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This Halloween, say no to American pumpkins and yes to British turnips

Possibly you’ve missed this. However, for the last three years or thereabouts, I have been conducting a low-key campaign for… Continue reading

Fiona Woolf resigns as chair of child abuse inquiry

Fiona Woolf. Image: Getty

4.50pm – It is difficult to see how Fiona Woolf can stay on as chair of the child abuse inquiry.… Continue reading

The Arts Council’s culture of secrecy puts government departments to shame

Outgoing CEO of the Arts Council Alan Davey. Getty Images

Arts Council England receives £349 million a year direct from the taxpayer. Added to its income from the national Lottery… Continue reading

Liberate women…from the rotten dictatorial group-think of ‘feminism’

An 1867 cartoon from the magazine 'Punch' depicting John Stuart Mill advocating female suffrage (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Good on David Cameron for refusing to wear that hideous T-shirt. Feminists these days spend an awful lot of time… Continue reading

Herbal medicine – not just for new-age hippies anymore

Visitors inspect ayurvedic ingredients at a Sri Lankan herbal medicine show in July 2013  (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Lacking in pep? Looking for some extra zing as winter sets in? The Spectator recommends our energy conference on 1 December.… Continue reading

Labour wins South Yorkshire PCC by-election

Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Labour has won the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner by-election with 50 per cent of the vote, which is… Continue reading

‘Community leader’, ‘call out’, ‘dreamer: The worst words and phrases in the English language

(Image: Hulton Archive)

In this week’s magazine Rod Liddle has a piece on the worst ‘clichés, lies, evasions, obfuscations, PC euphemisms and disingenuous… Continue reading

Isis are dogs; pet the dogs, kill the terrorists

A dog named Moily with US Marines in Afghanistan's Helmand province in February 2011 (Photo: Dmitry Kostyukova, AFP/Getty)

Malaysian pharmacist Syed Azmi has emerged from hiding to apologise for organising ‘I Want to Touch a Dog’ earlier in… Continue reading

If David Cameron doesn’t take immigration seriously, he’ll lose the election

Prime Minister David Cameron Tries To Take A Harder Line with Europe

Coffee House readers may remember a classic John Cleese comedy film almost thirty years ago called Clockwise. It’s the story… Continue reading

What passing-bells for politicians who die as cattle?

Over the top: British soldiers in the trenches (Image: Getty) The allies did not sweep into Germany in 1918, winning… Continue reading

Tories on away day put away hopes of winning Rochester

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps Visits Rochester

Tory MPs are in Oxfordshire today for an ‘away day’. It’s supposed to focus on the autumn statement, but Tory… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: An accent of prejudice

Prince Louis of Battenberg

From The Spectator, 31 October 1914: We regret to record that a gallant and patriotic sailor, Prince Louis of Battenberg,… Continue reading

Jim Murphy – is Scottish Labour dyeing?

Murphy in government (left) and now (right) (Photos: UK Government, BBC)

While watching Scottish Labour leader frontrunner Jim Murphy launch his campaign today, you might be forgiven for thinking the teetotaller… Continue reading

Good Samaritans or sinister surveillance? The app that tries to stop suicide

Samaritans

According to an email I received earlier this afternoon, I should be worried about the mental state of someone I… Continue reading

Scottish Labour is in crisis; is Jim Murphy the solution?

A sign language interpreter signs as the former Scottish labour party leader speaks in September 2014. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

I suspect that the Scottish Labour gala dinner in Glasgow tonight won’t feel like much of a gala. The Scottish… Continue reading

Boom! Bombshell poll annihilates Labour in Scotland

Mushroom Cloud

Grotesque. Unbelievable. Bizarre. Unprecedented. Today’s Ipsos-Mori opinion poll is the most astonishing survey of Scottish political opinion in living memory. Perhaps, even, the… Continue reading

Meltdown! Shock poll puts Scottish Labour on 4 MPs and the SNP on 54

Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband Speaks at Scottish Labour Conference

Just to make Scottish Labour’s misery complete – and underline the case for a bold leader who likes winning things… Continue reading

Lies, damn lies and health statistics – smoking is more deadly than serving in Afghanistan

A British soldier (left) takes a smoke break on base in Sangin valley in Afghanistan's Helmand province, May 2007 (Photo: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Basically nothing is as bad for you as smoking. Short of fairly obvious things like blunt-force trauma or falling out… Continue reading

