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The mighty should quake before the Wiki man

As Robert Lindsay demonstrated unforgettably as Wolfie, leader of the Tooting Popular Front in Citizen Smith, anyone who shouts ‘Power to the People!’ can end up looking a prize idiot. So let me throw caution to the wind and say that this is precisely what the web, new media and mobile technology offer us, if

The Intelligence2 Debate

The motion: Britain Doesn’t Need Trident Harrowing stuff. Helena Kennedy QC began by invoking the memory of Hiroshima. ‘Peeling skin, melting eyeballs. People on pavements vomiting and waiting for death.’ Though she made the pacifist argument Lady Kennedy wasn’t suggesting that to scrap Trident was ‘some wild left-wing peacenik plan’. She cited conservative figures like

There is a great deal to be said for living in a tip

In 1864 a Talmudist named Jacob Saphir arrived at Cairo. He made his way to the district confusingly named ‘Babylon’ after a Roman fort. There he visited the ancient Synagogue of Ben Ezra, and after complex negotiations he gained access to the Geniza, or treasury. The keepers provided him with a ladder and he climbed

Brown has outsourced British foreign policy

Now we know. Until now, we Americans have been wondering whether we were witnessing from the new boy on the foreign policy stage a cock-up or a considered change in Britain’s policy towards the United States. When Gordon Brown exclaimed that he would never have appointed the man who wears his hatred of the American

This Middle East summit is a distraction that will achieve little

The Annapolis Middle East summit won’t produce anything more than a commitment to hold another meeting. But the real worry is that Condoleezza Rice’s intense focus on the Israel Palestine question could distract her from more pressing matters in Iraq, Pakistan and North Korea. It must all have been so different in their dreams. Scroll

‘The largest thorn in the side of Gordon Brown’

Alex Salmond is excitedly brandishing his new House of Commons security pass. ‘Look at the expiry date,’ he says. ‘May 2010. That’s the latest date for a general election.’ By then, on his calculations, Scotland will be seven years away from independence. Each MP has to choose a four-digit security code for the card, and

Beowulf: a digital hero from England’s lost culture

‘Beowulf! How’s your father?’ shouts Anthony Hopkins as Ray Winstone steps out of the boat which has brought the Geats’ tribal leader from Sweden to Denmark. As a way of grabbing attention it probably works better than ‘Hwaet!’ — the narrator’s initial injunction to sit up and listen in the original text. This may be

Westminster politics has nothing on Oxford’s battles

In the last month, another respected international survey placed Oxford and Cambridge joint second to Harvard in the league table of world-class universities. This confirms what others have suggested in recent years. Moreover, other British universities — most notably London’s Imperial College and University College — came out high on the list. There are, alas,

The Threadneedle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards

The Threadneedle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards Last Thursday the 24th annual Threadneedle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year lunch was held in front of a roomful of the great and good at Claridges, and — this being the first ever live ‘vodcast’ award ceremony — in front of thousands of web-watchers worldwide as well. Matthew d’Ancona,