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Richard West in Vietnam

The passing of a magnificent contrarian

I see my Spectator colleagues have beaten me to it and republished a 1989 profile of Richard West, one of the… Continue reading

Ed Miliband is right – first time buyers need a tax cut

I hate to admit it, but Ed Miliband has a point about the need for raising the stamp duty threshold… Continue reading

In memory of Richard West, 1930-2015

West, left, in Vientnam

Dick West, a foreign correspondent and longtime contributor to The Spectator, has died. Here’s a profile we ran about him in… Continue reading

Scotland’s two tribes are more divided than ever; they see reality differently

Nicola Sturgeon Joins Alex Salmond On The Campaign Trail

Expectations just keep increasing for the SNP. Today’s Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times puts the nationalists on an eye-popping 48… Continue reading

Cameron’s answer to the passion question

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David Cameron has been bugged in this campaign by the question of whether he’s passionate enough, of whether he really… Continue reading

It’s more important than ever for conservatives to appeal to hearts as well as minds

10th December 1907:  A Conservative Party van during electioneering in the provinces. The slogan reads; 'Socialism Denies Liberty.'  (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The Conservatives always do a lot worse than Labour in polls that ask about how proud voters feel of their… Continue reading

This election will be decided by the undecideds

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The polls could hardly be closer than they are at the moment and the parliamentary arithmetic looks like it is… Continue reading

George Osborne has squeezed more from the rich than any UK Chancellor, ever

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The Sunday Times Rich List is out today – and it says a lot about Britain. Mainly: what type of… Continue reading

David Cameron insists Tory campaign has ‘the most positive vision there could possibly be’

Conservative Party Launch Their Election Manifesto

There’s nothing wrong with negative campaigning in an election. If you think your opponents would damage the country, then you… Continue reading

Miliband’s position on Libya is deeply hypocritical

Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech at Chatham House (Photo: Adrian Dennis/Getty)

What Ed Miliband lacks in charisma, he is attempting to make up for in polemic. Tragically for the UK’s future, this… Continue reading

Andrew Marr apologises for misquoting David Cameron on foxhunting

Andrew Marr apologises for misquoting David Cameron on foxhunting. Photo: BBC.

Is foxhunting David Cameron’s favourite sport? Does he ‘love it’, as Andrew Marr quoted him as saying on his BBC… Continue reading

Miliband avoids the Scottish question

Ed Miliband's Speech To Scottish Labour Party Conference

On the Andrew Marr show this morning, Ed Miliband fended off questions about any post-election deal with the Scottish National… Continue reading

Revealed: the Tories’ plan to up their ground game in the final 10 days with ‘Battlebus 2015’

Roadtrip 2015 campaigning day during the Rochester & Strood by-election last year. Photo: @Roadtrip2015.

Membership of the Conservative Party has halved under David Cameron, leaving him with fewer activists to help him in this election… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Stuck in Holland

Over the top -- British soldiers in the trenches. Image: Getty

In 1914 some 1,500 men from ‘Churchill’s Little Army’, the First Royal Naval Brigade, retreated from the defence of Antwerp to… Continue reading

The Greek crisis is back, and this time it’s more serious than before

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Amidst the hullabaloo of the general election campaign, one thing that has generally gone unnoticed in Britain’s political discourse is… Continue reading

Tories are doing well in key marginals — but Ukip is on the edge

UKIP Hold  A Public Meeting  Before Rochester And Strood By-Election

Lord Ashcroft has released his latest round of marginal polling, looking at some of the constituencies vital to the Conservatives’ hopes… Continue reading

Spectator subscriber event: Mayday pre-election briefing

The race, at the halfway stage

Our last five Spectator debates have sold out, so we’re adding a new one at short notice – only for our subscribers. It’s… Continue reading

Video: David Cameron bizarrely switches his football allegiance to West Ham

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The Prime Minister’s claim that he supports Aston Villa has never been quite believed by football fans. And today, it seems,… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Gallipoli

New Zealand Celebrates ANZAC Day

Today is the 100th anniversary of the first landings of the Gallipoli campaign by Anzac troops. The battle to take… Continue reading

Labour is pledging a £1m handout to Scottish foodbanks. Why not English ones?

Gordon Brown speaking yesterday

Gordon Brown is saying some strange things. He is being chased out of Fife by the nationalist genie that he pulled out of… Continue reading

Ed Miliband should be careful when discussing foreign policy errors

Refugees from the Syrian town of Kobani (Photo: Gokhan Sahin/Getty)

If someone accuses you of doing something that you haven’t done, there’s a really easy way of convincing them that… Continue reading

Who is rallying behind Ed Miliband: the undecided voters or Labour supporters?

Ed Miliband in Ipswich (Photo: Darren Staples/Getty)

As polling day nears, everyone is trying to work out which way undecided voters will break. Contrary to what many… Continue reading

Children shouldn’t be expected to receive sponsorship for child’s play

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Can there be anyone curmudgeonly enough to take against Save the Children’s Den Day, a heartwarming event? – actually, make… Continue reading

Have the Tories given up on taking seats from Labour?

George Osborne and David Cameron pay a visit to Arriva TrainCare mantenance plant  in Crewe (Photo: Toby Melville/Getty)

David Cameron and George Osborne’s campaigning is focused on seats the Tory party wants to hold onto, while Ed Miliband… Continue reading

Has the BBC painted its website red?

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Dare Mr S suggest the BBC election website is a little skewed towards the red corner? Miliband’s foreign policy foray… Continue reading

This is a social media election. But in the most miserable, sinister way

Nicola Sturgeon taking a selfie. Getty Images.

