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Lumped with Trump

 Washington, DC A few weeks ago, I attended the 40th gala dinner of a Washington think tank called the Ethics and Public Policy Center at the St Regis Hotel, just down the street from the White House. William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard and unrepentant champion of the Iraq War, was the MC

Boris needs you!

Boris Johnson is nodding along as he reads Karl Marx. To be more precise, he is standing in the Spectator boardroom reading a letter that Marx and Engels wrote to this magazine in 1850 complaining about being pursued by Prussian government spies in London. He then admires a picture of the youthful Taki chatting up

Carry on campus

Town halls and unringfenced government departments are feeling the pinch, but one corner of British public life is conspicuously flush. Visit almost any university in the land and you will find a small city bursting with Portakabins, scaffolding and cranes. If you dare to raise your eyes from the mud puddles, you will see vast

The internet’s war on free speech

The dream of internet freedom has died. What a dream it was. Twenty years ago, nerdy libertarians hailed the web as the freest public sphere that mankind had ever created. The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, written in 1996 by John Perry Barlow, warned the ‘governments of the industrial world’, those ‘weary giants of

The death of the funeral

Funerals ain’t what they used to be. Today’s emphasis is more on celebrating a life past than honouring the future of a soul. While I am not averse to a celebratory element, the funeral is morphing into a spiritually weightless bless-fest. This was brought home to me last week at the funeral of Enid, a

Guilty displeasures

Strawberries. Ella Fitzgerald. Lying on the beach. They’re three of my ‘guilty displeasures’. You haven’t heard of the guilty displeasure? That’s because the concept hasn’t been invented yet. But it needs to be — and quick. The phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ is widely known. It was coined by the DJ Sean Rowley, who, not content with

Notes on...


Looking at the programme for the feria of San Isidro in Madrid this month (bullfights are being held on 31 consecutive days), it may be hard to believe that there is any threat to the future of the spectacle — it is not a sport — of what in Spain is called la corrida (the