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.
After Keir, who? By putting his own job on the line, Keir Starmer has got his party thinking: who would be next? The Tories are so worried that they’ve called off attacks, says Katy Balls: ‘It’s better for us if we face Starmer at the next election,’ says a senior minister. Lisa Nandy is the candidate the Tories really don’t want: more left-wing than Starmer while sounding more right-wing.
The Queen’s Speech shows the Tories are out of ideas. Post-Covid, the government hasn’t yet settled on a new raison d’être, writes James Forsyth. Conservative MPs, disappointed at last week’s local election results, have begun to realise that an anti-Tory majority might be the most likely outcome at the next election. After all, with the Bank of England warning of 10 per cent inflation and a lagging economy, where is the good news to come from?
David Abulafia: the negative discrimination of Oxbridge admissions. When he was on Cambridge’s University Council, Professor David Abulafia knew that admissions ‘targets’ were aspirations: the colleges would try to recruit bright state school kids but never discriminate against those born into the wrong (i.e. rich) family. Has that changed? He reveals that internal Cambridge testing shows a higher standard is now being demanded of privately educated students. Given that a third of private school pupils receive bursaries, is ‘private’ really a proxy for ‘posh’?
Matthew Parris: the truth about Covid deaths. The World Health Organisation’s report on ‘excess deaths’ has shown that we’re not, after all, at the top of the Covid death-league, but near the middle. What stands out, writes Parris, is not the pecking order of countries, but the fact that it’s difficult to spot any obvious correlation between the pandemic-suppressing measures taken by different nations and excess mortality outcomes. ‘I hope we can learn some lessons about cultural pressure as a resource, about the importance of steadiness, and about the imperative to do all we can to protect a national economy upon which, in the end, all our lives depend.’
Bjorn Lomborg: climate change deaths have fallen 99 per cent. The BBC has just admitted its climate change editor was wrong to claim that ‘the death toll is rising around the world and the forecast is that worse is to come’. But how wrong? Lomborg’s research shows that climate-related deaths have fallen 99 per cent over the past century. The proposed new GCSE in climate science, he says, may be a chance to stop myths being so widely believed.