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
James Forsyth: the Brexit insurgency. After yesterday evening’s crushing Commons defeat, Theresa May’s Brexit deal is surely dead — at least in its current form. But what comes next? James Forsyth reveals how soft Brexiteers now sense an opportunity to keep Britain within the customs union, and to kill off no deal for good — either on their own or with the support of Labour MPs. Either way, says James, we are truly through the looking glass: if the Prime Minister is to survive, something has to give, no matter how unlikely it might seem.
Nikki da Costa: can parliament take control? When the government collapses, parliament takes control, says Nikki da Costa, Theresa May’s former director of legislative affairs. And here’s what that might mean: backbench MPs wrestling control of the Brexit process, with ministers answering to their new masters in the Liaison Committee. While it might seem far-fetched, it’s all perfectly possible — and Theresa May should take the threat seriously.
In defence of council housing. ‘I live in a five-bedroom Victorian terrace in Islington, have several holidays a year, and am mortgage free,’ says journalist Mark Piggott. ‘There’s just one catch: it’s a council house… But while social housing might be unfashionable amongst politicians and ownership-obsessed Brits, I certainly feel like one of life’s winners.’
The danger of ‘neurodiversity’. ‘I’m a 63-year-old man affected by the disability autism,’ writes Jonathan Mitchell. ‘I went to special schools, I can’t hold down a job, and I’ve never had a girlfriend — so believe me when I call it an infliction.’ He adds: ‘So why is the “neurodiversity” movement determined to challenge the idea of autism as a disability, and to silence people like me who would seek a cure? It’s time to stand up to these dangerous ideas.’
Lionel Shriver: morality clauses empower the mob. ‘Why are publishers insisting that their authors sign contracts which will see them fired if they face “widespread public condemnation”?’, asks novelist Lionel Shriver. These poorly thought-out ‘morality clauses’ will only hand more power to the outrage mobs of Twitter, who will hound and intimidate writers they dislike. ‘You expect me to sign one?’ asks Shriver. ‘Well, good luck with that!’