Featured articles


Gender wars: the Union’s new battle line

When Rishi Sunak had dinner with Nicola Sturgeon last week, the idea was to show he was interested in a friendly relationship: a ‘constructive dialogue’. Liz Truss had dismissed Sturgeon as an ‘attention seeker’ who was ‘best ignored’, but Sunak preferred a more positive approach. He was keen to pose for pictures afterwards. This new

Why are our prisons still in lockdown?

When the Covid pandemic began, one fear was that the virus would tear through prisons and cause up to 5,000 deaths. The prison service, at its best in a crisis, introduced lockdowns and control measures. These were effective and, from March 2020 to September last year, only 207 prisoners died having tested positive for Covid-19

The strikes have lost their power

The dead went unburied and the rubbish piled high in Leicester Square. Then a suntanned Jim Callaghan arrived back at Heathrow from a summit in Guadeloupe to tell reporters, in words fairly paraphrased in the Sun headline: ‘Crisis. What crisis?’ The Prime Minister said that he didn’t think the rest of the world, looking at

The dumbing-down of BBC Radio 3

In March, Alan Davey will step down as the controller of BBC Radio 3. His role over the past eight years has been huge. Not only has he overseen programming and strategy for Radio 3 and BBC orchestras, but he has also championed access to contemporary music and focused on forgotten past composers, many of

Boris Bondarev: Why more Russians aren’t defecting

Boris Bondarev’s Twitter profile sums up his past, present and future in three short phrases: ‘Russian diplomat in exile. Stop the war. The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ – a quote from Wilfred Owen’s 1918 denunciation of patriotic hypocrisy. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 42-year-old Bondarev quit his job as

The joy of a modern house

We have been in our new home for four months and although getting here was hell, the living is almost heaven. I am rather surprised to be in a modern house after 40 years of living in ones built centuries ago. How would I feel without any nooks and crannies, twisting staircases, elm floors and

The faith and the fury: my father Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson – who was a columnist for The Spectator from 1981 to 2009, and who died last week – did not merely write history: he helped to make it. His first book, The Suez War, published in 1957 with an introduction by Nye Bevan, documented the evidence that eventually led to the resignation of

The art of darts

I don’t watch television, which – given I’m a TV producer – is a little unusual. I suppose, just as professional chefs so often confess to living off cheese toasties, there is little joy to be had in bringing the office home. I make only one exception: the darts, which I am confident in saying