Deal with the debt, George Osborne? You’ve hardly started

25 October 2014
Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 19.04.36

George Osborne has declared victory over Ed Balls, the IMF and all the others who warned that his austerity measures would throw Britain back into recession. But his triumphalism obscures… Read more

25 October 2014


Home A hundred firemen could not prevent wooden cooling towers at Didcot B gas-fuelled power station in Oxfordshire from burning down. A consortium said it could power 2.5 million houses… Read more

Griff Rhys Jones

25 October 2014
Griff Rhys Jones Photo: Getty

In order to promote the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia festival, I am trying to persuade Jason Morell, the director, that he must help me come up with stunts. ‘It’s stunts… Read more

Why the Ancient Greeks thought adultery was worse than rape

25 October 2014

A footballer serves his sentence for rape, insisting on his innocence. Debate rages whether he should play again. To us, rape is taken to be the most serious of sexual… Read more

From the archives

25 October 2014
Celebrated war time English nurse and war time heroine, Edith Cavell's funeral. She was shot by the Germans for spying in Brussels in 1915 Photo: Getty

From ‘Topics of the day’, The Spectator, 24 October 1914: That spies are a great danger at the present time, and that espionage is being carried on on a gigantic… Read more

25 October 2014

Health check Sir: I have to take issue on (at least) three counts with Dr Vernon Coleman and his absurd suggestion that the GMC should be abolished (‘Get rid of… Read more

It’s not just Ukip that’s changing Cameron’s mind about immigration

25 October 2014

It is easy to mock David Cameron on immigration. Under pressure from the public and from Ukip, he’s having to hot-foot it to a tougher position on the free movement… Read more

Wear a veil if you like – but don’t treat women like that

25 October 2014

What sort of clothing do you wear when you go to the opera? I assume some of you do go to the opera, otherwise the Royal Opera House could be… Read more

What are 16-year-olds supposed to learn by making posters?

25 October 2014

My niece, Lara, 15, has a mind like a surgical blade. On any subject, from calculus to The X Factor, she finds the heart of the issue and dissects it… Read more

My new affair is thrilling, expensive — and might just break my neck

25 October 2014

I have fallen in love with an unsuitable male. My wife isn’t totally happy about this relationship because she recognises how dangerous it is. The problem with Eddie is that… Read more

The one economic indicator that never stops rising: meet the Negroni Index

25 October 2014
John Humphrys in the Today studio

This dispatch comes to you from Venice — where I arrived at sunset on the Orient Express. More of that journey on another occasion, I hope. Suffice to say that… Read more

Italy’s in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it

25 October 2014

Rome   The Rome Opera House sacked its entire orchestra and chorus the other day. Financed and managed by the state, and therefore crippled by debt, the opera house — like… Read more

Winter Words

25 October 2014

Calendar pages: one scrumpled day dies in a garden spun to fools’ gold, where wind mews over twigs and bones at an outhouse door, black sky sustains the buoyancy of… Read more

How Cameron could make the EU a winning issue (and why he won’t)

25 October 2014
Prime Minister David Cameron Delivers His Keynote Speech At The Conservative Party Conference

Imagine if David Cameron actually meant it. Imagine if he really did follow through with his implied threat to campaign for Brexit in the absence of better terms from Brussels.… Read more

It’s time to shave that beard: the decade of the hipster is over

25 October 2014

Calling all hipsters, it’s time to get the razor out! You have hit peak beard. You’ve had a decade of getting away with those narrow, short trousers and the studiously… Read more

Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries

25 October 2014
?Explore the Home Counties?, LNER poster, 1936.

Just over 35 years ago, in August 1979, Christopher Booker wrote a cri de coeur in The Spectator calling for the return of England’s ancient counties and the repeal of… Read more

Bourbon from Bush, envy from Nixon... and running into Herbert Hoover: encounters with eight presidents

25 October 2014
All Worsthorne’s men: Hoover, surprisingly nice; Truman, smiling until Perry spoke; Eisenhower, who mocked his name; Kennedy, a hero; LBJ, a boor; Nixon, a friend; Reagan; and the first Bush

I feel a bit of a fraud writing about the ‘presidents I knew’, since journalists do not really get to know the great figures they interview or shake hands with.… Read more

Discover the blissful peace of Laos

25 October 2014

There’s a company I came across the other day called Value Added Travel. And despite the horrible name, it seems to be doing good business — which got me thinking.… Read more

Visiting the Greek islands in a reverse Tardis

25 October 2014
Beauty in ruins: the Temple of Isis on Delos

In Huddersfield, where I grew up, a town-centre department store boasted a ‘cruise wear’ section. In the window display the gentleman dummies wore deck shoes, starched white shorts and flannel… Read more

It takes an elephant to get my teenage son up early

25 October 2014
Jumbo-sized: the first of the Big Five makes an appearance

Having just turned 13, my boy Ferdy doesn’t really do early mornings. Indeed, during the summer hols we rarely glimpsed him before noon and then only fleetingly whenever he chose… Read more

A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline

25 October 2014
Sea change: the old fishing town of Warnemünde has been transformed into an affluent resort

My grandfather was born in a huge white house on the Baltic coast of eastern Germany, and ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by this enigmatic tideless… Read more

Eight of the best river cruises

25 October 2014
Riverside artwork: Jean-Luc Courcoult’s ‘La Maison dans la Loire’

While ocean liners are hardly butterflies, they have a habit of flitting carelessly between countries, often visiting several within a week. A river cruise, however, takes its (relatively few) passengers… Read more

Saratoga Springs: the opposite of a one-horse town

25 October 2014

In the sweltering heat of Manhattan, even the prairie plantings on the High Line looked dusty and tired. I usually steer clear of the city in summer, but this year… Read more

Why I'll never want to escape Portmeirion

25 October 2014
‘A home for fallen buildings’: Portmeirion

My husband and I stay for a week most summers in Portmeirion, the strangest and loveliest ‘village’ in the world. Built amid 20 miles of woodland on the peninsula of… Read more

Does Boris Johnson really expect us to think he's Churchill?

25 October 2014
Outside Downing Street in June 1943. Ten years earlier, no one would have thought it remotely likely that Winston Churchill would be regarded as his country’s saviour
The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History Boris Johnson

Hodder, pp.416, £25, ISBN: 9781444783025

As you would expect, it’s impossible to read this book without drawing fairly direct comparisons between its author and its subject. In promotional exchanges, with the well-worn practice of self-deprecation,… Read more