Spectator Life

Spectator Life

An intelligent mix of culture, style, travel, food and property, as well as where to go and what to see.

Katy Balls

Hancock out, Javid in

14 min listen

Matt Hancock has resigned as health secretary this evening following this week’s scandal and his appointment has already been appointed, former chancellor Sajid Javid. Katy Balls is joined by Isabel Harman and Fraser Nelson to discuss this breaking news.

Cindy Yu

Is Hancock’s position under threat?

14 min listen

The Sun broke the news this morning that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has seemingly been up to some extra-marital exploits with his aide Gina Coladangelo, possibly breaking many of the Covid restrictions that he himself put in place. What will be the consequences of his hypocrisy? ‘This simply demonstrates that we’ve been through a period where

Isabel Hardman

What’s the plan for planning reform?

13 min listen

With the Conservatives still taking stock after their loss in the recent by-election, it seems the governments ambitions for planning reform are now firmly under the microscope. ‘When you speak to these MPs… they are absolutely convinced that planning reform is dead’ – Katy Balls  And on what would have been ‘freedom day’, there are

William Moore

The new leviathan: the big state is back

48 min listen

It seems we are in a new President/Prime Minister alliance of big government spending, should we be excited or concerned? (00:44) Also on the podcast: Are the UK tabloids going woke? (15:00)? And in the wake of the pandemic are we ready to have a grown up conversation about death?(31:11) With Spectator Political Editor James

Katy Balls

How long will political and public patience last?

11 min listen

It seems Freedom Day is no longer June 21st. The writing was clearly on the wall this morning, but now the Prime Minister has officially told the public, it is likely to be another four weeks of restrictions. ‘Conservative MPs are getting really agitated by this moving of the goal posts‘ – Isabel Hardman But after

Richard Dobbs, Tanya Gold and Rory Sutherland

17 min listen

In this episode, Richard Dobbs reads his piece on why he’s considering giving up his second vaccine for people more in need (00:55); Tanya Gold reports from her Kent road trip in a Ferrari (07:50); and Rory Sutherland on the unexpected joys of lockdown and why we may miss it when it’s gone. (12:45)

Is there a link between Asperger’s and genius?

The world’s richest man – who, beyond Tesla and Space X, is known for naming his first child X AEA-12 – generated more headlines this week, when he announced on the American television show Saturday Night Live that he has Asperger syndrome. ‘I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that’s just how my brain works,’

The problem with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s war on obesity

With his little round spectacles and earnest expression, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is the Penfold to Jamie Oliver’s Dangermouse. Both men have been largely forced out of the restaurant business due to public indifference and now spend their time writing endless cook books and lobbying the government for tougher laws on food that is deemed high in

What Gwyneth Paltrow gets wrong about long Covid

As the Covid vaccination continues to roll out across the country with impressive speed and daily numbers of cases continue to steadily fall, the allure of the gradual release of lockdown restrictions into the sunlit uplands of something resembling a more normal existence grows stronger by the day. Unfortunately for many people – latest estimates

How to channel your inner karate kid

‘I don’t wear a headband. If you want to, you can!’ says karate World Champion Jordan Thomas. ‘Don’t disillusion me, Jordan!’ I bark, perhaps a little aggressively. I’ve watched three seasons of Cobra Kai in a week and I am all about a karate headband / floppy fringe combo. Kick-ass comedy drama Cobra Kai is

Spectator Out Loud: Emma Thompson, Matt Ridley and Toby Young

24 min listen

On this week’s episode, Emma Thompson explains why Church of England cuts could lead to the devastation of the parish network. (00:55) Then, Matt Ridley explains why lockdown could have led to more deadly coronavirus variants. (10:15) And finally, Toby Young asks why he hasn’t got a peerage. (18:10)

Lara Prendergast

Biden time: can he stop America’s ‘uncivil war’?

