As election day approaches, David Cameron talks to Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth about Tory principles, where his campaign went wrong, and what might happen if he doesn’t winTo gauge how much trouble David Cameron is in, one need only check his smile. In the days when he enjoyed a seemingly impregnable lead over Labour, he appeared fretful and inactive. But when he meets The Spectator on a train to Southampton, he is wearing a grin.
A swan won’t take your eye out, says Rod Liddle. So why the health and safety paranoia?Never mind hung parliaments and the ending of the two-party dominance of British politics (a notion I seem to remember being mooted in about 1982) — here’s the important question of the week: was the BBC right to provoke that swan?It’s a story you may have missed while worrying yourself stupid over who to vote for, or the fact that the Greeks are skint again, or Icelandic ash sending planes spiralling to earth like sycamore keys in an autumn gale.
I am not sure that I quite envy James Delingpole, cast as a teddy bear-carrying social climber in When Boris Met Dave, Channel 4’s drama-documentary about the future Tory leader’s time at Oxford. But I do feel a bit peeved that my generation is about to seize power and I can’t even claim a bit part. If Channel 4 were minded to delve into Nick Clegg’s time at Cambridge I wouldn’t even make that — for the simple reason that in the three years I spent there with him I failed even to hear of him.
Among the many complaints I have heard about this unsatisfactory election is this one: it is impossible for the general public to get rid of a thoroughly unpleasant, or corrupt, or dangerous politician if he (or she) sits in a safe party seat or in the Lords. Such people can thumb their noses at us, and do. But there could be a thoroughly satisfying way of meeting this need, and one with wider applications than mere politics.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that reason and religion are mortal foes. Reason deals a death blow to religion; religion is clearly irrationality on stilts. If only religion didn’t exist, reason would rule the world and there would be no more wars, tyrannies or murderous hatreds. It follows therefore that religious people are either stupid or unbalanced and are inimical to progress, modernity and happiness.
Stanley Johnson was a volcano victim — stranded in Spain with thousands of other British holidaymakers. Fortunately, the Royal Navy was on hand to bring him home in styleLast week was quite extraordinary. My wife Jenny and I landed at Madrid airport on Monday afternoon, having flown overnight from Ecuador. We should have had an onward connection to London that afternoon, but because of the spreading cloud of volcanic ash, there were no flights.
Asking NHS staff to call a medical hotline — rather than their boss — when they feel ill has cut ‘sickies’ by a quarter. Martin Vander Weyer meets the man behind the schemeIt’s Monday morning and you’re feeling a bit below par. Maybe it was last night’s kebab, maybe it’s the bug that’s going round your children’s school. You ring a workmate and ask her to tell the boss you won’t be in and you’re not sure when you’ll be back.
When Winston Churchill, as a young cavalry officer, found himself fighting the fierce tribesmen who inhabited the imposing mountainous terrain that defined the Indian empire’s northern border, he provided a graphic account of the brutality of the enemy the British force encountered.When Winston Churchill, as a young cavalry officer, found himself fighting the fierce tribesmen who inhabited the imposing mountainous terrain that defined the Indian empire’s northern border, he provided a graphic account of the brutality of the enemy the British force encountered.