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. Is it time for Boris, asks James Forsyth in this week’s cover piece. The Tories face an existential crisis – but is it good news for the former Mayor of London? There are signs he has learned from the mistakes of his failed 2016 campaign to lead the party, writes James. But not everyone is convinced: ‘Boris has the right message but he’s the wrong person to deliver it,’ says one cabinet minister.
2. Alexander Nix: my defence. Is the man behind Cambridge Analytica the mind-bending super villain his critics say he is? ‘Absolute nonsense,’ he tells The Spectator’s Freddy Gray in his first interview since Channel 4’s documentary. He agrees with the Information Commissioner that it’s time for an ‘ethical pause’ on data, adding ‘you might think that strange, but we’re about to move into really another level of data’… • On ‘psychographics’: ‘The idea of applying psychology or behavioural sciences to communication is not a new one. It’s very old behavioural economics.’ • On Trump’s victory: ‘Like it or not, this was a data-driven election that Trump ran. He spent around $120 million on digital.’ • On ‘whistleblower’ Christopher Wylie: ‘He was an intern who worked two days a week whilst doing a fashion degree. He’s not a data scientist. It’s just bonkers what he’s saying. [When he set up his own company] he pitched all our clients. We sued him and put him out of business. And this was his retribution.’ • On Channel 4’s documentary: ‘The way they edited that interview was deliberately contrived to do the maximum harm to a company that they’d already decided was guilty of Brexit.’
3. How cultural appropriation is ruining fantasy fiction. The world of young adult fiction is under siege from identity politics, reveals Karen Yossman. Fantasy novels are being attacked for their ‘offensive’ racist parallels or for failing to give voice to real-world minorities. And publishers are caving in: books are being cancelled and writers are encouraged to engage with ‘sensitivity readers’ to ensure their imaginary worlds are adequately woke.
4. Why we must prosecute Assad, by Paul Wood. Last month, the family of Al Jed, a Syrian activist known to every foreign journalist, received confirmation that he had died in one of the regime’s jails at the end of December 2013 – likely one of thousands of prisoners to be barbarically tortured. Experts now believe the case for prosecuting Bashar Al-Assad for war crimes is ‘very strong’, reveals Paul Wood. ‘For a large part of the Syrian population, the war will not be over until he is.’