PMQs sketch: Cameron demonstrates true gamesmanship

Last week it was seven. This morning it stood at nine. By the end of PMQs it had climbed to… Continue reading

Guardian journalists might not like the Work Programme but jobseekers (like me) do

A waitress poses with the plate she brin

The government’s Work Programme, launched in 2011 to help long-term unemployed people into work, has been widely condemned in the… Continue reading

When is a meatball not a meatball?

Could this 'meatball' be deceiving you? Image: Getty

Q: When is a meatball not a meatball? A: When it’s vegan. Nothing is sacred to the killjoys over at… Continue reading

More of the same from Cameron and Miliband at today’s PMQ’s


David Cameron ran down the clock very effectively at PMQs. With only a few sessions left between now and the… Continue reading

Political correctness: How censorship defeats itself


A cretin writing in this morning’s Telegraph doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘cretin’. Just about every writer writing about Benedict Cumberbatch… Continue reading

Vote of no confidence for ‘offensive’ Ian Liddell-Grainger

Ian Liddell-Grainger and David Cameron survey flooding damage in Somerset

Ian Liddell-Grainger has been branded unfit for purpose by local Tories. The Conservative MP is facing calls to be deselected as… Continue reading

Could Trident be moved to Wales?

Could Trident be moving to Wales? (Photo: Jeff Mitchell/Getty)

There’s a belter of a scoop in today’s Daily Mail. James Chapman, the paper’s political editor, reports that the Ministry of Defence… Continue reading

Andy Burnham’s car crash interview shows why Labour can’t be trusted with the NHS

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 09.06.42

If Labour is weaponising the NHS, maybe it needs to sharpen its tools. Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham had a… Continue reading

Robert Harris: BBC’s books coverage is a ‘disgrace’

Robert Harris is unimpressed by the BBC's lack of books coverage

Lord Hall will be glad that he didn’t attend last night’s Costa Book Awards. Robert Harris, who chaired this year’s judges, took… Continue reading

Not all the worriers in Labour are from a previous ‘era’

Labour Leader Ed Miliband Makes A Speech In Defence Of His Leadership

The papers are full of Blairite warnings to Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham about the way Labour is campaigning on… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Crime and punishment

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

From ‘Reprisals’, The Spectator, 30 January 1915 THERE has been a tendency among some newspapers, and perhaps still more among… Continue reading

Have you heard the one about David Attenborough, a case of diarrhoea and a rat?

David Attenborough had intimate relations with a rat in India

To London Zoo, where Mr S caught up with Sir David Attenborough at the launch of his new UKTV series Natural Curiosities.… Continue reading

Nicky Morgan: British values test isn’t just about Muslim schools


Nicky Morgan has launched a rather strident defence of the government’s ‘British values’ agenda this evening, after fears that it… Continue reading

Majority of voters want Cameron as PM — but would prefer a Labour government

Prime Minister David Cameron, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband.

What do the British public want from their government after 2015? Well, unless things are really going to shift in… Continue reading

Why is the V&A hiding a picture of Mohammed from its website?

A 16th-century Turkish image of Mohammed welcoming Jacob, from the ‘Zubdet ut Tevarih’ by Lokman (1583) - a separate picture to the one in the V&A collection

The V&A has recently decided to remove an historic image of the Prophet Mohammed from its website. The image remains in the collection and will… Continue reading

Exclusive: Senior Tories protest removal of Theresa May’s advisers from candidates list


Senior Tories yesterday protested the removal of Theresa May’s special advisers from the candidates’ list, Coffee House understands. There had… Continue reading

Mike Tindall: Why in any way am I lucky with my in-laws?

(Photo: Getty)

The Duke of York attended the World Economic Forum last week in what was his first public appearance since he was… Continue reading

80 Tories could reject plain packaging

Plans for plain packaging of cigarettes have taken a step forward today. Photo: PA.

While Cabinet members grumble about the way the government’s plain packaging announcement was snuck out last week, those Tories opposed… Continue reading

Labour fails to turn up to work for Treasury questions


The Commons is pretty quiet at the moment, draining of energy earlier and earlier in the week as MPs head… Continue reading

Cameron reckons Gove prefers a ‘chillax playlist’ to ‘hip-hoppy’ Beyoncé tunes


After Sarah Vine revealed that her husband Michael Gove’s ringtone that infamously disrupted a cabinet meeting was the latest Beyoncé hit,… Continue reading

100 days till polling day: the Tories are just ahead but anything could happen

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 08.44.54

Today marks 100 days till the election — so how is the race looking? Still very close, according to the… Continue reading

Are the members of hacker group Lizard Squad cyberterrorists or cybervandals?

A screenshot of the hacked Malaysia Airlines website

Another day, another hack. This morning, Facebook and Instagram went dark. Facebook has blamed a technical glitch; ‘Lizard Squad’ celebrated another… Continue reading

Another day, another Tory Ukip defection


Sloppy seconds are on the menu for both Ukip and the Conservative party this week. Many questions remain for the Tories after Ukip… Continue reading

Adolf Eichmann hoped his ‘Arab friends’ would continue his battle against the Jews

Former SS and Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann (1906 - 1962) in Nazareth, preparing his defence in the trial brought against him for war crimes (Photo: Evening Standard/Getty)

Over Christmas I finally got around to reading Eichmann Before Jerusalem by Bettina Stangneth.  I cannot recommend this book –… Continue reading

David Cameron should support work through tax cuts, not more apprenticeships

David Cameron talks to apprentices at the  Great Manchester Skillcentre who are on the apprenticeship training programme. October 5, 2009.

In a Telegraph interview, David Cameron today pledges to cut the welfare cap – to £23,000 from £26,000 – to… Continue reading

David Cameron wriggles further away from the TV debates

(Photo: David Jones/PA/Getty)

David Cameron had clearly planned his answers to his Today programme so that a casual listener might think that he… Continue reading

A medieval war of words: Salman Rushdie vs Times Literary Supplement

56th BFI London Film Festival: Midnight's Children - Official Screening

Pencils are being sharpened on both sides of the Atlantic as a tiff between the Times Literary Supplement and Salman Rushdie reaches… Continue reading

Ladbrokes’ election guru should stick to politics (and avoid football)

(Photo: Leon Neal/Getty)

Politics nerds are obsessing over every single nugget of information about the election. Ladbrokes seems to be offering a rich… Continue reading



Why Ed Miliband's class war rhetoric is Tony Blair's fault

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

The Islamic world is rioting – and not for free speech

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 iron law of volunteering: the nicer the cause, the nastier the people


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

How Switzerland's central bank got it so wrong – and the place that got it right


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

A Most Violent Year2

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

Ascot Races

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