Matthew Parris rssMatthew Parris

Matthew Parris is a columnist for The Spectator and The Times.

Former British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett (Photo: Getty)

Freedom of information killed ambassadors’ valedictory dispatches. Could blogging bring them back?

22 August 2015

‘All I ever tried to do was hold a mirror up and show you how beautiful you really are. Shine on, you crazy diamond.’ I have just read one of… Read more

Matthew Parris

How Jeremy Corbyn could destroy the Tories (yes, really)

8 August 2015

‘Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?’ asked C.P. Cavafy in his poem ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’: Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come. And some who have… Read more


My new addiction: road-building

25 July 2015

Many years ago I was encouraged to read Roger Hutchinson’s Calum’s Road. The small and quirky book made a deep impression on me: deeper, perhaps, than I realised at the… Read more

William Waldegrave (Photo: Getty)

William Waldegrave: too nice ever to have been PM

25 July 2015
A Different Kind of Weather William Waldegrave

Constable, pp.320, £20, ISBN: 9781472119759

‘Lobbying,’ writes William Waldegrave in this extraordinary memoir, ‘takes many forms.’ But he has surely reported a variant hitherto unrecorded in the annals of politics. The Cardinal Archbishop of Cardiff… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Greeks just want to keep what they’ve got

11 July 2015

We were breakfasting outside on the morning of the Greek referendum. The result could only be guessed at and all the polls were saying it was neck-and-neck. I thought ‘yes’… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Labour’s campaign was fine. It’s the party that Britain rejected

13 June 2015

Patrick Wintour is one of the best political editors around. For the Guardian he’s been for decades a cool and well-sourced voice: even-handed, informed, interesting but in the best sense… Read more

Supporters in favour of same-sex marriage gather in Dublin Castle square (Photo: Getty)

In Irish Catholicism, it seems, God can be outvoted

30 May 2015

I see. So now we have the result of the Irish referendum on gay marriage, and now we’ve heard the Roman Catholic Church’s chastened response, we shall have to rewrite… Read more

The final "projection" from polling firm Populus. It gave David Cameron a 0.5% chance of a majority.

It wasn't just pollsters who were useless in the election; pundits were too

16 May 2015

It takes some agility to shoot yourself in the foot and saw off the branch you’re sitting on, while hoisting yourself with your own petard, all at the same time;… Read more

(Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty)

This election has made me understand how it felt to be a lefty under Thatcher

2 May 2015

On the weekend of 25 April 2015 I started to believe that the party I supported might not win an impending general election. I’m used to that. But I started… Read more

A mural in Los Angeles commemorating the 1915 Armenian Genocide (Photo: Getty)

Scotland knows the power of a common enemy. We English don’t

18 April 2015

When last Sunday Pope Francis took the brave step of acknowledging the Armenian tragedy as the ‘first genocide of the 20th century’, he knew he was entering a minefield. On… Read more

Julia Perez, who has fought for land title for her Ashaninka indigenous community in the Saweto – Alto Tamaya in Peru. Photo: CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images

Peru's Indians are repressed with more efficiency than blacks ever were in South Africa

4 April 2015

In The Spectator of 21 March a column by Toby Young caught my eye. Discussing the pros and cons of selective schools, Toby found it hard to reach an emphatic… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Anti-Muslim prejudice is real, and it’s scary

21 March 2015

Something dangerous is brewing beneath the surface in our country, and it worries me that warning lights are not flashing in the minds of many of those I respect most.… Read more

Zoran Music Photo: Getty

Skunk has changed me. But art has changed me, too

7 March 2015

Two recent preoccupations have led me to the same reflection. The first is a Channel 4 programme on the effects of the super-strength cannabis known as ‘skunk’, in which I’ve… Read more

What a lark Photo: Getty

Of course you can choose to get up early (and maybe you can choose to be gay)

21 February 2015

‘Oh, I’m an owl,’ said my friend Nick. ‘You’re probably a lark.’ I raised an eyebrow. He explained. Apparently all human beings are either owls or larks, being genetically predisposed… Read more


To reform the NHS, use the politics of envy

7 February 2015

‘Let’s make the rich pay more.’ Does that sound so right-wing? To me it has a positively socialist ring. It should appeal to egalitarians: to those who call themselves socially… Read more


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

24 January 2015

I watched the video with some trepidation. Stonewall (the campaigning gay and lesbian equality organisation) had just sent me the YouTube link. This was to a short film of the… Read more


When did we become a nation of police informers?

10 January 2015

There’s a danger that in what follows your columnist may seem to be recommending an attitude. Please don’t think that. It’s true that I would never shop a friend for… Read more

Kenneth Baker Photo: Getty

Why it’s time to revive the commonplace book

13 December 2014

Among the gifts that have come my way this Christmas season, none has given me pleasure more immediate or more lasting than Kenneth Baker’s new commonplace book, More Rags of… Read more

Rochester and Strood Parliamentary By-Election

The virtual mob that got Emily Thornberry is coming for you, too

29 November 2014

Are we heading for a new barbarism? Is this the return of the 18th-century mob? Here are more questions than answers. I ask because when all the fuss about Emily… Read more

A Man Reads A Newspaper

What you’re missing now that you don’t read this in print

15 November 2014

The internet is a frighteningly efficient place for hunter-gathering – but the pleasures of undirected browsing are harder to find online


I don't understand addiction. So I'm going to become an addict

1 November 2014

When the White Queen told Alice she had sometimes believed as many as six contradictory things before breakfast, she spoke for us all. But our irrationality goes further than a… Read more


Reading the comments on my Ukip columns, I finally understand the Nazis

18 October 2014

Like many, I’ve always been a bit baffled by the story of the rise of Nazism. The Germans I’ve met have appeared to be human beings like any other: in… Read more

Edinburgh International Book Festival

The speech that could change your mind about Parliament and war

4 October 2014

Jesse Norman was permitted three minutes for his speech to the Commons in last Friday’s debate. But the contribution from the Conservative MP for Hereford & South Herefordshire was one… Read more


I'll never feel the same about the Scots

20 September 2014

I doubt I’m alone among English readers of this magazine in having felt uncomfortable with our last issue. ‘Please stay with us’ was a plea I found faintly offensive to… Read more