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
1. Freddy Gray: why are Trump’s opponents so mesmerisingly mediocre?
There are fewer than a hundred days until the Iowa primary and the Democrats are in such trouble that even Hillary Clinton is considering running again. There are 17 candidates for the Democrat nomination and none of them outpolls Trump in the most marginal states. The impeachment saga is a sideshow to cover the Democrats more fundamental problem – their embarrassing inability to find a competent candidate to face down Trump next year.
2. Leading article: it’s time to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants
The Tory manifesto will soon be launched and The Spectator is asking Boris Johnson to back a policy that he called for when editor of this magazine: an amnesty for illegal migrants. A former Home Office official estimated that there are 1.2 million undocumented migrants in Britain: to be theoretically committed to their expulsion is an absurdity. When the US and Spain tried this, they found revenues rose (and crime fell) as residents were taken into the legal economy. An amnesty sounds radical, but it’s just common sense: there would be conditions, such as a residency test. Boris backed it as London Mayor and knows it’s right now. He’s convinced of the principle: now it’s time for the policy.
3. Tanya Gold: left-wing British Jews are politically homeless
The choice, she says, is bleak: back Corbyn, or abandon the Labour party to the anti-Semites forever? The Tories, she says, don’t offer a solution either: they’re bad for all minority groups. So Jews ‘have returned to our settled place; too proud, in every sense, to assimilate; rather, we drift across the world to where we feel safe: the Syrian border for some; Muswell Hill for others’. Matthew Parris also writes about political homelessness: he’s voting Lib Dem, he says in his column, but cannot back them.
4. James Forsyth: the Lib Dems are key to this election
The nightmare Tory scenario, he says, is that Labour rallies the Remain vote leading to a hung parliament. Don’t expect to see the Tories pushing for Jo Swinson to be included in the TV debates though: a resurgent Lib Dems could be equally damaging to the Tories’ prospects. In the end, the most vital part of the Tories’ election equation is entirely out of Boris Johnson’s hands.
5. Mick Hucknall: cultural appropriation and soul music
Mick Hucknall hits out at the idea that musicians of one ethnicity should not borrow themes from those of another: ‘It’s been there since Bing Crosby in the late 1920s, and Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, through Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix doing songs by this Jewish guy from the Midwest called Bob Dylan. The real glory of this whole thing has been the marriage and the assimilation of black and white throughout the centuries. I think that is something to be really celebrated. There’s this kind of weird idea that seems to come from the liberal media about compartmentalisation: black people do this and white people do that. That’s segregation. And by the way, just in case anybody didn’t notice, the instrument that Louis Armstrong is playing is a western European invention. The whole thing should be just shut down as wanton racism and segregationism. I really think they need to stop. I do find it strange that it comes from the left.’