Featured articles


James Forsyth

Grounds for optimism

Before the summer, the occupants of Downing Street were being worn down by coalition, battered by bad news and demoralised by dire economic data. One No.  10 source says: ‘We were all so depressed we wanted to slit our wrists. But now we’ve got our confidence back.’ This is just as well, for the electoral mountain

Dave’s going down

By now, it will be clear even to David Cameron that he is on course to lose the next general election. The British electoral system always was rigged against the Conservatives, and his hopes for changing that were dashed by Nick Clegg before the summer holidays, when he scuppered Tory plans for boundary reform. All

Up in the air

Like the War of Jenkins’ Ear in 18th-century Anglo-Spanish relations, Heathrow is becoming something of a totem in the fight for the soul of the Conservative party. Whether you prefer your new runways to the east or west of London positions you on the other great issue of the day: who should be leader. If

Doctor Hunt

‘I would like to be the person who safeguards Andrew Lansley’s legacy,’ says Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, as he sits in his new office. Hunt is touchingly eager to praise his predecessor. He predicts that Lansley ‘will be seen as the architect of the modern NHS’ and stresses that he is in regular touch

The professorial President

Is Barack Obama really as clever as he looks? Ever since he first appeared in the public eye, it’s been taken as read that he’s a major intellectual. Liberals say, in fact, that brilliance is his greatest flaw. He’s too academic, too nuanced; too eager to understand both sides to be an effective leader. The

Was Lennon really a genius?

It was 50 years ago today… well, this week, that the Beatles released their first hit single, ‘Love Me Do’, on 5 October 1962. Within 12 months, John Lennon and the other three Beatles were household names throughout the world, and in the years since then Lennon’s reputation has expanded with each new wave of

Strangers on a train

If I subtracted from my life all the time spent either thinking about sex, or engaging in behaviour calculated to achieve it (by which I mean most of my social life and career choices); or dealing with the consequences of having achieved it (by which I mean all of my romantic life), well, I don’t

Tweet revenge

First rule of Twitter: if you don’t use it, you can’t understand it. Nor should you try to: it is a kind of digital crack cocaine for a tiny minority addicted to gossip. In the old days, political gossip had to be exchanged in bars, corridors and (famously) urinals of the Commons. Twitter delivers these

Return-free risk

Voltaire said it best: ‘Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.’ Investors seeking certainty — safety, in other words — are in for a shock: there is no longer any such thing. How did we get into such a terrific mess? Rather than rehash the causes of the financial crisis and the

Danger in the mines

The London Stock Exchange recently unveiled a glossy new guide to best practice in corporate governance for companies quoted on its platforms. This must be regarded as a timely exercise, given the increasing domination of the FTSE100 by natural resources groups with operations in the most exotic corners of the world. In its desire to

Profit among the ruins

The place to look for investment bargains, said the fund manager Sir John Templeton, is not where the news is good, but where it is really bad. Today that means looking for advantage amid the volatility and extreme valuations which the crisis in the embattled eurozone has brought in its wake. The strikes and riots


Catalonia Notebook

We sang a hymn called ‘Poble en Marxa’ at the beginning of Mass in the working-class parish of Sant Blai. ‘Marxa’ was not a reference to the bearded prophet of revolution; it’s just the Catalan way of spelling marcha. People on the march. There was a lot of it about. In Barcelona, a million (the