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We all knew the hit job on Cardinal Pell was coming. That’s because he’s doing his job

Ever since Cardinal George Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to clean up the Vatican’s finances, I knew a hit… Continue reading

Spectator competition: a Pepys’-eye view of the 21st century (plus: female chauvinist authors)

Circa 1670, English diarist and reformer of the navy, Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It was Samuel Pepys’s birthday this week and for the latest competition you were invited to imagine him let loose… Continue reading

Are reports of a Ukip split greatly exaggerated?

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Day two of the Ukip conference, and the placid mood continues. Delegates seem very content with the speeches that they’ve… Continue reading

Two parties, two failures of logic

David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

Two party election policies, two failures to think things through. Or, at least, to engage with realities. First, Labour announces… Continue reading

Sol Campbell: It’s time to increase MPs’ salaries

Arsenal's English defender Sol Campbell

This week Sol Campbell was named as a bookies’ favourite to be the next Tory candidate for Kensington after Sir Malcolm Rifkind stepped… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Pages of war

Crowds outside Swan and Edgar's, Piccadilly, in 1914. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From ‘Pages of War’, The Spectator, 27 February 1915: With its darkened lights and sparse traffic, its khaki-dotted clubs and… Continue reading

Watch: Mark Reckless and Steve Crowther discuss day one of Ukip’s spring conference

UKIP Spring Conference

Today has been ‘Nigel Farage Day’ in Margate. Although many of the party’s other prominent characters addressed its spring conference,… Continue reading

Most doctors seem to time-travel to the 1800s when it comes to nutrition

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For over 30 years, dietary fat has been seen as a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. This… Continue reading

Farage uses speech to clarify his position

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Nigel Farage’s speech to the Ukip conference was fine. Not a bad speech, but not his best speech, either. It… Continue reading

Does Evgeny Lebedev fancy being Mayor of London?

Prince Charles meets Evgeny Lebedev during a visit to the Standard and Independent offices earlier this week (Photo: Jeremy Selwyn/Getty)

While the Tories scrabble around for a candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election, Mr S hears one millionaire is already eyeballing… Continue reading

Why has TfL vandalised the Eduardo Paolozzi murals at Tottenham Court Road?

A glimpse at the new murals at Tottenham Court Road tube station

Last weekend I used the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road station for the first time since it reopened. Oxford Street… Continue reading

E.G. West showed a way for ‘free schools’ to be truly free

Durham Free School is to close at the end of this term

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, has announced the closure of the Durham Free School, following scandalously one-sided Ofsted reporting… Continue reading

Ukip aren’t so jubilant anymore

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Nigel Farage has now arrived at the Ukip conference. He strode through the bar area, followed by an entourage larger… Continue reading

Nigel Farage now polling first place in South Thanet

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Is Nigel Farage having any more luck in South Thanet? According to a new poll from Survation on the eve of Ukip’s… Continue reading

For modern-day Assyrians their present is under attack from Isis, as is their past

Isis fighters destroy ancient artefacts at Mosul museum

The historian Tom Holland tweeted this morning: ‘What ‪#ISIS are doing to the people & culture of ‪#Assyria is worthy… Continue reading

England’s university tuition fees are working – to prove it, look at Wales

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I’ve just seen a poster from the NASUWT teaching union at a stall they have taken at this year’s Welsh Tory… Continue reading

MI5 didn’t make Jihadi John; he made himself

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Poor Mohammed Emwazi. One day he’s your average ‘beautiful’ young man, nose buried in his computer studies books, looking for… Continue reading

Steven Woolfe tells us what Ukip doesn’t believe about immigration

UKIP Spring Conference

You might think that Ukip’s immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe had the easiest portfolio in the party. After all, as the… Continue reading

Why the apologists for the Islamist far right must make Jihadi John a victim

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Islamic State allows its adherents to be both cultists and psychopaths: an L. Ron Hubbard and a Fred West rolled… Continue reading

Cage deserves all the scrutiny the relevant authorities can muster

Cerie Bullivant, acting as a spokesperson of campaign group Cage (Photo: Justin Tallis/Getty)

So the identity of ‘Jihadi John’ appears to have come out.  And surprise surprise he is a man associated with… Continue reading

Senior Farage aide misses flight back to Britain

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Nigel Farage’s gallivanting around in America has resulted in a casualty. Mr Steerpike hears that Raheem Kassam, senior adviser to Farage,… Continue reading

What Ukip needs from its spring conference

The press gallery at the Ukip conference in Margate.

Ukip has put all the journalists in a special balcony above the main auditorium at its spring conference. It’s quite… Continue reading

Ukip backs Osborne’s deficit plans – but how would Farage cut spending?

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The Ukip spring conference is underway in Margate today, with the party starting the two days of speeches and fringes… Continue reading

Coffee Shots: Pimp my Ukip conference

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As the devoted Ukip followers arrive at this weekend’s party spring conference in Margate, they can now show their support… Continue reading

Nobody will dare satirise the multiculturalism that allows Islamism to flourish

Asim Qureshi of campaign group Cage (Photo: Justin Tallis/Getty)

So, ‘Jihadi John’ is Mohammed Emwazi, a young Kuwaiti immigrant from Queen’s Park in north-west London, another first-rate product of the British… Continue reading

Harry Potter star Rupert Grint makes a million

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Since finishing filming Harry Potter, Rupert Grint has struggled to match the success of his former co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in the… Continue reading

The Spectator at war: Under the sea

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

From a letter to the Editor, ‘The Channel Tunnel’, The Spectator, 27 February 1915: [To the Editor of The “Spectator’]… Continue reading

