The Spectator

19 January 2019

The rebel alliance

Backbench MPs want to take back control of Brexit. Will they succeed?


High life

Taki: Should I just move to a cave in France?

Gstaad   Do any of you know what cisgender is? I just found out. Cisgender is a term that describes…

Low life

Hell — and heaven – on the French Riviera

The restaurant was packed with vulgar rich people. It was fabulous

Real life

Despite me virtually sexting him, my blacksmith is ignoring me — just like all the others before him

Splitting the atom is nothing compared to figuring out how to get hold of your farrier. Why is the farrier…

The turf

In defence of the Cheltenham Festival

As the writer of a history of the festival, I have no doubt it is one of the best managed course in Britain



2018 ended on a very sweet note for my team. We played the London Year End one-day teams tournament —…

Spectator Wine

Wine Club 19 January

Well, I’m glad that’s over. Christmas and New Year’s Eve that is. What a ghastly palaver. It went on for…



The 2018 UK Knockout, won by Gawain Jones, ahead of Luke McShane (silver) and Michael Adams (bronze), was played in…

Chess puzzle

no. 537

White to play. This position is from Jones-McShane, UK Knockout, London 2018. White’s next move was the start of a…


Unauthorised version

In Competition No. 3081 you were invited to supply a parable rewritten in the style of a well-known author. Like…


Stout and bubbly

According to Brewer, a five-word phrase was used to describe a creature, but applies also to a three-word fictional character.…

Christmas crossword solution



No sacred cows

Yes, the Brexit debate is robust – but UK politics is moderate, calm and civil

There’s a scene in Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s masterpiece about the collapse of western civilisation, in which a…

The Wiki Man

The TWaT revolution: office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only

I recently saw a series of photographs depicting a rural home in China. Pride of place in a grimly furnished…

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: We have new friends but can’t bear to eat in their filthy kitchen. What to do?

Q. I note that (Dear Mary, 12 January) you advised your correspondent, resentful of Christmas expenditure, to offer instead ‘mutual…


Forget Dry January – if there was ever a month to drink, this is it

January really is the cruellest month. No wonder some fortunate friends have dodged the column of dreary weather and short…

Mind your language

What lies behind John Bercow’s use of the word ‘colleagues’?

The parliamentary press gallery has in the past given a pair of silver shoe buckles to the Speaker as a…

The Best of Coffee House

Gillette and the rise of woke capitalism

The politicisation of consumer products is one of the weirder developments of recent years. First, Oreos came out in support…

The Best of Coffee House

Theresa May’s confidence vote problems will only get worse

Theresa May is in a peculiar position after suffering the largest government defeat in history. Her Brexit plans look dead…

The Best of Coffee House

Who can spare us from this Brexit disaster?

God help us all, because no-one else can or will in these present circumstances. If you wished to apportion some…