How do you solve a problem like the NHS? The Spectator asks the experts

Nurses of Whipps Cross Hospital, in London, singing Christmas carols to a patient in December 1952 (Photo: Monty Fresco/Getty Images)

So ingrained is the NHS as part of British life that it’s hard to imagine it disappearing. But it can’t… Continue reading

The US won’t beat Isis alone; Qatar and other Gulf allies must help in Iraq

From left: US General John Allen, Kuwaiti foreign ministry under secretary Khaled al-Jarallah and Qatari foreign minister assistant Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi, in Kuwait City on October 27, 2014 (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Revelations keep pouring in about the uneasy relationship between Western aid givers and ISIS operators: from bribes given by humanitarian… Continue reading

Podcast: Ruby Wax and Andy Puddicombe on mindfulness, plus Jim Murphy and Movember

Mindfulness

The chances are that by now either you or someone you know well has begun to practise ‘mindfulness’ — a… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: The Crescent and the Cross

Enver Pasha, Turkish minister for war in 1914. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From The Spectator, 31 October 1914: THE most important event of the past week is the entrance of Turkey into… Continue reading

How to conjure up a £3,800 tax cut

tax

It’s great to read David Cameron’s article in The Times today making the moral case for tax cuts. It’s tough… Continue reading

Jim Murphy has what Scottish Labour needs: energy, fearlessness and the ability to win

(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

There should, by rights, have been a stampede of candidates to replace Johann Lamont as the leader of the Scottish… Continue reading

Jim Murphy to stand for Scottish Labour leader

Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

As expected, Jim Murphy has announced he’s standing for Scottish Labour Leader. He’s given an interview to the Daily Record… Continue reading

Sup with a long spoon at the new Shepherd’s

By Jules Morgan from Montreal, Canada (Cheese soufflé  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The news that Westminster lunch ‘institution’ Shepherd’s is to reopen its doors after closing them eighteen months ago has been greeted with… Continue reading

Are bowls of pasta Blairite?

Blairite food. Getty Images

If Thatcher was Britain’s Bonaparte, then Blair was most certainly our Louis-Philippe. It was during the reign of the latter… Continue reading

PMQs sketch: Buck passing and wasted billions

Angry shouty politicians — the hallmarks of Prime Minister's Questions.

The hypocrisy was breath-taking. The opportunism was scandalous. The lack of principle was extraordinary. All the same, it wasn’t a… Continue reading

Magazine

Mindfulness

The cult of 'mindfulness'

Separating meditation from faith might not be as harmless as it seems

Why I’ve joined Lebanon’s exodus

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The long shadow of the Islamic State means that many Christians are packing up and leaving Lebanon

Rand Paul is like Nigel Farage – except he might win

Raul-Paul

Rand Paul combines a dull, reassuring manner with a Ukip-like insurgent appeal. It could take him to the presidency

Jonathan Sacks on religion, politics and the civil war that Islam needs

Pope Benedict XVI (L), meets Britain's C

Former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the return of religion to public life and the civil war that Islam needs

The fightback against wackiness starts here

wacky

Forced, studenty wackiness has taken over our culture. It’s time to take a stand

The myth of the White Widow

Interpol Issue 'Red Notice' For Arrest Of Samantha Lewthwaite

Samantha Lewthwaite almost certainly isn’t as monstrous as the papers say. And she definitely isn’t as important

Why Gibraltar needs its hunt back

Rock of ages: three centuries of British occupation

The British overseas territory of Gibraltar, or, as some would have it, the wart on the bottom of the Iberian peninsula, is not an exciting place for a holiday. You… Read more

Columnists

Shadow International Development Secretary Jim Murphy Photo: Getty

Scotland needs Jim Murphy (even if he doesn’t want to go back there)

There should, by rights, have been a stampede of candidates to replace Johann Lamont as the leader of the Scottish… Read more

Rod Liddle: The top 10 most fatuous phrases in the English language

Philip Seymour Hoffman Photo: Getty

An apology. A few weeks back, in my blog, I promised a regular series called ‘Fatuous Phrase of the Week’.… Read more

Help me become an addict

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When the White Queen told Alice she had sometimes believed as many as six contradictory things before breakfast, she spoke… Read more

I’ll take Jeremy Clarkson over a howling mob any day

British television BBC presenter of moto

Perhaps it’s a glaring and personal flaw in my observational skills, but if somebody tried to insult me via a… Read more

