One has to weep.
Once upon a time there was the epitome of Silver Age essay writing. Then came the start of the slide,.
Back in 1828, Stephen Rintoul (in those day, the law winked at “passing off”) re-deployed the title from the 1711-12 original, 555 issues written by Joseph Addison and Richard Addison (blessings on Irish Leaving Cert English, which was was where many of us learned any notion of style). If ever I come into possession of a Time Machine or a Tardis, I want to be Sir Roger de Coverley,
That may be because a distant ancestor, allowing for an inconvenient illegitimacy, was a close parallel for Sir Roger — Sir Granado Pigott, M.P., of Abington Pigotts, (just) in the County of Cambridgeshire. A rank Tory who did little harm.
Were I transported back, I promise not to invest in the slave trade.
Since then the title of The Spectator has fallen on harder and harder times. For a while it was where post-War Tory thinkers hung out: the likes of Iain Macleod, Ian Gilmour and Nigel Lawson. That segued neatly into the house-journal of the Thatcherite young-fogies. This was a phase when there was enough loose cash floating around to inveigle decent writers: however it came to reflect (1999-2005) the louche nature of its editor, one Boris Johnson, and gained the reputation of a high-class knocking-shop.
Après moi, le déluge
I still read The Spectator, but more as one has, in natural micturation, to scan a low-grade urinal wall.
So: your starters for ten:
The irresponsibility of Andy Burnham
Nothing matters more in British politics right now than keeping the country together. The polls in Scotland show that no one can be complacent about the result on the 18th of September.
Burnham had dared — dared, I tell ‘ee — to observe that the present Tory government is in the business of privatising the National Health Service, and:
should shut up until after the 18th of September.
But here’s the real killer:
Do you want Scots to stay in the UK? Say why – and be published in the Spectator
… write a letter for us to publish then you’d be doing something. The campaign to save Britain really does need all the help it can get.
Yeah. Err, right.
Not even that loyal Tory subject of Queen Anne would have risen to that bait, unbribed.