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.
1. Britain’s constitutional crisis
‘Not long ago it would have been unthinkable for any UK court to rule on the PM’s advice to the Queen to prorogue parliament,’ writes Professor Richard Ekins. ‘But Britain is witnessing political litigation on a hitherto unseen scale’ — and this is extremely dangerous. The courts should faithfully uphold the law, not stand in judgment over parliament.
2. David Cameron interview
Fraser Nelson talks to David Cameron about the referendum, his record as prime minister and his (many) regrets. Watching the political news has been getting him down, he says, but what’s striking is what he doesn’t regret. On austerity, he rues that he didn’t cut more. His EU renegotiation was the best deal available (‘For the French to suddenly stop saying the euro is the currency of the European Union, that the pound is also a currency of the European Union: I mean, that was massive’) and Boris Johnson should have backed it (‘I used to say to Boris: look, we achieved a certain amount through this renegotiation. At some stage there will be another treaty negotiation. You might well be the prime minister going into treaty negotiations. There are other things you’ll be able to change’). He says he considered Toby Young’s West London Free School for his son, but wasn’t in the catchment area so sent him to St Paul’s instead. Cameron’s book is out today.
3. Mary Killen: why I’m now for no deal
‘When I told two neighbours that I had become a no-deal Brexiter they physically recoiled from me,’ says The Spectator’s Dear Mary. Brexit has divided the country and forced us all to take sides, but Mary sees no alternative: ‘Brussels won’t move on Theresa May’s deal, and that deal anyway is worse than staying in.’ So what’s the Dear Mary solution? A no-deal Brexit with a twist. ‘Divide the divorce bill money between every adult in the country and let’s forget the whole nightmare ever happened.’
4. Nick Robinson: am I the next John Humphrys?
‘Hexit is happening,’ writes Robinson in this week’s diary. ‘That’s right. Hexit. Humphrys is leaving the Today programme after 30 years. On learning the news, one of more than seven million loyal listeners revealed his outrage and sense of loss, tweeting: “Who will I shout at on the radio in future?!’” My friend and companion in the Today studio Justin Webb replied with his characteristic charm. “Oh, that’s simple. Nick Robinson.” I have been warned.’
5. AA for everyone
You don’t have to be an alcoholic to benefit from the 12-step programme, says Tim Willis. From ‘it’s never too late to restart your day’ to the importance of HALT (don’t rush to act if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired), AA provides life lessons for us all.
6. Judy Garland’s last great friend
During her time in Britain, Judy was looked after devotedly by an Essex-born civil servant called Lorna Smith. Tanya speaks to Smith (now aged 93) about her life-long friendship with Judy.