Katy Balls

The Tory cadets who want a shot at the top

When Conservative prime ministers face a problem of logistics – from ambulance-driver shortages to border-force failures – there is a solution they like to fall back on: send in the military. When Boris Johnson was London mayor, he welcomed David Cameron’s decision to invite the army to help with the Olympics after the security firm

A win for the film critics of Bradford

As a general rule, you should never talk about a film you haven’t seen. But The Lady of Heaven is proving a tricky film to catch. Plus whole crowds of people are talking about it without having seen it, so perhaps my joining in won’t do too much harm. Although it sounds like it might

Boris Johnson is my great white sperm whale

‘Steady on, old chap. You’re a bit hard on the boy.’ The arm around my shoulder was that of Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley. I remember where we were standing – it was outside the entrance to the Birmingham International Convention Centre – and I remember the occasion: a Conservative party conference. But which one? All

Does advertising matter?

‘Stop! Don’t fast-forward. I love this advert!’ How often do you say that? Considering that some commercial breaks run to five minutes, not often enough. How about, ‘Oh no, not again, I can’t stand this advert’? Mm… nightly? According to recent research by the Pull Agency, a brand consultancy, promotion that strains to impress consumers

The Spectator's Notes

Boris’s cheerers will feel cheated if he goes

It was reported gleefully that Boris Johnson was booed as he entered St Paul’s Cathedral for the Jubilee Thanksgiving service last Friday. This was true but – as the BBC did add, though sotto voce – he was also cheered. Listening to the recording, I thought the cheers were a bit louder than the boos,

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