35 min listen

Can Joe Biden unite America? (01:05) Why is the UK’s vaccine rollout its most important economic policy? (12:10) And how can re-enactments bring history to life? (22:15) With The Spectator’s economics correspondent Kate Andrews; US editor Freddy Gray; political editor James Forsyth; Capital Economics chairman Roger Bootle; re-enactor Chris Brown and historical consultant Justin Pollard.

What have we learnt from this pandemic?

So great have been the government’s failures over Covid that it would be easy to forget to give credit where it is due. The fact that Britain was the first country to begin a public vaccination programme — and this week became the first to have two vaccines in use — did not come about

Matthew Parris

My cure for the common cold

You really don’t want to know about my coughs and sneezes, particularly during the festive season, but bear with me because this it isn’t really about my sniffles. My argument applies to everyone, and it’s cheerful. All of us have a lifetime of experience of seasonal colds and flu, starting with the fact that they

Covid-19: where to get tested

It remains the case that for most people free NHS tests are only available for those taking part in pilot schemes, who have been asked to have one by health professionals, or in people or families showing symptoms of the virus. This means that some people are now looking to private providers to get tested

Lara Prendergast

Boris in a spin: can the PM find his way again?

36 min listen

After two of Boris Johnson’s most influential advisers left Downing Street last week, can the PM reset his relationship with the Tory party and find his way again? (00:58) Lara is joined by the Spectator’s deputy political editor, Katy Balls, and former director of communications for David Cameron, Craig Oliver. A coronavirus vaccine seems to

10 ways to keep fit at home

If you’re avoiding the gym because of coronavirus and you want to shake up your exercise routine then it’s easy enough to work up a sweat and torch those calories, either in a park or in your garden. Some of these exercises can even be done inside. Team Be Military Fit have created the ultimate

Sex and Relationships: the seven sexual ages of men

In As You Like It, Shakespeare suggested that there were seven ages of man. Sadly, he himself didn’t experience all of them; he shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of only 52, precisely 400 years ago. You could also say that the human male has seven sexual ages, marked by a gradual decline

Kate Andrews

Can the NHS cope with Covid?

25 min listen

At Thursday’s coronavirus press conference, Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said a second wave ‘is real and it’s serious’, as he warned that 11,000 people were already in hospital with the virus. Is the NHS able to cope with another spike in infections, and has the government adequately prepared for winter? Kate

A military guide to surviving lockdown

“Wire your booze cabinet up to the mains so you can’t get into it!” says Jason Fox, the former Royal Marine Commando and Special Forces Sergeant who’s best known for barking orders on Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins. With wine o’clock starting earlier each day for many of us, as we crawl the walls

It’s time we were honest about obesity and Covid-19

Difficult facts can be conveyed in a sensitive, non-judgemental and compassionate manner; indeed, this describes the daily practise of medicine. When obesity rears its head, however, a significant number of my colleagues in the health professions display a cognitive dissonance and determination to deprive patients of the unvarnished facts that they would not dare hide

How to avoid catching coronavirus on the tube

The epicentre of coronavirus – now more correctly called COVID-19 – remains in mainland China, and concerns about a global pandemic occurring have fortunately not been realised although in this fast-changing story this still remains a possibility in the coming weeks. The first death in Europe was recently reported in France, with nine documented cases

Does Jordan Peterson’s carnivore diet work?

Jordan Peterson has spent much of the past few years eloquently torpedoing all that the liberal progressives hold dear, and he’s not done yet. Citing a profound health transformation, the bolshy Canadian psychologist is now piling into the opinion-saturated arena of diet, and the vegans aren’t happy. But Peterson’s latest revelation is not about culture

Common medical conditions explained: high blood pressure

The condition High blood pressure is also called ‘hypertension’. Blood pressure is recorded in two numbers – the high number is called systolic and this is the pressure when the heart has just pumped. The low number is called diastolic and this is the pressure when the heart is at rest. The pressure is measured