Featured articles


Ross Clark

Councils of despair

Local authorities are slashing vital services, but keeping extravagant offices and salaries – and handing blame back to David Cameron We are, of course, all in this together. It is just that an awful lot of people feel that they are rather further in it than anyone else, and believe that while they are drowning

Family trees

How Rachel Johnson became the voice of Britain’s forests Clueless, aimless, rudderless, directionless. Labour’s disarray has left the task of holding the government to account in the hands of volunteers and publicity-seekers. The result is pop-up opposition, scrutiny by happening. Groups of protestors coalesce around a famous figurehead and raise merry hell until the coalition

Hong Kong Notebook

I have an aunt who is a 90-year-old Chinese Catholic nun. Until last year she was confined to a wheelchair, badly arthritic, and totally blind, but then a miraculous operation gave her back sight in one eye. Last week, to celebrate the Chinese New Year, she bravely travelled from her home in Wicklow to Hong

The Disneyfication of death

Why are children’s graves now littered with toys? Is a graveyard a public amenity or an arena of self-expression? An Essex council recently ordered grieving families to remove ‘decorations’ from the tombs of their dead children. ‘One councillor claimed that it looked like Poundland,’ said Anne Lee, who was asked to remove the wind chimes

In the beginning was the crossword

On Thursday evening, a stream of distinguished visitors poured through the doors of 22 Old Queen Street. These were the readers who had applied and been picked to attend a party to celebrate the publication of the 2,000th Spectator crossword. Tom Johnson, aka Doc, crossword editor, presided over a roomful of dons, doctors, vicars and

Mother of the revolution

The Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi, 80, has joined the struggle that she has dreamed of since she was a child Cairo The atmosphere in Tahrir Square is festive. The protestors, in their bid to force President Hosni Mubarak to resign, have set up a tent city, sleeping out in the square so that it cannot