Latest from Coffee House

Latest from Coffee House

All the latest analysis of the day's news and stories

Julie Burchill

Show-off vicars are ruining the Church of England

It’s generally my morning habit to leap out of bed at 5am singing the Queen song ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, but on those rare mornings when I sleep in, nothing can be guaranteed to finally get me moving at 5.43am as surely as Radio 4’s Prayer For The Day. One of two things will happen;

Steerpike

John Bercow banished from The Traitors

Poor John Bercow just can’t seem to catch a break. In his never-ending quest to find some relevance post-parliament, the former MP has been thwarted at every time. First, Covid put a stop to his burgeoning career on the speaking circuit. Then a report into his bullying behaviour led to a suspension of his Labour

It’s time to eliminate the concept of ‘mental health’

The concept of mental health is a hypochondriac’s, narcissist’s, shirker’s and social security fraud’s charter: for who can prove that someone does not so feel depressed, anxious, or grief-stricken that he is unable to work? Who can distinguish between can’t, won’t and would rather not? Unfortunately, mental health has come to mean any deviance from

Patrick O'Flynn

Can the Tories avoid oblivion?

Another day, another terrible poll for the Tories – the latest YouGov survey records support for the parties at Labour 46 per cent, Conservative 20 per cent, Reform 14 per cent, Lib Dem 7 per cent, Green 7 per cent. So far, so normal for our beleaguered governing party – even if Reform has nudged

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Damian Reilly

Football obviously has a doping problem

For an astonishing length of time the attitude of football authorities to the prospect of widespread doping at the sport’s highest levels seemed best summed up in a 2017 tweet by the often spectacularly dim-seeming Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker. ‘Doping is not really an issue in football. Doping doesn’t help players play better. No

Steerpike

Watch: Galloway versus Sky News

After Rishi Sunak’s speech criticising the Rochdale result, there was only one reaction worth getting. The duty of interviewing George Galloway was left to Sam Coates of Sky News, following Sunak’s claim that last night’s result was ‘beyond alarming.’ Galloway initially played ball, telling Coates that he wasn’t taking the matter too seriously: We’re talking

Katy Balls

Sunak pledges extremism crackdown

Rishi Sunak has just appeared on the steps of Downing Street to give a speech on the need to take action after ‘a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality’ in recent weeks. On the day former Labour MP George Galloway was announced as the new MP for Rochdale, the Prime Minister said ‘this situation

We must face down the extremists

The Prime Minister has given the following speech tonight outside 10 Downing Street. In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality. What started as protests on our streets, has descended into intimidation, threats, and planned acts of violence. Jewish children fearful to wear their school uniform lest

Steerpike

Hacked Off Hugh hosts fundraising bash

When Hacked Off first launched in 2011, Hugh Grant was its lead spokesman, regularly appearing on shows like Question Time to preach the importance of press regulation. And while others like the-then DPP Keir Starmer are now less keen to talk about their role in the subsequent phone-hacking scandal, Grant remains a vocal supporter of Hacked Off.

Ross Clark

Is Amnesty right that Britain has a black mould epidemic?

Are large numbers of children in Britain being killed by black mould in their homes? That seems to be the assertion made by Amnesty International in a short film featuring Olivia Colman. Colman plays a lapsed lawyer whose career is reignited by the injustice suffered by a neighbour whose baby dies. The local council housing

James Kirkup

Does Labour want an anti-CV revolution?

Alison McGovern, Labour’s shadow employment minister is one of those politicians  who are always worth watching. She combines the ability to look and speak like a normal human being – a rare thing at Westminster – with a genuine policy wonk’s fascination for data and trends and ideas.   She also has fans at the top

How Galloway won Rochdale

Labour’s defeat in Rochdale – following the party’s string of impressive by-election victories in places such as Wellingborough, in Brexit-voting middle England – will give leader Keir Starmer an almighty headache. Despite the party’s big poll lead, it shows that nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to looking ahead to the general

Lisa Haseldine

‘We are not afraid’: Russians gather for Navalny’s funeral

Today is a sad day for Russia. Two weeks after his death in an Arctic penal colony, Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most vociferous opponent, has been buried in Moscow. Thousands of mourners lined the streets in southern Moscow to pay their respects, their sorrow compounded with a sense of anger and defiance that grew as the funeral wore

