movingly, and generously gave Bob the rostrum. We l l , M a r k A n t o n y w o u l d h a v e blanched. Geldof spoke for 30 minutes and when he finished, everyone in the church wanted more. Both Tim and Bob spoke with such eloquence and heart-rending truthfulness that Nick was brought back to life. This is a hard thing to say but I have never in all my days heard a better eulogy. He described Nick in depth, but his flaws came across in a positive light, all due to Geldof’s words. He didn’t hide a thing. Nor did he skirt any issue. The rhythm was perfect, from sad to funny, from melancholy to burst-out-loud laughter. My only hope is that this extraordinary eulogy has been preserved on tape. The mother of my children called it the best ever and I have to agree. Geldof is a poet of rare intelligence and talent and what a pity it was that he called me useless during the greatest eulogy ever. Low life Jeremy Clarke I got off the plane at Changi still pleasantly sedated by Xanax, passed through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel, and there, waiting with my name on a signboard, was my guide for the next four days. Joy was short, middle-aged and had a low centre of gravity. She was Chinese, she said, pleased about it. A minibus and driver were waiting at the kerb. ‘Get in!’ said Joy. I did as I was told. We 53 LIFE drove to the centre of Singapore just in time for the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show. ‘Look! Supertrees! Can you see them?’ she said. You couldn’t miss them. Towering above and around us were a dozen or so 50-metre-tall branched steel structures twinkling with coloured lights. For a quarter of an hour the lights changed colour in time to the chord changes of sentimental songs from hit musicals. We sat cross-legged on the ground among a thousand other tourists gaping upwards. ‘Look! No litter! Very clean!’ said Joy showed me a video clip of Kate Middleton looking very pleased to have met her Joy, impatiently diverting my attention from the rhapsody of light and sound to the cleanliness of the concrete on which we sat. I obediently searched the concrete for litter. ‘Did you enjoy?’ she said when the music stopped and the lights ceased to flash. ‘Very gay,’ I said. ‘Gay?’ she said. She was dumbfounded. ‘What you mean, gay? I don’t understand you. Now we eat.’ We ate at a table for two in a circular restaurant perched in the canopy of one of these ridiculous Supertrees. Joy ordered the restaurant staff around with toe-curling peremptoriness. She chose the dishes. Quick- INTRODUCTORY OFFER: Subscribe for only £1 an issue 9 Weekly delivery of the magazine 9 App access to the new issue from Thursday 9 Full website access ly losing confidence in the intelligence of the waiter, she would have truck only with the manager. When at last she found time for conversation with her new client, she monopolised it. Joy was a simple soul and inordinately proud of the social status conferred by her prestigious occupation of tourist guide. There was a very famous, very beautiful Hong Kong film starlet, in fact, who preferred to use her above any other guide when she visited Singapore. She showed me a photograph on her huge smartphone: Joy standing next to this beautiful Hong Kong film star. Joy’s face was a picture of starstruck defiance. ‘Which one is you?’ I said. ‘Funny,’ she said, dismissively. She was immensely popular, she said, and particularly with American tourists. One of them had lately sent her a Donald Trump election-campaign baseball cap. It was a special edition, I must understand. Instead of saying ‘Trump–Pence’, this one said simply ‘Trump’, which made it far more covetable. That is how much her Americans love and appreciate her. She would bring it tomorrow and show me. Unfortunately for me, she would not be wearing it. It was too precious. But she would bring it and let me have a look at it. Another feather in her cap was getting to shake hands with the Duchess of Cambridge five years ago. Joy flicked through her phone’s photo album and showed me a video clip of Kate Middleton looking very glad to have just met Joy. Joy told me how adroit she had been that day in obtaining information from a security guard — one of her many contacts — about which part of the pennedin crowd Kate would make for first. I was indeed most fortunate, I agreed, to be allocated such a prestigious and wellconnected guide. Something akin to modesty fleetingly softened her features. Amazing as her life was, however, Joy felt that she was destined for greater things. This job was only A Ghost in the Rylands Library The other members of the conference are scholars of after-lives but since my papers lie in this archive I am visiting the story of old conflicts and silly disappointments now once again exposed: I am a ghost of all the messy drafts which here survive – and so much energy went into them I might have managed a more sensible life. Instead I chose to register all that felt with so much urgency it could not be forgiven. My generous hosts, 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 The H less ou on ston of MY DATES WITH DIANA TAKI www.spectator.co.uk/A152A it is an honour to be in your possession. I was always driven to find the human voice within a song and set out thoughts as clear as spoken words could make them – but for all my dedication 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 it was the living mattered most. — Elaine Feinstein 54 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Investment Advice Seeking a brighter investment future? For savers and investors, the prospect of ‘lower for longer’ interest rates and rising inflation can seem daunting. To achieve a decent return, you need to be prepared to accept there will be risks. This is where some expert advice could prove invaluable. Whether you are investing for income or growth, it’s important to make sure you have a diversified investment portfolio that meets your long-term financial objectives. To help you invest with confidence, The Telegraph Investment Advice Service, brought to you by St. James’s Place, can give you clear guidance. Make sure your money works harder for you, even in these uncertain times. For more information, call 0333 220 7384 or visit telegraph.co.uk/financialadvice The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested. Provided by St. James’s Place for Financial Services Lines open 9am–7pm Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm Saturday and 9am–1pm Sunday. St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc, is registered in England, registered no. 4113955, registered office St. James’s Place House, 1 Tetbury Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1FP. Telegraph Media Group is an Introducer Appointed Representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. LIFE a foot on the first rung of the ladder. Was I married, she said? Sadly not, I said. Was she married? ‘No. Single,’ she said. The Xanax had made me ravenous. Joy talked about her work and her famous clients and her ambition while I gulped down the spicy food. ‘Eat!’ she said, maternally shovelling another heap of whatever it was on to my plate. ‘Do you like the music?’ she said. The music was a repetitive saxophone melody with a sort of spaced-out funk The Donald Trump election campaign baseball hat was too precious to wear, she said background. If I had said not, no doubt she would have conferred with the manager and had it changed. I did like it, however, and said so. In fact, I was listening to it, repetitive as it was, rather than to her. She did not like it, she said. It was bloody awful. She said ‘bloody awful’ in a posh British accent. ‘Do you like my accent?’ she said. ‘I am funny, aren’t I? Everyone laughs so much when I do my funny accents. Oh, you will see how funny I am. All my clients say I am so funny. Eat!’ I gobbled faster. ‘You have never been married?’ she said, sceptically. ‘No,’ I said. ‘You have girlfriend?’ ‘Many,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she said, and for a moment she looked crestfallen. PODCAST WRITERS WORTH LISTENING TO Subscribe to The Spectator Podcast on the iTunes store or listen at spectator.co.uk/podcast 56 Real life Melissa Kite BT have just put the phone down on me for asking them to stop sending me junk mail, which is a bit much really. I rang the customer services number to ask if they would please unsubscribe me from all the emails they’ve been sending since I became a wifi customer of theirs. ‘You’re driving me mad with these emails,’ I explained, and truly I was at the end of my tether. Every day, the same message arrives in my inbox, warning me I have only days left to take advantage of a special offer on BT Sport. I wouldn’t mind but one of the things I spent countless precious hours of my existence explaining to BT when I took out wifi was that on no account did I want BT Sport. I’ve tried to unsubscribe from the emails but all that happens when I select the unsubscribe option is that I am redirected to a page bearing a short paragraph that, if it is a way to unsubscribe, is surely the most impenetrable way that proposition has ever been worded. This is it, word for word: ‘Contact BT. Email is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way to keep up to date with BT’s latest news and offers. We’d love to continue contacting you by email, but feel free to unsubscribe here if you wish. Email address………………… If you are a BT customer and just want to change your contact email address please visit https://home.bt.com/login/loginform. Submit.’ That’s it. All you can conceivably do is enter your email. But as they already have my email, and what I’m trying to achieve is them not having my email, how does entering my email achieve un-entering my email? You can click the submit button without entering your email, but if you do all it says is ‘Please tell us your email address.’ ‘But you already have my email address, you fiends! That’s why I’m angry!’ I scream at the screen. Not wanting to enter my email again, and make the seventh circle of junk-mail hell even worse, I decided to ring customer services. I suppose I expected a mild apology. But the chap on the other end of the phone — in Swansea — took umbrage. ‘That’s nothing to do with us,’ he snapped. ‘How can emails from BT asking me to sign up for BT Sport be nothing to do with BT?’ I asked, hardly believing that those words were having to come out of me as they came out of me. ‘I don’t know who they’re from,’ he said. ‘They’re not from us.’ And he went on and on about how he had no way of stopping emails that were nothing personally to do with him. ‘I’m not saying you personally sent these emails!’ I said, my voice getting on for a squawk. He then gave me the old ‘calm down or I won’t help you at all’ routine. ‘Look, I’m cross because you’ve done something wrong,’ I said. ‘This is another problem. You wind your customers up then tell us we’re the problem when we get angry.’ ‘Well, I’m just trying to help.’ No, you’re not. ‘The thing is,’ I said, ‘I took out BT wifi, I gave you my money, and all you’ve done ever since is send me an email a day asking me for more money. So if they don’t stop I’ll have to terminate my account.’ He told me to hold the line while he got a supervisor. A very short time later, barely a minute, he came back and informed me that his colleague had successfully unsubscribed me from all BT marketing emails. Oh, so when you said you can’t make them stop what you meant was you can make them stop in 30 seconds, I didn’t say. ‘Out of curiosity, before I go, tell me what it was I should have done on that unsubscribe page.’ ‘You press the unsubscribe button and it unsubscribes…’ ‘No, ’ I said. ‘You can’t press a button…’ ‘You’re not listening!’ he shouted, and then he went off on one, yelling down the phone about me not paying attention. ‘You need to calm down,’ I said. There was a gasp, a barely audible retort. ‘You (something or other)…’ And a click, as the phone went down. The usual questionnaire was texted to my phone 15 minutes later. ‘Hello, BT here. You spoke to our advisor. What did you think?’ ‘Well, I rang to complain, he told me to calm down, shouted at me, then, when I told him to calm down, he put the phone down on me,’ I texted back. ‘Thank you for taking part in our survey. Your feedback will help us to continually improve.’ Of course it will. And I’ll get no more junk mail. And the world will live as one. