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 red line: Biden and Xi’s secret Ukraine talks. In March, the Poles suggested sending old Soviet MiG-29 jets to Ukraine – a proposal that caused consternation but was then dropped. Why? In his cover article, Owen Matthews reveals it was Beijing’s intervention – part of a secret China-US axis that is setting parameters for the Ukraine war. The People’s Liberation Army also has direct links to the Russian military, without the Kremlin’s interference. China’s generals have been imploring the Russian military not to carry out any nuclear order from the Kremlin, making clear China would cut off all military ties if they did.
Labour has admitted defeat on Rishinomics. When Rishi Sunak said a £55 billion hole needed to be filled, it was a challenge to Labour: would Keir Starmer accept this logic and fight? James Forsyth argues that the Labour leader has decided to accept this logic, and won’t really differentiate from the Tories on economics, thereby closing down what has in the past been a major fault line. This is why Starmer is pursuing constitutional reform; replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber costs nothing, and he looks to have hitched his tax, spend and borrow plans to the Tories.
Sven-Göran Eriksson: the current England squad is better than mine. ‘The England squad that I took to Germany for the 2006 World Cup is called the “Golden Generation”. We had some brilliant players, but I think that today’s England squad is better,’ Eriksson writes in his notebook. He has some advice for Gareth Southgate if England fail to win the World Cup: don’t take rumours of your sacking too seriously. After he was let go by Manchester City, he settled in for a morning of drinking champagne. He also reveals his dislike for Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, but only because of fixture timings.
Piers Morgan diary: Ronaldo is happy to be sacked. Morgan texted Cristiano Ronaldo a gif of Mel Gibson in Braveheart screaming ‘Freedom!’ after his sacking; Ronaldo replied with laughing emojis and said: ‘For sure, free as a bird. The interview changed everything.’
George Eustice: will Kemi Badenoch repeat Liz Truss’s trade mistake? After nine years as an environment minister, Eustice has used his newfound backbench freedom to denounce the Australia deal that he was once paid to defend. It was lopsided, he says, and he’s worried that Badenoch may do the same with her coming deals with India and the 11-nation Pacific CPTPP. ‘I’ve had a large number of Conservative MPs say “that needed saying” and “we must not repeat this mistake”.’ Even Rishi Sunak privately thinks the UK had the worse end of the Australia deal, James Heale reveals.