Alastair Campbell threatens a political comeback

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It’s probably not the news everyone wanted to hear, but Mr S feels a duty to let readers know that… Continue reading

Magazine

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How liberal Britain is betraying ex-Muslims

These people are risking their lives for the freedom not to believe – and liberal Britain is betraying them

Why an SNP surge at Westminster could mean the end of Britain

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A landslide for the SNP will inevitably lead to the end of the Union

The myth of the housing crisis

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The coalition is letting developers concrete over the countryside, but that won’t help young people buy houses

My wood-burning stove is expensive, trendy – and miserable

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My trendy wood-burning stove is leaving me cold, wheezy, red-eyed and exhausted

Zac Goldsmith: How my dad saved Britain

Sir James Goldsmith

If you’re grateful not to be in the euro, it’s James Goldsmith and his ‘rebel army’ you should thank

A cruise around Cleopatra's wedding present

Dramatic mountains and hidden bays

Legend has it that Mark Antony considered Turkey’s Turquoise Coast so beautiful that, in about 32 bc, he gave it to Cleopatra as a wedding present. The country’s southernmost shore… Read more

Columnists

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No one wants to fight a national campaign. This will be the least general election in years

There’s normally an easy way to tell which party is losing a general election campaign. Whenever one side starts telling… Read more

Oh joy! Sean Penn has tried to crack a joke

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What a pleasure it is to see the Hollywood actor Sean Penn neck deep in PC ordure. The rodentine thespian… Read more

How do bright schoolgirls fall for jihadis? The same way they fall for Justin Bieber

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How could they? How could girls brought up in the wealthy West abandon their families and their own bright futures… Read more

Two shops. Two philosophies. Which side are you on?

Profits Rise At Aldi Supermarket Chain

Are you Lush or are you Aldi? Me, I’m Aldi all the way. So much so that when someone —… Read more

How Labour’s 50p tax trick has ended up helping George Osborne

Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Manchester

Last week’s public borrowing and tax-receipt figures, headlined ‘Chancellor hails biggest monthly surplus in seven years’, received considerably less attention… Read more

Arts

Crazy horses: Andy Scott’s Kelpies at sunset

The Spectator declares war on bad public art

Stephen Bayley announces the launch of What’s That Thing?, The Spectator’s award for bad public art

Don’t mock Elvis’s style - he was ahead of the curve

Don’t mock the schlock: from left to right: Taking Care of Business Ring designed by Elvis and Priscilla Presley; presidential cufflinks; gold phone

In the giftshop at the new Elvis exhibition at the Dome, you can buy your own version of his flared… Read more

Sculpture Victorious at Tate Britain reviewed: entertainingly barmy

‘The Great Elm at Lacock’, 1843–45, by William Henry Fox Talbot

In the centre of the new exhibition Sculpture Victorious at Tate Britain there is a huge white elephant. The beast… Read more

The dos and don’ts of the Russian art scene

‘Two Figures in a Room’, 1959, by Francis Bacon

They’re doing fantastic deals on five-star hotels in St Petersburg the weekend the Francis Bacon exhibition opens at the Hermitage.… Read more

The Boy Next Door reviewed: a terrible new J-Lo movie that's disturbingly enjoyable

Jennifer Lopez sets her sights on the boy next door

Stateside critics, who panned Jennifer Lopez’s new film The Boy Next Door on its US release last month, may be… Read more

Muswell Hill reviewed: a guide on how to sock it to London trendies

How I Learned to Drive at Southwark Playhouse

Torben Betts is much admired by his near-namesake Quentin Letts for socking it to London trendies. Letts is one of… Read more

A legendary piece of iconoclastic dance returns. Does the piece still stand up?

Flamenco Festival at Sadlers Wells Photo: Josep Aznar

Funny how things turn upside-down with time. A work of contemporary dance that made an iconoclastic splash decades ago is… Read more

Opera North's Gianni Schicchi and La vida breve reviewed: a flawless double helping of verismo

Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi Photo: Bill Cooper

Is there a more beautiful aria than ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi? There are more overwhelming moments… Read more

There’s nothing wrong with getting into Thomas Tallis on the back of Fifty Shades of Grey

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Great works of art may have a strange afterlife. Deracinated from the world that created them they are at the… Read more

Critical on Sky1 reviewed: a new medical drama where everyone radiates an unusual degree of competence and concern

The cast of Critical

Sky1’s new hospital drama Critical (Tuesday) can’t be accused of making a timid start. Within seconds, an urgent request had… Read more

The perils and pleasures of podcast listening

US President Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear Photo: Getty

No phrase is better calculated to tense the neck muscles of a regular podcast listener than ‘We have something special… Read more

Life

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Photo: Getty

Once upon a time I was very proud to be Greek. But no more

Gstaad A naked, very good-looking young man skied down the mountain evoking shrieks of laughter and admiration from the hundred or so skiers lining the slopes. He turned out to… Read more

The day an ancient and very wonderful sport died

Waterloo Cup The Blue Riband Of Hare Coursing Day 2

Last week was the tenth anniversary of the last running of the English hare-coursing classic, the Waterloo Cup. I shan’t start raving on about the perversity of banning a so-called… Read more

My request to see my medical notes has sparked all-out panic at my GP surgery

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My request to see my medical notes has sparked all-out panic at the GP surgery. ‘What do you mean?’ said the receptionist who answered the phone when I called to… Read more

You can’t force low-income people to go to an art gallery or the theatre if they don’t want to

A visitor views a painting by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens entitled 'Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt' Photo: Getty

I went last week to see the justly praised production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers at English National Opera, and I didn’t see a single black face there, nor even much… Read more