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How Cameron could make the EU a winning issue (and why he won’t)

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth, Mats Persson and Matthew Elliott discuss Europe” startat=60] Listen [/audioplayer]Imagine if David Cameron actually meant it. Imagine if he really did follow through with his implied threat to campaign for Brexit in the absence of better terms from Brussels. You can picture the televised address. An oak-panelled background with a large

Italy’s in terminal decline, and no one has the guts to stop it

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth, Mats Persson and Matthew Elliott discuss Europe” startat=60] Listen [/audioplayer] Rome   The Rome Opera House sacked its entire orchestra and chorus the other day. Financed and managed by the state, and therefore crippled by debt, the opera house — like so much else in Italy — had been a jobs-for-life trade union

It’s time to shave that beard: the decade of the hipster is over

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Harry Mount and Aleks Eror discuss hipsters” startat=1572] Listen [/audioplayer]Calling all hipsters, it’s time to get the razor out! You have hit peak beard. You’ve had a decade of getting away with those narrow, short trousers and the studiously thought-out socks; with the Victorian archdeacon beards and the shaven sides to your heads.

Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_Oct_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth, Matthew Engel and Tom Holland discuss counties” startat=785] Listen [/audioplayer]Just over 35 years ago, in August 1979, Christopher Booker wrote a cri de coeur in The Spectator calling for the return of England’s ancient counties and the repeal of the 1972 Local Government Act, under which most of them had been

Saratoga Springs: the opposite of a one-horse town

In the sweltering heat of Manhattan, even the prairie plantings on the High Line looked dusty and tired. I usually steer clear of the city in summer, but this year I arrived in the middle of August. It was the night of the supermoon and I went down to the river to try to catch

A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline

My grandfather was born in a huge white house on the Baltic coast of eastern Germany, and ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by this enigmatic tideless sea. I’ve travelled along its southern shore, from Germany to Estonia, but I’d always wanted to sail across it, and last month, at last, I

Eight of the best river cruises

While ocean liners are hardly butterflies, they have a habit of flitting carelessly between countries, often visiting several within a week. A river cruise, however, takes its (relatively few) passengers to the heart of a country, the aim being to seduce with dramatic, ever-changing vistas and evocative insights — cruises for the connoisseur, if you

Visiting the Greek islands in a reverse Tardis

In Huddersfield, where I grew up, a town-centre department store boasted a ‘cruise wear’ section. In the window display the gentleman dummies wore deck shoes, starched white shorts and flannel jackets, while the ladies struck elegant poses and held designer sunglasses in their slender moulded hands. In Huddersfield, the opportunities to flaunt such clothes were

Discover the blissful peace of Laos

There’s a company I came across the other day called Value Added Travel. And despite the horrible name, it seems to be doing good business — which got me thinking. If I were starting a travel business I’d be tempted to name it something along the lines of Guaranteed To Make You Feel Better About

It takes an elephant to get my teenage son up early

Having just turned 13, my boy Ferdy doesn’t really do early mornings. Indeed, during the summer hols we rarely glimpsed him before noon and then only fleetingly whenever he chose to assemble himself a triple-decker jam and Nutella sandwich and flee back upstairs to his darkened room and repeats of Top Gear on his iPad.

Notes on...

Why I’ll never want to escape Portmeirion

My husband and I stay for a week most summers in Portmeirion, the strangest and loveliest ‘village’ in the world. Built amid 20 miles of woodland on the peninsula of Tremadog Bay in Wales, it was called ‘a home for fallen buildings’ by its creator Clough Williams-Ellis, a local landowner. It was opened in 1926,