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.
Putin’s billions: have sanctions backfired? What was intended as an economic blockade against Vladimir Putin risks going badly wrong, says our economics editor Kate Andrews. High oil and gas prices have led to a windfall for the Kremlin, with the currency account deficit trebling to £106 billion – so much foreign cash it can afford to turn off the pipes in winter. Russia is raking in roughly $800 million per day. If these prices stay elevated, Putin is on track to make (far) more money this year than last.
British politics is stuck. Despite all the Tories appear to be doing to ensure they lose the next election, Labour is still only ahead by single digits in the polls, writes James Forsyth. Ministers are becoming increasingly concerned about the danger of looking like a government that promises the world but doesn’t deliver. Take this week’s rail strikes: both the Tory manifesto and the 2019 Queen’s Speech committed the party to ensuring that a minimum service operated during train strikes so you couldn’t have the entire network grind to a halt. Yet this legislation hasn’t been published yet. In the Labour party, meanwhile, Keir Starmer might have been effective at internal moves designed to limit the power of the Corbynite left, but he still trails Johnson on the question of who would make the best prime minister. Unless either main party can get a grip, a hung parliament seems like the most likely result of the next election.
Zelensky would be overthrown if he settled with Putin. Svitlana Morenets, a Ukrainian journalist and now a refugee settled in Britain, won a place on our internship scheme this year. In a personal and moving piece, she seeks to answer the question she is asked most often by the Britons she meets. ‘Why don’t I long for a ceasefire? Why doesn’t Zelensky?’ Her answer: ‘Any “deal” with Putin would turn us into a slave state and “peace” would mean giving Russia a chance to rearm and return. Polls also show that most Ukrainians think victory is not just possible, but likely. That might sound hubristic, even naive, but what are the other options?’
Could a vaccine for cancer be in our grasp? Fresh from its triumph in the race to make a vaccine for Covid-19, BioNTech has announced promising results using a similar vaccine against pancreatic cancer. The idea behind the treatment makes sense. You find some fragments of protein unique to the individual patient’s tumour and send in the genetic codes for them in a form that will alert the body’s immune system. BioNTech’s treatments look capable of tackling solid tumours too. Hopes of curing cancer have been dashed before, yet we can at least expect milder treatments. ‘I may well be wrong here, but I have a feeling we might be able to phase out the blunt instrument known as radiotherapy one day in the not-too-distant future,’ writes Matt Ridley.
Turkey’s role in the Iran-Israel shadow war. On Friday night, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office issued an emergency briefing that an attack on Israeli tourists in Istanbul was ‘imminent’. There was no attack in the end that night, but the threat to Israelis in Turkey remains high, writes Anshel Pfeffer. Following several audacious Mossad hits on Iranian soil, Iran has been plotting to attack the thousands of Israeli tourists in Turkey as a response. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who cooled relations with Israel a decade ago, is now aiding the Israeli intelligence services to combat their shared enemy, Iran.