Latest from Coffee House

Latest from Coffee House

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

Why does the National Trust hate itself so much?

In its latest bout of self-hatred, the National Trust has declared that ‘people from the global majority are widely under-represented in the outdoors, accounting for only 1 per cent of National Park visitors in 2019’. That’s despite 15 per cent of the population in England and Wales being represented by the global majority. It’s one

Russia and China have never been equal partners

Barely a week after inaugurating himself as president once again, Vladimir Putin has gone to China – his first foreign trip of his new term. He is accompanied by a rarely seen entourage of all the principal ministers of state, the head of the Russian central bank, leading industrialists and top managers of state-controlled companies. 

Steerpike

Independence shouldn’t mean end of Union, claims SNP backbencher

Back to Scotland, where it appears even the SNP’s own politicians have lost faith in the party’s raison d’être. One of First Minister John Swinney’s backbenchers, Emma Roddick, has apparently decided that an independent Scotland shouldn’t mean the end of the Union — despite her party having argued for secession for decades while many separatists

The criminal justice system is on the brink of collapse

When a vast, complex system fails it first does so slowly, and then all at once. I fear that the justice system in England and Wales is about to collapse. The prisons are effectively full. An average of 1,362 more people are imprisoned each week. What will happen when there’s no room for them? Last

Steerpike

Listen: Keegan in excruciating muddle over ‘woman’ definition

Who’s been educating the Education Secretary? If ‘what is a woman?’ was an exam question, Mr S is certain Gillian Keegan would’ve flunked the test — given her abysmal performance on the BBC’s Today programme this morning… The Education Secretary was on the airwaves today after she wrote for the Sun on the government’s plans

Lisa Haseldine

Putin can’t hide how dependent he is on Beijing

Vladimir Putin has arrived in China for a two-day state visit, the first since the start of his fifth term as president. The trip began in Beijing, where Putin met with Chinese premier Xi Jinping for the first of several talks. There remained a distinct sense that once again Putin has come to Beijing with

Freddy Gray

Trump vs Biden could be the worst presidential debate in history

Ding ding ding! Trump vs Biden, the debate rematch, is on – so brace yourselves for the worst presidential tussle in history! This time, ladies and gentlemen, they’re four years older. The truth is Trump does not have a very good record in presidential debates In 2020, in the first presidential debate of a Covid-riven election,

Philip Patrick

Will this stop players mobbing the referee?

The European football governing body Uefa has informed competing nations at this summer’s Euros that only team captains will be allowed to approach referees to dispute decisions. It is hoped this will reduce the amount of pressure placed on referees and allow for smoother and more orderly officiating. So, two’s company but three or more

Gavin Mortimer

France is spiralling out of control

The cold-blooded execution of two prison guards at a Normandy motorway toll on Tuesday has shocked France. It is for many commentators and politicians incontrovertible evidence of the ‘Mexicanisation’ of the Republic. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has told the escaped prisoner and his accomplices that they will be hunted down and punished, but it better

Lloyd Evans

There really is no hope for Rishi Sunak

Bad news for Rishi Sunak at PMQs. Caught out by Sir Keir Starmer, he handed Labour a wonderful soundbite for the next election: Rishi, the crimewave king.  Sir Keir opened by calling Rishi a ‘jumped-up milk-monitor.’ He mocked his ‘seventh relaunch in 18 months’ and called it a war against ‘that gravest of threats, colourful

Steerpike

Oxford U-turns in chancellor ‘wokeism’ row

Uh oh. The dreaming spires are once again caught up in controversy. Ministers have accused Oxford University of attempting to ‘stitch up’ its chancellor selection process to stop another white, male politician from taking the top job. Now, after a number of senior politicians urged the uni to rethink its plans, Oxford has finally thrown

Lisa Haseldine

Zelensky feels the pressure as Russian offensive intensifies

Volodymyr Zelensky this morning cancelled all of his upcoming foreign trips. He was scheduled to travel to Madrid on Friday to meet King Felipe VI. The news was announced by the president’s press secretary, and comes as Ukrainian troops struggle to hold back a renewed offensive by Russia in the Kharkiv region. Recognising the urgency

Isabel Hardman

Starmer calls Sunak a ‘tech brother’ in rowdy PMQs

There were no defections today at Prime Minister’s Questions, which probably put Keir Starmer in a slightly stronger position, ironically, given the fuss about Natalie Elphicke crossing the floor last week. The Tories have so thoroughly trashed their former colleague that the most damaging thing Labour could probably do now would be to send the

Everything is an emergency after SNP rule

After nearly 17 years in office the Scottish government has finally accepted the truth: it is incompetent. It has declared a National Housing Emergency – effectively a vote of no confidence in itself. ‘Honest’ First Minister John Swinney has thrown up his hands and said: it’s a fair cop, in anticipation of the Scottish parliament

Why can’t Starmer be honest about reforming the Lords?

Sometimes life comes at you fast. Barely 18 months ago, Sir Keir Starmer, beginning to scent general election victory in his future, pledged to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected chamber as part of a project to ‘restore trust in politics’. By Tuesday this week, the Labour leader in the

Steerpike

Will Ofcom ‘grow a backbone’ over politician presenters?

What comes around goes around. Instead of Ofcom doing the scrutinising, the media regulator found itself under the microscope this week. On Tuesday, Ofcom’s CEO was hauled in front of peers on the Communications and Digital Committee during its inquiry into the future of news. After the regulator was recently urged to ‘grow a backbone and

Ed West

The plot to erase the Anglo-Saxons

Sea-thieves messenger, deliver back in reply,tell your people this spiteful message,that here stands undaunted an Earl with his band of menwho will defend our homeland,Aethelred’s country, the lord of mypeople and land. Fall shall youheathen in battle! To us it would be shamefulthat you with our coin to your ships should get awaywithout a fight,

Stephen Daisley

Why are Scottish nationalists so thin-skinned?

Scottish nationalists are not happy. What’s new, I hear you ask. Did they lose another leader? Has Sainsbury’s been selling Somerset strawberries in Stornoway supermarkets? Nothing quite so grave, but they are displeased nonetheless. The cause is Rishi Sunak, who has offended them with his Big Serious Speech at Policy Exchange on Monday. It was just a single

Labour rent controls would be a disaster

‘Rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city — except for bombing,’ declared Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck in 1971. Lindbeck may have belonged to the political left but he understood basic economic principles. He knew that far from lowering prices, rent controls only lead to disaster. If only

King Charles’s first official portrait is a triumph

The first official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation has been unveiled. Both the artist Jonathan Yeo and the King should be delighted: the vast oil on canvas, which was seen for the first time at Buckingham Palace today, captures a remarkable likeness of the King. One particular work of his might give

The Tories can’t even organise a crackdown on rainbow lanyards

A suggested government ban on rainbow-coloured lanyards in the civil service has, perhaps unsurprisingly, proved divisive at the highest reaches of government. The idea for the ban came from Esther McVey, officially a minister without portfolio but more widely known as ‘the minister for common sense’.  In a speech on Monday, McVey suggested that permanent