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Edinburgh International Book Festival

Paul Mason comes to Alex Salmond’s defence over BBC bias

With Alex Salmond currently engaged in a war of words with Nick Robinson over the BBC’s ‘disgraceful’ coverage of the… Continue reading

Nigel Farage shows why he shouldn’t lead the ‘No’ campaign

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Nigel Farage is kickstarting Ukip’s ‘No’ campaign this week, having grown fed up with the lack of momentum from other corners. On… Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn isn’t alone in thinking that Osama bin Laden’s death was ‘a tragedy’

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The news that Jeremy Corbyn thought the death of Osama bin Laden ‘a tragedy’ is not very surprising. Nor is… Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn is Britain’s Donald Trump (and vice versa)

Labour Leadership Candidate Jeremy Corbyn Continues His Welsh Tour

The silly season is supposed to end tomorrow. September sidles in and normality replaces August’s frivolity. The reality of winter… Continue reading

No wonder Osborne didn’t want the EU referendum – it may derail his journey to No10

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Another disclosure from Anthony Seldon’s upcoming biography of David Cameron: he reveals that George Osborne tried to stop the referendum European Union… Continue reading

Has Jeremy Corbyn ever bothered to speak to ‘the other side’?

Labour Leadership Candidate Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a rally for supporters at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl on August 25, 2015 in Southampton, England.

I had a piece in the Sunday Times yesterday about Jeremy Corbyn and the dodgy excuse he and his spokespeople… Continue reading

If Tony Blair thought that Gaddafi wanted to cut a deal, why did no one follow up?

Blair and Gaddafi

Just a few months ago, almost everyone thought that David Cameron was a goner. That he was about to go… Continue reading

Chrissie Hynde is right – women should take responsibility for their actions

Chrissie Hynde In Concert, Koko, London, Britain - 16 Dec 2014.

The popular singer Chrissie Hynde has been reprimanded by feminist campaigners for speaking common sense. Hynde, who is somewhat more… Continue reading

Why a politician-free House of Lords is the only democratic solution

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In my business, there’s a lot of fretting about the idea of representativeness. Pollsters put questions to, say, a thousand people –… Continue reading

Sorry Owen Jones, but your moral grandstanding won’t solve the migrant crisis

Migrants crawl under a barbed fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke (Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/Getty)

I’m getting tired of the self-righteousness of Owen Jones. His response to the terrible spate of deaths of people fleeing… Continue reading

Peaceful yet violent: the Thai paradox that still baffles the West

The damaged Brahma statue at the Hindu Erawan shrine (Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/Getty)

The scene of the recent bombing at the Erawan shrine has swiftly been remodelled to make it seem as though nothing… Continue reading

When David told Boris to ‘f—ing shut up’

London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron arrive at the Advantage children's daycare nursery on April 22, 2015 in Surbiton, England.

Oh dear. Although Lord Ashcroft said he would be pleasantly surprised if Anthony Seldon’s biography of David Cameron offered anything more… Continue reading

Tony Blair has given up on Labour’s leadership election

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair Appears Before The Committee Investigating The On The Runs Scheme

It’s not entirely surprising that Tony Blair fancied one last chance to plead with his party not to elect Jeremy… Continue reading

Spectator competition: Spammity Spam! Wonderful Spam! (plus: arty limericks)

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The request for tributes in verse to a once-popular foodstuff that has fallen out of favour generated a large and… Continue reading

Ignorance is bliss. But when it comes to your health, is it also a right?

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Tell kids the Tooth Fairy is fake, and their lips are sure to tremble. Reveal the list of their birthday… Continue reading

Who are the rising Tory stars?

The Prime Minister Introduces His New Members Of Parliament

In this week’s Spectator, I profile the 2015 intake of Tory MPs: a bright, pragmatic bunch who don’t like to… Continue reading

Revealed: Wikipedia’s panic over Shapps fiasco

Conservative Party co-chairman Grant Shapps arrives at Tory Party headquarters near Westminster on May 8, 2015 in London

During the election campaign a cloud hung over Grant Shapps, the then chairman of the Conservative party. In April, he was accused of… Continue reading

Why is the Home Office giving in to illiberal youth by banning rappers like Tyler, The Creator?

Tyler, The Creator: a homophobic menace? Photograph: Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images

In a 2012 interview on Newsnight, foul-mouthed LA rapper Tyler, The Creator told a churlish Stephen Smith that the point… Continue reading

All hail Lord Livermore, king of Labour campaigning

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It’s fair to say that the appointment of Ed Miliband’s ex-campaign director Spencer Livermore to the House of Lords hasn’t… Continue reading

It is un-socialist to support Jeremy Corbyn

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A quick disclaimer: I am a socialist and I share much of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. I believe that austerity is… Continue reading

Labour needs to up its game on the EU renegotiation

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Most people in the Labour Party may want to stay in the EU, but few think there is no scope… Continue reading

What if Jeremy Corbyn has a successful start as Labour leader?

