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‘Money, money, money’

[audioplayer src=”http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/thegreatbritishkowtow/media.mp3″ title=”Listen: Fraser Nelson and Jonathan Mirsky discuss Britain’s attitude towards China” startat=35] Listen [/audioplayer] The Dalai Lama is a connoisseur of absurdity. When we met in London on Monday I reminded him that two years ago, desperate to resume relations with China, No. 10 said it had ‘turned the page on that issue,’

The great British kowtow

Any British Prime Minister who meets the Dalai Lama knows it will upset the Chinese government — but for decades, no British Prime Minister has much cared. John Major met him in 10 Downing Street, as did Tony Blair. These were small but important nods to Britain’s longstanding status as a friend of Tibet. Of

Why Putin backs Assad

At the outset of Syria’s brutal four-year civil war, I was an almost unique voice in the British media deploring the push to depose the secular dictator President Bashar al-Assad, especially in the absence of a genuinely popular uprising against him. Here in The Spectator I tried to point out that such a short-term strategy

The royal road to peace

Watch the videos of 1950s Iraq on YouTube and you glimpse something close to an idyll. It’s true that Pathé News was not big on gritty realism, but history relates that here it was not using a heavily rose-tinted lens; Hugh Trevor-Roper even went so far as to describe Iraq at the time as a

Corbyn’s salvation

On religion, Jeremy Corbyn is interestingly moderate, circumspect — not the angry atheist you might expect. In a recent interview with the Christian magazine Third Way, he said his upbringing was quite religious: his mother was a ‘Bible-reading agnostic’ and his father a believer, and he went to a Christian school. ‘At what point did

Trouble brewing

‘Milk?…Milk!’ rages Nirmal Sethia, clutching the side of the table in ill-disguised apoplexy. ‘If you put in milk and sugar then you have destroyed the taste! Destroyed it!’ I apologise and say I will happily drink my Earl Grey black. The truth is, I don’t have much choice, because I am trapped in a basement

Pigs, pranks, but no Dave

I attended the Piers Gaveston Society in the mid-1980s, when I was at Oxford in the year above David Cameron. The parties were debauched and tremendous fun. But Dave was not there. The most remarkable figure at the heart of the Gaveston was Gottfried von-Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor’s great-great-grandson who, after his untimely death at

Notes on...


Each year when I see the first conker of the autumn I think: fire up the ancestral ovens! This incendiary thought comes from the Ronald Searle cartoon in Nigel Molesworth’s How to be Topp of a sooty retainer sliding a tray of the young master’s conkers into a brick oven. School cads, Molesworth tells us,