Featured articles


An apology to Alastair Crooke

A blog by Melanie Phillips posted on 28 January 2011 reported an allegation that Alastair Crooke, director of Conflicts Forum, had been expelled from Israel and dismissed for misconduct from Government service or the EU after threatening a journalist whose email he had unlawfully intercepted. We accept that this allegation is completely false and we

Strike and counterstrike

For years, David Cameron has known that he would have to fight the trade unions and that the outcome of the battle would define his premiership. But neither side expected to fight so soon. The unions had intended to wait until the cuts would be at their deepest and the government was at its least

I’ll be back

It has been confusing for anyone relying on the British media to fathom what has happened over the eight years of my persecution in the United States. And the volume of affecting messages I have received from the UK indicates that there remains some curiosity about it there. The short story is that a greenmailing

How did I get it right on the euro? Easy. I was racist

Do you remember the vicious debates back in the middle of the 1990s about whether or not we should join the single European currency? We don’t have that argument much any more; even the Liberal Democrats keep their traps shut about it these days and try to change the subject when any one mentions it.

Confessional culture

If you were sexually abused by a Catholic priest nearly 50 years ago, and that priest was now dying or dead, would it not be wise to keep it to yourself? This awkward question invaded my mind as I watched last week’s BBC1 documentary Abused: Breaking the Silence. It featured mature, respectable and successful men

Young Turks

Comparisons are odious, generalisations dangerous and stereotypes invidious, but without them conversation would be tedious and talk nothing but an endless regression of subordinate clauses, each qualifying what the previous one had asserted. It is cowardly and dishonest to refuse these means of arriving at truth, nor would we approach any nearer to truth were

Kings and jokers

Last year I was having a thoughtful glass of champagne with the Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell at the Spectator party during the Tory conference. We were suddenly interrupted by the Prime Minister, who greeted us warmly — ‘Hello Simon, hello Steve’ — because he’s a first-name kind of guy. Or possibly an aide had reminded

Syria’s family business

In the absence of free speech, a free media and other political mod-cons in Syria, Hafez al-Assad and then his son Bashar cultivated the convenient habit of transacting business in the shadows, advancing and protecting — brutally, when necessary — the interests of the family and their fellow Alawites. But Damascus has always remained alive

‘Anti-semitism is on the rise’

Exactly halfway through my conversation with the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, I had an attack of conscience, a small one, but there it was. Sacks had explained the thesis of his book, The Great Partnership — that religion and science don’t have to fight but can co-exist, as separate strands of inquiry. We’d discussed our