Matthew Parris

Another Voice | 23 May 2009

Sleeping with Agatha Christie and the ghosts of guests past in Syria’s Baron Hotel Do you believe in ghosts? I wish I did, for were I to entertain the flimsiest hope that some relic of a personality could haunt a place where once they were, then I should not have slept a wink last night,

Politics | 23 May 2009

It is typical of Michael Martin that his laughably short resignation statement contained a fundamental misunderstanding of parliament. ‘This House is at its very best when it is united,’ he said. The precise opposite is true. Gordon Brown and David Cameron’s places are precisely two sword lengths apart because it is intended to be an

The Spectator's Notes

The Spectator’s Notes | 23 May 2009

By chance, Mr Speaker had invited me to a party on Tuesday evening. I had decided, rude though it would have been, to attend, but to tell him to his face that he should go. But by the time I got there, he had. All emotions went into reverse. The reception was in aid of

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New wine in old bottles

Lucinda Baring meets Simon Berry, chairman of a 200-year-old company that’s more modern than it looks  Berry Bros & Rudd in St James’s Street epitomises the idea of an old-fashioned wine merchant. Outside, the façade has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Inside, the panelling, desks and uneven wooden floor transport you to an era long

Brown’s nemesis awaits — and his name is Brian

Who will finally sit Gordon Brown down with a bottle of whisky, a loaded revolver and a copy of his own book on courage, and tell him the game is up? You might imagine the task would fall to Jack Straw, flanked by a couple of union bosses. In fact, it’s more likely to be

It’s Groundhog Day for Obama’s economic team

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, there lives a fat rodent called Phil whose job it is in the middle of every winter to tell us how much longer we must suffer through the cold and dark until spring. Phil is a groundhog and his annual prediction is taken very seriously. There is even a celebrated film about

Standing Room | 23 May 2009

I am not one of those who believe that God made the highways solely in order for motorists to inherit the earth. But any milk of human kindness flowing through my veins curdles when I am driving on the Embankment during the early morning rush hour. I have to make the big sacrifice of not