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The Spectator’s Mission

190 years of The Spectator   5 July 1828   The principal object of a Newspaper is to convey intelligence. It is proposed in The Spectator to give this, the first and most prominent place, to a report of all the leading occurrences of the week. In this department, the reader may always expect a summary

Ideas in the cinema

190 years of The Spectator   19 November 1937 Not even the newspapers can claim so large a public as the films: they make the circulation figures of the Daily Express look insignificant. The voice of Mr Paul Muni [who stars in The Life of Emile Zola] has been heard by more people than the

The honour of the Brigade

190 years of The Spectator   11 December 1915   The road was full of troops. Columns of infantry slogged along at the side. Guns and ammunition-wagons thundered down the paved centre. Motor despatch riders flew past with fresh orders for those in rear. The men sucked their pebbles in grim silence. It was no

Spice girls back sceptics on Europe

190 years of The Spectator   14 December 1996   The Spice Girls were at the time the biggest girl group in the world, their debut album selling 23 million copies. The interview brought the magazine its highest sales figure for a generation Interview the Spice Girls, I thought. But the Spice Girls are interviewed

Are Trump’s tariffs a good idea?

Yes Supporters of the global free-trade regime that has been built up over the past 25 years like to think of themselves as capitalists. Benevolent capitalists, perhaps — ones who have only the interests of the world’s poorest workers and their own nations’ least wealthy consumers at heart — but capitalists nonetheless. So why is

Here We Come A-Wassailing

Andrew Michael Hurley’s debut novel, The Loney, was an unsettling gothic horror story set on a bleak stretch of the English coast. It was first published in October 2014 by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher. It won the Costa First Novel Award in 2015 and went on to be named Debut Fiction Book of

Theresa May has no one else to blame for this chaos

If there is ever an inquest into who torpedoed Theresa May’s chances of winning the 2017 election outright, the answer should not be in doubt. The Prime Minister was the author of her own destruction – or, at least, the staggering and needless destruction of her party’s majority. The decision to hold an early election

Jenny McCartney

May’s Irish bailout

If the election result has severely weakened Theresa May, it has correspondingly strengthened another female politician – Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party leader, who could be seen beaming with delighted party colleagues at the election count in Northern Ireland. After a stormy year there — in which the devolved Assembly collapsed amid allegations that

Alex Massie

Nicola Sturgeon, the second biggest loser

Comeuppance is a dish best served scalding hot. That’s the first thing to be said about this glorious election result. Like Ted Heath, Theresa May asked ‘Who governs Britain?’ and received the answer ‘Preferably not you’. Her election campaign — a word that grants it greater dignity than it merits — will be remembered for

Rod Liddle

Boris Johnson is not the answer

I would direct you to Liddle passim for why we are now in this state of chaos. Even if Theresa May hadn’t run the worst election campaign in living memory (again, passim) she still wouldn’t have increased her majority by much at all. I knew that as a fact, an absolute certainty, on the day

Ross Clark

Generation wars | 8 June 2017

British general elections have often evolved from contests between parties into battles between two opposing themes or ideas. In 1964, it was modernity vs the grouse moors; 1979, trade unionism vs individualism; 1983, Cold War strength vs unilateral nuclear disarmament. This year was supposed to be the Brexit election, yet instead developed into something loosely

Is boarding school cruel?

Yes Alex Renton Last week some 20,000 children under the age of 14 packed their bags to return to boarding school for the summer term: a migration unique in anthropology. The habit was born of necessity for the rural gentry in the 18th century, and it became customary for the wealthy and aspirational in the

The Dwelling

Charlie Zailer wasn’t sure if she’d won or lost. On the victory side of the equation, she’d managed to avoid spending Christmas Day with her sister, and she’d successfully blamed it on work. Her ‘Sorry, but I have to go in for at least a few hours’, delivered in a tone that suggested it was

Have you ever had a prayer answered?

Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury There have been lots of wonderful answers to prayer over many years, including recently. One I remember was as a 15-year-old sitting in chapel with the prospect of three frightening tests that day, for which I had done no preparation, and praying that if I got through it then I

Emily Hill

Julia’s Baby

Julia should not have come to the wedding. That much was clear as soon as she arrived. Late, she was, and massive in belly. Her hat festooned with tropical fruit; her dress — hideously colourful. She made the hinges shriek on the great church door and winced, as it slammed shut, with a shudder. Puffing

Can the NHS afford the healthcare we want?

The NHS is rarely far away from a crisis. Even so, the last few months have been particularly tough. The junior doctors’ strikes have grabbed the headlines, but perhaps even more worrying for the future of the NHS is the state of its finances. Trusts are falling deeper into debt, yet the biggest budget squeeze

Mrs Badgery

Wilkie Collins’s ‘Mrs Badgery’, rarely seen since its first publication in Dickens’s Household Words magazine in September 1857, is an enchanting little chip off the block. Like a lot of British short stories, it is absurd, very funny, and in uproarious bad taste. British writers have often enjoyed stories of making a home, and also

Social Media: Enjoy the food, not the Twitter feed

Sriracha, for the uninitiated, is a chilli sauce, thicker and sweeter than Tabasco, with a garlicky tang. They eat it in Thailand and Vietnam, though the world’s top brand is made in California with a distinctive rooster on the bottle. Once you have Sriracha in the fridge, you find yourself adding it to many ad