Alexander Chancellor rss

Alexander Chancellor was editor of The Spectator 1975-1984. He currently writes the Long Life column.

Ed Miliband Photo: Getty

Be different, be original: that’s what makes a popular politician

28 March 2015

I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like being a political leader. I find this difficult because I would be so utterly ill suited to the role. I’m… Read more


An Episcopalian vicar made me warm to the principle of women joining gentlemen’s clubs

21 March 2015

In 1993, when I was living in Manhattan working for the New Yorker magazine, I was chosen as ‘distinguished visitor’ to be a temporary member of the Century Club: there… Read more


It’s a pointless waste of time for David Cameron to resurrect the hunting debate

14 March 2015

Of all the election promises politicians make in the run-up to a general election the one most certain to remain unfulfilled is David Cameron’s pledge to try to repeal the… Read more

In it for the long haul: Vogue editor, Anne Wintour Photo: Getty

I’ve been sacked more times than I can exactly remember. It teaches you nothing

7 March 2015

The Oldie magazine — of which, until otherwise advised, I appear to be the editor — runs an occasional article about someone’s experience of being sacked. When I was young,… Read more

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

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

28 February 2015

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


The elderly are society’s new baddies

21 February 2015

The gulf in understanding between the old and the young has widened with the news that the young are beginning to turn teetotal. If there was one thing that the… Read more

Google’s Lexus Self Driving Car Photo: Getty

How the driverless car will liberate us all (except smokers, of course)

14 February 2015

I was listening to the radio the other morning to hear people complaining about the huge cuts in the number of traffic police patrolling English roads. This meant that drivers… Read more

Ian Lavender, Michael Buerk, Lord Faulkner, Bridget Riley, Ken Dodd and Gyles Bradreth attend the Oldie Of The Year Awards Photo: Getty

Alexander Chancellor

7 February 2015

An excellent test of character is a person’s response to being offered an Oldie of the Year Award. There have always been those to whom the word ‘oldie’ is in… Read more


You realise how little you know of anybody when they die

31 January 2015

Whether or not you believe in the afterlife, death remains an impenetrable mystery. One moment a person is making jokes and comments and observations about life; the next he is… Read more


The quiet pleasure of washing up (and why I'm still buying a new dishwasher)

24 January 2015

I have been having trouble with my dishwasher. It’s seven and a half years old, and it’s manufactured by a German company called Miele. Several important people told me at… Read more


Do your patriotic duty and shoot wild boar

17 January 2015

It’s 15 years since I first wrote an article about the threat to the nation of the wild boar; but only now, following the death of a driver in a… Read more


Kindness, wit and Parkinson's: remembering my brother

10 January 2015

For the past two and a half years my brother John has been living next door to me in the Northamptonshire countryside. We have both been most of the time… Read more


I think I’ve found a miracle cure for a bad back

3 January 2015

I’ve had various ailments during my first 74 years — the worst being those induced by smoking, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis — but never before have I suffered… Read more

Volunteer Santas Meeting In Berlin

Without Jesus and with less Santa, what does Christmas mostly consist of?

13 December 2014

More than ever this year I find friends planning to go abroad for Christmas, some to countries such as India where the sun shines and Christmas is barely celebrated at… Read more

Former Conservative minister David Mellor Photo: Getty

Will anyone admit to being in the establishment? (No, not you, David Mellor)

6 December 2014

This is a tremendous time for ‘ordinary’ people. The elitists, the members of the ‘establishment’, are all on the run. Except, of course, that everybody is ordinary now. Or at… Read more

westminster abbey

The British establishment (minus current Tory bigwigs) was in full throat at Westminster Abbey to remember Churchill’s last child

29 November 2014

The Times has given way to the Daily Telegraph as the bastion of the established order, for— with the one exception of the Prince of Wales and his wife —… Read more


Lottery winners are strikingly unimaginative about spending money

22 November 2014

I thought that this week I might write about memory loss, but couldn’t remember if I’d written about it last week. Then I remembered that I had written about it,… Read more

A trip to Berlin with John Smith before the wall came down

15 November 2014

Last Sunday night 8,000 illuminated balloons, tethered along eight miles of Berlin’s former inner-city border between East and West Germany, were released into the sky to commemorate the dismantling of… Read more

Ben Bradlee Photo: Getty

Two ways to disgrace a president

8 November 2014

On 21 October Ben Bradlee, the famous ex-editor of the Washington Post, died, aged 93. The day before that, on 20 October, Monica Lewinsky, 41, the even more famous ex-girlfriend… Read more


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

1 November 2014

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


If you don't like this stupid survey, there'll be a contradictory one along in a minute

25 October 2014

Perhaps it is because newspapers are going through such hard times that they fill their pages with items that cost them almost nothing to report: in particular, they show ever… Read more


Here’s how to remain cheerful in the face of such a multitude of scares

18 October 2014

I don’t think I can remember a time when there have been so many scares about. They come at us from every direction, and even sometimes from out of the… Read more


Cooking I find easy and satisfying. Preparing microwave dinners, on the other hand...

11 October 2014

When some years ago I stopped having to go to an office, mainly because nobody wanted me to go to one, I started to do quite a lot of cooking.… Read more

The Bottom Line

Evan Davies is SO not Jeremy Paxman (thank God)

4 October 2014

It’s unusual for somebody promoting his own television programme to tell you not to watch it, but that’s what Evan Davis has been doing. At least, he has asked us… Read more

A couple share a bottle of champagne at Glyndebourne. Can Christopher Gilmour's Winslow Hall become the fourth ‘G’ of England's country-house opera scene? Photo: Getty

Winslow Hall shows you don’t need fancy sets to make opera enjoyable

27 September 2014

Winslow Hall is a large and handsome country house in Buckinghamshire, built in 1700 by Sir Christopher Wren, which Tony Blair nearly bought in 2007 when he was looking for… Read more