Katy Balls

The art of losing an election

There’s a new default conversation for Tory MPs at any Westminster drinks party: is this 1992 or 1997? Is the party doomed or not? In 1992 John Major became the only prime minister to have been 20 points behind in the polls and then gone on to win two years later. But in 1997, with

‘Truth’ is not subjective

Once upon a time, a fox with a large bushy tail and a disingenuous smile changed his name from Reynard to ‘Chicken Little’ and applied for a post in a local hen coop. During the interview for the position, which was conducted by members of the Scottish National party, he wore red plastic wattles, which

America’s colour blindness

How many black cops does it take to commit a racist hate crime? The latest correct answer is ‘five’. That’s the number of policemen in Memphis who have been fired and charged with second-degree murder for the killing of Tyre Nichols. Last month Nichols, who was himself black, was pulled over by the officers. They

I know where the Met police are going wrong

I have a puzzle for the Metropolitan police – a mystery that only they can solve. Why, if the Met is so short-staffed, do they hang around in groups? Why do officers clump? Why are some crimes completely ignored, but at other minor incidents the Met appear en masse? In London side streets I come across

The Spectator's Notes

The Ukrainian flag conundrum

If you walk down Whitehall, you will see numerous Ukrainian flags on government buildings. I approve the sentiments. Like many all over the country, we fly the Ukrainian flag in our garden. But is it right that the flag should be flown by HMG? On what basis, and by whom, is such a decision made?

Any other business

Is corporate ‘purpose’ falling out of fashion?

Does a change of chief executive at Unilever, the British-based shampoo-to-Marmite multinational, signal the demise of the fashion for corporate ‘purpose’? Alan Jope, who steps down in July, drew scorn when he declared that every brand in his portfolio should ‘stand for something more important than just making your hair shiny… or your food tastier’.