Gavin Mortimer

Reform should ditch Richard Tice before it’s too late

The Reform Party has claimed that the Rochdale by-election was not ‘free and fair’. Their leader, Richard Tice, said that his party had suffered intimidation on the campaign trail including ‘vile racist abuse’. It was certainly an ugly election battle, one dominated by the conflict in Gaza – and, because of that focus, George Galloway

George Galloway will be a nuisance for Keir Starmer

The return of ‘Gorgeous’ George Galloway to the House of Commons may not be Keir Starmer’s worst nightmare, but it is certainly the recurrence of a bad dream. No one who recalls how Galloway harried Tony Blair over the Iraq war twenty years ago can deny that the new Workers Party MP for Rochdale can be

Gavin Mortimer

China’s nickname for Macron is perfect

Alexei Navalny is being laid to rest in Moscow today, a fortnight after the Russian opposition leader was found dead in a gulag in the Arctic circle. His death prompted an outpouring of grief but also anger among Western leaders. Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron expressed their sadness at the news and their

Patrick O'Flynn

Keir Starmer must stand up to George Galloway

George Galloway has done it again. As an expert in riding waves of fury among Muslim voters about happenings in the Middle East, from the Iraq War to the Gaza conflict, Galloway has turned into a skilled tormentor of successive Labour leaders.  The biggest short-term risk by far that Galloway’s win in Rochdale poses to

There is still hope for the Scottish Tories

As Douglas Ross and his colleagues gather for the annual Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen this weekend, there are good reasons for the Scottish Conservatives to feel more upbeat than their counterparts elsewhere. In 1997, Scotland proved particularly emblematic of New Labour’s landmark victory. Where the Conservative Party had held 11 seats, they now held

Nick Cohen

George Galloway’s Rochdale win should trouble Labour

The Rochdale by-election raises a question that Labour will find hard to duck in government: can a European left-wing party survive without a pro-Islamist foreign policy? They can’t win with one, as Jeremy Corbyn proved twice. But the shocking success of George Galloway last night shows that the arguments of the Corbyn years have not

Steerpike

Watch: Galloway heckled by Just Stop Oil during victory speech

You’ve got to hand it to Just Stop Oil: just when you think you’ve seen the last of the climate protest group, up they pop again. The eco-activists gave George Galloway a not-so-warm welcome back to Parliament, heckling the newly-crowned MP for Rochdale during his victory speech. Galloway was mid-flow in his speech, declaring bullishly,

Nick Tyrone

George Galloway’s Rochdale victory is nothing to celebrate

George Galloway has won the Rochdale by-election. The new MP for the town announced the result as a ‘shifting of the tectonic plates’ in his acceptance speech, but that’s not an accurate way of describing what’s just happened. It’s more like a blip and an unpleasant one at that. No one who hopes for the

Steerpike

Richard Tice and George Galloway in war of words

Following his triumph in the Rochdale by-election, George Galloway marked the occasion by dropping another bombshell. Speaking to reporters at the count, Galloway was asked about the criticisms of Richard Tice, Reform party leader, who said that his candidate Simon Danczuk suffered intimidation throughout the campaign. Yet, in a shock twist, Galloway responded by claiming

Katy Balls

Labour nightmare as George Galloway wins Rochdale by-election

George Galloway is back. The former Labour MP has triumphed in the Rochdale by-election, taking the seat from Starmer’s party with a majority of 5,697. Galloway – standing for the Workers Party of Britain – won comfortably with nearly 40 per cent of the vote at 12,335 votes. The independent candidate David Tully came in

Mark Galeotti

Putin wants to talk about Russia’s future, not the war

Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the legislature) is rarely an exciting event, but it does provide an opportunity to gauge his mood and assess his priorities. This year’s – the longest yet, at over two hours – was in many ways his stump speech for March’s presidential elections,

The Scottish Tories are facing an identity crisis

Why is the only party of the centre-right in Scotland so far away from government? As the Labour Party becomes more sensible under Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Conservatives are facing an increasingly existential threat. Their conference gets underway in Aberdeen this weekend — and the party must not waste this opportunity