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Fraser Nelson

Budget 2013: How George Osborne ran out of ideas

Before every Budget, George Osborne always seeks the advice of various MPs. He usually doesn’t heed it but it’s a good way, he thinks, to keep the troops happy. As the economic headwinds have strengthened, this advice has tended to be increasingly radical and in a recent meeting with the Free Enterprise Group of Tory

Defending the real Downton Abbeys

From a horrific Victorian murder to its role as a royal refuge from Nazi invasion, Newby Hall has known enough genuine drama to make a primetime telly series. And in fact the more you find out about Newby, the more strikingly similar it is to TV’s actual stately star: Downton Abbey. It’s almost spooky. Not

In praise of rude nerds

The call centre problem — I’ve solved it. I now know how to get good service. The secret is to keep ringing back until you get a rude operative. Because, in this world at least, rude is the new polite. Admittedly it only works for technical help-lines, rather than call centres in general. But boy

The birth of the Walking Book Club

In they stride, in muddy trainers or wellies, swirls of cold air caught on their clothes, children in off-road buggies, dogs bedraggledly in tow. I’ve always been thrilled that so many of our customers at Daunt Books in Belsize Park and Hampstead come in fresh from Hampstead Heath. Growing up in north London, I’ve spent

Russell Brand on heroin, abstinence and addiction

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_07032013.m4a” title=”Peter Hitchens vs Damian Thompson on whether addiction exists” startat=39] Listen [/audioplayer]The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday. I had received ‘an inconvenient truth’ from a beautiful woman. It wasn’t about climate change (I’m not that ecologically switched on). She told me she was pregnant and it wasn’t mine. I

Investment special: Tax allowances – use them or lose them

As if to demonstrate that every silver lining has a grey cloud, next month’s top-rate tax cut also means there will be less help in future from HM Revenue and Customs to boost high earners’ retirement funds. So there are just a few weeks left in which people fortunate enough to be able to write

Investment special: Springtime for stockbrokers

You know you’re in a bull market when bad news is simply shrugged aside and even the most indifferent events are greeted exuberantly. The result of February’s Italian general election, which drags the future of the eurozone back into question, would have induced market panic had it come nine months ago. But the world’s equity

Investment special: Gaining from a housing recovery

The long period of dormancy for Britain’s housing market looks as if it is coming to an end — though there are huge regional differences. Central London remains exceptional, with the influx of overseas buyers into Kensington, Chelsea and adjoining neighbourhoods creating a microclimate of surging prices that has little to do with economic fundamentals