Featured articles


Ross Clark

University challenge: the next education crisis

On the insistence of university authorities, freshers’ week will be an online affair this year. But if this autumn is not much fun for students, it will be a lot less fun still for university staff whose admissions system has just been thrown into turmoil by the A-level results debacle. While some institutions now face

It’s time to end Tory uniphobia

Before the exams meltdown, universities were losing both friends and influence on the Tory benches. They were deemed to be on the ‘wrong’ side of the referendum and then enemy combatants in a low-level culture war. The ministerial message to young people was shifting from the sensible ‘you don’t have to do a degree’ to

The Foreign Office has lost the plot in the Middle East

Last Friday the UN Security Council rejected any extension of the arms embargo on Iran. That embargo — imposed in 2007 — began to get phased out after the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. But a ‘snapback’ provision was put in place intended to allow the return of all such sanctions should Iran violate the terms

The tragedy of the EU’s failed member state

My father’s faith in communism evaporated during a summer of backbreaking work at the docks on the Black Sea. Like all good young Bulgarian communists, he had to undertake a few months of hard labour during university holidays, unloading cargo before going back to his studies. He saw then the way the economy worked —

Beware of beaver fever

Exmoor has just witnessed the first beaver birth in more than 400 years. Last August, fisherman Simon Cooper argued for caution when it comes to reintroducing the extinct species. The verdict is in: hooray for beavers! The rodents that once roamed the wetlands of Britain, hunted to extinction in the 16th century, have been gradually

Hirohito, the war criminal who got away

This month the global media marked the 75th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cities’ destructions were momentous indeed, but the coverage has squeezed out other memories of the Pacific War. Who remembers Japan’s genocidal campaign in China that killed more than 20 million people — thousands of them

Solved: the mystery of the uncomfortable train seats

Readers may recall Matthew Parris’s Spectator article from August last year, ‘Who’s to blame for my terrible journey?’ From 2016 onwards, many rail operating companies, including Thameslink and GWR, began introducing new carriages with ‘ironing board’ seat designs. ‘My buttocks ache at the very recollection,’ Matthew complained. He demanded to know who was responsible and

Notes on...

The joy of an illegal rave

Every time I read that Britain’s anti-coronavirus measures are being jeopardised by a ‘small minority of senseless individuals’ holding illegal raves, my heart soars. Maybe there’s hope for the youth after all! I’d been beginning to wonder. In my experience, kids of about university age have been priggish and obedient about the government’s rules during