'It is time to take back control of our borders. It is time to leave the European Union to become a competitive, engaged, patriotic nation once more,' says Steven Woolfe, Ukip Migration Spokesman. (Image: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Ukip: David Cameron’s immigration policy is vacuous and cynical posturing

I have described David Cameron’s posturing on immigration today as vacuous and cynical, for that is exactly what it is.… Continue reading

The mysterious case of David Ruffley’s missing letter

David Ruffley at a reception for MPs and MEPs at Buckingham Palace. Image: Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images

There is much hullaballoo this morning about how slow the Tories were to act over David Ruffley, the disgraced MP… Continue reading

After Mercer, Hancock, Miller and now Ruffley, we need a proper MPs Recall Bill

Patrick Mercer, whose involvement in a lobbying scandal led him to stand down as an MP. Should his Newark constituents have been able to trigger a by-election? Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

There seem to have been few people who did not offer their two cents on David Ruffley. From domestic violence… Continue reading

David Cameron aims at Ukip and attacks Labour with immigration clamp-down

Image: Getty

The government has unveiled a set of measures to curb immigration. David Cameron has written an article in the Telegraph… Continue reading

David Ruffley to stand down as an MP

London Landmarks At Night

David Ruffley has announced that he is standing down as an MP at the next election. Ruffley’s decision follows the… Continue reading

Betty Boothroyd and peers set to rebuke Cameron over Baroness Stowell’s exclusion from Cabinet

Baroness Betty Boothroyd is leading the charge against the government's exclusion of the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Stowell, from Cabinet. (Image: Getty)

Update: In a sign of the strength of feeling in the Lords on this matter, Boothroyd’s motion rebuking Cameron passed… Continue reading

In Iraq, ancient Christianity lies in ruins. But who cares?

Iraqis holds up a banner which reads in Arabic 'We are Christians and not Nazarethans, and we are proud of our religion', during a demonstration on July 24, 2014, against the threat imposed by ISIS. (Image: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

The Mar Behnam monastery outside Mosul, seized by ISIS just over a week ago, bears an inscription in the Turkic… Continue reading

Jon Snow’s view of the Middle East is biased, inaccurate and dangerous

A picture taken from the southern Israeli-Gaza border shows rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, on July 19, 2014. (Image: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

I suppose viewers of Jon Snow’s Channel 4 News don’t expect impartial journalism, any more than viewers of Fox in… Continue reading

Paracetamol might not ease back pain – but doctors should prescribe it anyway

Image: Getty

Upon seeing the headline ‘Paracetamol does not help lower back pain’, I found myself emitting a small (well – actually… Continue reading

Dieting, Hong Kong style

Obesity doesn't seem to be a problem in Hong Kong. (Image: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Three weeks in to my six week stint as an English teacher in Hong Kong, I’ve been struck by how… Continue reading

‘They started it!’ Joan Rivers weighs in on Gaza conflict

Joan Rivers (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

With characteristic bluntness and admirable concision, Joan Rivers has offered her thoughts on the Israel-Hamas conflict: ‘Let me just tell… Continue reading

Tory ‘Old Guard’ does pastoral care

Politicians In Westminster

One of the last duties Sir George Young undertook as Chief Whip before stepping down during the reshuffle was to… Continue reading

Airports are hell – no wonder staycations are growing in popularity

Stansted Airport. Photo: Bethany Clarke/Getty

Last week I experienced the horror of Stansted Airport. I had paid for a fast track through security to avoid… Continue reading

Someone rid us of these ridiculous trousers!


I think that we have reached the peak of the red trouser craze. A well-heeled reader sends this snap (above) from… Continue reading

Morning review: Could British infrastructure cope with fracking?


