Margaret Thatcher

Sir Winston Churchill and Earl Clement Attlee Photo: Getty

Most of Giles Radice’s Odd Couples can’t stand the sight of each other, but muck in together to reach the finishing line

21 March 2015
Odd Couples: The Great Political Pairings of Modern Britain Giles Radice

I.B. Tauris, pp.304, £25, ISBN: 9781780762807

With the odd exception — I think principally of Charles Moore’s life of Margaret Thatcher — the genre of political biography has known hard times lately. There are few faster… Read more

Robin Day interviews Margaret Thatcher for BBC's Panorama, 1984 Photo: Getty

How the BBC helped turn Diana into a dream princess

7 March 2015
Pinkoes and Traitors: The BBC and the Nation,1974–87 Jean Seaton

Profile Books, pp.384, £30, ISBN: 9781846684746

In a ‘Dear Bill’ letter in Private Eye, an imaginary Denis Thatcher wrote off the BBC as a nest of ‘pinkoes and traitors’. That drollery points to the corporation’s paradoxical… Read more

Want more diversity? Hire groups, not individuals

28 February 2015

If I were to give you a budget to choose your perfect house, you would quickly have a clear idea of what to buy. And typically your perfect house will… Read more

Heckler-210215

The Heckler: how funny really was Spitting Image?

21 February 2015

Hold the front page! Spitting Image is back! Well, sort of. A new six-part series, from (some of) the team behind Fluck and Law’s puppetry satire show, will be broadcast… Read more

466936241

The elderly are society’s new baddies

21 February 2015

The gulf in understanding between the old and the young has widened with the news that the young are beginning to turn teetotal. If there was one thing that the… Read more

Steve McFadden

EastEnders wanted to show Thatcher’s Britain. These days it would make Maggie proud

14 February 2015

Albert Square full of Thatcherites? You ’avin a larf? No, it’s true. EastEnders, conceived 30 years ago partly as a means of enraging the Conservative party, has blossomed into a… Read more

Still life in the old slogan: Maurice Saatchi’s famous 1978 poster was adapted three decades later when the unemployment figures were announced in March 2009

Even the people who make political adverts aren’t sure they work

14 February 2015
Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened When British Politics Met Advertising Sam Delaney

Faber, pp.320, £14.99, ISBN: 9780571312382

It is a common prejudice about modern politics that it is all focus groups and spin, all public relations and advertising. The rather heartening conclusion from Sam Delaney’s history of… Read more

Food and fuel prices are set to fall Photo: Getty

Don't believe the gloom-mongers: deflation will be good for Britain

24 January 2015

Campaigning in Putney in 1978, Mrs Thatcher famously took out a pair of scissors and cut a pound note down the middle, telling her audience that the remaining stump represented… Read more

Actor, playwright and broadcaster, Alan Bennett Photo: Getty

Without childhood traumas, how did Alan Bennett ever become a writer?

10 January 2015

‘So — take heart,’ said Alan Bennett, sending us out from his play, Cocktail Sticks, on a cheery note. The treatment for cancer had been gruelling, but that was 15… Read more

Fair Maid Of Kent

All you’ll ever need to know about the history of England in one volume

13 December 2014
The English and their History Robert Tombs

Allen Lane, pp.1012, £35, ISBN: 9781846140181

Here is a stupendous achievement: a narrative history of England which is both thorough and arresting. Very few writers could pull it off. Either they’d have an axe to grind,… Read more

Hector's Bar

Favourite cocktails from Matthew Parris, Jeremy Clarke, Martin Vander Weyer and more

6 December 2014

We asked our writers to write about their favourite cocktails, from aperitifs to nightcaps, all the way through to the hangover cures. Here’s what they said. Matthew Parris The Iron… Read more

Photo: David Levensen/Getty

Richard Madeley

22 November 2014

Oh God, it’s happened again. Another evening where I’m surrounded by people I know personally or have interviewed, and I can’t remember a single name. Multiple blanks. It’s a sort… Read more

diary

Mark Amory

20 September 2014

Until recently I used to claim that I had been literary editor of The Spectator for over 25 years; now I say almost 30. The trouble is I am not… Read more

Labour Leader Ed Miliband Speech At The Science Museum

You can't spin yourself into authenticity – as Ed Miliband is finding out

2 August 2014

For a politician to draw attention to his own deficiencies is a desperate attempt to curry favour with the electorate that has been tried before with dismal consequences. The most… Read more

Eurovision winner, Conchita Wurst Photo:AFP/Getty

My tax avoidance tip – win literary prizes!

17 May 2014

David Cameron is said to want a woman to be chairman of the BBC Trust, now that Chris Patten has had to retire early because of ill health. Perhaps he… Read more

Most people are conservative with a small ‘c’ when it comes to the subject of death (Photo: Getty)

Death brings out everyone’s inner Mary Whitehouse

15 March 2014

Shortly after Bob Crow’s death was announced on Tuesday, Nigel Farage sent the following tweet: ‘Sad at the death of Bob Crow. I liked him and he also realised working-class… Read more

The_Queen_having_tea

Behind the scenes at Spitting Image

8 March 2014

If Margaret Thatcher is remembered by many more as a caricature than as her actual self, then blame Spitting Image. The show, which ran from 1984 to 1996, portrayed her… Read more

Hugh Gaitskell at the Labour Party Conference Photo: Harry Thompson/Evening Standard/Getty

Nigel Lawson

30 November 2013

The long-discussed meeting between a group of climate scientists and Fellows of the Royal Society on the one side, and me and some colleagues from my think-tank, the Global Warming… Read more

Conrad Black

3 August 2013

The astonishing level of enthusiasm over the birth of the new prince goes far beyond the pleasure that people naturally feel for an attractive young couple who have had a… Read more

Grocery

18 May 2013

Was Margaret Thatcher brought up in a grocery? I wouldn’t say so. The Americans would. I’d call her father’s shop in Grantham a grocer’s. He sold grocery. Yet I saw… Read more

benefits

The Spectator’s Notes

4 May 2013

It is fascinating watching the great welfare debate as the universal credit starts its life. The ruling elites have very, very slowly caught up with public understanding. The simplest way… Read more

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, by Charles Moore, and Not for Turning, by Robin Harris - review

4 May 2013
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One Not for Turning Charles Moore

Allen Lane, pp.859, £30, ISBN: 978071399282

Not for Turning: The Life of Margaret Thatcher Robin Harris

Bantam, pp.493, £20, ISBN: 9780593058916

It is a measure of Lady Thatcher’s standing that her death has been followed not only by the mealy-mouthed compliments from political opponents which are normally forthcoming on such occasions… Read more

A burned out car sits on a roundabout ne

Peter Oborne

27 April 2013

One of the first world statesmen to send a message of sympathy to Boston after last week’s outrage was Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein. ‘Just watching news of the… Read more

161452452-585x413

A rare mood of unity descends on the Conservatives

27 April 2013

The idea that ‘loyalty is the Conservative party’s secret weapon’ was always dubious. Benjamin Disraeli, for instance, made his name attacking a sitting Conservative prime minister. This, though, did not… Read more