John Laughland rss


Confusion, snobbery and Pegida – a letter from Dresden

31 January 2015

Sachsenschweine — Saxon pigs — said the graffiti as my train moved out of Berlin on its way to Dresden. Germany is not as monolithic as it can seem: not… Read more


Paris: Parc life

16 November 2013

Autumn in Paris has been immortalised in one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s most poignant poems. Having left his wife in Berlin, Rilke moved to Paris in 1902 where he wrote… Read more


Why France's gay marriage debate has started to look like a revolution

27 April 2013

Paris: Revolutions are often sparked by an unexpected shock to an already weakened regime. As commentators in France remark not only on the crisis engulfing François Hollande’s government but also on… Read more

Portrait of Tsar Alexander I, by Baron François Pascal Simon

A master of tactical retreat

29 December 2012
Alexander I Marie-Pierre Rey, translated by Susan Emanuel

Northern Illinois University Press, pp.431, £26, ISBN: 9780875804668

A fanciful and doubtless risky parallel between Charles de Gaulle and the Russian emperor Alexander I suggested itself while I read Marie-Pierre Rey’s superb new biography of the latter. Both… Read more


Travel: Shop like a Roman

27 October 2012

When I am in Rome, I do as the Romans — I engage in rampant materialism. The eternal city may be — via the Church which has its headquarters there… Read more


Travel: The charms of le barroux 

28 January 2012

If you are looking for an undiscovered part of Provence, then you can forget about Le Barroux. Apart from the fact that both Petrarch and Pope Clement V spent their… Read more

Deeply perplexing

8 October 2011
A Train in Winter: A Story of Resistance, Friendship and Survival Caroline Moorehead

Chatto & Windus, pp.374, 20

This book is about the fate of 230 French women sent to the German concentration camps in January 1943. Arrested as members of the Resistance, they first went to Auschwitz… Read more

Vive les vacances!

30 July 2011

‘Vous partez?’ ‘Vous partez un petit peu?’ ‘Quand est-ce que vous partez?’ Since early June, Parisians have been asking and answering these questions remorselessly, their minds fixed on holidays and… Read more


Liberty, equality, fecundity

25 June 2011

At a wedding in the Loire last weekend, in the grounds of the groom’s parents’ small château, an acquaintance from work unexpectedly materialised out of the crowd. In his early… Read more

A right mess

16 April 2011

Observing French politics in the run-up to next spring’s presidential elections is like watching one of those slow-motion films of controlled car crashes in which a dummy and its vehicle… Read more


Revenge tragedy

9 October 2010

As a hardened opponent of military interventionism and international war crimes tribunals, I find I am often floored when Rwanda is invoked. ‘How can you possibly advocate standing idly by… Read more


The end of the rainbow: a guide to the colour revolutions

10 February 2010

In contrast to the storming of the Bastille, the spate of revolutions which have flickered across our television screens in the last two decades have tended to adopt brand images… Read more

Meet Italy’s answer to Boris

23 July 2008

Gianni Alemanno, Rome’s new right-wing mayor, tells John Laughland that it’s time for the Eternal City to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach There are few people, I imagine, who could… Read more

Fish fries in Half Moon Fort

18 January 2007

When you think of Barbados, you think of celebrities. Tony Blair’s annual holidays in Sir Cliff Richard’s villa; high-profile Hello! weddings on the beach or the golf course, like that… Read more

There’s no place like home

19 October 2006

When we said we were thinking of moving to Urbino, our friends ooh-ed and aah-ed with envy. Urbino is a perfectly preserved mediaeval and Renaissance fortified town which sits on… Read more

Public places and private faces

28 September 2006
The Sun King’s Garden Ian Thompson

Bloomsbury, pp.370, 30

Love and Louis XIV Antonia Fraser

Weidenfeld, pp.388, 25

‘Kings, who are the sovereign arbiters of the fortune and the conduct of men, are always themselves the most severely judged and the most curiously observed.’ Louis XIV complained in… Read more

Giants in petty strife

22 May 2006
Rousseau’s Dog David Edmonds and John Eidinow

Faber, pp.405, 15.99

Listing page content here ‘In London, if a man have the misfortune to attach himself to letters, I know not with whom he is to live, nor how he is… Read more

A chat with Milosevic

18 March 2006

John Laughland on a memorable encounter with the butcher of the Balkans at the UN detention centre in The Hague — and his claims of innocence to the last I… Read more

Full Marx for George Bush

5 November 2005

Ever since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there has been a seemingly endless flow of self-congratulatory comment in the West about how former communist countries — and even some… Read more

The devils’ advocate

19 March 2005

For most people, to defend a blood-stained tyrant is perverse and shocking; to defend two seems like recklessness. Yet the causes of both Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic are what… Read more

John Laughland

4 December 2004

A charming retired lady doctor of my acquaintance buttonholes me whenever I run into her in London. She knows I write for The Spectator and she is convinced that this… Read more

The faulty French connection

27 November 2004
Friend or Foe: An Anglo-Saxon History of France Alistair Horne

Weidenfeld, pp.428, 25

The White Cities: Reports from France, 1925-1939 Joseph Roth

Granta, pp.30, 14.99

In his magnificent funeral oration for Charles I’s queen, Henriette-Marie of France, the 17th-century French cleric Bossuet contrasted the stately continuity of French history with the turbulence and violence of… Read more

Western aggression

6 November 2004

John Laughland on how the US and Britain are intervening in Ukraine’s elections A few years ago, a friend of mine was sent to Kiev by the British government to… Read more

Putin the poodle

9 October 2004

Under communism, the ‘open letter’ was a device by which political hacks publicly advocated certain policies. The party hierarchy was then usually only too happy to comply, as happened when… Read more

Bloody hypocrisy

1 October 2004

A brutal-looking 17-year-old girl takes a long swig from a bottle of sake and thumps it down on the bar, as an ugly- looking man next to her asks her… Read more