It feels odd to start a column having failed to persuade oneself that what one proposes is sensible. My problem…
I have spent a day committing to oblivion by far the greater part of a man’s whole life’s work.
It isn’t often that political commentary presents us with a perfect portrait — a neat and simple miniature in oils — of where a faction is going wrong.
This is a humdinger of a tale.
David Cameron is absolutely right to avoid at all costs a confrontational tone in ministers’ approach to the coming showdown with the public sector unions.
It is no criticism of our redoubtable corps of foreign correspondents to remark that once an arena goes (in the modern military jargon) ‘kinetic’, sociology goes out of the window.
It was never likely that Chris Huhne’s agonies over what will sooner or later be called Penaltypointsgate would arrive unaccompanied by a rash of commentary about revenge.
Politicians are not normal people. They are weird. It isn’t politics that has made them weird: it’s their weirdness that has impelled them into politics. Whenever another high-profile minister teeters or falls, the mistake everyone makes is to ask what it is about the nature of their job, the environment they work in and the hours they work, that has made them take such stupid risks. This is the wrong question. We should ask a different one: what is it about these men and women that has attracted them to politics?
There’s something wrong with these diaries.
When the Alabama governor George Wallace described intellectuals as ‘pointy-heads who couldn’t ride a bicycle straight’, he coupled two insults.
When I was young, all the traffic lights in central London had black iron flambeaux, about the size of your forearm, at the top of each pole.
I know it’s absurd, I know it’s juvenile, I know that awards ceremonies are perfectly ludicrous occasions for everyone except the winners and their mothers, but I am what I am, competitive, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.
This week I narrowly failed to reach the Mediterranean coast of Spain from the north of England by train, within the daylight hours of a single day.
The Spectator of March 2030 will wonder how the immense, mature, formidable, intelligent, capable, rational western society of 2011 got itself into such a tizz about the Arab world.
Dawn on Tuesday last week found me bobbing around in a small sailing boat in Sydney Harbour, yards from the wash of two of the world’s greatest liners: Cunard’s ocean liner Queen Mary 2, and the company’s enormous new cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth.
Here’s something that continues to perplex me.
‘Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading the newspapers,’ said the American writer Ben Hecht, ‘is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.’ This is as true of commentary as of news, and presents a Fleet Street commentator with a dilemma.
I enjoy BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions and feel privileged when I am asked to join Jonathan Dimbleby’s panel.
Before we sit an exam, we revise.
The presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme was doing a quick round-up of the weather on a freezing December morning, just before signing off at 9 a.m. Very cold all over Britain, he said. Later there would be ‘snow in the north of the country’. ‘Which country?’ I thought.
It can be a diplomat’s duty to be undiplomatic.
Debates between columnists can be tiresome, but Douglas Murray writes so well that when he is wrong he is dangerous.
Paradoxical I know, but I must first explain that there’s little point in my writing this, and somebody else should.
Two words have been everywhere touted during this political season: ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’.
Matthew Parris offers Another Voice