High life

High life | 28 March 2019

New York   This place feels funny, a bit like Beirut, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druze and encamped Palestinians live together but separately, with one or two million Syrian refugees completing the mix. Over here the once-ruling Wasps are now irrelevant, having moved to their country clubs in the suburbs. The Chinese are creeping up,

Low life

Low life | 28 March 2019

I’ve swapped my carer’s tray in Devon for a barrow and spade halfway up a cliff in the south of France. Right next door to the modernised, carpeted cave in which we live is a concealed cavern, home for hundreds of years to troglodytes (the ceiling is black with soot from their fires) and their

Real life

Real life | 28 March 2019

‘This clean sock regime is really annoying,’ said the builder boyfriend, as he rummaged through his newly inaugurated top drawer. I had toyed with the idea of giving him two small drawers as I did last time he graced my domestic arrangements with his presence. But this time I gave him the entire chest: that’s

More from life

The turf | 28 March 2019

As jockeys, trainers, punters and media folk gathered at Newbury on Saturday to say farewell to Noel Fehily, the ultimate professional who fittingly rode Get In The Queue to victory in his final race before retirement, I couldn’t help contrasting his departure with the picture of her Cabinet allies and those lovely forgiving folk in

Wine Club

Don’t call Corbynistas ‘cultural Marxists’

Suella Braverman, the Conservative MP for Fareham, said yesterday that the radical left is increasingly hostile to open debate and is now obsessed with ‘snuffing out’ freedom of speech. And how did the radical left respond to her comments? By trying to snuff out her freedom of speech. It was almost too perfect: a politician

A snap election simply cannot happen – and yet it might

Here are the reasons why there must be and cannot be a general election. First, the drivers of a general election: 1) Tomorrow, MPs will start the process of identifying, via so-called indicative votes, a route through the Brexit mess that a majority of them can back. 2) This process is likely to continue next

The shame of Jacob Rees-Mogg

Until this morning Jacob Rees-Mogg had had a remarkable Brexit. From being an obscure backbencher he had risen, without any formal position, to being just about the most powerful figure in the Conservative party after the Prime Minister. He controlled a party within a party, influencing the votes of seventy or so MPs. He became

Wine Club 30 March

I’m acutely aware that we rarely offer champagne in these pages, other than the occasional treat from our beloved Pol Roger (the Speccie house pour), largely because I’ve never found one that’s good enough or well-priced enough. Well, crikey, thanks to Esme Johnstone of fromvineyardsdirect I’ve finally now found one. The Arlaux Champagne Premier Cru,

No sacred cows

Mob rule at Cambridge

On Monday, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge university, Stephen Toope, issued a statement defending the decision of the divinity faculty to rescind its offer of a visiting fellowship to Jordan Peterson. The world-famous professor had been invited by the faculty to give a series of lectures on the Bible later this year, but was dis-invited after

Dear Mary

Your problems solved | 28 March 2019

Q. I belong to a religious congregation whose minister is politically minded. Every time I attend a service, I am forced to sit through a sermon which is bound to contain at least one reference to UK politics, unashamedly biased. The last time, at least half the sermon amounted to a political diatribe. Worse, it


Three Tories in search of solace

Three tribal Tories had gathered for a convivial glass, and also a consolatory one. One quoted Huskisson’s verdict after Goderich’s brief and worthless premiership. ‘Never surely was there a man at the head of affairs so weak, undecided and utterly helpless.’ Well, the female sex has now caught up. I said that at least she

Mind your language

Coin a phrase

My husband has been doing something useful but criminal for the past two years. He reads the sports pages, mostly of the Telegraph, or of other papers if another member of his club has nabbed the Telegraph. When he comes across something promising, he tears out a snippet, none too neatly often, and stuffs it

The Wiki Man

Too many people are innumerate

A levels, from the perspective of a ‘choice architect’, are a disaster. While pupils are free to pick and mix freely among the humanities, science is implicitly presented as an all-or-nothing package deal. Any aspiring scientist must study at least three of the big four: mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. People who want to keep