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk SPECTATOR WINE JONATHAN RAY Bridge Susanna Gross I’m writing this from Stuart Wheeler’s beautiful villa in Tangier, in the hills just above the bay, where for a week every September he hosts a high-stake rubber bridge game. There are sometimes one or two new faces, but usually it’s the lucky old regulars who return, like Patrick Lawrence, Alexander Allfrey, and none other than the great Andrew Robson. This is my sixth visit, and I love it: the company, the food, the booze, the distant call of the muezzins. Of course, Andrew’s presence adds an extra layer of magic: it’s a treat to play with and against him, even if he does win our money, and even more so to have him on tap to discuss hands. The fun started before we’d even got here. On the plane out from Gatwick, Andrew passed us all a bridge quiz, using real hands from the recent World Transnationals. We had to give in our answers at the end of the flight, which kept us unusually quiet (probably Andrew’s plan). No one got full marks. Try this one — but cover the N/S hands as we only got to see E/W: Dealer East z Q 10 9 y84 XK J 9 wQ 8 4 z AK yQ9 X 10 8 w2 8 3 2 6 2 7 N 5 4 W E S z J 7 y 75 X6 2 wA J z 54 y A K J 10 3 X AQ3 w K 10 7 M as de Daumas Gassac is one of the great estates of the Languedoc. Indeed, it is often referred to as the Languedoc’s Grand Cru or First Growth, and I am just one of many to have fallen under its spell. The estate’s Moulin de Gassac range is famously accessible and shares the same pedigree and winemaking philosophy as that of Mas de Daumas Gassac, and speaks just as resolutely of its terroir. It is also extremely well-priced, particularly so for readers of The Spectator since our partners Mr Wheeler have lopped off up to £1.50 a bottle. Several of these wines aren’t available anywhere else and those that are won’t be so keenly priced. Fill your boots. The 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Guilhem’ Blanc (1) is a slowly macerated, cool fermented blend of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Terret Blanc that’s full of white stone fruit and a delightful freshness. It makes a perfect aperitif. £8.95, down from £10. The 2016 Moulin de Gassac Viognier (2) is a delight. It’s peachy, apricotty and slightly nutty with surprisingly good acidity. It’s as good on its own as it is with grub. £9.95, down from £11.50. The 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Faune’ (3) has a touch more weight and creaminess, being a half-and-half blend of Viognier and Chardonnay. It has the peachy aromatics of the former and the buttery, honeyed notes of the latter. It is utterly charming. £10.50, down from £12. The 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Guilhem’ Rouge (4) is a typical Languedoc blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan filled with ripe briary fruits, spice and chocolate with a long, robust, slightly earthy finish. It’s a cracking value everyday red. £8.95, down from £10. The 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Albaran’ (5) is made from old vine Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with some time in oak. It’s a perfect autumn red, full of cassis, spicy blueberries and plums. There’s a touch of vanilla too, and firm but mellowing tannins and a long finish. £10.50, down from £12. Finally, the 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Elise’ (6), a half-and-half blend of old vine Syrah and Merlot. It’s full of soft, juicy, concentrated fruit with the smoothest of tannins. Although it’ll keep a year or so it really deserves to be opened immediately and knocked back with abandon. £10.50, down from £12. The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free. ORDER FORM Spectator Wine Offer 6 www.mrwheelerwine.com/spectator Mr. Wheeler, Estate Ofﬁce, Park Lane BC, Langham, Colchester, Essex CO4 5WR Tel: 01206 713560 Email: email@example.com 9 6 53 Please note prices are for cases of 12 West North East South 1NT 3NT Pass Pass 1y 2NT Pass Pass Pass Pass White Red North led the z3. How would you play? If spades are 4–4 there’s no problem, you can knock out the wA for your ninth trick. But I was pretty sure North had led from zAKxxx, making it unsafe to play a club. I decided to cash the yA (in case the yQ drops), run the diamonds and then finesse the heart. I was awarded just half a point for my answer, because although I would have made the contract, my thinking was too shallow. There is a way to combine your chances. Start by cashing five diamonds. North can’t discard a spade. Nor can he discard two hearts if he holds yQxxx or yQxx. So he has to discard his club(s). Now you exit with a spade! If spades turn out to be 4–4, you don’t need to finesse a heart; if spades are 5–3, you do! Mixed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Guilhem’ Blanc, 12% 2016 Moulin de Gassac Viognier, 12.5% 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Faune’, 13% 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Guilhem’ Rouge, 13% 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Albaran’, 13.5% 2016 Moulin de Gassac ‘Elise’, 14% Mixed case of six, two each of the above Issue no. Signature Name Address Email* £107.40 £119.40 £126.00 £107.40 £126.00 £126.00 £118.70 No. Expiry date Sec. code Please send wine to Postcode Club price Total Mastercard/Visa no. Start date List price £120.00 £138.00 £144.00 £120.00 £144.00 £144.00 £149.00 Telephone Prices include VAT and delivery on the British mainland. Payment should be made either by cheque with the order, payable to Mr. Wheeler, or by debit or credit card, details of which may be telephoned or faxed. This offer, which is subject to availability, closes on 4 November 2017. *Only provide your email address if you would like to receive offers or communications by email from The Spectator (1828) Limited, part of the Press Holdings Group. See Classified pages for Data Protection Act Notice. The Spectator (1828) Limited, part of the Press Holdings Group would like to pass your details on to other carefully selected organisations in order that they can offer you information, goods and services that may be of interest to you. If you would prefer that your details are not passed to such organisations, please tick this boxR. