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Aristotle wouldn't have rated Jeremy Corbyn’s fan club

1 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn says he is very excited about his campaign to become Labour leader because lots of young people are becoming involved in it, which ‘must be a good thing’.… Read more

William Waldegrave (Photo: Getty)

William Waldegrave: too nice ever to have been PM

25 July 2015
A Different Kind of Weather William Waldegrave

Constable, pp.320, £20, ISBN: 9781472119759

‘Lobbying,’ writes William Waldegrave in this extraordinary memoir, ‘takes many forms.’ But he has surely reported a variant hitherto unrecorded in the annals of politics. The Cardinal Archbishop of Cardiff… Read more

Kiev's  St. Sophia Cathedral

Calling all British tourists — Ukraine needs you!

23 May 2015

 Kiev ‘What the hell’s going to happen to your poor country?’ I ask the man in the flea market not far from St Sophia cathedral (Delingpole tourist rating: total must-see).… Read more

One of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Scots pines in the French Pavilion

Martin Gayford finds a few nice paintings amid the dead trees, old clothes and agitprop of the Venice Biennale

16 May 2015

At the start of Canto XXI of the ‘Inferno’, Dante and Virgil look down on the pit of Malebolge, the Eighth Circle of Hell, in which sinners guilty of simony,… Read more

A clear-eyed account of socialism: Paul Higgins and Stella Gonet in ‘Hope’ at the Royal Court

If you thought politics was boring, you should check out today’s political theatre

2 May 2015

Writers and producers have shown little appetite for putting the coalition on stage. Several reasons suggest themselves. In 2010 wise pundits assured us all that the Rose Garden duo would… Read more

Find the voice, find the character: Steve Nallon as Margaret Thatcher

Even those who reviled Thatcher will be moved, appalled and astonished: Dead Sheep at the Park reviewed

18 April 2015
Dead Sheep Park
Oppenheimer Vaudeville

Dead Sheep is a curious dramatic half-breed that examines Geoffrey Howe’s troubled relationship with Margaret Thatcher. Structurally it’s a Mexican bean. It leaps all over the 1980s and it keeps… Read more

Was Mrs Thatcher religious? Photo: Getty

Did Mrs Thatcher ‘do’ God? Denis thought so, and he should know, says Charles Moore

11 April 2015
God & Mrs Thatcher Eliza Filby

Biteback, pp.432, £25, ISBN: 9781849547857

As I swink in the field of Thatcher studies, this book brings refreshment. It is a welcome and rare. Far too many writers attitudinise about Margaret Thatcher (for and against)… Read more

Heckler-4-April

The Heckler: down with the actor-commentariat!

4 April 2015

I’ve never been terribly keen on actors. I prefer hairdressers and accountants. And teachers and builders and lawyers. I may even prefer politicians and footballers to actors. It’s a modesty… Read more

David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)

Channel 4's The Coalition reviewed: heroically free of cynicism

28 March 2015

In a late schedule change, Channel 4’s Coalition was shifted from Thursday to Saturday to make room for Jeremy Paxman interviewing the party leaders. With most dramas, that would mean… Read more

Ed Miliband Photo: Getty

Be different, be original: that’s what makes a popular politician

28 March 2015

I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like being a political leader. I find this difficult because I would be so utterly ill suited to the role. I’m… 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

Cinema For Peace Gala 2012 - Inside Ceremony

Why Putin is even less of a human than Stalin was

21 February 2015

LBC likes to tell us it’s ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’, though in the case of weekday pre-lunch presenter James O’Brien you’ll have to sit through a series of bombastic monologues from… Read more

Priyanga Burford as Deepa Kaur in UKIP: The First 100 Days

UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4, review: a sad, predictable, desperate hatchet job

21 February 2015

Just three months into Ukip’s shock victory as the party of government and already Nigel Farage’s mob are starting to show their true colours: morris dancing has been made compulsory… Read more

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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

3 Winters  Photo: Ellie Kurttz

National Theatre’s 3 Winters: a hideous Balkans ballyhoo

3 January 2015
3 Winters Lyttelton
Hope Royal Court

A masterpiece at the National. A masterpiece of persuasion and bewitchment. Croatian word-athlete Tena Stivicic has miraculously convinced director Howard Davies that she can write epic historical theatre. And Davies… Read more

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Let’s appoint a Ministry of Scandalous Ideas

3 January 2015

My children have a phrase called ‘fomo’ — which stands for ‘fear of missing out’. It is a constant, mildly paranoid anxiety, exacerbated by social media, that all your friends… Read more

Shadow International Development Secretary Jim Murphy Photo: Getty

Scotland needs Jim Murphy (even if he doesn’t want to go back there)

1 November 2014

There should, by rights, have been a stampede of candidates to replace Johann Lamont as the leader of the Scottish Labour party. With the new powers promised to Holyrood, the… Read more

Party-Logos

Ukip's logo is quite successful – in communicating a spirit of gung-ho crapness

11 October 2014

Now that the conference season is over, we can compare not just the party policies, but their logos too. Last week’s Tory conference taught us the patriotic adaptation of their… Read more

Bill Kristol

America's sofa samurai are at it again

11 October 2014

The time-honoured saying that England’s great battles have been won on the playing fields of Eton is a lot of hooey. Blücher was the real winner against Napoleon at Waterloo,… Read more

Comforting domesticity: Alan Johnson with his stepdaughter Natalie and daughter Emma

Boy, can Alan Johnson write

27 September 2014
Please, Mister Postman: A Memoir Alan Johnson

Bantam Press, pp.327, £16.99, ISBN: 9780593073414

Alan Johnson’s first volume of memoirs, This Boy, is still in the bestsellers’ list, but the Stakhanovite postman has made a second delivery, timed impeccably for the party conference season.… Read more

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-CORRESPONDENTS

Is America headed for tyranny? It is when the other side's in charge...

23 August 2014
The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America F.H. Buckley

Encounter Books, pp.424, £18.99, ISBN: 9781594037191

For the last 50 years Americans have been decrying the increase of presidential power whenever the party they oppose is in office.  Republicans hated to see Kennedy and Clinton throwing… Read more

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Photo: Getty)

26 July 2014

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

Nixon

Richard Nixon – comeback kid

26 July 2014
The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority Patrick J. Buchanan

The Crown Publishing Group, pp.392, £22.50, ISBN: 9780553418637

Winston Churchill once said of politics that it’s ‘almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics — many… Read more

Malcolm Rifkind (left) Photo: AFP/Getty

The truth about being a politician’s child

31 May 2014

It was a Friday morning in 1992, Britain had just had an election, and I was on an ice rink. No special reason. You’re in Edinburgh, you’re a posh teenager,… Read more

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Is full employment just another of George Osborne’s political stunts?

5 April 2014

‘Full employment’ usually means the lowest achievable rate of unemployment — somewhere south of 5 per cent compared with 7.2 per cent today, or to put it in numbers, fewer than… Read more