Archived since 2 July 2005 Modern Archive Weekly
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 books, theatre, opera, cinema and exhibitions.
Red Rishi: how he learned to love the big interventionist state. The PM always seemed like an uber capitalist, writes Kate Andrews in this week’s cover story. Now, however, there is talk in No. 10 of ‘voluntary’ price controls in supermarkets. Rishi Sunak has been ramping up his windfall tax on British energy producers, while the corporation tax rise from 19 to 25 per cent, once mooted as a pandemic emergency, is now a core part of his economic plan. The tax burden is higher than the 1970s. A record proportion of taxpayers pay the higher rate of tax – and not because Sunak has been making us all richer. ‘Sunak’s supporters argue that circumstances have demanded huge state intervention on his watch… But governments are judged by what they do, not what they say. And the state under Sunak is becoming larger and more interventionist.’
Simon Case and the civil service intifada. Most prime ministers fall out with the civil service, writes James Heale, and Rishi Sunak seems to have inherited a Tory animosity for Whitehall. James reveals that it was Simon Case who delivered the coup de grâce to Liz Truss, handing her a memo that demanded she abandon her economic agenda. Small wonder other mandarins feel emboldened to act: even threatening to strike on the Rwanda policy. ‘What’s happening at the Home Office is just another level,’ says one senior Tory source: ‘You don’t go on strike – if you don’t like what the government is doing then just hand in your pass and quit.’
Down the rabbit hole. An academic, Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, has said that Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit ‘[feeds] into a damaging and recurring appropriation of Black cultural forms that continues today’. That’s nonsense, says the author’s biographer Matthew Dennison: ‘Does she deserve castigation for cultural appropriation? The answer is the same as it must be for any artist or storyteller: not when that criticism has any foundation in supposition.’
Why teenagers are so unhappy. Dr Jean Twenge tells Mary Wakefield that almost 30 per cent of American girls have clinical depression – ‘it’s the same across the Anglosphere’. What’s more, the suicide rate for ten- to 24-year-olds has tripled. ‘Imagine if nine domestic airline flights filled with ten- to 24-year-olds crashed every single year killing everyone on board. Airplanes would not be allowed to fly again until we figured out why.’
The civil service’s navel-gazing problem. ‘At unpublicised cost, the People Survey invites penpushers to complain,’ writes Quentin Letts. ‘Guess what, they do… The survey covered 100 departments, 17,000 business units and 350,000 souls. It was “an extremely useful tool”. Tools need oiling, so a review was held… The survey was published twice a year in “a number of internal products” with “data packs, interactive dashboards, action planning templates and knowledge hubs”.’ On and on this has gone, Quentin explains, concluding: ‘A survey is taken. The survey is itself surveyed. Then it is quality-assured. Just to be on the safe side. What a wonderful belly-button fluff inspection.’
Subjects: Culture, News, News And Politics
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- First Issue: 2 July 2005
- Latest Issue: 3 June 2023
- Issue Count: 906
- Published: Weekly
- ISSN: 2059-6499