Featured articles


Sex acts

Poor Eddie Redmayne. Just because he looks quite like a girl, he finds himself a spokesperson for the burgeoning trans movement. Recently, he was forced to explain to those of us watching BBC News that ‘the notion of gender being binary’ is now considered ‘antiquated’. People are very excited about being trans at the moment.

Cameron’s great escape

The last time David Cameron sat down with The Spectator for an interview, he was on a train and looking rather worried. There were just weeks to go until the general election and the polls were not moving. At the time, almost no one — and certainly not him — imagined that he was on

What I got right

All wings of the Labour party which support the notion of Labour as a party aspiring to govern — rather than as a fringe protest movement — agree on the tragedy of the Labour party’s current position. But even within that governing tendency, there is disagreement about the last Labour government; what it stood for

Faith is left, right. . . and central

There was, of course, something very special about the House of Commons debate on Syria earlier this month. The moral challenge of how to face those who embrace evil without limits, the long shadows and sombre memories generated by military actions past, the divisions within parties and between friends, the wrestling with conscience that brought

What’s wrong with Hillary

The presidential campaign here in the land hymned by one of its earliest immigrants as a shining ‘city on a hill’ looks more and more likely to boil down to electing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. It is of course possible that the party of Lincoln and Reagan will not go completely off its meds

Seasonal advice from the great and the good

Clare Balding I love a good walk on Boxing Day followed by watching the racing at Kempton. Avoid the internet. Be present in the moment, enjoying time with family rather than being distracted by online conversations. Alain de Botton My favourite ritual is reminding everyone involved that we will, of course, be having a sad

The wings of winter

Crisis relocation. A term from the Cold War. It means being somewhere else when it happens. When the threat of the Soviet Empire was as much a part of daily life as tea and toast, there were fixed plans to shift our leaders out of harm’s way at the whiff of the first missile. Birds

Charles Moore vs David Hare: a one-act play

  Charles Moore and David Hare sit in the editor’s office at The Spectator, Hare on a brown leather chesterfield, Moore opposite him on the striped sofa once favoured by the former editor Boris Johnson for naps. Hare and Moore disagree on everything from God to Thatcher; capitalism to the Iraq war. But as Moore

The year of the cad

Now that former Central Office favourite Mark Clarke has been banned for life from the Conservative party, he could pursue a career in copy-writing. He seems to have a twisted aptitude for that sort of thing. When leading the Tories’ general election RoadTrip 2015 of young activists, many of them peachy girls, Mr Clarke was

The joy of physics

Physics is said to go deeper than other sciences into the riddle of existence. The laws of physics — gravity, energy, motion, time — underpin those of chemistry, astrophysics and meteorology combined. So an understanding of the world requires a basic understanding of physics; something which has just become a little easier thanks to a

Afghanistan’s new agony

Amid all the chaos in the Middle East, the breakdown of borders and states, a new threat is fast emerging. The key strategic bulwark to stabilise the region is a strong Afghanistan. But after 15 years of occupation by western troops and a trillion dollars spent, it now appears to be going the way of

‘All he did done perfectly’

In March 2006, I went looking for a hunter in Ireland. In a yard somewhere in Co. Limerick, I tried out a six-year-old bay and a five-year-old liver chestnut. ‘The bay had the better turn of speed,’ I recorded, ‘but was troublesome in the mouth. The build of the liver chestnut was also better. He

Ed Balls’ Christmas Day starter recipe

Cooking the Christmas dinner is my job in our house. And I love it. All those courses and juggling of logistics. The annual realisation that our oven is too small to cope with the scale of my ambitions. Ladling goose fat from the pan. And a family meal which — just once a year —


Say ‘Pisa’ and everyone thinks of the Leaning Tower. Fair enough; it’s a curiosity, and the tourist board must be pleased that Mussolini’s plan to straighten it came to nothing. It stands, or leans, next to the cathedral in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and beyond the cathedral is the Baptistry, one of the most beautiful

More features

Mrs Badgery

Wilkie Collins’s ‘Mrs Badgery’, rarely seen since its first publication in Dickens’s Household Words magazine in September 1857, is an enchanting little chip off the block. Like a lot of British short stories, it is absurd, very funny, and in uproarious bad taste. British writers have often enjoyed stories of making a home, and also


Notebook | 10 December 2015

This time last year I was running around excitedly telling all my friends that I had an African president in the family, something none of them could boast. My younger daughter Theo is married to Sasha Scott, son of Dr Guy Scott, who was president of Zambia from October 2014 to January 2015, and the

Australian Notebook

 Margaret River, Western Australia I’m here for a food festival, and to help along my autobiography. The Blonde had cashed in turn-left, en-suite tickets, and said we were going to take the twins. I pulled faces and sucked my teeth, and whined that it was an awful long way, and it would mostly be work.

London Notebook | 10 December 2015

I’ve spent much of the autumn and winter shooting my new TV series for BBC1. New Blood looks at the so-called ‘Y’ generation and focuses on two 25-year-olds who fight crime but who spend as much time worrying about their university loans, finding somewhere to live, arguing with each other and trying to kick-start their

Christmas Notebook | 10 December 2015

As I strolled through the aisles in a large department store, I almost choked when I read a large display that blared: ‘Don’t forget to treat your pussy at Christmas…’ with relief I read the rest of the ad: ‘…and your bow-wow too!’ Beneath the dubious banner lay a massive display of beautifully wrapped chew