America’s greatest tradition: inventing spurious traditions

28 February 2015

  Fredericksburg, Virginia Americans crave traditions. The older they are the more we cherish them. Thanksgiving, which beats out Christmas, was invented by Abe Lincoln in 1863 but it is… Read more

Cover 28 February 2015

28 February 2015

28 February 2015

Bad behaviour Sir: A good number of years ago I was at the University of NSW with a pleasant fellow called Donald McDonald. I understand he went from there to… Read more

Tough talk

28 February 2015

‘Crack down on welfare rorters. Get tough on radical Islam.’ If there’s a whiteboard in the Prime Minister’s office (or his much-maligned Chief of Staff’s), and those words or some… Read more

28 February 2015

It was one of the Prime Minister’s best speeches. He was clear, eloquent and convincing. Clear about the terrorist threats we face, eloquent about the liberal values we defend, and… Read more

Right wing hunting pack

28 February 2015

It’s possible that Australia soon will have a new Prime Minister. Tony Abbott, seriously wounded by the recent spill, struggles to survive. Every move he makes, every breath he takes,… Read more

Diarist’s Diary

28 February 2015

‘At a certain point, you go, there’s a human-being here and you would think this must be incredibly bruising.’ Greg San Miguel is looking at me intently, trying to decide… Read more

Sex, lies and, er, rape

28 February 2015

Wait — it’s now a crime to fib your way into bed with someone? That is the take-home message of the Kafkaesque case of Akis Emmanouel Livas, who recently was… Read more

Business/Robbery etc

28 February 2015

It was hidden away last week in the finance pages. But it will have a far greater impact on Australians than is normal for an overseas iron ore mining company’s… Read more

The liberation of butter

28 February 2015

The liberation of butter from the dietary exile to which stern medical opinion had condemned it makes you wonder what else that we’ve been magisterially told is bad for us… Read more

Out of Commission

28 February 2015

The starting gun on industrial relations reform has been fired. The Productivity Commission is about to begin a comprehensive inquiry into workplace matters; the Coalition Government is promising to look… Read more

Culture Buff

28 February 2015

Adelaide is the perfect festival city and its once biennial, now annual, Festival has been the pace setter for others around the country. Last year ticket buyers from outside South… Read more

Cover 28 February 2015 AU

28 February 2015

The real problem with our MPs: they’re obsessed with the super-rich

28 February 2015
Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw Photo: Getty

Had the public been asked, before Monday morning, to identify two MPs who stood for honesty and decency, the names Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind would have been prominent… Read more

28 February 2015


Home Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative foreign secretary, resigned as chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee and promised not to stand for Parliament in May after he and… Read more

Paul Mason

28 February 2015
Paul Mason Photo: Getty

It’ll be a Skype interview, says the producer from Greek television, and not live. In TV-speak that usually means not urgent and not important, but I’ve become vaguely interesting to… Read more

28 February 2015

Golden league Some MPs who earn Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s rate of £5,000 a day: — Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): £3,333 for four hours work as deputy chairman of Woburn Energy.… Read more

Today’s TV debates are pointless – here’s the real thing

28 February 2015
An Alternative View Of The Labour Party Annual Conference

Ancients would have been astonished that parties never debate against each other in open, public forum except on the telly before general elections — and even then they do their best… Read more

From the archives

28 February 2015

From The Spectator, 27 February 1915: Observers of birds have been much interested by the evidence, which seems to be fairly satisfactory, that pheasants in as remote a part of England… Read more

28 February 2015

The presence of a church Sir: The challenge for the Church of England and the wider community is to ensure that our village churches are a blessing and not a… Read more

No one wants to fight a national campaign. This will be the least general election in years

28 February 2015

There’s normally an easy way to tell which party is losing a general election campaign. Whenever one side starts telling you to ignore the national polls and look at what… Read more

Oh joy! Sean Penn has tried to crack a joke

28 February 2015

What a pleasure it is to see the Hollywood actor Sean Penn neck deep in PC ordure. The rodentine thespian was handing out an award at the Oscars to his… Read more

How do bright schoolgirls fall for jihadis? The same way they fall for Justin Bieber

28 February 2015

How could they? How could girls brought up in the wealthy West abandon their families and their own bright futures to join Isis, a gang of vicious thugs? It’s not… Read more

Two shops. Two philosophies. Which side are you on?

28 February 2015
Profits Rise At Aldi Supermarket Chain

Are you Lush or are you Aldi? Me, I’m Aldi all the way. So much so that when someone — usually my daughter — tries to drag me anywhere near… Read more

How Labour’s 50p tax trick has ended up helping George Osborne

28 February 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Manchester

Last week’s public borrowing and tax-receipt figures, headlined ‘Chancellor hails biggest monthly surplus in seven years’, received considerably less attention than the employment and wage-growth numbers a week earlier, underlining… Read more