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.
Jonathan Sumption: why I’ve given up on the ECHR. ‘I once thought that the Strasbourg court could be reformed from within,’ writes Lord Sumption in this week’s cover piece. ‘But I no longer believe that this unwieldy body with its isolated splendour in Strasbourg, its arrogant self-assurance, its 46 judges from as many nations, its powerful registrar and its more than 200 ideologically committed staff lawyers is capable of changing direction.’ The UK does not need the ECHR to protect human rights, says the former Supreme Court judge. Many of the rights which the convention proclaims were part of British law long before the convention was conceived.
Claire Coutinho: ‘The eco zealots are turning people off.’ In her first sit-down interview since becoming Energy Secretary, Claire Coutinho speaks to Katy Balls about her upbringing, her politics and her agenda. On Europe turning against green policies: ‘What you see in Europe is that lots of people are losing faith, they see it as something that politicians are doing to them. Clobbering them in their personal finances for a cause that they don’t completely understand because they see their emissions as much lower than other countries.’ On scaling back net zero: ‘[We need to] make sure we have got enough clean power but also protect families. With the two policies that we changed, there was no way round it for all those families. They would have to spend thousands of pounds – whether on their boilers or a car. There was no mechanism for us to help them with that.’ On becoming a Eurosceptic: ‘When I was in finance, my desk covered Greece and I saw their financial crises. All the things the EU did with Greece in terms of debt restructuring which, to me, didn’t look like it worked very well for Greece in terms of the loss of sovereignty.’
Zelensky has crushed opposition – so why hold an election? With the US pressuring Ukraine to hold an election, Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will hold a vote if America pays the bill. But Svitlana Morenets says that his opponents have been quashed already, their TV stations taken down. He does have rivals: the kick-boxing mayor of Kyiv (who hates him) and the revered head of the army. If the US is hoping for a president more inclined to do a deal with Russia, they can forget it: Svitlana spent the summer in her native Ukraine talking to the fighters and the maimed – and met no one talking about compromise. A post-war election may be tricky for Zelensky. But an election right now, she says, would be a distraction and a formality.
Joe Biden’s plummeting numbers. Joe Biden’s poll numbers look worse the more you dig into them, writes Freddy Gray. Seventy per cent think he’s too old to serve a second term, 64 per cent disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy, 62 per cent disapprove of his handling of the US-Mexico border and 53 per cent of 18- to 35-year-olds appear to prefer the last president to the current one. More than 60 per cent of Democratic voters say they want a different candidate on their ticket in 2024. ‘Biden’s dismal performance has triggered yet more talk in Washington of a “dump Joe” movement gaining ground in Democratic circles. The problem with that idea is that despite all his embarrassing senior moments, Biden shows no indication that he’s had enough. Unless he stands down, it’s hard to see anybody stopping him.’
Australia’s referendum: meet the queen of the ‘no’ campaign. On 14 October, a referendum will take place in Australia over the creation of a consultative group for Aboriginals. This has led to a furious backlash by those who see it as woke racial segregation – and the ‘no’ campaign is surging ahead. It’s led by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, a conservative 42-year-old Aboriginal mother of four and the shadow chancellor for indigenous affairs. By challenging the old, failed narratives which argue that systemic racism is responsible for indigenous woes and that a policy of welfarism and separatism is the answer, she has led the charge against the ‘Voice’.