In this week’s View from 22 Morning Review, Mary Wakefield, James Forsyth and David Blackburn discuss the weekend’s main stories.… Continue reading

Presumption against fracking in our beautiful countryside is welcome

Anti-fracking protestors outside Balcombe in West Sussex earlier this year. (AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL)

The government’s announcement today that fracking will not take place in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty save… Continue reading

Britain’s banks fail the poor

The Changing Face Of The UK High Street

Britain’s banks aren’t working for the poor. We, the better off, might moan when our internet banking crashes or in-branch… Continue reading

Boris Johnson minces Ed ‘Image’ Miliband

Ed Miliband says of politicians ‘you could find people who look less like Wallace’. Cartoon: Peter Brooks

Mr S can only commend Boris Johnson’s column in the Telegraph today. It eviscerates Ed Miliband for his hypocrisy over… Continue reading

Labour confirms Tory strategy: Vote Nigel, Get Ed


Talk to most Tory strategists about Ukip and Ed Miliband and they say something along the lines of ‘Vote Farage,… Continue reading

What would you ask the prime minister?


Ed Miliband has suggested that there be a public version of Prime Minister’s Questions. This courageous idea makes Mr S… Continue reading

Simon Barnes: The England cricket team is playing out Don Giovanni

Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen are playing out their version of 'Don Giovanni'. (Image: Getty)

Simon Barnes has written the diary in this week’s issue of The Spectator. Here are his opening two paragraphs: ‘Sport… Continue reading

George Osborne’s taxing dilemma

(Photo: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty)

Some of what David Smith, author of the essential Economic Outlook column in the Sunday Times, says today will be… Continue reading

Ed Miliband tries to turn his vices into virtues

Ed Miliband Attends Launch Of Online Mental Health Resource For Children

Ed Miliband’s admirers are hailing his speech on Friday as an attempt to change how we think about leadership. It… Continue reading

Libya is imploding. Why doesn’t Cameron care?

Smoke billows near Tripoli's international airport (Photo: Getty)

The US has said it has temporarily evacuated its staff from the Libyan capital Tripoli over security concerns. Earlier this… Continue reading

Who knows what patriotism will feel like if Scotland becomes independent


If Scotland goes independent in September, who knows what patriotism will feel like. This may be a last chance to… Continue reading

A full separation of powers could reinvigorate parliament

Big Ben and the The Houses of Parliament

Last summer, parliament was recalled after President Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in Syria. David Cameron wanted the Commons to… Continue reading

Ukip MPs would have to trim and compromise like everyone else, wouldn’t they?


Ukip are holding an action day in Thurrock today. Their tails are up at the moment because a recent poll… Continue reading

Spectator competition: write an ode on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances (plus what Leigh Hunt’s Jenny did next)

A chicken smokes its final cigarette. Image: Getty

Leigh Hunt’s much-anthologised mini rondeau ‘Jenny Kissed Me’ was the inspiration for the latest challenge, which asked competitors to take… Continue reading



Are we on the verge of a new credit crunch?

Think we’ve done enough to avoid another financial crisis? Think again

Vladimir Putin’s empire of lies


Putin’s answer to the destruction of Flight MH17 has been more propaganda. In Russia, at least, it seems to be working

What’s wrong with sunglasses


People who wear sunglasses all the time seem to radiate disdain

Meet the new faces of nepotism

Rafferty Law (son of Jude ’n’ Sadie) with ‘close friend and fellow model’ Cora Corre (granddaughter of Vivienne Westwood) Photo: David M Benett

The old paths to the top for working-class children – sport, music, acting, writing – are now closed by nepotism

‘It’s jihad, innit, bruv’: meet the British Muslims going to fight in Syria


Meeting the British Muslims who have joined the ‘Islamic State’

The loveliness of Lucerne

Switzerland’s loveliest lake lies before you

When Queen Victoria came here for her summer holidays, Lucerne was already a bustling tourist destination. Today it’s just as popular. It’s easy to see why. When you emerge from… Read more


Downing Street Prepares For Cabinet Reshuffle

Parliament's next crisis: a dangerous shortage of middle-aged men

The House of Commons is off for the summer. But few MPs and ministers expect to make it through to… Read more

The Trojan Horse affair proves Michael Gove right – and MI5 wrong

Job swap: Oliver Letwin and Lady Stowell

Peter Clarke’s powerful report on the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham schools is confirmation of the weakness of David Cameron… Read more

