Vladimir Putin knows what he stands for. Do we?

19 April 2014
Vladimir Putin and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Getty Images.

Possibly because his oratory is no match for his much-displayed pectoral muscles, the speeches of Vladimir Putin are seldom reported at length in the West. But as a means of… Read more

19 April 2014


Home Nigel Evans, who had resigned as deputy speaker before being cleared of a bundle of rape and sexual assault charges against men, questioned the right of the Crown Prosecution… Read more

Andrew Marr

19 April 2014
Crete appears to be a matriarchy

A week away in Crete: I’ve come for the archaeology and culture — little patches of Minos, ancient Greece, Byzantium and the Venetian Republic are scattered around this most southern sentinel… Read more

MPs should be grateful not to be in ancient Athens

19 April 2014

If the continuing rows over the expenses and lifestyles of certain MPs cast all of them in a bad light, it is a mystery why decent members do not take… Read more

19 April 2014

When the wind blows Sir: Clare Oxford’s piece (‘Gone with the wind turbines’, 12 April) is both timely and sad. Those who applaud the use of these infernal machines are… Read more

19 April 2014

Done a runner Mami Konneh Lahun, a 24-year-old athlete from Sierra Leone, went missing after finishing as the 20th-placed woman in the London Marathon. She is not the first athlete… Read more

How David Cameron does God (even when his Chancellor wishes he wouldn't)

19 April 2014
(Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty)

If Ed Miliband wins the next election, he’ll be Britain’s first atheist Prime Minister. It is a sign of how social attitudes have changed that Miliband feels comfortable wearing his… Read more

The Pope's brilliant PR

19 April 2014
(Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty)

‘Show, don’t tell’ is the mantra of PR advisers when telling public figures how to communicate. Pope Francis’s technique does both at once. By confessing his sins to what the… Read more

The Nigel Evans case proves that juries are smarter than our liberal elite

19 April 2014
Nigel Evans (Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty)

You may remember this little gem of a story from a month or so back. Justifiably worried at the ramping up of rhetoric by western politicians over the crisis in… Read more

I’m fascinated by our censorious fascination with other people’s sex lives. And I sense something shifting

19 April 2014
(Photo: Getty)

I liked the generic title ‘Another Voice’ that The Spectator used to give this column, because it seemed to loosen the shackles imposed by more rigorous classification. The sort of… Read more

If Ed Miliband can’t be our first Jewish prime minister, he can still be our first atheist Jewish prime minister from Primrose Hill

19 April 2014
(Photo: Getty)

Last weekend, in a small New Jersey suburb, I found myself in a liquor store. Never been anywhere like it. The walls were lined with single malts of rare and… Read more

Should the Co-op be preparing for its own funeral?

19 April 2014

‘Care, respect, clarity and reassurance’ are what the Co-operative funeral service says it offers the bereaved, and the parent Co-op Group may soon find itself in need of just such… Read more

The return of God: atheism's crisis of faith

19 April 2014

Like any movement or religion, atheism has ambitions. Over the years it has grown and developed until it has become about far more than just not believing in God: today… Read more

Would human life be sacred in an atheist world?

19 April 2014

What was your reaction recently when it emerged that thousands of unborn foetuses had been burnt by NHS trusts? And that some had been put into ‘waste-to-energy’ incinerators and so… Read more

Don't call him an oligarch - meeting Dmitry Firtash

19 April 2014

Who is Dmitry Firtash? Can he solve Ukraine’s troubles? And why is he currently under effective house arrest in Vienna, awaiting extradition on corruption charges to the US, with his… Read more

As a doctor, I’d rather have HIV than diabetes

19 April 2014
(Photo: Alexa Stankovic/AFP/Getty)

‘There is now a deadly virus, which anyone can catch from sex with an infected person. If we’re not careful, the people who’ve died so far, will be just the… Read more

Preset Image Valentine

19 April 2014

Intimacy these days discomforts. More our style is the park or the pub, or three-minded chess with young Kasparov. A bracket-dash-colon smile implies we have no longings to confess. Always,… Read more

The mathematical revolution behind ‘the greatest picture in the world’

19 April 2014
Della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’

It seems odd to enter a room dominated by what Aldous Huxley famously called ‘the greatest picture in the world’ to find not another soul there. Looking down from an… Read more

Where it's all kicking off in Athens nightlife

View to the Acropolis

Where in the developed world can you ride a moped, minus helmet, at 2 a.m. under the noses of weary riot cops, when your night out has only just begun?… Read more

Churchill was as mad as a badger. We should all be thankful

19 April 2014
Churchill reading in his library at Chartwell
The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor Jonathan Rose

Yale, pp.516, £25, ISBN: 9780300204070

Land sakes! Another book about Winston Churchill? Really? Give us a break, the average reader may think. Actually though, as title and subtitle suggest, this isn’t just another biographical study.… Read more

Ladies' hats were his waterlillies - the obsessive brilliance of Edgar Degas

19 April 2014
Edgar Degas - Dancer slipping on her shoe (1874)
Edgar Degas: Drawings and Pastels Christopher Lloyd

Thames and Hudson, pp.320, £24.95, ISBN: 9780500093818

Lucian Freud once said that ‘being able to draw well is the hardest thing — far harder than painting, as one can easily see from the fact that there are… Read more

A Mughal Disneyland and a ripping yarn

19 April 2014
(Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty)
The Smoke is Rising Mahesh Rao

Daunt Books, pp.299, £14.99, ISBN: 9781444777604

The Strangler Vine M.J. Carter

Fig Tree, pp.311, £12.99, ISBN: 9780241146231

Mysore, once the capital of a princely kingdom in South India, has lost its lustre. In Mahesh Rao’s darkly comic novel, grandiose futuristic visions are being floated: in a city… Read more

From Göring to Hemingway, via Coco Chanel – the dark glamour of the Paris Ritz at war

19 April 2014
Coco Chanel (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty)
The Hotel on Place Vendôme Tilar J. Mazzeo

Harper, pp.320, £20, ISBN: 9780061791086

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen did a good job of showing how foolish it is to be obsessed by previous generations who’ve passed through Paris. Going back through the… Read more

Sudan was always an invented country. Maybe we should invent it again

19 April 2014
English explorers on expedition in the Sudan, 1860-63
A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts James Copnall

Hurst and Co, pp.315, £19.99, ISBN: 9781849043304

Sudan — a country that ceased to exist in 2011 — is or was one of the last untouristed wildernesses on earth. And for good reason: while it still existed… Read more

Roger Mortimer writes again

19 April 2014
Marcus Berkmann
Dearest Jane... Jane Torday and Roger Mortimer

Constable, pp.417, £14.99, ISBN: 9781472105912

After Dear Lupin and Dear Lumpy, here’s a slightly more prosaically titled collection of letters from Roger Mortimer, longtime racing correspondent of the Sunday Times and frequent purchaser of stamps.… Read more