The democratic deficit at the heart of the Human Rights Act

26 July 2014
Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry load the bodies of victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Dominic Grieve was a worthy attorney-general whose career was helped by this magazine: nine years ago, he was named Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year, beneath the nose of David Cameron,… Read more

26 July 2014


Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told Parliament that President Vladimir Putin of Russia should end his country’s support for separatists in Ukraine, some of whom it had provided with… Read more

Simon Barnes

26 July 2014
All the golfers in the world or half an hour with Lucinda Green? It's a no-brainer.

Sport is like love: it can only really hurt you if you care. Or for that matter, bring joy. You can’t explain sport, any more than you can explain the… Read more

26 July 2014

Hilary Benn (Photo: Getty)

Commons inheritance Emily Benn, granddaughter of Tony and niece of Hilary, has won the right to stand for Labour in Croydon South. Which party produces the most political dynasties? Current… Read more

Plutarch on smartphone addiction

26 July 2014
(Photo: Carla Miller)

Adults, we are told, as much as children, become gibbering wrecks if deprived of their mobiles or iPhones for more than 15 seconds. The 2nd-century ad essayist Plutarch foresaw the… Read more

26 July 2014

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Photo: Getty)

Give the women a chance Sir: Melissa Kite’s article about the reshuffle seems downright unfair (‘A misogynistic reshuffle’, 19 July). Whatever David Cameron’s motives may be, the women he has promoted… Read more

Parliament's next crisis: a dangerous shortage of middle-aged men

26 July 2014
Downing Street Prepares For Cabinet Reshuffle

The House of Commons is off for the summer. But few MPs and ministers expect to make it through to September without the House being recalled because of the grim… Read more

The Trojan Horse affair proves Michael Gove right – and MI5 wrong

26 July 2014
Job swap: Oliver Letwin and Lady Stowell

Peter Clarke’s powerful report on the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham schools is confirmation of the weakness of David Cameron in demoting Michael Gove. When Mr Gove appointed Mr Clarke… Read more

Why I’m against posthumous pardons, even for Alan Turing

26 July 2014
Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I Computer, 1951 Photo: SSPL/Getty

Ross Clark is a columnist I try to read because he is never trite. So I was sorry to miss performances of his musical play staged earlier this month. Shot… Read more

L.P. Hartley’s guide to coping with a heatwave

26 July 2014

Those of us who have been struggling to endure the recent heat should turn to L.P. Hartley’s classic coming-of-age novel The Go-Between for some advice. ‘There’s no such thing as bad… Read more

Forecasting is a mug’s game – but I was right about the economic revival

26 July 2014
Day 35 of the Queen's Baton Relay in Scotland

‘Perhaps I should shift my prediction to 23 July 2014,’ I wrote in April 2012. ‘That’s the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and we must all start thinking… Read more

The warning signs of a new credit crunch

26 July 2014

When I think about global stock markets these days, the image that springs to mind is the final scene of The Italian Job — the 1969 original, not the tacky… Read more

My Future

26 July 2014

I am your memories. They are not me. So it feels strange to be remembered by These relics of my personality. Although you mourn me, is it really me You… Read more

Sanctions won’t tame Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Talking might

26 July 2014

The civilised world felt as if its heart had been touched by an icicle. Photographs of murdered children. Biogs of people like us; we could have been on that plane.… Read more

Vladimir Putin’s empire of lies

26 July 2014

According to Russian state television, flight MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian government forces who believed they were targeting Vladimir Putin’s jet returning from a summit in Brazil. An unnamed… Read more

What’s wrong with sunglasses

26 July 2014

A question to ask yourself on sunny days: are you, as you conduct your conversations with people, trying to convince them that you are Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix? You’re… Read more

Want a fun job? You just have to pick the right parents

26 July 2014
Rafferty Law (son of Jude ’n’ Sadie) with ‘close friend and fellow model’ Cora Corre (granddaughter of Vivienne Westwood) Photo: David M Benett

Recently one morning, as I was weeping over Caitlin Moran’s (daughter of Mr and Mrs Moran of Wolverhampton) brilliant book How to Build a Girl — specifically, the heartbreaking way… Read more

‘It’s jihad, innit, bruv’: meet the British Muslims going to fight in Syria

26 July 2014

Turkey, Syria, Iraq: ‘It’s jihad, innit, bruv.’ The young British Muslim cut an absurd figure in ski mask, dark glasses and hoodie. He had not used that exact phrase but… Read more

The loveliness of Lucerne

26 July 2014
Switzerland’s loveliest lake lies before you

When Queen Victoria came here for her summer holidays, Lucerne was already a bustling tourist destination. Today it’s just as popular. It’s easy to see why. When you emerge from… Read more

The age of the starving artist

26 July 2014
Who’s in, who’s out: George Bernard O’Neill’s ‘Public Opinion’ depicts a private view of the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy
A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain James Hamilton

Atlantic Books, pp.400, £25, ISBN: 9781848879249

What remains of art is art, of course; and what chiefly interests us is the creative talents of a painter or a sculptor. What we forget is that the work… Read more

John Wayne, accidental cowboy

26 July 2014
A boy named Marion: John Wayne pictured on the set of Stagecoach (1939)
John Wayne: The Life and Legend Scott Eyman

Simon & Schuster, pp.512, £25, ISBN: 978439199589

I’m not making a picture [The Green Berets] about Vietnam, I’m making a picture about good against bad. I happen to think that’s true about Vietnam, but even if it… Read more

Tip-toeing through Sri Lanka

26 July 2014
A derelict building in Jaffna – part of the legacy of Sri Lanka's years of civil war. Photograph: Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Noontide Toll Romesh Gunesekera

Granta, pp.256, £12.99, ISBN: 9781620970201

‘The first night I stayed in Kilinochchi, I was a little apprehensive,’ admits the usually cool-headed Vasantha, van-driver and narrator of all the stories in Noontide Toll. Kilinochchi was the… Read more

Title Stories: The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri

26 July 2014

Daring? No. Well written? Yes

26 July 2014
Dean Inge, one of the last Victorians. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Last Victorians W. Sydney Robinson

The Robson Press, pp.304, £20, ISBN: 9781849547161

This has all the appearance of a book invented by a publisher. Two years ago W. Sydney Robinson published an excellent biography of the Victorian newspaperman W.T. Stead. How best… Read more

The British countryside in prints and paper-cuts

26 July 2014
Left: ‘Blackbere’ from Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary, c. 1500. Right: Common Hoopoe, c. 1789, by William Lewis
Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower Elisabeth R. Fairman

Yale, pp.247, £40, ISBN: 9780300204247

The Yale Center for British Art holds the largest collection of British art outside the UK. An impressive collection it is too, largely bequeathed by Paul Mellon of the American… Read more