High life

High life | 18 June 2015

When I founded the American Conservative 13 years ago — the purpose being to shine a light on the neocon shenanigans that led to the greatest American foreign policy disaster ever — Pat Buchanan and I held a press conference in the Washington DC Press Club to herald the event. There were reporters galore, and

Low life

Low life | 18 June 2015

Before delivering his sermon, the vicar said we must offer one another the sign of peace. He struck the first blow by stepping forward and thrusting a stiff karate hand at the nearest inert parishioner and demanding that peace be with her. I hoped to get away with shaking hands with just the pair of

Real life

Real life | 18 June 2015

Aren’t the police getting younger nowadays — and ruder, and scruffier and more intolerant of middle-class women? In other words, why am I always getting pulled over for no apparent reason? If I were a member of any other minority group I would be complaining to my community leaders of terrible bias and of hideously

Wild life

Wild life | 18 June 2015

Laikipia, Kenya   Out cross-country running on the farm in Kenya recently, I came face-to-face with a gang of bull elephants. I zigzagged away from them, keeping downwind, jogged on for a bit, then found myself following the tracks and fresh dung of a herd of buffalo. I paused my stopwatch, had a think then

More from life

Long life | 18 June 2015

My friend Alan Rusbridger has just given up editing the Guardian after a distinguished 20-year reign that has climaxed, as befits an accomplished musician and former chair of Britain’s National Youth Orchestra, with a magnificent crescendo of earthshaking scoops. He has now, at 61, ascended to more serene heights as chairman of the Scott Trust,

The best way to end the ‘poshness test’

There’s a warning buried in the detail of the new report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission on why top companies employ so few applicants from comprehensive schools: ‘Though this study provides valuable insights into barriers to the elite professions, there are nevertheless some limitations associated with the chosen research methodology. As a

Dear Mary

Your problems solved | 18 June 2015

Q. I was at the theatre recently and bumped into a well-known Liverpudlian crooner coming out of the disabled lavatory. She said ‘Don’t worry, luv, it’s fine to use them if no disabled people are waiting.’ Often theatre interval queues are long and in some of London’s better restaurants the ‘disabled toilet’ is closer, cleaner


The claret of the gods

I cannot remember a jollier lunch. There are two brothers, Sebastian and Nicholas Payne, both practical epicureans. They have made a profession out of their pleasures. For many years, Sebastian was the chief buyer for the Wine Society. As he has a superb palate and is relentless in the search for good value, he is

Mind your language

Speak human

The next Labour leader will have to be able to speak human, said a piece in the Observer. This, it argued, is because Ed Miliband was taunted for always speaking like a policy wonk. What short memories members of the commentariat have. In 2010 Ed Miliband was being praised by supporters on the grounds that



L’acqua di Bonifazio This spa town sparkles on its hilltop: hydros, park       For ballo liscio; stands For full dress orchestras, where guests remark       On benefits for glands And organs as they feel the waters percolate,       Diuretic. So, to springs Stiff couples waltz off to another date

The Wiki Man

A lightbulb moment at the self-checkout

I spent the last few days in Deal and Folkestone with Professor Richard Thaler at Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s seaside festival of Behavioural Science. On my way home I decided to stop off at M&S to buy some runny scotch eggs and a pie, accompanied by some unwanted green things to make my basket look middle-class. Finding