Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir delivers his speech on communities during the Ukip annual party conference at Doncaster Race Course in Yorkshire. Picture date: Friday September 26, 2014.

Do these allegations explain why Ukip’s Amjad Bashir defected to the Tories?

Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir has defected to the Conservative Party this evening, following an internal party investigation. Tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph… Continue reading

How the Spectator congratulated a 25-year-old journalist called Winston Churchill

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In 1899, Churchill headed to South Africa as a journalist for the Morning Post to cover the Boer War. He… Continue reading

“We live as free men, speak as free men, walk as free men because a man called Winston Churchill lived”

Winston Churchill giving the 'V for Victory' salute (Photo: Getty)

This is the Spectator’s leader from 22 January 1965. Two days later, on 24 January, Winston Churchill died: Since the… Continue reading

I don’t want to live under Islamic blasphemy law. That doesn’t make me racist

(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

I have spent most of the last fortnight debating Islam and blasphemy and wanted to take the opportunity to put… Continue reading

The Archbishop shows politicians a more honest way to answer the question

The Confirmation Of Justin Welby As The New Archbishop of Canterbury

After Islamist terrorist atrocities, political leaders often rush to say that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam. One… Continue reading

The perfect job for Britain’s disenfranchised young men: boar hunting


When I went to stay with my German cousin and he showed me the room where I’d be sleeping, the… Continue reading

Spectator competition: Henry VIII’s bedroom tax (plus: poems about beards)

Image: Getty

In Competition No. 2881 you were invited to take your lead from Carol Ann Duffy and provide an amusing poem… Continue reading

What happened to virtuosity in dance?

The art of astonishment: Cirque du Soleil’s 'Kooza' at the Royal Albert Hall

I was watching the Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza at the Royal Albert Hall last week, thinking how much base, uncomplicated… Continue reading

Why is Westminster Abbey honouring the king of a country where Christianity is banned?

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud speaks before a meeting with the US Secretary of State at his private residence on June 27, 2014 in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Private Eye will have a field day when it comes to the tributes being paid to King Abdullah of Saudi… Continue reading

Is your smartphone making you fat?


Matthew Parris is obsessed by an unsolicited app which landed on his smartphone and which, thanks to GPS tracking, is… Continue reading

Labour signs up to debates as broadcasters threaten an empty chair

We have a repeat of this spectacle to look forward to in 2015.

So the broadcasters have done what many thought they’d be too afraid to do and have threatened to empty chair… Continue reading

Conservative Central Office appear to be working for the SNP


Even by the standards of the Conservative and Unionist (sic) party this is an impressively stupid poster. Do they really… Continue reading

The British economic recovery, in 12 graphs

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Everything seems to be falling into place ahead of the election for the Tories. Today’s data shows high street spending… Continue reading

Who warrants a flag at half-mast? King Abdullah or Leon Brittan

Who is it for?

The Palace of Westminster’s flag is currently at half-mast, as is the flag on top of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and… Continue reading

The perils of being posh

Image: Getty

This week’s wazzock spat hasn’t polarised people in the way that arguments about class often do; most of us have… Continue reading

French secularism is starting to feel the strain

French secular values may not be shared by all of the country's citizens (Photo: Jean-Sebastien/Getty)

France is to institute something called a National Secularity Day, which will happen on 9th December every year, when French… Continue reading

Louise Mensch blasts David Cameron for King Abdullah tribute

Conservative Member of Parliament Louise

Although Louise Mensch was once heralded as a ‘Cameron Cutie,’ the former Conservative MP’s relationship with the Prime Minister has soured after he paid… Continue reading

I can’t stand the Green Party but they probably deserve their place in the TV debates

(Photo: Getty)

An email arrives from the excellent Zoe Williams, Guardian columnist and leftyagitfem middle-class propagandist. It requests that I should sign… Continue reading

Confusing politics encourages leadership intrigues

British Home Secretary Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 26

This election is going to be terribly confusing, something the latest TV debate proposals from the broadcasters highlight very nicely… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Keeping the country sweet

Farmer Harry Wheeler uses a horse drawn plow to top sugar beets in Hatherop,England. Photo by Fox Photos /Hulton Archive /Getty Images

From ‘Economic Quackery’, The Spectator, 23 January 1915: Ever since the war began there has been a tendency to rely… Continue reading

Can George Osborne pass his own 13 tests?

Osborne with keys No 10 NEW

Before George Osborne took to wearing hard hats and hi-vis jackets, he used to revel in his status as a… Continue reading

Labour rising star: Party cannot afford to sound like ‘the moaning man in the pub’

Deputy Leader Of The Labour Party Harriet Harman Meets With Labour's Candidate For The Eastleigh By-election John O'Farrell

Liz Kendall is a real rising star in the Labour party. Few colleagues have a bad word to say about… Continue reading

The Economist beats the Guardian to appoint its first female editor

Zanny Minton Beddoes (Photo: Getty)

With the Guardian still to name their new editor-in-chief, the Economist has thrown down the gauntlet by appointing their first female editor. Zanny Minton Beddoes… Continue reading

TV debates: Cameron sits comfortably as smaller parties complain

Picture: Carla Millar

If his condition of including the Greens in the TV debates was to be met, David Cameron’s next hope of… Continue reading

Finally! A health story about cancer that doesn’t resort to hyperbole

Tobacco-Free Electronic Cigarettes To Be Licensed As A Medicine

The lot of the snarky health-science debunker is not a happy one. It involves going to a lot of newspaper… Continue reading

If you’re going to have seven parties in the TV debates, you’ve got to include the DUP

The DUP leader, Peter Robinson.

