2 July 2005
The Spectator was established in 1828, and is the oldest continuously published magazine in the
English language. The Spectator’s taste for controversy, however, remains undiminished. There is no
party line to which The Spectator’s writers are bound - originality of thought and elegance of expression are the
sole editorial constraints.
The trial issue contains a “Thought Crime Special” with articles from Melanie Phillips,
“I think, therefore I’m guilty”; Christopher Booker writes about
“Scientists in hiding; the demonisation of academics who question the consensus”; Alan Rusbridger explores
“How to stifle the press” and how England’s libel laws make it easy.
UK politics come under scrutiny from
James Forsyth, Brendan O’Neill ponders if teenagers could ever be
“Drunk and orderly”; while
Tom Hollander writes his diary and
James Delingpole says
eat local organic food if you like, but don’t kid yourself that it’s ‘green’.
The Spectator’s regular arts coverage includes
1. Rana Mitter: How Covid has accelerated China’s rise
When Covid-19 first broke out in China it seemed like the country would be in trouble. But what started as a ‘people’s war’ (as described by the state media) has, eight months later, become a victory. The latest economic figures suggest that the Chinese economy is the only one in the world that will make a full recovery from the virus – growing by 2 per cent while America’s falls by 5 per cent, the Eurozone by 8 per cent and Britain by 10 per cent. Beijing can now look forward, whereas other major economies are still working out how to manage the damage and racking up staggering amounts of debt. But, the CCP’s plan for a ‘dual circulation’ economy that would cleanly separate off its domestic and international economies is unsustainable in the long term. What’s more, their global reach could yet be curtailed by America. In Beijing’s mind, the US is down, not out.
2. James Forsyth: Boris says he is the ‘toughest member of the cabinet’ as Brexit talks go to the wire
The PM’s appetite for risk is far greater than his cabinet’s, writes James Forsyth. He often claims, in fact, that when it comes to Brexit, he is the ‘toughest member of the cabinet’. But, as Brexit negotiations go down to the wire, ministers are very much in the mood for striking a deal with the EU rather than leaving on no deal terms. One minister calls the current talks a ‘crazy game of chicken’. Could one side end up miscalculating? One of those close to the negotiations tells James that an agreement is more likely than not. Both sides' tactics, however, make it an unpredictable situation.
3. Richard Dobbs: Test and Trace has been an unmitigated disaster
The NHS Test, Trace and Isolate programme has not had a good few weeks. Even the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has quietly disowned the programme, saying it’s having marginal impact. Dobbs argues that the programme has fundamental strategic flaws which mean it will not suppress a second wave of Covid-19. But he is optimistic that the PM’s plans for mass testing could be a way out of this quagmire.
4. Griff Rhys Jones: Sadiq Khan has used Covid as an excuse to punish London’s motorists
The comedian, best known for his work on Not the Nine O Clock News, asks why Covid has brought out a rash of virtuous bullying of motorists in the Capital. He writes that Transport for London (TfL), in league with earnest local councillors and encouraged by the government, have decided to use the pandemic to force Londoners to adopt a more worthy form of personal transport of bikes. Bureaucrats have arbitrarily closed off major arteries, such as Park Lane, Euston Road, and the Edgware Road as part of their ‘world-leading street-space for London’. The purpose? To ‘stop rat-runs and make London areas access only’. Rhys Jones, however, says that the policy is having the opposite effect.
5. Kemi Badenoch: ‘The victimhood narrative is poisonous’
In an interview with Fraser Nelson, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch says that ‘being black is not just about victimhood’. She also attacks Black Lives Matter and advocates of critical race theory, claiming that some proponents ‘actually want a segregated society.’ She also attacks ‘unconscious bias training’, claiming that there is no evidence that it works. She tells Fraser Nelson that a Tory equalities agenda should be based on Martin Luther King’s ‘dream’ that people should be judged ‘on the content of their character’ not the colour of their skin