Matthew Parris rssMatthew Parris

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

(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

The rape of the Sabine women, by Pietro da Cortona

‘Rape is rape’ serves no one well, least of all rape victims

6 September 2014

When Mary Jane Mowat remarked recently that rape conviction statistics would not improve ‘until women stop getting so drunk,’ the retired Crown Court judge knew there would be a row.… Read more


Artificial intelligence is going to make us doubt the real thing

23 August 2014

Having written (for a Times diary) a few sentences about consciousness in robots, I settled back to study readers’ responses in the online commentary section. They added little. I was… Read more


I found my inner fascist in a letterbox

9 August 2014

There’s a little bit of a fascist in all of us. For some, the tragedy of human want may provoke an impatient urge to expropriate and centralise for the more… Read more

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

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

26 July 2014

Ross Clark is a columnist I try to read because he is never trite. So I was sorry to miss performances of his musical play staged earlier this month. Shot… Read more

Geoffrey Dickens Photo: Getty

There's no debating abuse hysteria – but I have to try

12 July 2014

As essay titles go, ‘On losing an argument with Tim Loughton MP’ may fail to catch the imagination; but there we are: I don’t need to be re-elected. You know… Read more

Labour Leader Ed Miliband Speech In Essex

Ed Miliband’s problem isn’t his image. It’s us

28 June 2014

That bacon bap earlier this month was not the cause of Ed Miliband’s unpopularity. Ed Miliband’s unpopularity was the cause of the bacon bap. Scant comfort this will give the… Read more


The Birmingham ‘Trojan Horse plot’ is — like WMD — a neocon fantasy

14 June 2014

I can remember where I was when Colin Powell presented to the United Nations his evidence for the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. I was taking a friend… Read more

Elliot Rodger Photo: AFP/Getty

Elliot Rodger and the Hollywood ending

31 May 2014

I’ve found myself strangely drawn to the videos made by the 22-year-old assassin Elliot Rodger just before he went on his killing spree in his university town of Santa Barbara,… Read more

Gary Barlow Performs At The Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Why Gary Barlow should hang on to his OBE

17 May 2014

‘Strip him of his knighthood!’ Or life peerage, or CBE, OBE — or whatever. The cry goes up with a kind of automaticity these days, and with increasing shrillness. As I… Read more

UKIP's Nigel Farage Campaigns Before European Elections

Ukip isn’t a national party. It’s a Tory sickness

3 May 2014

It can happen that something ought to feel wrong yet somehow doesn’t; and you wonder whether this means that in some deep way it could be right. Take for example… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

I’m fascinated by our censorious fascination with other people’s sex lives. And I sense something shifting

19 April 2014

I liked the generic title ‘Another Voice’ that The Spectator used to give this column, because it seemed to loosen the shackles imposed by more rigorous classification. The sort of… Read more

King Juan Carlos Hosts Cotec Meeting with Portuguese and Italian Presidents

Time for the King of Spain to save his country again

5 April 2014

Might there ever be in this century, anywhere in Europe, a case for serious political interference by an hereditary monarch? Spaniards can surely imagine it. In 1981 the (then) recently… Read more