High life

High life | 6 July 2017

A funny thing happened on my way to lunch last week. I opened the Daily Mail and read a few snippets about the Camilla–Charles saga by Penny Junor, stuff to make strong men weep with boredom. But then a certain item caught my eye: ‘Camilla and the Queen finally met in the summer of 2000,

Low life

Low life | 6 July 2017

Up on the fifth floor the wind was like thunder. Wild gusts shook the window glass so violently I thought it might smash, which lent the occasion an unexpected drama and significance. I couldn’t entirely shake off the faint and appallingly egotistical suspicion that the universe strongly approved, or strongly disapproved, or something. My digestive

Real life

Real life | 6 July 2017

Last night, I had dinner at the M25 services. I don’t mean I stopped for a break mid-journey. I mean I purposefully got into my car and drove from my house to a service station on the M25 because it was the only place to eat. This is not quite what I envisaged when I

More from life

The turf | 6 July 2017

Having spent three quarters of my life covering politics and the other quarter following racing, I am often asked what the two have in common. One answer is that politicians are often gamblers. David Cameron tried to solve his party’s divisions over Europe by launching the Brexit referendum and failed spectacularly when an irritated electorate

The trouble with diversity training

Is diversity training snake oil? According to its proponents, women and minorities are not competing with white men on a level playing field when it comes to career advancement because of the ‘unconscious bias’ of their white male colleagues. The solution, if you’re the CEO of a large company, is to pay a ‘diversity consultant’

Wine Club

Wine Club 8 July

As readers well know, we love Pol Roger champagne at The Spectator. We like to think of it as pretty much the house pour. It’s used at all our events and also simply to calm our nerves at the end — or, occasionally, the start or middle — of a testing working day. We can’t

Spectator Sport

The keys to the kingdom await

Give them all peerages as far as I’m concerned: if you can pick up a gong for bunging a few quid to a political party, you surely deserve something if Sonny Bill Williams practically tears your head off. This marvellous, heroic British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand has been one for the ages,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 6 July 2017

Q. ‘Alfred’ is a friend of 30 years’ standing who has just married for the first time. Alfred retains all his charms but his wife is a horror show who carps and criticises our beloved friend in front of us. The only plus is that she is often away on business. Alfred has a country


Cold foam and spindly legs

Bibendum is a hushed restaurant on the first floor of the Michelin House on the Fulham Road. (Bibendum is the name of the Michelin Man; as such, he is the only restaurant mascot I can think of who is a morbidly obese drunk, and here of all places. It is a noble gesture in a

Mind your language


The most tired cliché in English, suggests ​​Orin Hargraves, the American philologist, is at the end of the day. I’ve just read a review in the Times Literary Supplement of his book on ​​clichés, It’s Been Said Before, published not this year, or in 2016, or 2015, but in 2014. This seems an admirable attitude