Jeremy Corbyn Takes The Lead In The Labour Leadership Race

Jeremy Corbyn has taken to the Times to defend his Labour leadership campaign and attack both the press and his… Continue reading

Is Shas Sheehan the “least deserving person to ever be made a Lib Dem peer?”

Shas Sheehan, "possibly the least capable or deserving person to ever be made a peer in the history of the Lib Dems"

As well as it being rather amusing that a party officially committed to the abolition of the House of Lords… Continue reading

For sale: Jeremy Corbyn’s used coffee cup

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It’s official, Jeremy Corbyn has made it. Following in the lines of all the greats, the left wing messiah has… Continue reading

Could a row with Uber be taxi for a London mayoral candidate?

The Evening Standard's Labour mayoral hustings at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

One of the striking things about the contest in Labour for the mayoral candidacy is how many of the candidates… Continue reading

It's honours day for Cameron and Osborne's chums

Image: Getty.

The 2015 Dissolution Peerages have been announced today, following much rumour about who might receive one. While Mr S’s colleague Sebastian… Continue reading

Long-serving frontbenchers and the Spadocracy dominate the 2015 dissolution peers

Members of House of Lords in robes at State Opening of Parliament, House of Lords, England, United Kingdom.

The 2015 Dissolution Peerages have been announced, with many of the names floated in the press over the last few weeks… Continue reading

Coming soon: more Lib Dem advice on how to win an election

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg speaks to  party activists alongside Jasper Gerard (left), the partyÕs candidate for Maidstone & The Weald, at Hush Heath Winery on May 3, 2015 in Tonbridge, England.

Given that the general election proved disastrous for the Liberal Democrats, it’s surprising how many party members seem keen to revisit… Continue reading

The Tories should have dropped their net migration target long ago

The 2013 Tory conference (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

It’s fair to say the Tories won’t be recycling their ‘immigration down’ posters for this year’s autumn conference. Net migration… Continue reading

Immigration hits a record high

Image: Getty

There must be an element of masochism in Theresa May that leads her to promise the electorate something she cannot… Continue reading

Labour asks school pupils to act as informants ahead of vote

Jeremy Corbyn's Policy Ideas For Young People Launch

Although Buzzfeed managed to successfully register a cat to vote in the Labour leadership election, the party remains insistent that… Continue reading

Podcast: Charlie Falconer vs Douglas Murray on assisted dying

18th July 2014 -- Protesters join the 'Not Dead Yet UK' campaign outside the House of Lords as peers debate Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill.

The Assisted Dying Bill will return to the Commons and Lords in the near future – are we prepared for… Continue reading

When words are added to the dictionary, what about banning some? Here are ten suggestions

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OxfordDictionaries.com has today announced that is adding words like “awesomesauce” and “manspreading” to the dictionary. But what about banning fatuous… Continue reading

Chilcot resists pressure from MPs to speed up the Iraq Inquiry

John Chilcot, the Chairman of the Iraq Inquiry, outlines the terms of reference for the inquiry and explains the panel's approach to its work during a news conference in London, on July 30, 2009.

Sir John Chilcot doesn’t seem all that bothered by the threats of censure from politicians over his lengthy Iraq Inquiry.… Continue reading

Exclusive: Ukip wars threaten to reignite over mayoral race

UKIP leader Nigel Farage passes UKIP deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans during the launch of the party's election manifesto on April 15, 2015 in Thurrock, England;

Nigel Farage is trying to block Suzanne Evans from becoming Ukip candidate for Mayor of London with a covert campaign… Continue reading

Magazine

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Here we go again: the drumbeat for sending troops back to Iraq has begun

Why our politicians keep going back to military intervention, no matter how often it fails

If you dismiss the slippery-slope argument against ‘assisted dying’, you’re not paying attention

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If you don’t think legalising ‘assisted dying’ is a slippery slope, you haven’t been paying attention

Breast-feeding isn't always best

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New mothers who can’t keep to the breast-feeding orthodoxy face needless misery and shame

The digital disruption of cocaine

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Fierce competition is forcing drug dealers to adjust their sales methods

Rhinos are being wiped out for the sake of fairytales

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Can anything protect the rhino from rapacious human stupidity?

The lessons of exam results season (and what to do about them)

What happens when they’ve climbed the ladder?

Every year without fail, as the trees start thinking about losing their leaves, the papers are full of the same photographs and the same stories. The pictures are of groups… Read more

Columnists

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Think Cameron’s small majority will hold him back? Not with his new army of loyalists

Time was when the Conservatives believed that a small majority — which puts a government at the mercy of backbench… Read more

The contagious madness of the new PC

Warning! Can seriously damage your health

Obsessive searching for hurt and offence will create it where once it never existed

I’m utterly sickened by this story of a man trying to talk to a woman on a train

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What can we as a society do about the relentless harassment of women by terrifying men? Menacing men, threatening men,… Read more

Oh no: On the Road’s a masterpiece. So what else have I missed?

