Mary Wakefieldrss

Warning! Can seriously damage your health

The contagious madness of the new PC

29 August 2015

It’s becoming pretty clear, as the year rolls on, that some of our brightest youngsters have gone round the bend. It’s as if they’ve caught a virus, a mental one,… Read more


‘Not to worry, just a gang killing’: the mantra of the metropolitan middle classes

1 August 2015

Another stabbing in my new neighbourhood, not with an axe or with a samurai sword this time, but a machete. The samurai sword incident was back in the spring. The… Read more

Malcolm Layfield, violin teacher, has been cleared of raping an 18-year-old female student in the early 1980s (Photo: PA Images)

Are schoolgirls still fair game for teachers?

20 June 2015

Mr Malcolm Layfield, the former violin teacher at Chetham’s music school, will have been celebrating this week after being found not guilty of raping a former pupil. Malcolm admitted to… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Eritrean migrants face many dangers. Are we one of them?

6 June 2015

A few weeks ago someone very dear to me passed on a question about The Spectator, asked them by a friend. The friend, who I know and like, had read… Read more


In praise of the pit bull terrier

9 May 2015

Last night I saw a woman dancing with a pit bull terrier. It was about 9 p.m. and her curtains were open, lights on. Music must have been playing, though… Read more


Original sin makes us better people. I wish Muslims believed in it

11 April 2015

These days, on the subject of Islam, non-Muslims have mostly divided into two camps — though there’s a little wandering about between the tents. Camp one says Islam is a… 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

Liberia turns towards normalcy as fight continues to eradicate Ebola Photo: Getty

Do I really care about Ebola? Do you? Does Oxfam?

31 January 2015

It’s strange how quickly we all forgot about Ebola. Speak for yourself, you might say — and I will. Until a friend sent me a report this week on the… Read more


The real reason GPs are grumpy: the robots are coming for them

17 January 2015

There’s something wrong with the relationship between patients and their GPs. I’ve spent much of this winter in my local surgery, what with one thing and another, sitting among the… Read more

Bluebeard giving keys to his wife, engraving by Gustave Dore, 1862 Photo: Getty

Are old fairy stories too scary for kids?

13 December 2014

Moving house, stacking books in boxes, I came across a clutch of fairy books, Andrew Lang’s folk tales from around the world in their coloured cloth covers: yellow, brown, red,… Read more

When Islington MP Emily Thornberry passed this house when campaigning in Rochester, was she right to think it so remarkable as to tweet a picture of it as if in shock? 

Why it's uncivilised to sneer at patriotism

22 November 2014

Is it racist to be patriotic? Is patriotism, by definition, small-minded and exclusive? When you strip away the onion layers of sentiment about history and hymns, Shakespeare and lawn clippings,… 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


Why there’s no such thing as an Etonian

11 October 2014

Finally, just in the last few years I’d say, we’ve all begun to accept the role of nature in the great nature/nurture debate. Though we’ve squirmed and baulked, we mostly… Read more

Joshua Milton Blahyi in 1996

Can brutalised jihadis be saved by forgiveness?

27 September 2014

Could you ever torture someone? Could you, under different circumstances, in a different world (I hope) than the one which led you to this Spectator, be as brutal as the… Read more


The ambulance service is in a state of emergency

19 July 2014

Tom leant back against the bathroom wall, his face streaked with blood from the nosebleed, eyes half shut like an owl. ‘I’m passing out,’ he said. Then his legs gave… Read more

Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the voice of his computer in 'Her' Photo: Annapurna Pictures / The Kobal Collection

The voice of Big Mother does more for women than any Twitter feminist

5 July 2014

Feminism in modern Britain is not for the faint-hearted. Only the smartest, mouthiest girls on the social media scene dare join the fray — in print, in blogs, on Twitter… Read more


Iraq now has a crisis that even our Prime Minister can't moralise about

21 June 2014

If there’s a bright spot in the murky mess of Iraq, it’s that finally we have a war that it is impossible to paint in simple terms, as a battle… Read more


I'm a middle-class thirtysomething and I think Britain should be great again. Why is that weird?

7 June 2014

In my late thirties, I have become patriotic. It’s one of those things that’s happened with age, like cooking to freeze, plumping cushions and thinking policemen look too young. My… Read more

Shinichi Suzuki with young violinists, Wembley 1980 Photo: Getty

The Suzuki method didn’t make me a great violinist. But it did change my life

24 May 2014

Do you ever wonder, as your little darling balks at doing her violin or piano practice again, what all the pain is for? All those battles, and then when she… Read more

Wolf Of Wall Street, The

Being rich makes you mean: here's proof

10 May 2014

It’s all the rage these days to worry about the growing gap between rich and poor. Our fretting was fuelled by Capital in the 21st Century, by the French economist… Read more


Is there any part of human life that hasn't been turned into a medical condition?

26 April 2014

When Greg, my old uni pal, came to stay from NYC he brought with him an extra bag for his pills: vitamins A, B, C, D, zinc, magnesium, selenium, ginseng.… Read more


Theresa May's right: the police need radical reform. Here's why

12 April 2014

One fine morning early this year I had tea with Stephen Greenhalgh, Boris’s pleasant if perspiring deputy mayor for policing, and discussed the two great crime mysteries of the 21st… Read more

Hugh Grant: the master of bogus self deprecation  Photo: Getty Images.

In defence of self-deprecation

29 March 2014

I think the ancient English art of self–deprecation may be dying. I don’t mean self-deprecation in its distorted and most exported form: pug-eyed rogues like Hugh Grant getting away with… Read more

David Cameron addresses the crowds in Benghazi Photo: Getty

Libya is imploding. Why doesn't David Cameron care?

15 March 2014

A few days ago I went to a talk about Syria; one of those events for the concerned layman, in which a panel of experts give a briefing. Everything sounded… Read more


Would you let parents destroy ‘gay’ embryos?

1 March 2014

Because I’d like to have a child, and I’m getting on a bit, my husband and I have spent time recently with consultants. They’re an odd breed with distinct and… Read more