Had Theresa May won the election with the landslide she expected, she’d have fired several of the cabinet with her trademark brutality. They knew who they were. And last Monday, three of them took the opportunity to tell the Prime Minister where she had gone wrong. In the first meeting of the political cabinet since she blew her party’s majority, Philip Hammond asked why there had been no economic message in the campaign.
At last, there is light in the north. The long Scottish Tory winter has finally ended, giving way to the freshest spring imaginable. Just ten days ago, leading Scottish Tories believed they might win half a dozen seats at the general election. Even on election night they struggled to accept the reality of what was happening. ‘Ayr? Really?’ But they did win Ayr. And Stirling. And Angus. And Gordon. And Moray.
Readers of The Spectator will be familiar with the argument that climate change, like Britpop, ended in 1998. Raised on a diet of Matt Ridley and James Delingpole, you may have convinced yourself that climate scientists, for their own selfish reasons, continue to peddle a theory that is unsupported by real-world evidence.
You may also have picked up the idea that the ‘green blob’, as it has been called in these pages, is somehow suppressing the news that global warming is a dead parrot.
Since the election, Jeremy Corbyn has been parading himself as prime-minister-in-waiting. ‘Cancellation of President Trump’s State Visit is welcome,’ he tweeted this week, ‘especially after his attack on London’s Mayor and withdrawal from #ParisClimateDeal.’ The message was clear: unlike ‘Theresa the appeaser’, Jeremy is willing and able to tell that climate change-denying Islamophobe across the water to get stuffed.
Why do we do it? We really need to stop supporting the snake-oil industry. We know there is no such thing as a miracle diet, a magical health cure, a mystical practice or a strange (and always expensive) product that is going to make us youthful, happy and, above all, thin.
When Planet Organic first opened in Westbourne Grove, it was a great shop, with a butcher, fishmonger and baker as well as a good range of veg and groceries.
At the start of the year, a Facebook friend messaged me, telling me that she and a chum had been asked to leave their north London book group (how I hugged myself on reading those words!): she for posting a link on Facebook to a Spectator piece by me — pleasingly and rather reasonably headlined ‘The Brexit divide wasn’t between young and old but Ponces and Non-Ponces’; her friend for liking it. I was naturally fascinated, my curiosity driven by righteous indignation and unrighteous glee.
While Theresa May flounders in a mess of her own making, Emmanuel Macron is striding out on to the sunlit uplands of French politics. Six decades after Charles de Gaulle set up the Fifth Republic, his seventh successor is charging ahead with his attempt to restore a quasi-monarchical authority to the occupant of the Elysée Palace. After three hollow presidencies, the 39-year-old hope of the European reformist centre is bent on turning the clock back in terms of presidential power with a broad-based electoral appeal, positioning himself above the sclerotic political world that has alienated most voters and blocked structural change in France since the 1980s.
In springtime in our family, we always have the same old argument: where should we go on our summer holiday (I know, I know — we should have booked it months ago). Every year I make the same suggestion, and every year I’m shouted down. ‘Let’s go back to West Middlewick Farm,’ I say, more in hope than expectation. ‘No! There’s nothing to do there!’ reply my wife and teenage children. ‘But that’s exactly why I like it,’ I protest, before we go and book an overpriced villa in Spain or Italy.