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The Spectator is a weekly magazine which contains commentary on news and current affairs, book reviews, film reviews and other things in a similar vein. The Spectator itself is a Tory magazine (it is owned by the owner of the Telegraph group), and this is refected in its editorial line (its editor is the excellent Boris Johnson), and the views of its regular columnists, however the bulk of the news comment is written by guest journalists and politicians and is a lot more varied. The articles are well researched, and well written, and if controversal will usually be replied to on the letters page. To those of a Tory disposition, there really is no reason not to read this magazine, if you are interested in current affairs or culture, however there is a lot in it for lefties too, if only to understand your opponents better! If you aren't convinced, buy it once (its only a couple of quid), and I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised
Firstly I'll just quickly explain what the Spectator is, what you can expect from it and where you can get it before segueing gracefully into unabashed polemic. The Spectator is a political magazine that has been going since 1828. Whilst there is no strict party line that contributors have to adhere to they are generally of right wing persuasion. The writing is fiercely argued and cuts against the grain. Whilst this can be refreshing on occasions, when the positions in a debate have gone particularly stale (Europe for example) it can seem that they seek controversy for its own sake. It is, in short, like most magazines; with some good things, some bad things and quite alot of advertising. It cost's about a pound or so a week, which is fairly good value and you can get it at your local newsagent or news-stand. It should be near the other 'political' magazines such as the New Statesman, its left leaning counterpart. -* Cue Polemic *- I'm going to be revolutionary here. Contrary to some other opinions in this category I believe that the Spectator is actually quite good. Whilst they may view the world from a right wing standpoint this does not preclude their view from being: a) valid or b) unusual. Those who seek to try and believe that this sort of view does not exist will only be surprised by its prevalence. Pretending that a point of view does not exist is intellectually lazy and blind. If you are not prepared for bias in any publication and are unable to read for it then you may also be surprised by this publication. But bias is present in any magazine, comment or opinion. It's what this site is made of! You should take the bias in hand read it and interpret it. The fact that we all have different perspectives should be treasured, not denigrated. The spectator has one of the funniest, wittiest and best political writers of the day as its editor. Boris Johnston. He is witty, entertaining a
nd provocative. (he also writes a weekly column in the telegraph if you want to check him out for free!)(www.telegraph.co.uk). Yes, he may be a bit of a right wing loony at times but he is original ,and satire demands extremes. Whatever your opinion he is required reading (at least you can fulminate in disgust if you don't like it!). -* End Polemic *- If you object to paying for it for ideological reasons then at least go to your local library and read it once or twice to see how the other half thinks.
While the other current opinion on this places the Spectator "to the right of the BNP", I don't think that's fair. It is of course the case that someone thinking it was an objective journal would gain a skewed view of British politics, but nonetheless it carries pieces from the liberal right as much as from the conservative right, and frequent writers from other viewpoints. Where the Spectator falls down is in pitching itself too high, and attempting to be two things at once. Ultimately it doesn't appeal to the hardcore intellectual market, as there are publications of pure thinking material which will always beat it there. At the same time it is often to obscure and contrived to be mass-market material in the same way as, for instance, "L'Express" in France. So yes, the New Statesman is probably a better read, although buyers should beware that since the change of ownership and editor it follows a political agenda at least as much as does the Spectator, albeit the political agenda of New Labour rather than the right. jdcxxx
Whilst anything which receives any imput form Boris Johnson is naturally useless, the Specator is a prime example of an area where the rainforrest could be saved, although using it as toilet roll would be an alternative to not buying it at all. If, by some stange genetic default, you like to read a magazine that is so far to the right of british politcs that it leaves the BNP in its wake then fine. However if you aren't a biggoted sexist, racist, homophobe then the Spectator probably wouldn't appeal to you and you'd proably choose somehtign slightly more accpetable. Personally, the economist and the new statesman gboth give a more balanced view of polcitcal news and don't feel the need to interprate the news according to a far right agneda.