Simon Heffer rss

(Photo: Getty)

The ‘art’ of stealing presented as English heritage

13 June 2015
The Last English Poachers Bob and Brian Tovey, with John F. McDonald

Simon & Schuster, pp.288, £16.99, ISBN: 9781471135675

The publicity blurb about the two unpleasant criminals whom this dismal book romanticises says that they are ‘continuing their ancestors’ traditions, reluctant to surrender the old ways of sourcing food… Read more

Sir Winston Churchill and Earl Clement Attlee Photo: Getty

Most of Giles Radice’s Odd Couples can’t stand the sight of each other, but muck in together to reach the finishing line

21 March 2015
Odd Couples: The Great Political Pairings of Modern Britain Giles Radice

I.B. Tauris, pp.304, £25, ISBN: 9781780762807

With the odd exception — I think principally of Charles Moore’s life of Margaret Thatcher — the genre of political biography has known hard times lately. There are few faster… Read more

From ‘The Temptation of Eve’: detail of glass from Ely Cathedral designed by Pugin, 1858

Cambridge, showcase for modernism (and how costly it is to fix)

13 December 2014
The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire Simon Bradley and Nikolaus Pevsner

Yale, pp.560, £35, ISBN: 9780300205961

The Pevsner architectural guides are around halfway through their revisions — though it is like the Forth Bridge, and soon it will be time for the revisions to be revised:… Read more


What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

4 October 2014

On 17 June, a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society, held in the House of Commons, discussed (according to the minutes published on the society’s website) how a tribal elder… Read more

Who’s afraid of Vladimir Putin?

Stand up to a bully

26 July 2014

Tony Abbott’s clarion call for action against Russia after the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine was, to many in Europe, almost a throwback to a… Read more

Rolf Harris CBE, child abuser

Be grateful this criminal left your lucky country

5 July 2014

It is not the least tragic aspect of the case of Rolf Harris that when Reader’s Digest Australia compiled a list of the country’s 100 most trusted people, the man… Read more

The Annual Cowal Highland Games

Vote yes, Scots – and set the English free

5 July 2014

It is a sign of how no one expects Scotland to vote yes in September that no serious planning has been done about the consequences. By contrast, Gladstone shut himself… Read more


Little Scotlanders

7 June 2014

 London. Australians are well known as admirers of the Ealing comedy, and no art form has ever been invented that would do more justice to the current debate about whether… Read more

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 14

Why we love the Cambridges

26 April 2014

 London Here in Britain we have rather marvelled at the welcome our Australasian cousins have given the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their infant son. Occasionally, since the monarchy… Read more


More British than Britain

8 March 2014

I went to the Falkland Islands last month. The territory is at something of a turning-point in its history. There are reserves of oil in its waters, and both British… Read more

Alice Springs - Australia

Tony is soft on crime

18 January 2014

  London. One of the many reasons why I, and countless other tourists, love visiting Australia is that I can take my wife out to a restaurant or a film… Read more

Psychological victory: Mitchell Johnson and team-mates

Hubris and humiliation

11 January 2014

It is a challenge to write about England’s preposterously dismal performance in the Test series without dealing more in the vocabulary of psychiatry than in that of cricket. Trying to… Read more

Manmohan Singh (Photo: Getty)

Grand delusions?

16 November 2013

This week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting has provoked dissent unusual, these days, within this rather anodyne, harmless and ineffectual body. Not since Margaret Thatcher used to turn up at… Read more

How we have covered the Prince

In praise of our future King

9 November 2013

On 14 November the Prince of Wales reaches his 65th birthday, the age when, in Britain, he would in almost any other walk of life be pensioned off. However the… Read more


Pass the torch

5 October 2013

  London.   Australia’s Liberal party has perhaps more good fortune than it realises. Its present leader and Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, enjoys harmonious relations with the man this magazine… Read more

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia

If only Tories had a Tony

14 September 2013

We woke up in England last Sunday morning to hear the good news from Down Under, pleased for our Australian kinsmen but despairing that we would never, it seemed, have… Read more

Tom Watson resigns shadow cabinet role

Don’t listen to this foreigner

31 August 2013

 London There is a long and distinguished history of people — usually journalists — observing and commenting upon the politics of other nations. It is what I am doing right… Read more


Kevin Rudd is just like Tony Blair

17 August 2013

  London There is something alarming, and distressing, for any sensitive Pom watching from afar your general election campaign. It is the similarity between Kevin Rudd and our own former… Read more


Falling wickets

27 July 2013

  London There is a risk inherent in trying to identify differences in the sporting cultures of two such apparently similar countries as England and Australia, but let us try… Read more

England from above

6 August 2011
Visions of England Roy Strong

Bodley Head, pp.240, 17.99

It is a shame that Sir Roy Strong is subjected to the now-obligatory drivel about his being a ‘national treasure’, because this unthinking cliché diminishes his contribution, over more than… Read more

Failing the Test

16 July 2011

County cricket ought to be important because it provides the players for Test cricket. You won’t find your budding Strausses, Cooks and Swanns playing on village greens or even in… Read more

The biography of a nobody

2 July 2011
Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre

Biteback, pp.336, 17.99

A biography of Ed Miliband has to try hard not to be the sort of thing one buys as a present for someone one avidly dislikes. This effort, the first… Read more

Fair is foul

16 October 2010
Them and Us: Politics, Greed ad Inequality Will Hutton

Little Brown, pp.448, 20

By the time one has waded to page 22 of Them and Us, through what may most politely be described as a stream of consciousness, assailed by random thoughts and… Read more


Capturing the last of England

25 September 2010
Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper Alexandra Harris

Thames & Hudson, pp.320, 19.95

The book is interesting because it has insights and novelty, not least in taking a period and a culture regarded by many as second best compared with what was happening… Read more


14 April 2010

Mr Simon Wolfson, a shopkeeper, defended Dave Cameron in the Spectator debate last week, in which I had the honour to participate. A favourite tactic of Dave’s apologists is to… Read more