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This week’s column is dedicated to all those of you who have never read Catcher in the Rye and who,… Read more

Sorry, but I can’t join in the China panic (especially not while I’m on a cruise)

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 MS Queen Victoria, 38°N 19°E I’ll do my best, but I’ve got to be honest: being surrounded by shining Ionian… Read more

Books

Members of the Maquis study the mechanism and maintenance of weapons dropped by parachute in the Haute-Loire

The facts behind France’s most potent modern myth

Patrick Marnham unravels some of the powerful, often conflicting myths surrounding the French Resistance

Ghosts of the past haunt Pat Barker’s bomb-strewn London

The devastation left behind after the Blitz (Photo: Getty)

If the early Martin Amis is instantly recognisable by way of its idiosyncratic slang… Read more

The dangerous red-headed league

‘La Ghirlandata’ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

‘Gentlemen prefer blondes,’ Anita Loos pronounced, ‘but gentlemen marry brunettes.’ Quite what they do… Read more

Another ‘big book’ — with big problems — from Jonathan Franzen

Author Jonathan Franzen (Photo: Getty)

Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Purity, comes with great expectations. Its author’s awareness of this… Read more

The drama of St Crispian’s Day: Shakespeare got it right

For France, the murder of John the Fearless was ‘a tragedy on an epic scale’

Charles VI of France died on 21 October 1422. He had been intermittently mad… Read more

The times really were a-changin’ — when Dylan electrified his fans

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan  duet at the Newport Folk Festival, Rhode Island, 1963 (Photo: Getty)

Five songs, only three of which were amplified. Thirty-five minutes, including interruptions. That’s how… Read more

Mario Reading reviews four first-rate first novels

Chapter One

It has become something of a truism among writers’ groups and in articles offering… Read more

R.W. Johnson: 40-odd years prophesying the end for South Africa

Jacob Zuma — a tribalist whose extended family and fellow Zulus have benefited hugely from his accession to power

I think this should begin with a truth-in-journalism disclosure: I know R.W. Johnson well… Read more

The trials of living with a High Court judge

William Mars-Jones (right) attends the second day of the Moor Murders, 1966 (Photo: AP)

This intensely written memoir by Adam Mars-Jones about his Welsh father, Sir William, opens… Read more

A Gothic horror story of quicksands, riptides and rituals

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This is a muddle of novel (originally published last year by Tartarus Press in… Read more

Arts

The master builder: Palladio’s villas in the Veneto, Italy — Villa Caldogno

Palladio was the greatest influence on taste ever – but his time is finally up

Palladio gave his name to a style that spread around the world. But was it too successful for its own good, wonders Stephen Bayley

The only art is Essex

Ravilious in Essex: ‘Two Women in the Garden’, watercolour, 1932

When I went to visit Edward Bawden he vigorously denied that there were any modern painters in Essex. That may… Read more

As with so many Strauss operas, Daphne's one redeeming feature is its end

Daphne at Grimeborn

Richard Strauss’s Daphne is one of the operas he wrote during the excruciatingly long Indian summer of his composing life,… Read more

How many royal cliches can you fit into a single Channel 4 documentary?

Prince William of Gloucester

In 2011, the Daily Mail carried a long story about how the Queen’s cousin Prince William of Gloucester, who died… Read more

Dance from Edinburgh: a flamenco master who could tell classical ballet a thing or two

Swan Lake

Every August when London dims, Edinburgh calls, promising nothing less than ‘the greats of the arts’ at the International Festival.… Read more

A film in which nothing happens — yet everything happens: 45 Years reviewed

The face of a film: Charlotte Rampling is hypnotic in ‘45 Years’

Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a long married couple whose relationship is disturbed by… Read more

Edinburgh Fringe highlights: world-class improv, Bible study and an hour with a gentle genius

The Christians, Traverse

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical offers a brand new song-and-dance spectacular at every performance. It opens with a brilliantly chaotic piece… Read more

What’s the point of BBC Music?

The BBC's music man: Ben Shennan (Photo: Getty)

To Radio 2 to meet Bob Shennan, controller of the BBC’s most popular radio station (the station attracts one third… Read more

Life

One of the Kardashian's (Photo: Getty)

The unspiritual life is in sad decline (except on Michael Chandris's yacht)

According to Somerset Maugham, in material terms one must live on the razor edge between poverty and minimal subsistence in… Read more

Italy is so civilised! Even at a mad dash

Milan, Central Station (Photo: Getty)

I sprinted through Milan station, speed-read the departures monitor without stopping, and arrived gasping on platform 8 with two minutes… Read more

Am I moving to the Cotswolds? Don't measure the curtains yet

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On the basis that I might need a new boiler soon, I thought I had better sell the London flat… Read more

The young are miserable and the old are happy – shouldn’t it be the other way around?

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We learn from a new report that children in England are among the unhappiest in the world — more unhappy,… Read more

Africa is no longer the land of elephants

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Laikipia An elephant can break through an electric fence by pulling out the posts, pushing younger, more stupid animals into… Read more