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
Tom Holland: Christianity’s undying influence. ‘Without Christ — and the Easter story — we would not have many western values,’ writes historian Tom Holland. The idea that weakness and suffering can be sources of strength is widely taken for granted across the West. But it comes from the Christian tradition. Even condemnations of Christianity as patriarchal or repressive are derived from a Christian moral framework.
Roger Scruton: on being sacked. In his Spectator diary, Sir Roger Scruton calls on the New Statesman to make public the tapes of his conversation with journalist George Eaton and reveals how he’s received emails of support from well-wishers across the world.
James Forsyth: the Brexit backlash. With the Tories eyeing the next election, splits are already emerging. Some see Boris Johnson as the best candidate to win over Labour Leavers and see off Nigel Farage; others worry he will scare off the party’s Remainer voters. But whatever route the Tories go down, they need to deliver Brexit. As one cabinet minister warns: ‘If you’re seen as the Brexit party and you haven’t delivered Brexit, then you’ve not got much left.’
Liam Halligan: the dangers of Irish intransigence over Brexit. To state that Dublin’s approach to Brexit has been cynical and unneighbourly isn’t ‘anti-Irish’ (in the words of Irish ambassador Adrian O’Neill) writes ‘London-Irish’ Liam Halligan. Leo Varadkar’s intransigence over the Irish border will not only damage Britain but Ireland too.
James Tooley: how Philip Larkin got it wrong. James Tooley was an impressionable teenager when he first discovered ‘This Be the Verse’ and took its edict to heart: he chose not to have children. Some 48 years later, he’s changed his mind and reworked the poem to celebrate the joy of families: ‘They lift you up, your mum and dad…’
A debate on euthanasia. With polls showing that 90 per cent of the UK’s population now support assisted dying for the terminally ill, we bring together Douglas Murray and Sam Leith — two Spectator editors with opposing views on the topic — to debate whether a change in the law would really be progress.
In praise of hymns. In the age of Brexit and squabbling, we need hymns more than ever, writes Ysenda Maxtone Graham. They help us to live better lives and not sink into despair. They are the perfect match of words and music.