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Fraser Nelson

Alex Salmond sets out his terms for Ed Miliband

‘Would you like a glass of pink champagne?’ asks Alex Salmond at 3.30 p.m., sounding very much like a man settling down for the afternoon. It’s Monday and Scotland’s former first minister has cause to celebrate. He spent the previous day musing on television about the price he’d demand for the SNP supporting Ed Miliband

Lord Freud: the man who saved the welfare system

It was mid-October and Downing Street was in a panic. Lord Freud, the welfare minister, had been secretly recorded suggesting that disabled people could be paid less than the minimum wage. Labour demanded Freud should go. The No. 10 press office was briefing journalists that he would be out within hours. Craig Oliver, excitable Downing

Belle Gibson and the pernicious cult of ‘wellness’

Belle Gibson was a publicist’s dream: a ‘wellness guru’ and young mother with a wholesome blonde beauty, a wide white smile, and just enough tattoos to look modern. She had already encountered appalling adversity for one barely into her twenties: in 2009, she revealed, doctors had diagnosed her with malignant brain cancer and told her

In praise of messy old kitchens

‘I love my new kitchen heart of the home let’s fill it with friends happy.’ So says the thought bubble in the current ad for the estate agents Rightmove, part of their ‘Find your happy’ campaign. Don’t even get me started on the lack of punctuation — or the use of ‘happy’ as a noun.

The return of the fountain pen

Every working day before I start pounding the keyboard of my ridiculously flashy 27-inch iMac, I perform a little ritual. I straighten the fountain pens I keep on my desk, and make sure they are fully inked. Though I always have an eye for my next acquisition, I currently have just six pens, which are fuelled

Notes on...

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican. Our guide, Tonia, takes us through security, and within minutes we are in a nearly empty Sistine Chapel. In an hour it will be crammed with tourists — sweating, gawping, getting in each other’s way.