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 57 LIFE Chess Bronstein’s legacy Raymond Keene Last week I focused on the games and somewhat tragic career of the ingenious David Bronstein. Before his time the King’s Indian Defence was viewed with a certain degree of suspicion, not least because of the early and gigantic concessions it makes to White in terms of occupation of central terrain. It was Bronstein who resurrected and then espoused that previously neglected defence, paving the way for later practitioners, such as Tal, Fischer and Kasparov. Nowadays, the KID has become one of the main highways of opening theory, along which both grandmaster and neophyte may travel, secure in the knowledge that the defence is essentially sound. A new book, The King’s Indian Defence: Move by Move (Everyman Chess) by Sam Collins brings the theory of this opening fully up to date. Here is a game with notes based on those from the book. Gelfand-Nakamura; Bursa 2010; King’s Indian Defence 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 Ne8 10 b4 f5 11 c5 Nf6 A direct approach, aiming to force f2-f3 so that the kingside pawns can be set in motion. 11 ... Kh8 is also possible. 12 f3 f4 13 Nc4 g5 14 a4 Ng6 15 Ba3 White can also play more directly with 15 cxd6 cxd6 16 Nb5. (diagram 1) 15 ... h5 Nakamura crushed another expert of the Classical Variation, Alexander Beliavsky, after 15 ... Rf7 16 a5 h5 17 b5 dxc5 18 b6 g4 19 bxc7 Rxc7 20 Nb5 g3 21 Nxc7 Nxe4 22 Ne6 Bxe6 23 dxe6 gxh2+ 24 Kxh2 Qh4+ 25 Kg1 Ng3. 16 b5 dxc5 17 Bxc5 Rf7 18 a5 g4 19 b6 g3 20 Kh1 Bf8 A logical move – the c5-bishop is perhaps White’s best piece and worth exchanging, plus the second rank is cleared for the black rook. 21 d6 21 Bg1 is very logical, when Black can try 21 ... Nh4! and if 22 Re1, he has the stunning 22 ... Nxg2!! 23 Kxg2 Rg7 24 Nxe5 gxh2+ 25 Kh1 Nxe4! and White resigned in RoozmonCharbonneau, Montreal 2008. 21 ... axb6 22 Bg1 Nh4 23 Re1 A logical move, preparing to shore up the kingside with Bf1, but also a big error. 23 hxg3 is better. (diagram 2) 23 ... Nxg2!! Exposing the white king and setting off a stunning tactical sequence. 24 dxc7 White should have tried 24 PUZZLE NO. 475 White to play. This position is from JobavaNepomniachtchi, FIDE World Cup, Tbilisi 2017. Can you spot White’s winning coup? Answers to me or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 26 September 2017. There is a prize of £20 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 ... Rg1+ Last week’s winner Julian Pope, South-West London 58 Competition Diary stories Lucy Vickery In Competition No. 3016 you were invited to submit an extract from the diary of the spouse of a high-profile political figure, living or dead. It was a neat idea on the part of David Silverman to imagine Calpurnia’s journal in the style of Bridget Jones’s Diary, but hard to match the genius of the original. Also eye-catching, in a patchy entry, were Philip Machin (Diana Mosley) and Alan Millard (Ri Sol-ju). High fives to the winners below, who are rewarded with £25. Adrian Fry takes £30. Diagram 1 rDb1W4kD 0p0WDWgp WDW0WhnD DW)P0W0W P)NDP0WD GWHWDPDW WDWDBDP) $WDQDRIW Dear Diary and Dear Donald’s people whose job is to read Diary for Donald, Melania very happy today as every day, not tiniest bit terrified. I love him (this means Donald, Donald’s people) so much. His uniquely oval mouth, blue eyes brim full of egotistical fulfilment, that bigly face topped with hair which only look like gold flavour spun sugar but is absolutely real, no joking. I love his tiny little hands poking and kneading where tiny little hands never should. And above it all, that voice, half wheedle, half bellow, like homeshopping channel voice-over through bullhorn. ‘Fantastic!’ and ‘Amazing!’ it says over and over, speaking of itself, of himself, for ever. Like God, he is everywhere: White House, locker room, television, Ivanka’s place. So I am never really utterly alone, especially when at his side, with no chance (fake news alert!) to plan escape from gilded cage. Adrian Fry Diagram 2 rDb1WgkD Dp0WDrDW W0W)WhWD )WDW0WDp WDNDP0Wh DWHWDP0W WDWDBDP) $WDQ$WGK Kxg2, although his position remains uncomfortable after 24 ... Rg7. 24 ... Nxe1 Perhaps Gelfand overlooked this simple but beautiful idea – White is two queens up but mated by a lowly pawn after 25 cxd8Q g2 mate. 25 Qxe1 g2+ Again the most precise, even better than 25 ... Qxc7 (which was also very good for Black). 26 Kxg2 Rg7+ 27 Kh1 Bh3!! The same theme, but in a stunning second edition. 28 Bf1 Qd3 29 Nxe5 Bxf1 30 Qxf1 Qxc3 31 Rc1 Qxe5 32 c8Q Rxc8 33 Rxc8 Qe6 White resigns A fabulous game by Nakamura, and a wonderful advertisement for Black’s chances in this utterly chaotic variation. WDW4WDnD DW1WDpip WDWDpHpD DWDW)WDW W0W4WDWD DWDW!RDP W)WDW)PD $WDWDWIW The King, alas, is not the most generous of men. It is true that he hath given me some pretty pieces of jewellery, yet I was chagrined to learn of late that they are but paste. Why, even my ladies-in-waiting are richly bedecked with veritable rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. I made so bold as to draw this great disparity to the King’s attention, but his reply was dismissive: ‘Our coffers are empty, Madam, and gold does not grow on trees — unless you count the Autumn leaves.’ He guffawed heartily at his own witticism. Now, however, I do believe that the King intends to offer me the diamond necklace that I crave, for this morning two gentlemen in his service called on me. ‘Madam,’ they said. ‘We are instructed by His Majesty to take the measurements of thy neck.’ I smiled with delight. Dear, thoughtful Henry! Brian Allgar Today I told Winston millions rely on him, while he relies on me. I support their support. Never has so much been owed by so many to one poor woman. He just laughed. How glorious! I had his company this evening and we enjoyed dinner together. I told him that this was our finest hour. He just laughed. I haven’t seen him for days and then he breezes in late this evening. ‘I will have to seek you on the landing grounds, in the trenches, in the streets and on the beaches,’ I said. He just laughed. At breakfast this morning he was his stubborn self. ‘You never, never, never give in or admit you’re wrong,’ I shouted, to his great amusement. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk LIFE Then he said: ‘You’re my inspiration, Clemmie.’ Inspiration! It would be a wonder if he remembers a single word I say. Frank McDonald B’s not at her brightest when copying the Latin. Her latest slogan for getting shot of the invaders is REXIT MEANS REXIT. I suspect Suetonius won’t be impressed by that. What’s wrong, I suggested, in a tactical retreat to the Fens, a bit of a punt on the Broads, retire to Cromer sort of thing. The people have spoken, said B, returning to her investigation of the latest Mona fashions. Apparently they’re wearing transverse-slash necklines, and carrying badger handbags. Whatever you like, I told her, it’s your chariot. Second husbands must know their place. She went off in the afternoon and razed St Alban’s: to impress the faithful and appease the Trinovantes (their leader, Mogga, is getting pretty uppity). What about a new slogan? I suggested: say, Strong as a stable. Or, woad and see. She gave me that taut smile. The tribal powwow this autumn will be another bloodbath. Bill Greenwell I’ve never liked March — the scaly tail of winter — but this year I’ll be especially glad to get past the Ides at least. The atmosphere here is febrile, menacing even. Julius says I’m imagining things, of course. And now that he’s officially dictator for life he’s even more the great Ego Sum, and thinks he’s invulnerable. Veni, vidi, vici is his answer to everything. When I murmur something about hubris he tells me not to spout Greek at him. ‘Greek is for the schoolroom. And I’m certainly not going to feature in anyone’s so-called tragedy.’ He’s always been brilliantly successful at facing down opposition but I’m afraid he’s not as good at realising what’s going on behind his back. A soothsayer once said he was born by the knife to die by the knife. But she was probably just another feeble-minded Greek. Pray Mars. W.J. Webster … John’s started behaving rather strangely. Pressure of the job, naturally, but certain tongues have been wagging re his ‘controversial’ replacement of G.H. as Foreign Sec. Sour grapes will flourish in any vineyard, especially SW1. But PM does have her all-seeing Grantham eye on him so could be he’s heading for higher things: Tarzan and Hurdy-Gurdy need to look to their ‘Laurels’. On the subject of slapstick comedians, J’s been invited on to the MCC Select ion Committee, viz. middle-aged codgers with lairy schoolboy ties, contriving desperate puns involving leg glances, short slips, bowling a maiden over, &c. Standards not what they were — ruffians and pop stars get in nowadays…where will it end, women in the Long Room? Thomas Lord knows… J v late home — again; claims some of them went on to an Indian restaurant, wouldn’t say which. Most odd: he never used to fancy afterhours Curries… Mike Morrison Crossword 2328: Second coming by Pabulum 6A and 42 (whose unchecked letters give IDEA) combine to suggest the title of a novel. Remaining unclued lights give the forenames (in one case a nickname) of six of its characters, whose surname (5) will appear diagonally in the completed grid and must be shaded. Elsewhere, ignore two accents. Across 1 Interceder tried maxi getting dressed (9) 9 Sloth-like nursemaids? (4) 11 Decorum in good session with spirits (10) 12 Terrier requiring food (4) 14 Drink Charles imbibed as dyspepsia cure (6) 18 Gross aristo snubbed knight (4) 20 Kay sat fiddling with classy kimonos (7) 21 Decay infecting maple pedestal (7) 23 Content of burrito cooked in iron dish (7) 24 Painter is saucy in conversation (5) 25 Fool about with English poem (5) 27 Lottery prize is this Scot: Frank! (7, hyphened) 30 Poles crew for Charon? (7) 32 Route first-born talked about with Oscar’s butler (7, hyphened) 36 Chief knave with cur’s heart (4) 38 Malign lady pockets sixth letter (6) 39 Go slow inside city (4) 40 European celebrity still painted by artist (10) NO 3019: OFFICIALLY AMAZING To mark the recent arrival in our house of the latest Guinness World Records, I am going to repeat a challenge set several decades ago and invite you to submit a limerick describing a feat worthy of inclusion in that great publication. Please email up to five entries each to email@example.com by midday on 4 October. the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk 41 Wavy Navy in uniform dyed regularly (4) 43 Empresses freely assist art (9) Down 1 Priestess in pulpit after mass (5) 2 Bit of durra – spot of cereal (5) 3 Most gifted alto made joyous (6) 4 Old viol famous rioter chucks about (5) 5 Decorator wearing coat (7) 6 Aircraft designer from hythe in Kelso (7) 7 Woman is engaging court and makes law (6) 10 Nasty Peter, icier and very unsympathetic (11) 13 Bag carried by little lass (7) 15 Most like lute (easily transported in case of concert) (8) 16 Crop lauded and valued again (11) 22 Actually excellent tailored coat (7, two words) 26 Maybe red-bodied and blue-horned bats meander (7) 28 Compounds of actinium turned dull bluish-grey (7) 29 Fanny Adams entering canon’s house (6) 31 Pancake contains caviar, perhaps it’s tossed (6) 34 Workers over in cattle farms? (5) 35 Prosecutor pitched up in courts (5) Name Address Email SOLUTION TO 2325: HARD TASK The theme was PIGS. First prize J. E. Green, St Albans, Hertfordshire Runners-up Michael Moran, Penrith, Cumbria; John M. Brown, Rolleston on Dove, Staffordshire 59 LIFE Status Anxiety The mystery of socialism’s enduring appeal Toby Young O ne of the mysteries of our age is why socialism continues to appeal to so many people. Whether in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia or Venezuela, it has resulted in the suppression of free speech, the imprisonment of political dissidents and, more often than not, state-sanctioned mass murder. Socialist economics nearly always produce widespread starvation, something we were reminded of last week when the President of Venezuela urged people not to be squeamish about eating their rabbits. That perfectly captures the trajectory of nearly every socialist experiment: it begins with the dream of a more equal society and ends with people eating their pets. Has there ever been an ideology with a more miserable track record? Why, then, did 40 per cent of the British electorate vote for a party led by Jeremy Corbyn last June? It wasn’t as if he acknowledged that all previous attempts to create a socialist utopia had failed and explained why it would be different under him. There was no fancy talk of ‘post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory’ or ‘predistribution’, as there had been by his two predecessors. No, he was selling exactly the same snake oil that every left-wing huckster has been peddling for the past 100 years, and in exactly Corbyn was selling exactly the same snake oil that every left-wing huckster has been peddling for 100 years the same bottle. He reminded me of a pharmacist trying to flog thalidomide to an expectant mother while making no attempt to hide the fact that it has caused the deaths of at least 2,000 children and serious birth defects in more than 10,000 others. And yet, nearly 13 million Britons voted for Corbyn. Could it be