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Fraser Nelson

. . . and I won’t be Boris Mark II

As soon as votes were counted in the race to be Tory candidate for London mayor, Zac Goldsmith’s problem became clear. He had won comfortably, but just 9,200 party members bothered to vote — compared with the 80,000 who took part in Labour’s contest. Goldsmith praised his party for a ‘civilised and constructive’ debate, unlike

I won’t be Corbyn’s man in London . . .

Sadiq Khan has long been known as one of Labour’s most pugnacious politicians: someone who likes to fight, and likes to win. The son of a bus driver, he became a human rights lawyer, entered parliament in 2005 and that same year was named newcomer of the year at The Spectator’s parliamentary awards. He ran

From Celtic tiger to pussycat

After a healthy Irish lunch I drove blithely off through the streets of Roscrea, I think it was, to find that everywhere I went the populace was cheerfully waving at me, smiling, gesticulating or blowing horns. When I stopped to ask them why, I found that I had left on the roof of my car

Planet of the canapés

Even the name is pretentious. And something of a misnomer, too. After all, a canapé comes from the French word for ‘couch’ — the idea presumably being that a garnish of some kind or other sits on top of tiny slices of bread or small crackers in the same way that tasty people plonk themselves

How to spot a charity snake

How do we judge a charity? Very badly, it turns out. Until The Spectator revealed the full horror of Kids Company in July, not even the press had asked hard questions of the charity or its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh. The subsequent political scrutiny showed our democratic process at its best. When Paul Flynn, a veteran

Where’s the joy gone?

Have you seen Spectre, the latest Bond film? If not, the opening sequence is terrific. Lots of action and excitement. The whole film is full of stunts and thrills. But after watching it, I realised there was something missing: joy, or joie de vivre. Daniel Craig plays Bond like an android who has spent too

Bye, George

The race to be London Mayor is the biggest personality contest in politics. And one personality looms largest: George Galloway, back from Bradford and seeking his fortune on the capital’s streets. In his public appearances, the Respect party leader has been on his usual bombastic form. But dig a little deeper, and it becomes apparent

Faroe Islands: A whale of a time

‘Have a good holiday, Camilla. Don’t kill any whales.’ That’s not the normal goodbye I get when leaving the office, but then I’m not normally off to the Faroe Islands. The country isn’t that far from the UK — in fact, we’re the nearest neighbour, with Scotland 200 miles to the south. But it’s not

United States: Deep South, full strength

My new friends and I are sitting outside what’s fast becoming my favourite bar in the world: the Under the Hill Saloon in Natchez, Mississippi. Already one man has held forth on the presidential campaign to anyone who’d listen — which, given how entertainingly he did it (‘Donald Trump? Pure white trash’) was most of

The pleasures of Puglia

If Italy is the elegant, over-the-knee boot plunged into the Mediterranean, then Puglia is the narrow peninsula that forms its spiky stiletto heel. The word that springs to mind regarding Puglia is trullo — miniature stone structures that look like igloos, and in my experience are the ideal devices to convince your kids to holiday

United Arab Emirates: Leaves in the desert

It’s not so much the volume of deals done in the agents’ enclosure, the number of exhibitors or the size of the conference hall it takes place in. It’s not even — though this can be a key indicator — that the local sex workers take the week off. Nope: you know your book fair

France: #ToutsAuBistrot!

My word, I do like the French! That’s up there with things I thought I’d never say, like ‘Just the one, please.’ But after spending three days in Paris two weeks after the Islamist massacre, I have become their biggest fan. Yes, I’m fully aware that the Parisiennes aren’t the French –— but the pedants

Pacific Islands: The wildest time

‘Think dogs in wetsuits,’ said our guide of the cluster of sea lions at our feet on San Cristobal, one of the remote collection of 19 volcanic Pacific islands slap bang on the Equator that make up the Galapagos. Struggling awkwardly up black lava rocks or even there along the sands of Cerro Brujo, the


Benghazi notebook

In their interview in the Christmas edition of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth asked the Prime Minister whether he now considered that his intervention in Libya had been a mistake. David Cameron accepted that matters could have gone better since the fall of Gaddafi, but insisted that ‘what we were doing was preventing

Notes on...


Seferis’s line about his native Greece, ‘Our country is a closed in place, all mountains’, haunted my mind as I traversed Albania. I had gone in the hope that Albania now would be like the southern Europe of my student days. The news in brief is: it is, and it isn’t. First impressions of Tirana, the