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. James Forsyth: The Tory rebellion over Covid
There is a disconnect between Boris Johnson and backbench Tory MPs when it comes to Covid strategy, writes James Forsyth. No. 10 favour strict, pre-emptive restrictions. Tory MPs still broadly believe that the government should stick to the approach that guided the easing of the lockdown. Graham Brady is planning an amendment to the emergency powers bill, up for renewal at the end of the month, that would require a vote before any new national restrictions came into force. It is likely that more than 40 Tory MPs will back it, wiping out the government’s majority. Johnson must pay more attention to his own MPs if he is to stop this temporary rift from becoming permanent.
2. Charles Lipson: The battle for Supreme Court supremacy
It’s hard to exaggerate just how contentious the process will be to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat in the Supreme Court, writes Charles Lipson. Trump and the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell think they can win — and Trump thinks the fight helps his re-election bid. But Democrats are hitting back hard, saying ‘everything is on the table’ if Trump pushes through his nominee. That’s a threat. If Biden wins and his party takes the Senate, they will have to decide whether to knock down the barriers, ram through their wish list and stack the Supreme Court. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
3. Barbara Amiel: I’m not a necrophiliac
‘My best friends are social distancing themselves in apparent revulsion or contempt after reading excerpts of my memoirs in the Daily Mail,’ writes Barbara Amiel in this week’s diary. ‘I will deck out in leper’s clothes with a warning bell when I return to London.’ Another problem with promoting her book is the risk of being caught out by pleasant interviewers. ‘Only after I turn the bloody Zoom off do I realise that in a moment of warm intimacy I’ve given them some ghastly chat on necrophilia (one of the few sexual practices I have not engaged in).’
4. Richard Dobbs: Now's the time for Boris’s Churchill moment
In the same way as the technologies developed by British scientists, universities and companies were at the heart of winning the second world war, British innovation can play a leading role in the world’s victory over Covid-19, writes Richard Dobbs. The first weapon in our war against Covid-19 is treatment. We have learnt a lot in the last nine months and Britain is leading the way in identifying and developing new treatment drugs. The second branch of our attack is testing and isolating. A number of British companies are among the innovations in this field. Finally, a will be needed to finally beat the virus. In this race, too, the UK is also well placed.
5. Iain Mackinnon: I was Dennis Nilsen’s boss
How would you know if one of your colleagues was a murder? Iain Mackinnon was Dennis Nilsen’s manager at the Hotel and Catering Jobcentre, Denmark Street, London, in 1980-1. When Nilsen was arrested for his multiple horrific murders, Iain was ‘amazed, but perhaps not completely incredulous’. Des was ‘unquestionably odd’, but he never gave Iain the creeps. In fact, Iain recommended him for a promotion.