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
Europe’s old order is disappearing but do we really understand what’s taking its place? Politicians like Italy’s Matteo Salvini (whose Lega party may soon win a historic majority) are lazily described as ‘far right’. But when the term is applied to anyone who wants to restore sovereignty or restrict immigration then it becomes meaningless. ‘For if everybody is a fascist, then nobody is.’
2. Katy Balls: Dominic Cummings’s revolution.
Dominic Cummings has rewired government, writes Katy Balls, with power centralised and restored to Downing Street. Special advisers are encouraged to report their ministers’ dissent – and Secretaries of State receive personalised instructions from the Prime Minister on their priorities. While civil servants may not like Cummings’s Brexit focus, many are relieved to have clear direction (‘I finally know what I’m meant to be doing,’ says one). The Brexiteers have taken back control – but can they get the job done?
3. Rachel Johnson’s diary.
‘After I quit the Lib Dems they surged and as soon as I joined Change UK they tanked,’ writes Rachel Johnson in her Spectator diary. ‘Which party should I enter as a sleeper cell next?’ Certainly not Labour, which seems perfectly capable of destroying itself on its own accord. The former Mail on Sunday columnist also lifts the lid on her sacking from the paper – and reveals her fake tan hell.
4. Robert Tombs: history’s folly.
Both Leavers and Remainers love to cite history to boost their Brexit arguments, writes Robert Tombs, but their analogies generate more heat than light. Perhaps because most of their ideas – from the exceptionalism pushed by Leavers to Remainers’ belief that the EU guarantees peace – are largely inaccurate. ‘As a professional historian, I’m sorry that ideas about history have provided much of the material for the hysteria.’