James Forsyth

The two tightropes that Cameron must walk on Europe

David Cameron has to walk two tightropes on Europe, and at the same time too. The first is to negotiate a deal with other European leaders that satisfies the bulk of his Euro-sceptic party. If this was not difficult enough, simultaneously Cameron has to show voters that the European question isn’t consuming all of his government’s

The Spectator at war: The blood price of victory

From ‘A Besieged Empire‘, The Spectator, 29 May 1915: All that can be seen at the present moment is that the Germans seem to be capable of supplying themselves with all essential requisites in spite of the almost complete blockade maintained by their enemies. There is, however, one consideration which points clearly to their final

Charles Moore

Is gay marriage just a fad?

Now that Ireland has voted Yes to same-sex marriage, it will be widely believed that this trend is unstoppable and those who oppose it will end up looking like people who supported the slave trade. It is possible. But in fact history has many examples of admired ideas which look like the future for a

The Spectator at war: A Cabinet of fighting men

From ‘The National Government‘, The Spectator, 29 May 1915: We have got our backs to the wall. There is no alternative to the present Ministry. If they fail us, there is nothing left. This thought should not lead to dread or anxiety, but to the very opposite. They are Englishmen, and they are not going

Legal high ban could cause row with gay voters

The Home Office has today published a bill banning a number of ‘legal highs’ such as laughing gas, poppers, and so on. There is a big debate about whether this sort of legislation is worth it, and so on, but one particular substance may cause a rather different row. ‘Poppers’, which can apparently be bought

Isabel Hardman

David Cameron’s contradictory EU stance

Of all the talks he will have with European leaders about his plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe, David Cameron was always likely to enjoy his meeting with Angela Merkel the most. And she doesn’t seem to have disappointed him, saying treaty change was not ‘impossible’ and that ‘we would like to be a


Did the New Statesman censor its censorship issue?

This week’s New Statesman, guest-edited by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, is titled ‘Saying the unsayable’. It promises to ‘address the ideas of censorship, taboos, offence and free speech’. The magazine has Stephen Fry revealing two opinions that will get him in ‘trouble’, as well as Rowan Williams writing on ‘Why religion needs blasphemy’. It was also supposed


Alex Salmond knows all about the art of politics

‘The art of politics is not to lie,’ claimed Alex Salmond on last night’s This Week. A noble sentiment for sure, but Mr S feels it’s his duty to remind readers of a story that broke in October 2013. The Telegraph reported that ‘Alex Salmond spent almost £20,000 of taxpayers’ money to keep secret legal