that they just don’t know about all the misery and suffering that socialism has unleashed? That’s a popular theory on my side of the political divide and has prompted a good deal of headscratching about how best to teach elementary history — such as that more people were killed by Stalin than by Hitler. One suggestion is to create a museum of communist terror that documents all the people murdered in the great socialist republics — and full credit to the journalist James Bartholomew for getting some traction behind this idea. But is it really historical ignorance that prompts people to invest their hopes in Corbyn? An inconvenient fact for holders of this theory is that those who voted Labour at the last election tended to be better educated than those who voted Tory. To try and solve the puzzle of socialism’s enduring appeal, we have to turn to evolutionary psychologists and in particular Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, two of the leading thinkers in the field. They contend that we don’t come into the world as tabulae rasae, ready to take on the imprint of whatever society we happen to be born into. Rather, we are more like smartphones that come pre-loaded with various apps, including a set of moral intuitions. The problem is, these apps haven’t been updated for 40,000 years. They were designed for small bands of hunter-gatherers rather than citizens of the modern world and prompt us to look more favourably on socialism than free-market capitalism. Why? Because in huntergatherer societies, where the pooling of resources is essential for survival, the principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ makes perfect sense. By the same token, we have a great deal of difficulty grasping that people acting in an individual, self-interested way can create huge communal benefits, as it does under capitalism. Back in the primeval forest, our survival depended upon distrusting people who weren’t willing to engage in reciprocal altruism. In hunter-gatherer societies, goods are finite. If someone has more than his fair share of meat, there is less for everyone else. That’s not true of capitalist societies, where successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs create wealth without taking anything away from others; but because we’re programmed to think of resources in a zero-sum way we cannot easily understand this. Instead, we’re inclined to believe people like Corbyn when they tell us the rich only got that way by stealing from the poor. So what’s the solution? Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? Hopefully not, but we need to tell a story about capitalism that is just as appealing to people’s 40,000-yearold moral intuitions as the sales patter of socialist snake oil salesmen. Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator. MICHAEL HEATH 60 the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk The Wiki Man Make life easier and all else will follow Rory Sutherland Y ou can try to change people’s minds, but this is difficult. You can bribe people to change their behaviour, but it’s expensive. Far simpler is to make the new behaviour easy and enjoyable in and of itself. Recently, colleagues of mine were asked how to promote the habit of recycling domestic refuse. They explained there was no need to mention the environmental benefits at all. ‘Just make sure everyone has two pedal bins, not one.’ Regardless of people’s attitudes to the environment, what really matters, as Martin Luther King might have said, is not the colour of their politics but the contents of their kitchen. To encourage pension saving, the government spends more than £20 billion annually in tax rebates. To swathes of the population, this enormous and wasteful incentive is entirely unmotivating. What finally did persuade eight million people to join workplace pension schemes was something called auto enrol- I explained I was happy to pay any duty owed, but I’d sent ten packets of Twiglets, not a bloody doomsday device ment — a fancy government term for ‘You don’t have to fill in any sodding forms’. Likewise, economic models of free trade set great store on whether the EU tariff on cheddar after Brexit will be 3 per cent or 4 per cent. This is largely irrelevant: trade facilitation matters more than tariff reduction. A better starting point for UK trade policy might be to ensure that a normally sane individual in the UK can send something overseas without tearing his frigging hair out. A few months ago I sent a small box of British foods to an expat friend in Canada who was recovering from cancer. They crossed the Atlantic in ten hours, then spent three days in a warehouse in Toronto. Apparently I needed to appoint a ‘Customs Broker’. (Naturally I had a wide selection of Ontarian Customs Brokers on speed dial. They then demanded a ‘commercial invoice’ or ‘bill of lading’. I vainly tried to explain to the maple suckers that I was happy to pay any duty owed, but that I’d sent ten packets of Twiglets, not a bloody doomsday device. It was yet another week before they were actually delivered. Last month in Santa Fe I wanted to post some of my luggage home. I put it in a box, paid $100 for Priority Air (CH022836798US, if you want to check) and filled out the customs form in full. By evening it had reached Albuquerque and was at LAX the following day. It then sat in customs for three weeks. After a weekend recovering from the flight to London, it spent a further week in Warwick so British customs could charge me £50 in VAT for re-importing my British-bought clothes. It arrived a month after I had posted it. This is an average speed of 6.25 miles per hour — with customs delays eradicating any advances in transportation from the past 150 years. Subtracting the hours it spent in the air, it averaged 2.3 miles per hour. On good days the Donner Party did better than this. No I’m not totally naive. I realise that when Nissan exports cars it doesn’t put them in the post. Nevertheless, if you believe in trade, it should be something available not only to multinationals but to small firms and individuals who can’t afford to employ rooms full of bureaucrats who know what a ‘bill of lading’ is. I refuse to believe here aren’t technological solutions (Blockchain may be one) that can reduce the friction of trade and make it faster, easier and more trustworthy. The financial costs of most tariffs are now small: what we should seek is not so much free trade as pain-free trade. Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK. DEAR MARY YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED plenty of hospitality when staying with us in England. Mary, can you rule? Moreover how can we avoid it happening again when we join them later this year? — Name and address withheld. Q. Last year my husband and I stayed with a much-loved, but slightly airy-fairy friend in her house in Tuscany. Flights, tips, presents, a hire car and housesitters were already costing us rather a lot, but she insisted we went out to (quite expensive) local restaurants for lunch four days out of five to experience the regional cuisine. She let my husband pay each time. I felt this was overdoing it, especially as we had to pay for her, her husband and her three adult children, and they have had A. Your friends should have drawn the line at two lunches paid for by your husband. Next time, email them in advance to say that you have become very interested in Tuscan dishes and would like to cook a couple of lunches or dinners for her house party with ingredients that you’d buy in local markets. Add that — because you are on a ‘bit of a budget’ this year — this would be ‘just as much fun and more affordable’. Q. I’m approaching a mortifyingly embarrassing birthday. The big 40. I am torn between wanting to keep it under wraps, and a childish the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk desire to have a fuss made of me. I’ve sworn friends and family to secrecy, and warned that if anyone organises a surprise party, I will be livid. I’ve considered deactivating Facebook for the day, but the thought of my birthday not being acknowledged by my wider group of friends depresses me. What should I do? — Name and address withheld. A. On your Facebook profile, go to ‘Settings’, ‘Account Settings’, ‘Timeline and Tagging’, and change ‘Who can post on my timeline’ from ‘Friends’ to ‘Only me’. That way no one can post embarrassing pictures of you on your wall with ‘40 today’ emblazoned across them. If they try, they’ll find they won’t be able to, and will send a private message instead. You will therefore receive a lot of private messages from friends making a fuss of you, and can bask in the glow of attention and love without worrying the whole world knows you are 40. Q. Mary, last week you suggested that some people, wrongly, have shame issues about hosting rats. We live between a cover crop of maize — a terrific food source for pheasants and partridges — and the pens from which the birds are released. The maize also appeals to rats, who deposit gnawed cobs round the garden. When a visiting American family saw a rat running past the back door, my response was: ‘Shh! Don’t tell the others, or they’ll all want to see one.’ — M.W., Welford, Berkshire. A. Thank you for sharing this. Write via the editor or email firstname.lastname@example.org 61 LIFE Drink All’s fair in love and Waugh Bruce Anderson I was reminded of Wild West films from boyhood. Then, the beleaguered garrison scanned the horizon; would the US cavalry arrive in time to save them from being scalped? (John Wayne always did.) Now, one was hoping for relief, not from the Injuns, but in the form of an Indian summer. This is of especial interest to those who have a tendresse for Somerset cricket. Its paladins usually have a charmingly amateur quality. As Cardus wrote of an earlier cricketing vintage: ‘[They are] children of the sun and wind and grass. Nature fashioned them rather than artifice.’ Somerset needs a match or two in order to gain points and avoid relegation. That said, the way we were playing earlier in the season, being rained off was the best hope. It would help if those in charge of schedules should remember three things. County cricket is a summer game. It is also one of the glories of English civilisation, almost entitled to rank with the cathedrals and the common law. As such, it must not be brushed aside in the interests of junk In decanters, the grandeur of earlier autumns awaited us. We stopped to sniff and stayed to genuﬂect sport, or whatever they call 20/20. But an ungenerous climate can bring consolations. That prince of foragers, young Louis, deciding that these were the perfect conditions for mushrooms, set off into the wood with a bucket and brought it back, full of chanterelles. Scoffing them, we also drew on the lingering fruits of summer. A summer pudding was to be garnished with some final wild strawberries. They always look delicious — and the name. Caviar apart, is there anything more alluring in the culinary vocabulary? That said, what about the taste? In that passage of Decline and Fall so aptly named ‘Pervigilium Veneris’, Margot and Paul saunter from bed to lunch. In Waugh, low-life deflation is never far away. They come across Philbrick, that master of multi-faceted fraudulence, who is eating some of those ‘bitter little strawberries which are so cheap in Provence and so very expensive in Dover Street.’ He warns Paul that the League of Nations is taking a beadyeyed interest in Margot’s business (the Mistress Quickly of 1920s Belgravia, she is the most elegant whore monger in all literature). ‘Bitter’ is surely an exaggeration, perhaps a deliberate one. Waugh may have intended to ‘Good heavens, a ﬂying Ryanair jet!’ signal the bitter-sweet fate waiting in ambush for his principal characters. Yet he had a point. The tiny wild berries work as an heraldic escort to the tastebud fireworks of British strawberries. On their own, they flatter to deceive. In love and cookery, earthiness has an honoured place. The beef was roasting. To accompany it, Roland harvested some horseradish, mired in mud. There was then a problem. Our table was to be graced by a much greater power than horseradish, and the two must never be allowed to mingle. In decanters, the grandeur of earlier autumns awaited us. We stopped to sniff and stayed to genuflect. I had warned my friends that luncheon would not only be an occasion for indulgence. There was work to be done. We had two bottles to compare, a 1989 and a 2000, both from that superb house, Léoville-Barton. The debate was vigorous, and inconclusive. The memsahib thought the ’89 was just about the finest claret she had ever drunk, and one could taste why. A harmony of sun and nature and artifice, it was in a state of grace. So often when drinking such a wine, one wonders whether it would have benefited from another three years, or would have been even better three years earlier. This was perfect. The novice, the 2000, divided opinions. Still shy of 20, it was a young unbroken colt. Even so, I thought it deserved the blue riband. What fun. Louis, his palate not yet trained to Bordeaux, but permitted a sip, began to understand why the grown-ups were so intent at the glass. The seasons, the generations, the wine: by the end, we could hear the music of the spheres. