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.
Cold War: what happens if Putin turns off Germany’s gas? ‘To say that Germany has made itself reliant on Russian gas doesn’t quite capture the enormity of what is going on,’ writes Wolfgang Münchau. Germany’s economy minister is openly warning that Germany will suffer a Lehman-style collapse if Putin switches off the gas. The 1973 oil crisis, with its four car-free Sundays, seems like a dry run compared to what is now in store for German industry and consumers.
Henry Kissinger: Zelensky agrees with me. In a conversation with the historian Andrew Roberts, Henry Kissinger responds to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s attack on him earlier this month. ‘When Zelensky commented, he hadn’t read what I had said,’ he says. ‘In his most recent statements he has essentially accepted what I outlined in Davos. He gave an interview to the Financial Times [on 7 June] which fundamentally accepted the basic framework.’ Biden’s emphasis on Taiwan, he says, ‘will produce confrontation’. On the Iranian nuclear talks: ‘The trouble with the existing nuclear talks is that it is very dangerous to go back to an agreement that was inadequate to begin with – to modify it in a direction that makes it apparently more tolerable to the adversary.’ Kissinger also tells Roberts that the ‘biggest problem for the future of democracy’ is the lack of leaders of stature, and reveals that the biggest inspiration for him as a writer is Ernest Hemingway.
Boris vs Charles. Hell hath no greater fury than that between Old Etonians, says James Heale. Boris Johnson seems to regard Charles as (political) fair game, with private comments leaked via Westminster sources and open briefings against him. The Queen stayed out of politics, and politics stayed away from her. But Charles is more meddlesome and Johnson has decided that if the meddling Prince is going to get in the arena, he’d better be prepared to play.
Peter Mandelson: Labour could copy Scholz’s traffic light coalition. In this week’s Diary, Peter Mandelson discusses his recent conversations with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a trip to Berlin. ‘Scholz has no expectation of an early ceasefire and is determined to support Ukraine for the long haul,’ Mandelson writes. He says Scholz has ‘put together a governing coalition of social democrats, liberals and greens. A template for Keir Starmer? In principle, yes…’
Scrabble players are being censored. Some 419 ‘offensive’ Scrabble words have been officially banned by the game owners Hasbro and Mattel, causing much hostility in competitive Scrabble competitions, writes Jonathan Maitland. There have even been high-profile resignations as a result: author Darryl Francis quit the Scrabble Players’ Association in protest. Even seemingly harmless terms such as ‘Jesuit’ are now banned.
Will tactical voting topple the Tories? Boris Johnson has always been a celebrity politician. It is one of the reasons why the normal rules of politics have so often not applied to him. But this status is now working against him. British politics is dividing into pro-Boris and anti-Boris voters as the recent by-elections showed. Where does all this leave the Tories? In serious danger from tactical voting, as the anti-Tory bloc is now at around 60 per cent.