Why I’m against posthumous pardons, even for Alan Turing

Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I Computer, 1951 Photo: SSPL/Getty

Ross Clark is a columnist I try to read because he is never trite. So I was sorry to miss… Read more

L.P. Hartley’s guide to coping with a heatwave


Those of us who have been struggling to endure the recent heat should turn to L.P. Hartley’s classic coming-of-age novel The… Read more

Forecasting is a mug’s game – but I was right about the economic revival

Day 35 of the Queen's Baton Relay in Scotland

‘Perhaps I should shift my prediction to 23 July 2014,’ I wrote in April 2012. ‘That’s the opening of the… Read more


Neville Marriner: still going strong at the age of 90

How conductors keep getting better at 90

Matthew Stadlen talks to three conductors about growing old very gracefully

The Lunchbox: a love story based on food and free postage

Still from 'The Lunchbox'

Was Kate due a grounding after the awards extravaganza of Revolutionary Road and The Reader? Because Labor Day (12A) slipped… Read more

Natalia Osipova interview: ‘I'm not interested in diamond tiaras on stage’

Natalia Osipova in the Royal Ballet’s ‘Connectome’, choreographed by Alastair Marriott

Giannandrea Poesio talks to Natalia Osipova about her ballet-based philosophy

When Mr and Mrs Clever-Nasty-and-Rich met Mr and Mrs Thick-Sweet-and-Poor

Darren Strange and Dan Copeland in Invincible at St. James Theatre

Torben Betts, head boy at Alan Ayckbourn’s unofficial school of apprentices, has written at least a dozen plays I’ve never… Read more

Malevich: Are Tate visitors ready for this master of modernism?

‘The Scyther (Mower)’, 1912, by Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935) is one of the founding fathers of Modernism, and as such entirely deserves the in-depth treatment with… Read more

I can’t see the point of Glyndebourne’s La traviata

La Traviata, Glyndebourne

One of the highlights of last year’s Glyndebourne Festival was the revival of Richard Jones’s Falstaff, spruced up and invigorated… Read more

The problem with Believe is you simply won’t believe any of it - unless you’re a child

Obstacle on the footballing front: Natascha McElhone as Georgie’s mother

The trouble with Believe is that, unless you are ten years old or under, which I’m assuming you are not,… Read more

In which James Delingpole gets down with the kids, finds they’re sex-obsessed…

Otherworld, Comedy Feeds

If there’s one thing everyone knows about BBC comedy it’s that it’s going downhill. According to Danny Cohen, now Director… Read more

Does Radio 3 need a new controller?

Roger Wright Photo: Getty

Where next for Radio 3? Last Friday was the First Night of this year’s Proms season but it was the… Read more

Alexander Pope, inventor of celebrity


‘The Picture of the Prime Minister hangs above the Chimney of his own Closet, but I have seen that of… Read more


A Palestinian boy inspects the damage from behind a shrapnel riddled piece of metal following an Israeli air strike  Photo: AFP/Getty

What Poland could teach Israel

One event I regretted missing on my last visit to London was a party at the Polish Club, which has been refurbished and has a new Polish prince as its… Read more

My grandson’s Great Leap Forward


‘Oscar!’ cried Miss Herd as I arrived. She was standing at the classroom door releasing her charges one by one as the parent, or in my case the grandparent, arrived… Read more

One day I was always going to have to eat quinoa. It might as well be now

Cornish Oasis Garden Opened at The Eden Project

As a rule, I tend not to frequent places where there is a sign on the door saying ‘no sharps’. But I thought I would make an exception for the… Read more

Freedom for my chickens! All it took was a man with a gun


If I haven’t mentioned my poultry for a while, it’s because the subject has been too depressing. I had been very fond of my ducks and chickens until the constant… Read more

A day with the West Ilsley trainer Denis Coakley

(Photo: www.deniscoakley.com)

Through a stormy July weekend our task was to prevent four feisty grandchildren from murdering or mutilating each other before being returned to their parents, so we gave them £3… Read more