How Italy failed the stress test (and Emilio Botín didn’t)

The late Emilio Botín of Banco Santander Photo: Getty

Continuing last week’s theme, it was the Italian banks — with nine fails, four still requiring capital injections — that… Read more

Arts

‘Hat Stand’, 1969, one of a group of three sculptures that caused controversy early on in the artist’s career

The pop artist whose transgressions went too far – for the PC art world

After years of being effectively banned from exhibiting in his own country, Allen Jones finally reaches the RA with his first major UK retrospective. Andrew Lambirth meets him

The only way is Essex University

The many faces of Essex: it was the architects’ intention to create ‘Something Fierce’ — a designed environment that was actively stimulating. ALL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM ESSEX UNIVERSITY'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY BROCHURE

Stephen Bayley revisits the ambitious, and for its day visionary, campus that is Essex University for its 50th birthday celebrations

Art's shameful secret and the birth of the mannequin

Alan Beeton, ‘Reposing’, 1929

A 19th-century London artists’ supplier named Charles Roberson offered imitation human beings for sale or rent, with papier-mâché heads, soft… Read more

Mr Turner: the gruntiest, snortiest, huffiest film of the year - and the most beautiful too

Timothy-Spall-as-Mr-Turner

Mr Turner may be the gruntiest film of the year, possibly the gruntiest film ever. ‘Grunt, grunt, grunt,’ goes Mr… Read more

How Rothko become the mythic superman of mystical abstraction

Finding his feet: ‘Untitled (man and two women in a pastoral setting)’, 1940

Mark Rothko was an abstract artist who didn’t see himself as an abstract artist — or at least not in… Read more

James Delingpole falls in love with Grayson Perry - and almost comes round to Chris Huhne

Grayson Perry almost makes you like Chris Huhne: some feat

I love Grayson Perry. You might almost call him the anti-Russell Brand: a genuinely talented artist who also has some… Read more

Russians made the theatre space the most liberating imaginative device ever invented

Alexander Rodchenko’s costume design for Meyerhold masterwork, ‘The 
Bedbug’, 1929

You have to hand it to the Russians. They beat us into space, beat us to sexual equality, and a… Read more

Met Opera Live's Macbeth: Netrebko's singing stirred almost as much as her décolletage

Anna Netrebko as Lady in Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, Metropolitan Opera

This season of live Met relays got off to a most impressive start, with an electrifying account of Verdi’s tenth… Read more

Peter Phillips is mugged by a gang of Praetorius-loving six-year-old girls in China

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We have read about the remarkable opening up of China in recent years: how many people live there and how… Read more

Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet battle for the heart of English dance

All was beauteous with the Royal Ballet’s ‘Symphonic Variations’ on the first night

English ballet erupted out of the second world war in the hands of the rival choreographers Frederick Ashton and Robert… Read more

Neville's Island: a play from the era of Men Behaving Badly - when women were seen as exotic excrescences

Oppressed by the set in ‘Neville’s Island’

Start with a joke. Neville’s Island. Get it? Laughing yet? Are your ribs splitting into pieces? It’s a cracker, isn’t… Read more

Kate Chisholm on what makes the BBC World Service so special

Alana Valentine praises the BBC's World Service Photo: Getty

‘Don’t take it for granted,’ she warned. ‘It’s one of the few places where you can hear diverse voices, different… Read more

Life

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The beauty of fire escapes and the vanishing of Edward Hopper's New York

Autumn in New York: they even wrote a song about it that was a great hit 60 years ago. Last weekend the sky was awash in blue, Manhattan at its… Read more

'My boy was my all': letters from a bereaved mother to a Somme widow

Life in the trenches Photo: Getty

My maternal grandmother (née Clarke) had six brothers, all keen poker players. All six volunteered to fight in the Great War, and only one, Sergeant Herbert Clarke, of B Company,… Read more

Why won't the law go after the terror of my park?

Pitbull dogs play with a rope during the

What is the point of the Dangerous Dogs Act when there is a man marauding with an illegal pit bull in south London and the police are not arresting him?… Read more

The only good thing about Halloween is that it makes people hate bats

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I always dread Hallowe’en. It may have originated in Europe as a Christian celebration for remembering the virtuous dead and wishing them on their way to heaven, but its origins… Read more

Maybe Mrs Oakley is right: all my tips will come in second

Chepstow Races

The novelist Anita Brookner once declared that in real life hares always beat tortoises: ‘Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was… Read more