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A new report calls into question what the RSPCA has been up to recently

Yesterday, the RSPCA published the long-awaited review of its prosecutions policy. Interesting choice of timing – it finally released the… Continue reading

The Lib Dems are the winners of conference season (and they haven’t even held theirs yet)

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Normally, the last party conference season before an election clarifies matters. But, so far, this one has not. Instead, it… Continue reading

Podcast: naked selfies, happy Tories and divorced Catholics

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Why is everyone obsessed with taking naked photos of themselves? From celebrities to politicians, people can’t seem to stop taking… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Slow and steady

From The Spectator, 3 October 1914: Quick results must not be expected. It must be remembered that in military as… Continue reading

Will Guardian readers hold their noses and vote Tory?

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Well! Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian was impressed by David Cameron’s conference speech and no mistake. The campaign for 2015… Continue reading

Ukip’s attempt to sabotage the end of the Tory conference has backfired

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When press officers from Ukip enticed journalists along to a press conference at the end of the summer by promising… Continue reading

Politicians’ pyjamas: Cameron wears satin, Balls prefers a string vest and Hague, a kaftan

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Let’s talk pyjamas. Specifically, let’s talk paisley pyjamas. Never mind what poor Mr Newmark had hanging out of his; concentrate… Continue reading

Cameron’s shield and spear

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Today’s speech was all about equipping the Tories with the weapons they’ll need to fight the next election. The Cameroons… Continue reading

Why are the Tory party in such a good mood?

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Two things have been puzzling Tory high-ups in Birmingham this week: does Nigel Farage have another defector in his back… Continue reading

Tory faithful send the PM a clear message on Gove

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Many Tories had begun to wonder where Michael Gove had got to. The Chief Whip’s move from the Department for… Continue reading

David Cronenberg’s Map to the Stars: threesomes, incest, a dead dog and whiny farts

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In a scene that sticks from Map to the Stars, David Cronenberg’s Grand Guignol of a Hollywood satire, Julianne Moore,… Continue reading

David Cameron’s speech had classically Tory messages – but it shows he hasn’t given up on modernisation

David Cameron delivering his conference keynote speech. Image: Getty

The Tories leave Birmingham in far better heart than when they arrived. They feel that they have succeeded in setting… Continue reading

Podcast special: David Cameron’s speech

Prime Minister David Cameron Delivers His Keynote Speech At The Conservative Party Conference

Has David Cameron just delivered his best-ever speech as party leader? I discuss it with James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman… Continue reading

David Cameron’s message to Britain: winter is here but spring is coming

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Better than Miliband is as fine a demonstration of the soft bigotry of low expectations as you possibly hope to… Continue reading

Cameron’s speech show us why he is still the Tories’ greatest single asset

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David Cameron has yet again delivered a belter of a party conference speech, peppered with announcements. His performance is a… Continue reading

Conservative conference: David Cameron’s bid for the moral high ground

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When he saw colleagues in the tearoom on Friday as the Commons debated air strikes against Isis in Iraq, David… Continue reading

David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference – full text and audio

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listen to ‘David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference’ on audioBoom I am so proud to stand here today as… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Birthday wishes

Frederick Sleigh Roberts, who was created Lord Roberts of Kandahar and Waterford in 1892, and Earl in 1901.  Made a field marshal in 1895, he became commander-in-chief of the British Army in 1901, and retired in 1904.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

From The Spectator, 3 October 1914: All Britain and all the Empire have during the week been congratulating Lord Roberts… Continue reading

Tories will keep NHS ring fence, Cameron to announce

Prime Minister David Cameron prepares his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference on September 30, 2014 in Birmingham, England. Image: Getty

The Tories will protect the NHS budget, David Cameron will announce in his speech to his party conference today. Extracts… Continue reading

Once upon a time David Cameron had a story to tell; he needs to remember it and tell it again

Prime Minister David Cameron Reacts To The Scottish Referendum Decision

It is easy to inflate the importance of speeches made at party conferences. Particularly when those speeches are the last… Continue reading

Tory nerves over Osborne welfare gamble

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Will George Osborne get away with his conference gamble that hits working families? The Chancellor’s speech would have received a… Continue reading

Without Michael Gove the Tories have no moral mission on education

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan addresses delegates on day three of the Conservative Party conference. Image: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Why is Nicky Morgan the Education Secretary? She’s long been billed as a rising star in the government and has… Continue reading

TM4PM: It’s on

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Most Secretaries of State tend to lay low the night before their big conference speech, redrafting and practising. Not so… Continue reading

Why is Theresa May pretending that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’?

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In advance of the Home Secretary’s speech today the Conservative party issued an advance briefing of its ‘new strategy for… Continue reading

Has Cameron actually considered the realities of his seven-day GP access scheme?

