Meet the bloated, useless General Medical Council

18 October 2014
Little Ladyship

There was a time, not long ago, when British GPs provided the best home doctor service in the world. Patients could telephone their doctor 24 hours a day, seven days… Read more

If Turkey turns on the West, what hope is there for Syria and Iraq?

18 October 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  and First Lady Emine Erdogan visit the Obama's last month

Turkey has long been a bridge between the West and the Middle East. Its record on free speech may be lamentable and it treats its Kurdish minority shoddily, but against… Read more

18 October 2014


Home Checks began at British airports for passengers who might have come from west Africa with Ebola fever (even though there are no direct flights from the countries most affected).… Read more

Prue Leith

18 October 2014

‘Please God, make me good, but not yet.’ I know the feeling. As I get older and more deeply retired, I globe-trot more and my carbon footprint is horrendous. And… Read more

18 October 2014

Dirty dancing David Cameron was accused of causing racial offence by posing with blacked-up Morris dancers, though it was pointed out that the tradition dates from 16th-century jobless labourers covering… Read more

Hannibal (and Alexander the Great) vs the Islamic State

18 October 2014
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, by J.M.W Turner (Picture: Tate Britain)

Whatever the Islamic State hopes ultimately to achieve by its current onslaught on all and sundry in the Middle East, Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, would… Read more

From the archives

18 October 2014

From ‘War and wild life’, The Spectator, 17 October 1914: The siege of Antwerp has been a minor tragedy in a quarter to which few probably gave a thought. The… Read more

18 October 2014

Nothing to fear Sir: So long as we are not breaking any law, we have nothing to fear from the police being able to access our mobiles (‘Licence to snoop’,… Read more

Ukip is here to stay – especially if Labour wins

18 October 2014
Douglas Carswell UKIPs First MP Enters Parliament

British politics is rather like one of those playground games of football where one match is being played lengthways and another sideways. The two regularly get tangled up, making it… Read more

Panic about Ebola in Africa – not here

18 October 2014

Got Ebola yet? Early symptoms are very difficult to distinguish from either winter flu or, indeed, a particularly bad hangover. Bit feverish, aches and pains, sore throat and so on.… Read more

Reading the comments on my Ukip columns, I finally understand the Nazis

18 October 2014

Like many, I’ve always been a bit baffled by the story of the rise of Nazism. The Germans I’ve met have appeared to be human beings like any other: in… Read more

Ukip is in the middle of the most cynical political repositioning ever

18 October 2014
UK Independence Party Wins Its First Seat In Parliament

I think I’ve cracked it. If you want to springboard your minor political party into the mainstream and take British politics by storm, then all you need to do is… Read more

Storm warning: the world economy’s October troubles aren’t over yet

18 October 2014

October is always a turbulent month, and I’m feeling uneasy about this one. The FTSE100 index, which looked set to break through 7,000 in September, has lost more than 500… Read more

How to fix the NHS: a doctor's prescription

18 October 2014

I’m a doctor, and I don’t care about the NHS. In this country, that’s an almost heretical statement — but it’s true. What I mean is that I have absolutely… Read more

Monsieur Clermont

18 October 2014

That August, in La France Profonde, the frelons were out in force, honey-gold cruisers of late summer air, their poigniards sheathed. The heat lapped at a sticky terrace table, our… Read more

Why the West will surrender in its new cold war with Russia

18 October 2014
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin op

After months of escalating tensions over Ukraine and talk of a new cold war, Russia and the West could soon reach a surprising rapprochement. The eurozone economy is suffering badly… Read more

At least South Africa has the world’s best murder trials

18 October 2014
Shrien Dewani Murder Trial Begins

 Johannesburg I was astonished, in London the other week, to discover how closely you Britons were following the Oscar Pistorius trial. I was invited to Rosie Boycott’s breakfast club, which… Read more

Does Jonathan Powell really want to negotiate with the Islamic State?

18 October 2014

I think I’ve finally worked out the time-honoured Jonathan Powell formula for promoting a new book: take which-ever group constitutes the most bloodthirsty terrorist organisation of the day — in… Read more

Brighton has become an object lesson in why it is a disaster to vote Green

18 October 2014

I have just moved back to Brighton, and I am happy to report that it remains as shambolic as ever. The estate agent said before opening the door to a… Read more

Why it won’t be Ukip’s fault if Cameron loses

18 October 2014

How odd that David Cameron is still threatening us with ‘Vote Ukip, get Labour’, even after the Heywood and Middleton by-election, which Ukip nearly won with thousands of Labour defections.… Read more

Chasing the shadows of slavery in Barbados

18 October 2014
Quiet, quaint and understated: Cobblers Cove

Driving up the west coast, from Bridge-town to Speightstown, you soon see why people around here call this the Platinum Coast. It’s not just the colour of the coral sand… Read more

Books and arts

18 October 2014
Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’

My mad gay grandfather and me

18 October 2014
Cat among the pigeons: Jennifer Fry, the exotic beauty who so disrupted life at Farringdon House in the 1940s
The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me Sofka Zinovieff

Cape, pp.418, £25

Family history is all the rage at the moment — finding out about one’s ancestors, digging back into one’s roots. Sofka Zinovieff has written the strange, and strangely moving, tale… Read more

From working-class heroes to Disney World mascots: the sad fate of the Chilean miners

18 October 2014
Chilean miner Jorge Galleguillos is brought to the surface following a 10 week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine Photo: Getty
Deep Down Dark Héctor Tobar

Sphere, pp.309, £20, ISBN: 9781444755398

On 5 August 2010, 33 men entered the remote San José mine in Chile’s Atacama desert to begin their 12-hour shift. They came out again 69 days later, to be… Read more

The Irony of Wislava Szymborska

18 October 2014

In London, I remember the indignation.    Surely the Nobel prize should have gone to Zbigniew Herbert, the Polish poet we loved    – dissident, charismatic, much translated – not some woman… Read more