I am conscious of having grumbled once or thrice over the quality of The Spectator since I renewed my subscription. I take it all back. This week's edition is superb! Not one Dalrymple, but two! Yes, it's that man again and he was on the opening page with his usual "Global Warning" essay, this time on the lessons to be learnt from an exceedingly fat Frenchman who escaped death by stabbing after having complained about a neighbour's music - how redolent of our own, dearly beloved Isle - because the blade was unable to penetrate far enough to reach his vital organs. Dalrymple puts this down to evolutionary theory as expressed in 'the survival of the fattest'!
Then, the good doctor appears again, writing the opening article entitled "Moral panic is the right reaction: we are afraid of our young". He points up the two prevailing reactions to the death of the boy in Liverpool, describing them as either complacent or moral panic. He points out, perceptively, that the panicker is usually of lower social status than the man who is complacent; the latter usually being better educated and better off. "The former thinks concretely, the latter abstractly. Confronted by the rawest of reality, the former grows angry or despairing that things have never been so bad, while the latter retreats behind statistics to prove that 'twas ever thus, and therefore there is nothing to worry about." That is as exact a precis of the exchanges between myself and John Band over at The Sharpener this week as you could wish to read.
I have yet to read Steven Berkoff on cage fighting, I'll save it up for Sunday morning when the church bells are ringing and the faithful and peaceful pass my house on their way to pray. However, Rod Liddle blows the spun froth off the Notting Hill so-called-Carnival which, and I realise that you really do not want to know this, costs you and me £3 million a year! If you are a 'footie' fanatic, let me add to your woes by reminding you that part of your ticket price goes towards paying the police to be in attendance. According to Liddle, last year the Carnival utilised 11,000 police shifts and the organisers did not pay a penny of it. Matthew Parris touches on the inherent dishonesty of TV of which I have been dimly aware for many years. I suspect others harbour similar suspicions which is why so many of us hardly bother to watch it these days, preferring to bore everyone to death via the Internet! Right at the end is a rather touching tale from Jeremy Clarke, that worthy successor to the late Jeffrey Bernard, who writes the Low Life column.
All in all, The Spectator this week reminded me of The Spectator of 30 years ago, than which, etc, etc. I am not going to link to it, go out and buy a copy - the Barclay brothers need the money!