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE Shocking bad hat My husband complains that the disposition of teenagers in London is one of mocking hostility. I seem to suffer less from such encounters, and console him by saying it was ever thus. In the 1790s ostlers’ boys would shout ‘Quoz!’ to disconcert an uncertain-looking passer-by. It was a word of doubtful meaning, perhaps connected with quiz. A generation later, young loafers would call out ‘Oh, what a shocking bad hat!’ — enough to instil doubt in the most carefully dressed shopman or clerk. Neither men nor women were seen out in public without a hat. The locus classicus for the 62 phrase is in a book with a title perhaps more entertaining than its contents: Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, and the Madness of Crowds (1841) by Charles Mackay (the natural father of Marie Corelli, the sensational novelist). Mackay gives a circumstantial origin for the phrase from a Southwark election, but I don’t find it convincing. It is quoted by Eric Partridge in his Dictionary of Catch Phrases (1977), though he is seldom credited with putting his finger on it. The date of Mackay’s book is important because to the Duke of Wellington, on seeing the first Reformed Parliament in 1833, is attributed the remark ‘I never saw so many shocking bad hats in my life’. The account of this remark was not published until 1889, in Words on Wellington by Sir William Fraser, who had made a reputation back in the 1850s at the Carlton Club with his stories of Wellington. But he was only seven in 1833. The disapproval is literally of the hats. The moral character of a bad hat is secondary. Shocking, used as a quasi-adverb like this, was thought a vulgarism (though Wellington wouldn’t have minded). The Oxford English Dictionary contains no entry for shocking bad hat, but the phrase figures in its illustrations of other words. The earliest comes from 1831, when R. S. Surtees recounts the fortunes of Mr Jorrocks, in hunting raiment, reaching a spot opposite Somerset House in the Strand, to be met with boys heckling him with insults pronounced with the conventional Cockney V for W: ‘Vot a swell! Vot a shocking bad hat! Vot shocking bad breeches!’ — Dot Wordsworth the spectator | 23 september 2017 | www.spectator.co.uk Winemaker’s lunch with CVNE Join us in the Spectator boardroom on Thursday 19 October 2017 for the next in this year’s series of Spectator Winemaker’s Lunches with Maria Urrutia, marketing director of family-owned Compañia Vinicola del Norte de España, better known as CVNE, producers of exemplary Rioja since 1879. Born in New York and educated in the UK, Maria – the ﬁfth generation of her family to work at CVNE – is uniquely placed to discuss her family’s wines in a global context. During a delicious four-course cold lunch provided by Forman & Field, Maria will introduce a wide selection of CVNE’s Rioja wines including specially selected vintages of the Contino Blanco, the Monopole Blanco Seco, the Viña Real Crianza, the Cune Reserva, the Imperial Reserva and the Imperial Gran Reserva. CVNE is one of Spain’s ﬁnest wine producers and our lunches are hugely popular, so do book promptly to avoid disappointment. The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP Thursday 19 October | 12.30 p.m. | £75 For further information and to book www.spectator.co.uk/cvne | 020 7961 0015 Courage and commitment - that’s the FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund Return on £1,000 invested 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years Since launch* - 31.08.17 CRUX European Special Situations Fund £1,219 £1,549 £1,666 £1,744 £2,314 £2,856 Sector average : IA Europe ex UK £1,235 £1,421 £1,486 £1,593 £2,048 £2,065 Index : FTSE World Europe ex UK £1,260 £1,454 £1,473 £1,627 £2,055 £2,041 Cash : Bank of England Base Rate £1,003 £1,007 £1,012 £1,017 £1,023 £1,037 Source: FE © 2017, bid-bid, £1,000 invested, cumulative performance to 31.08.17. *Launch date 01.10.09. Active managers who invest in their own funds Active investment management requires conﬁdence, courage and commitment in every investment decision, something the managers of CRUX’s European Special Situations Fund have plenty of. They are also committed to aligning their investment aims with that of their clients by investing meaningful amounts of their own assets in their funds. As you can see from the table above, it’s an approach which is delivering strong performance and over the years they have achieved an impressive track record. Consult your ﬁnancial adviser, call or visit: The Fund has comfortably lapped the index and most of the tracker funds that follow it nearly every year over the past ﬁve years, as shown in the table above. So if you’re investing in Europe put yourself on the podium with active asset management, not in the slow lane with a passive investment. Past performance is not a guide to future returns. The value of an investment and any income from it are not guaranteed and can go down as well as up and there is the risk of loss to your investment. 0800 30 474 24 www.cruxam.com Fund featured; FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund I ACC GBP class. The Henderson European Special Situations Fund was restructured into the FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund on 8 June 2015. Any past performance or references to the period prior to 8 June 2015 relate to the Henderson European Special Situations Fund. This ﬁnancial promotion is issued by CRUX Asset Management, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority of 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS. A free, English language copy of the full prospectus, the Key Investor Information Document and Supplementary Information Document for the fund, which should be read before investing, can be obtained from the CRUX website, www.cruxam.com or by calling us on 0800 304 7424. For your protection, calls may be monitored and recorded.