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David Cameron’s seven-day opening scheme for GPs sounds like an excellent idea for patients, but I’m not convinced it is.… Continue reading

Leaked lines to take for Tory MPs show party nerves about Ukip

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Tory conference has been much more upbeat than last week’s gloomy offer from Labour. But just in case the party… Continue reading

Theresa May was a tough act for Boris Johnson to follow

Boris Johnson and Theresa May. Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Boris Johnson and Theresa May both fancy a pop at the Tory leadership and both gave speeches today that showed… Continue reading

Theresa May’s speech on terrorism and extremism – full text and audio

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Our values will prevail in the fight against terrorism and extremism Thank you, Alexander, for that thoughtful and inspiring speech.… Continue reading

Magazine

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Pistols, airstrikes and smuggled cows: a letter from Islamic State border country

 Turkey, Syria It is the early hours of the day that Parliament votes on whether to bomb the so-called ‘Islamic State’ — and we are sitting cross-legged on the floor… Read more

The age of selfie-obsession

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People can’t seem to stop taking pictures of themselves – and their private parts. It’s the ultimate expression of our increasingly puerile and narcissistic society

My boy the radical Muslim

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Reckoning with my stepson’s turn to radical Islam

What really scares Beijing about the Hong Kong protests

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Hong Kong’s protests reflect not just tension with the mainland, but a great Chinese tradition. That’s what really scares Beijing

Am I wrong to fear another Tiananmen?

Sit In Protest Continues In Hong Kong Despite Chief Executive's Calls To Withdraw

Looking at these protests, I fear another Tiananmen

I'm a divorced Catholic. And I'm sure it would be a mortal sin for me to take Communion

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I’m one of those despised Catholics who actually believes the basics. And that’s why I don’t take Communion

What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

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Qatari money has flooded into London – but also into much less savoury places

The lost horses of London

A police horse guards Buckingham Palace, 1937

The days when horses and humans lived cheek by jowl in the capital are unarguably over. Brewers’ drays have disappeared, and most people would argue that the black cab does… Read more

Columnists

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Get ready for an election where everyone loses (except maybe the Lib Dems)

Two things have been puzzling Tory high-ups in Birmingham this week: does Nigel Farage have another defector in his back… Read more

Must MPs always vote before we go to war?

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Jesse Norman was permitted three minutes for his speech to the Commons in last Friday’s debate. But the contribution from… Read more

Why my friends love the idea of a nasty, stupid mansion tax

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I see all the flaws with a mansion tax, I really do. And yet some little piece of me, some… Read more

Why the real winner from George Osborne’s ‘Google tax’ could be Nigel Farage

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George Osborne’s promise to crack down on multinational companies’ avoidance of UK taxes by the use of impenetrable devices such… Read more

Arts

Space odyssey: Ed White walking in space over New Mexico, Gemini 4, June 1965 Image: James McDivitt

The images from the Apollo missions will reduce you to tears

Mark Mason on the images that make grown men cry

My Schubert marathon

Composer Franz Schubert at work Photo: Getty

Just how much fun is it listening to all 650 of Schubert’s songs, asks Damian Thompson

Curator-driven ambitions mar this Constable show at the V&A

‘Water-meadows near Salisbury’, 1829/30, by John Constable

The V&A has an unparalleled collection of hundreds of works by John Constable (1776–1837), but hardly anyone seems to know… Read more

Royal Opera's Rigoletto: your disbelief may wobble but your excitement won't

Alice Coote and Sarah Tynan in ‘Xerxes’ at ENO

One of the greatest tests of how an opera house is functioning is the quality of its revivals. Both the… Read more

Will Marti Pellow attract enough tipsy hen parties to Evita to flog all 18,000 seats?

Evita at the Dominion Photo: Darren Bell

Tim and Andy are back. Their monster hit Evita opens the fully refurbed and re-primped Dominion Theatre, which is built… Read more

David Fincher plays Gone Girl for laughs - at least I think he plays it for laughs

The accused: Ben Affleck stars in Gone Girl

Gone Girl is David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling thriller by Gillian Flynn, a relentless page-turner which I’ve heard people… Read more

If the idea of disturbing kraut-punk sung by a troll appeals, you'll love The Fall

Consummately psychotic: Mark E. Smith of The Fall

I had a fair idea of what I was in for when I went to see The Fall at Brixton’s… Read more

Christopher Hogwood: the absolutist of early music

Christopher Hogwood Photo: DPA/PA Images

The death of Christopher Hogwood has deprived the world of the most successful exponent of early music there has ever… Read more

Does a conscience-less tart like Manon have a place in the Royal Ballet repertoire?

Christopher Saunders as Monsieur GM, Marianela Núñez as Manon and Ricardo Cervera as Lescaut in Kenneth MacMillan's 'Manon'. Image: Alice Pennefather ©ROH 2014

What can the Royal Opera House be insinuating about its target audience? No sooner had Anna Nicole closed than Manon… Read more

Life

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I felt so awful I almost prayed that we would crash

This is about life up high. Two weeks ago The Spectator had that rapscallion and mischief-maker Peter McKay writing about how great it is to pilot a plane. (He’s taking… Read more

Chatting up Katherine Mansfield

New Zealand-born British writer Katherine Mansfield

I like the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield, who according to Virginia Woolf smelt like a civet cat and had a hard, cheap face, and who was the only contemporary… Read more

Three years on and I thought I would soon be free of the Slobs

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A letter arrives from the lawyers handling my defence in the phantom whiplash injury claim. It is now coming up to three years since a singularly rough-hewn couple alleged I… Read more

Evan Davies is SO not Jeremy Paxman (thank God)

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It’s unusual for somebody promoting his own television programme to tell you not to watch it, but that’s what Evan Davis has been doing. At least, he has asked us… Read more

These are the ones to watch in the Prix de l’Abbaye and the Derby

Louis Steward riding Bronze Angel win The Betfred Cambridgeshire

Rightly, the authorities are doing all they can to find and discipline the disgruntled racegoer who threw a beer can at the champion jump jockey Tony McCoy after a recent… Read more