Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Michael Jackson's Jewish children

    Stephen Pollard
    Jun 29, 2009

    As we report,

    Michael Jackson's two elder children could be returned to the custody of their Jewish mother, Debbie Rowe.

    The children are Prince Michael I, who is 12, and Paris Michael
    Katherine, 11, who — according to halacha — would also be considered

  • C'est la vie

    Stephen Pollard
    Jun 29, 2009

    Another reason to groan at the unending Wacko Jacko drivel: it led to the Mail running out of space for my book serialisation.

  • Wacko Jacko

    Stephen Pollard
    Jun 26, 2009

    Ok, so Michael Jackson's death is a global story. But the BBC's Today programme devoted twenty of the 24 minutes after the 8am news to the story - including some madman who told us that Wacko Jacko ranked alongside Mozart and Beethoven as a musical genius - and then ended the programme with one of his songs.

  • A big headache for Jewish schools

    Simon Rocker
    Jun 25, 2009

    The Court of Appeal’s ruling today that the entry policy of JFS – and by extension, many other Jewish schools – is in breach of the Race Relations Act will come as little surprise to those who attended the three-day hearing.
    But that makes it no less historic: what the court has said is that the traditional rules for deciding who is a Jew – matrilineal descent –cannot be used for deciding who can enter a Jewish school.
    Almost certainly more legal action will follow: JFS is already set to appeal to the House of Lords. It might even go all the way to the European courts.
    There may be pressure to change the law so that Jewish schools will be free to set entry policies according to halachah.
    Meanwhile, other parents of children denied places at Jewish school because their mother was not considered halachically Jewish could bring fresh law suits.
    It’s going to be a long summer for school governors – and lawyers

  • How curious

    Jenni Frazer
    Jun 24, 2009

    I notice, with very little surprise, that there do not appear to be mass protests in the streets of London after the tragic and baseless shooting of the Iranian protestor, Neda Soltan.

    Why would this be, I wonder? Could it be that the people who are so eager to turn out on the streets to demonise Israel at every turn are less anxious to offend those who are in charge of the Islamic Republic? Surely not.

    Sooner or later an ayatollah will blame the evil Zionists for fomenting unrest against the regime and then it will be safe to demonstrate again. Colour me cynical.

  • Ban the burkha? That can't be fair

    Alex Kasriel
    Jun 24, 2009

    While I am not in favour of women being made to wear restrictive, all enveloping clothing that covers their faces I can't say I agree with Nicholas Sarkozy and his desire to ban the burkha.

    In a free society men and women should be able to choose whatever they want to wear however bonkers or impractical that might be.

    If he argues that the item was thought up by men as a way to opress women, banning it won't change men's attitude. And if the burkha means women are allowed to leave the house at all - then it must be a good thing.

  • Simon and Sir Philip – a match made in money heaven

    Candice Krieger
    Jun 24, 2009

    So, Simon Cowell and Sir Philip Green are set to take over the world with a multi-billion dollar international television business that they hope could become bigger than Disney.

    The new TV production, talent management and merchandising company will reportedly be based in Los Angeles and London, and own all the rights and content of Mr Cowell’s hit show; Britain’s Got Talent, X factor and American Idol.

    The move surprised the City today but surely it has been quite a while coming.

  • Yes, we got it exactly right on Villa D'Este

    Jan Shure
    Jun 24, 2009

    The JC travel section is always happy to be ahead of the curve. This week, we got our timing absolutely right when, just a few days after our hotel review of Villa D’Este, the historic Italian hotel – and regular haunt of politicos, royals, writers, rock-stars and movie-stars – was voted the world’s best hotel by Forbes Traveller.

    The editors of Forbes Traveller conducted a poll among their top travel connoisseurs (and at Forbes Magazines, that really is the top echelon of businesspeople in the world), asking them to rate nearly 800 of the world’s best hotels and to name their single best hotel overall. To qualify to be a member of the judging panel - which included celebrities, journalists and business leaders - each of them had to have stayed in at least 20, five-star hotels each year. To achieve such exalted status, the hotel, which sits majestically beside Lake Como, was judged on – among other things - room quality, service, decor and cuisine.

    As the writer of the JC piece, I am thrilled to have my judgement endorsed by the readers of Forbes; it just goes to show, we know our hotels at the JC... Review: Villa D’Este, Lake Como, Italy

  • Public schoolboys

    Stephen Pollard
    Jun 24, 2009

    I took part last night in the first Spectator debate. You can read about it here.

    Especially interesting was the barbed comment at the end of David Davis' speech. He was arguing alongside me in favour of grammar schools:

    Today we are witnessing the results of a failed revolution, where
    egalitarians abolished grammar schools to level opportunity in our
    society, and accidentally destroyed the chances of the very people they
    were trying to help.