A friend of mine was notorious at university for photoshopping every single photo of her that went onto Facebook. Every… Continue reading

Paul Dacre: The free press is the last genuinely free aspect of modern Britain

Paul Dacre at the bash

Northcliffe House was host to a Fleet Street reunion last night, for the launch of Mail executive Robin Esser’s memoir… Continue reading

Force Majeure reviewed: meaty and hilarious – but it may wreck your relationship

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If you’re unsure about the man (or woman) you’re dating, go and see this film. It’ll cause rifts in a… Continue reading

Magazine

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A 1992 election-day lunch with the young David Cameron

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Lunch with a young Cameron on polling day, 1992

Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, and the trouble with special prosecutors

Patrick Fitzgerald (Photo: Getty)

Scooter Libby’s conviction looks ever shakier – and a sign of the deep problem with America’s special prosecutors

The students tearing down Cecil Rhodes’s statue are still upholding his legacy

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Protesting students in Cape Town may disdain the statue of Cecil Rhodes, yet they do not reject his legacy

The DUP’s Nigel Dodds may soon be propping up the Tories. What does he want?

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In a Tory-leaning hung parliament, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds may command the balance of power. So what does he want?

Why American psychoanalysts are an endangered species

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America’s psychoanalysts are becoming an endangered species

Whose hair are you buying?

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British people buy £43 million worth of human hair a year. So who’s selling?

‘About time too!’: Joan Collins curtseys to Prince Charles

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The day of my investiture at Buckingham Palace dawned bringing freezing rain and fierce winds, which lashed at the windows as I regarded the outfit I had painstakingly planned —… Read more

An education to know: remembering Raymond Carr

A portrait of Raymond Carr as Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, by his son Matthew

Laughter, bird-watching and erudition with Raymond Carr

A wine pro finds himself out of his depth at the Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match

A serious business

One of the great jokes of the wine trade is: ‘Have you ever confused Burgundy with Bordeaux?’ ‘Not since this morning!’ A few weeks ago, I realised it isn’t a… Read more

Columnists

(Photo: Di Lauro/Getty)

Gunboats are the humanitarian answer to Libya's refugee crisis

More than a thousand migrants have died attempting to get into Europe over the past week, including 900 who perished… Read more

It really must be a mid-life crisis. I’ve fallen in love with a pony

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Because I’m reckless, stupid and irresponsible, I normally get landed with the biggest, most obstreperous hunters. But the other weekend… Read more

Why so many bankers secretly like Labour’s non-dom proposal

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The interesting thing about Labour’s pledge to abolish non-dom tax status — a squib designed to trap Tories into expressing… Read more

Arts

‘I find my comfort zone in the wilderness’: Barbara Hannigan

Classical music doesn't need to change. It just needs more performers like Barbara Hannigan

What classical music really needs is more performers like Barbara Hannigan. Philip Clark meets theself-conducting soprano

Il turco in Italia, Royal Opera House, reviewed: bring sunglasses

Il Turco in Italia (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Big slats of orange, burning yellows, an Adriatic in electric blue: I wish I’d bought my sunglasses to the Royal… Read more

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Different concepts of luxury may be inferred from a comparison of the wedding feast of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault… Read more

La Fille mal gardee at the Royal Opera House reviewed: light, lithe and tender

Vadim Muntagirov and Laura Morera in ‘La Fille mal gardée’

The current talking-point at the Royal Ballet is the Russians milling around. One can sound unfortunately as if one’s starting… Read more

Avengers: Age of Ultron reviewed - confusing, undramatic, repetitive and loud

Back to black: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the second film in the Avengers franchise, as written and directed by Joss Whedon, and… Read more

Measure for Measure at the Barbican reviewed: a charity show for homesick non-doms

Gruesome twosome: Jason Watkins as Mr Twit and Monica Dolan as Mrs Twit

The smash hit Matilda, based on a Roald Dahl story, has spawned a copycat effort, The Twits. Charm, sweetness and… Read more

W1A reviewed: so pitch-perfect as to be profoundly depressing

BBC's Head of Values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) and Will Humphries (Hugh Skinner) (Photo: BBC)

Ever since the days of Tony Hancock, many of the best British sitcoms — from Dad’s Army to Fawlty Towers,… Read more

‘Ratings aren’t a pressure for me,’ says the new controller of Radio Three

Alan Davey: the new controller of Radio 3 (Photo: Getty)

The new controller of Radio Three, Alan Davey, was on Feedback this week (Radio Four) talking to listeners about his… Read more

The Heckler: Curators were once donnish scholars. Now they’re hip illiterates

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As a purveyor of lairy souvenirs Venice outdoes even Lourdes. The scores of shops and booths that peddle this lagoonal… Read more

Life

Vienna's Belvedere Palace

Neither London nor New York will be livable in ten years’ time

A recent column in the FT made me mad as hell. The writer, Simon Kuper, calls Vienna a backwater, which is a bit like calling the Queen a busted flush… Read more

What’s On in South Devon gave me three choices: functioning psychotic preacher, bingo or a poetry evening

Poet John Clare spent much of his life destitute, and died in Northampton General Asylum. (Photo: Getty)

I’m such a constitutional lightweight lately that I’ve started looking on the website What’s On in South Devon for things to do of an evening that don’t involve total annihilation.… Read more

Maybe it is time to hang up my fighting boots

Real

As a wise person once said (or if they didn’t, they should have), there is only one thing worse than being wrong and that is being right. I always get… Read more

The birth of a royal baby is hardly an exciting event

Prince George Of Cambridge First Birthday

There are already people camping outside St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, to await the birth shortly of another royal baby, the second child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It… Read more

I am grateful to my surgeon for saving one of my limbs when a mob of Samburu tribesmen attacked me

Samburu tribesman swapped spears for rocks

 Laikipia When I was a boy in Devon we had an orchard. On a string of autumns, as the fruit ripened, the orchard became a battlefield of apples between my… Read more