One week to save Britain

13 September 2014

Next week, the most important vote in recent British history will be held. Indeed, it may well turn out to be one of the last ballots in British history. Seven… Read more

13 September 2014


Home England suddenly began to take the prospect of Scottish independence seriously after a poll of 1,084 people by YouGov put support for it at 51 per cent and opposition… Read more

Tom Holland

13 September 2014
Yes And No Campaigns Take To The Streets Of Edinburgh And Glasgow

I feel a bit about the Scottish referendum as I did about the 2005 Ashes series. In both cases, those of us in the know were gripped with a nervous tension… Read more

13 September 2014

Birth of a nation A reminder of how England and Scotland came to be one country: — Proposals had been made throughout the 17th century, with English Whigs generally in… Read more

The Boris Island of ancient Athens

13 September 2014

During his lecture on Athens at the Legatum Institute (see p. 22), Boris Johnson placed great emphasis on Athens’ development of Piraeus harbour in the 5th century BC. Did he… Read more

13 September 2014

The other Tory split Sir: With regard to the article by James Forsyth (‘The great Tory split’, 6 September), there is another dimension to the future of the Conservative party of… Read more

From the archives

13 September 2014

‘An apology’, from The Spectator, 12 September 1914: We are informed that a story told in a letter from a correspondent signing herself ‘A Country District Visitor’, and published on August… Read more

'There's no one left to tell the truth': how Scottish unionism lost the plot

13 September 2014
John Prescott and Alistair Darling Join The Scottish Labour Battle Bus

This is really happening. The Scots could vote to end the greatest, most successful union in human history next week. Westminster has, at last, woken up to this threat and… Read more

Russell Brand is duller than even the grimmest political interview

13 September 2014

I have just spent a few moments in bed with the popular comedian Russell Brand and I have to say that I enjoyed it hugely. We did not have full… Read more

My amazing dad has found the secret of a happy life

13 September 2014

This week I wanted to tell you about my amazing dad. He hasn’t died or anything. I just thought I’d get in there with my panegyric quick while he’s still… Read more

BP's been punished enough – but not because Americans hate the Brits

13 September 2014
Closed beaches due to the   Deepwater Horizon disaster off the Gulf Coast, 2011

I should declare two connections before I start offering opinions about the latest US judgment against BP relating to the ‘Macondo’ disaster — the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig… Read more

Britain’s demographic timebomb (and how to profit from it)

13 September 2014

Demography is destiny, they say, and if that’s the case then Britain’s future looks wrinkled and grey. Today, one in six Brits is over 65. By 2050, on current trends,… Read more

'Please, stay with us': the best of Spectator readers' letters to Scottish voters

13 September 2014

At 9.30 p.m. last Saturday news broke that Scotland’s ‘yes’ campaign had established its first opinion poll lead. Since then, the country has been confronting the possibility of its impending… Read more

Sometimes it’s Better to Give than to Receive

13 September 2014

I can see your teeth clench with rage at the gift I have pressed on you, which manoeuvres you into the role of grateful recipient of my unctuously offered, expensively… Read more

Countries shape character (so get ready to like Scots less)

13 September 2014

As I write this, I am sitting outside a weinhaus in Kaub, a half-timbered town on the wooded slopes of the middle Rhine. If you don’t know the place, I… Read more

So, Ken Livingstone, do you like Boris personally? 'No'

13 September 2014

I am standing outside Ken Livingstone’s family home in a pleasant row of terraces in the multi-ethnic, north-west London suburb of Willesden Green (commemorated in the novel White Teeth by… Read more

The secrets of London's Athenian golden age

13 September 2014

I had a misspent youth. During the period when most normal adolescents were playing Grand Theft Auto or discovering ten interesting facts about Pamela Anderson, I am afraid that I… Read more

A Theatre Supper

13 September 2014

I don’t know why it’s become important to me: the idea of a theatre supper at home? Maybe it’s a methodology for life that after decades of practice we can… Read more

From a field of bones to a field of dreams: Brian Lara on how cricket is bringing hope to Rwanda

13 September 2014

Twenty years ago, in 1994, I had a golden summer. I scored 375 against England in Antigua, a Test record that stood for nine years, and two months later I… Read more

A summer's social whirl, from Bette Midler to Satan

13 September 2014

This summer brought highs and lows, sadness and laughter, some irritating, some exhilarating. I was fortunate to be uplifted by an encounter with Leslie Bonham Carter, a remarkable woman who… Read more

How to Ed-proof your portfolio

13 September 2014

It was 2 May 1997. Not only was most of the country celebrating the election of a bright young Kennedy-esque Prime Minister called Tony Blair, so too, perhaps more surprisingly,… Read more

What it means for your savings if Scotland votes yes

13 September 2014
Scotland Prepares For Independence Vote

I bet that until a few days ago you thought the referendum in Scotland was a mildly amusing sideshow. Perhaps you still do. Perhaps you are convinced that the ‘silent… Read more

The perfectionist builder I always wanted

13 September 2014
A perfectionist at work, 1937

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

Corrie and ready-salted crisps: the years when modern Britain began

13 September 2014
Tenements in the Gorbals area of Glasgow — considered some of the worst slums in Britain — are replaced by high-rise flats, c. 1960
A Shake of the Dice: Modernity Britain 1959—62 David Kynaston

Bloomsbury, pp.459, £25, ISBN: 978408844397

In Burberry’s on Regent Street on a dank December day in 1959, David Kynaston records, ‘a young Canadian writer, Leonard Cohen [...] bought a not-yet-famous blue raincoat’. For those joining… Read more

A Troubles novel with plenty of violence and, thank heaven, some sex too

13 September 2014
River Kenmare
Ashes in the Wind Christopher Bland

Head of Zeus, pp.402, £14.99, ISBN: 9781781859346

‘The Anglo-Irish, their tribe, are dying. . . . They will go without a struggle, unlamented,’ Christopher Bland, 76, declares at the outset of his exciting, poignant and ultimately consoling… Read more