Sebastian Payne rssSebastian_Payne-72x98

Sebastian Payne is deputy editor of the Coffee House blog.

Jim Messina (Photo: Getty)

How did the polls get it so wrong? Jim Messina knows

16 May 2015

Not all the pollsters got it wrong. On the morning of the election, a set of strikingly accurate predictions was slapped on David Cameron’s desk. They had been compiled by… Read more

Ruth Davidson Meets Voters And Activists At A Street Stall

Ruth Davidson: on the campaign trail with Scotland’s top Tory

9 May 2015

Unusually for a modern Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson seems to enjoy meeting voters. When I joined her on the campaign trail, she had been posing with a giant eagle in… Read more

Stairway to heaven

Seb Payne’s schooldays

14 March 2015

The 17th of December 1999, nothing more than an ordinary school day close to the Christmas break. But to my family, it was a devastating moment. That morning a letter… Read more

Illustration by Carla Millar, after Banksy

What Ukip wants: get Farage elected, then prepare for a Labour collapse in the north

7 March 2015

In Ukip’s Mayfair headquarters there is a copy of Banksy’s monkey with the sign around its neck: ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. It seems appropriate. For… Read more


A love affair with Leica

20 September 2014

Just off Oxford Street, there is a dusty little camera shop. At first glance, you would think it had been there for 100 years. But when I walked through the… Read more

Michael Heaver and Jack Duffin at Ukip HQ. Photo: Sebastian Payne for The Spectator.

The most shocking thing about young Ukip supporters: they’re normal

24 May 2014

Close your eyes and imagine a young Ukip voter. Let me guess: mustard trousers, swivel eyes and foaming mouth, ranting furiously about the European Union, socialism, ‘lib-tards’ and so on.… Read more

(Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Getty)

Governments have failed — mayors are the future

12 April 2014

As Michael Bloomberg approached the end of his time as Mayor of New York, Americans expected him to run for the White House. He had the money, the profile and… Read more

Peter Brookes depicts the two Eds

Hugo Rifkind's My Week reminds me why it's worth getting up on Saturdays

7 December 2013
My Week Hugo Rifkind

Robson Press, pp.368, £14.99, ISBN: 9781849545518

‘Nothing’s funny any more’ has become the daily mantra of this magazine’s cartoon editor, Michael Heath. Thanks to Leveson, political correctness, taste and common decency, lampooning public figures in particular… Read more


Dream machine: test-driving the Aston Martin Rapide S

30 November 2013

The fear began as soon as my bum settled into the leather seat. It rose from my foot to my right hand, which was poised above the start button. This… Read more


The role of technology is changing in classrooms - and independent schools are leading the way

7 September 2013

Ah, happy memories of the 1990s classroom. The flicker of the CRT screen; the interactive whiteboard; the screeching from the dial-up internet modem; the frantic searching for the Encyclopedia Britannica… Read more

The King's School, Tynemouth - soon to become Kings Priory Academy. Photo: Sebastian Payne for The Spectator

Another good private school wants to join the state system. Why is Labour trying to stop it?

13 July 2013

When my parents came to choose a secondary school, they were naturally keen to send little Sebastian to the best possible place — regardless of whether it was state or… Read more

David Cameron or his party - which are the real the loons? Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Hunting the home counties for Conservatives’ ‘swivel-eyed loons'

25 May 2013

Oxfordshire The Westminster pundits have all been obsessing over Andrew Feldman’s alleged ‘swivel-eyed loons’ comment about the Tory party’s grass roots. But what about the ‘loons’ themselves? Few in SW1… Read more

Technology has entered every corner of our lives, but is it fundamentally changing human nature? Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

To Save Everything, Click Here, by Evgeny Morozov — review

30 March 2013
To Save Everything, Click Here Evgeny Morozov

Allen Lane, pp.432, £18, ISBN: 9781610391382

Technology may not have taken over the world, but it is making quite good progress in taking over our lives. Thirty years ago, receiving a phone call was the height… Read more


Geek Gods

30 March 2013

Most children grow up worshipping footballers or pop stars. My idol was Robert X. Cringley — a four-eyed alpha nerd, driving a red 1950s Ford T-Bird with a Macintosh computer… Read more


The cult horror of The Room

23 February 2013

The Room is an awful film. Plot lines are picked up and forgotten in seconds, stock footage is repeated continuously, actors and names change without explanation, doors are never closed… Read more


Review: The Rolling Stones at the O2 Arena

1 December 2012

‘How’re you doing in the cheap seats? They’re not that cheap, though, that’s the problem,’ said Mick Jagger as he launched into the first of the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary… Read more

General Election - Climate Change

The great British wind scam

24 November 2012

Almost everybody agrees that wind turbines are ugly and inefficient. But you’d think that the government, if it must persist in subsidising renewable energy, would do everything it could to… Read more