Having seven parties in two of the TV debates, as the broadcasters are reportedly proposing, is an admission that what… Continue reading

Broadcasters to propose new set of TV election debates

Image: Getty

The broadcasters have reportedly come up with a new set of proposals for the TV debates in order to force… Continue reading

UK and Scottish governments already at each other’s throats over extra devolution

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets with David Cameron in her office at the Scottish Parliament (Photo: Andrew Milligan/Getty)

It didn’t take long. In fact, the tweet from Nicola Sturgeon appeared soon after Alistair Carmichael had started speaking this… Continue reading



Blame Tony Blair for Labour’s new stupidity about wealth

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Gives Evidence To The Leveson Inquiry

Labour's attitude to wealth is sliding back into the 1970s - and Tony Blair's new career is one reason why

How Marine Le Pen is winning France’s gay vote


Marine Le Pen’s unlikely rainbow coalition

The war on frat culture

Fraternity house exterior

An unruly American tradition may be coming to an end

How to stop being scared of full stops


Modern manners and the fear of the full stop

On the Yeats trail in Galway

Old mill boards and sea-green slates: Yeats’s tower

The Go Galway bus from Dublin sounds an unlikely pleasure, but it is both comfortable and punctual. There is free Wi-Fi if you want it, but it would be criminal… Read more


Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Manchester

George Osborne’s 13 tests for an election victory (and how many he’s passed)

These days George Osborne is rarely seen in public without a hard hat and a hi-vis jacket. But he used… Read more

It’s all kicking off in the Islamic world. Nothing at all to do with Islam, of course

Iranians take part in a protest outside the French Embassy in Tehran Photo: Getty

They have been burning churches and murdering Christians again in Niger. You’d think that they’d have more immediately pressing concerns… Read more

The Stonewall dinner left me with one question: why are volunteers so horrible to one another?


I watched the video with some trepidation. Stonewall (the campaigning gay and lesbian equality organisation) had just sent me the… Read more

Maybe it’s a problem when all artists are like James Blunt. But it’s worse when Labour MPs are like Chris Bryant

James Blunt on stage at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards, 2014 Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty

What should we do with James Blunt? This is what I have been asking myself. And I am not looking… Read more

Why Switzerland should have listened to Hong Kong on currency pegs


The Swiss National Bank usually ticks away as quietly as one of its nation’s more expensive timepieces, but when the… Read more


‘Pan and Syrinx’, 1617, by Peter Paul Rubens

How will the British public take to Rubens’s fatties?

Are Rubens’s figures too fat for the British to appreciate them? Martin Gayford investigates

Mohammed — in pictures

An early 14th-century Persian image of Mohammed

Two months ago I was sitting beside the tomb of a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, telling a story about… Read more

Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera House, review: like a Carry On - but without the jokes

Leave your brain at the door: David McVicar's Andrea Chenier at the Royal Opera House. All images: Bill Cooper/ROH

Who on earth could have predicted that a hoary old operatic melodrama set in revolutionary France would find resonance in… Read more

Confessions of an illegal downloader


I’ve never been into shoplifting, though I once had a friend who was. And, no, before you ask, I’m not… Read more

Young Vic’s Bull, review: a new Mike Bartlett play to bore you into catalepsy

Bull Photo: Simon Annand

A knockout show at the Young Vic. Literally. The stage has been reconfigured as a boxing ring to make Mike… Read more

A Most Violent Year, review: mesmerising performances - and coats

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A Most Violent Year is a riveting drama even though I can’t tell you what it’s about, or even what… Read more

Broadchurch, review: ‘unwatchable’

David Tennant as D.I Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman as D.S Ellie Miller

Probably the two greatest advances in western culture in my lifetime have been the Sopranos-style epic serial drama and the… Read more


Ava Gardner: one of the ones that got away Photo: Getty

My four great loves were unrequited (though I had a chance with Ginger Rogers)

I had a short chat with BBC radio concerning the actor Jack Nicholson, whom I knew slightly during the Seventies and Eighties. Alas, it had to do with age, his… Read more

Twelve miles of indefatigable misery


The taxi-driver wound his window one third of the way down and put a priestlike, confessional ear to the freezing night air. I spoke the name of my village. Twelve… Read more

I’m opening the pony X-Files: mine may be psychic


My ponies may be psychic. I think they are communicating with each other telepathically. And before you call me delusional, let me tell you I have witnesses. It has happened… Read more

The quiet pleasure of washing up (and why I'm still buying a new dishwasher)


I have been having trouble with my dishwasher. It’s seven and a half years old, and it’s manufactured by a German company called Miele. Several important people told me at… Read more

The Grand National doesn’t need Jeremy Kyle

The favourite: Nick Luck Photo: Getty

Never mind David Cameron. Are you participating in the Great Debate about an event of national significance that stirs the blood of millions? No, I don’t mean the General Election:… Read more