Mary Wakefield rssMry_Wakefield

Mary Wakefield is commissioning editor of The Spectator.


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

28 February 2015

How could they? How could girls brought up in the wealthy West abandon their families and their own bright futures to join Isis, a gang of vicious thugs? It’s not… Read more

Liberia turns towards normalcy as fight continues to eradicate Ebola Photo: Getty

Do I really care about Ebola? Do you? Does Oxfam?

31 January 2015

It’s strange how quickly we all forgot about Ebola. Speak for yourself, you might say — and I will. Until a friend sent me a report this week on the… Read more


The real reason GPs are grumpy: the robots are coming for them

17 January 2015

There’s something wrong with the relationship between patients and their GPs. I’ve spent much of this winter in my local surgery, what with one thing and another, sitting among the… Read more

Bluebeard giving keys to his wife, engraving by Gustave Dore, 1862 Photo: Getty

Are old fairy stories too scary for kids?

13 December 2014

Moving house, stacking books in boxes, I came across a clutch of fairy books, Andrew Lang’s folk tales from around the world in their coloured cloth covers: yellow, brown, red,… Read more

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Unveils Company's New Manned Spacecraft, The Dragon V2

Do you want to go to Mars with Elon Musk?

29 November 2014

One cloudless night perhaps ten years from now, you might look up into the dark and see a planet glowing a bright, unusual orange. If Google Glass is all the rage,… Read more

When Islington MP Emily Thornberry passed this house when campaigning in Rochester, was she right to think it so remarkable as to tweet a picture of it as if in shock? 

Why it's uncivilised to sneer at patriotism

22 November 2014

Is it racist to be patriotic? Is patriotism, by definition, small-minded and exclusive? When you strip away the onion layers of sentiment about history and hymns, Shakespeare and lawn clippings,… Read more


What are 16-year-olds supposed to learn by making posters?

25 October 2014

My niece, Lara, 15, has a mind like a surgical blade. On any subject, from calculus to The X Factor, she finds the heart of the issue and dissects it… Read more


Why there’s no such thing as an Etonian

11 October 2014

Finally, just in the last few years I’d say, we’ve all begun to accept the role of nature in the great nature/nurture debate. Though we’ve squirmed and baulked, we mostly… Read more

Joshua Milton Blahyi in 1996

Can brutalised jihadis be saved by forgiveness?

27 September 2014

Could you ever torture someone? Could you, under different circumstances, in a different world (I hope) than the one which led you to this Spectator, be as brutal as the… Read more

A perfectionist at work, 1937

The perfectionist builder I always wanted

13 September 2014

I have a friend who is perhaps best described by that old-fashioned phrase ‘ladies’ man’. He’s not a cad or a bounder — quite the opposite, in fact. He’d never… Read more


Revealed: The hidden crisis in Britain's ambulance services

30 August 2014

Last month I wrote about the weird exodus of paramedics from London’s ambulance service. Flies would blanch at the rate they’re dropping, and so I was curious — and also… Read more


The ambulance service is in a state of emergency

19 July 2014

Tom leant back against the bathroom wall, his face streaked with blood from the nosebleed, eyes half shut like an owl. ‘I’m passing out,’ he said. Then his legs gave… Read more

Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the voice of his computer in 'Her' Photo: Annapurna Pictures / The Kobal Collection

The voice of Big Mother does more for women than any Twitter feminist

5 July 2014

Feminism in modern Britain is not for the faint-hearted. Only the smartest, mouthiest girls on the social media scene dare join the fray — in print, in blogs, on Twitter… Read more


Iraq now has a crisis that even our Prime Minister can't moralise about

21 June 2014

If there’s a bright spot in the murky mess of Iraq, it’s that finally we have a war that it is impossible to paint in simple terms, as a battle… Read more


Save me from an Islington building nightmare

21 June 2014

On the first-floor landing of my new house stood Martin the structural engineer, giving an inch-wide crack the sort of look one adult gives another’s wayward child. His eye ran… Read more


I'm a middle-class thirtysomething and I think Britain should be great again. Why is that weird?

7 June 2014

In my late thirties, I have become patriotic. It’s one of those things that’s happened with age, like cooking to freeze, plumping cushions and thinking policemen look too young. My… Read more

Shinichi Suzuki with young violinists, Wembley 1980 Photo: Getty

The Suzuki method didn’t make me a great violinist. But it did change my life

24 May 2014

Do you ever wonder, as your little darling balks at doing her violin or piano practice again, what all the pain is for? All those battles, and then when she… Read more

Wolf Of Wall Street, The

Being rich makes you mean: here's proof

10 May 2014

It’s all the rage these days to worry about the growing gap between rich and poor. Our fretting was fuelled by Capital in the 21st Century, by the French economist… Read more


Is there any part of human life that hasn't been turned into a medical condition?

26 April 2014

When Greg, my old uni pal, came to stay from NYC he brought with him an extra bag for his pills: vitamins A, B, C, D, zinc, magnesium, selenium, ginseng.… Read more


Theresa May's right: the police need radical reform. Here's why

12 April 2014

One fine morning early this year I had tea with Stephen Greenhalgh, Boris’s pleasant if perspiring deputy mayor for policing, and discussed the two great crime mysteries of the 21st… Read more

Hugh Grant: the master of bogus self deprecation  Photo: Getty Images.

In defence of self-deprecation

29 March 2014

I think the ancient English art of self–deprecation may be dying. I don’t mean self-deprecation in its distorted and most exported form: pug-eyed rogues like Hugh Grant getting away with… Read more

Marte Armitage's ‘Cobweb’ in turquoise and taupe, available at Hamilton Weston

I never thought I'd write about wallpaper. But I'd never seen wallpaper like Marthe Armitage's

22 March 2014

Every night, while my husband reads by screen-light, my mind runs like an invisible rat two miles north to the house we’re rebuilding in Islington. And there it scurries from… Read more

David Cameron addresses the crowds in Benghazi Photo: Getty

Libya is imploding. Why doesn't David Cameron care?

15 March 2014

A few days ago I went to a talk about Syria; one of those events for the concerned layman, in which a panel of experts give a briefing. Everything sounded… Read more


Would you let parents destroy ‘gay’ embryos?

1 March 2014

Because I’d like to have a child, and I’m getting on a bit, my husband and I have spent time recently with consultants. They’re an odd breed with distinct and… Read more


Why did Theresa May deport my homeless friend?

15 February 2014

I’ve heard some excellent things about our Home Secretary, Theresa May. People who work in her department say she’s bright and hard-working, and that she runs around on her hamster… Read more