Charles moore

Everyone is a victim these days – even me

Lord Moore and I go back a ways, more than 40-odd years. I clearly remember the first time we met in editor Alexander Chancellor’s office at The Spectator. I was called in and Alexander introduced me to a fresh-looking 25-year-old Charles who had just been named foreign editor. ‘He went to our old school,’ joked Alexander, knowing full well I was not an Old Etonian. ‘I don’t remember you there,’ said I. ‘I think I was there a bit after you,’ answered Charles. Many years later, and after Charles had kept me on despite my four-month graduate studies at Pentonville, I attended a party at his and Caroline’s house. I


Charles Moore on BBC reform

Former editor of The Spectator and Daily Telegraph Charles Moore is tipped to become chairman of the BBC. Despite being proactively encouraged to put himself forward for the job of director-general earlier this year, Moore made clear he would not be applying for the role. Firstly, he didn’t think he’d get it, writing in his Spectator notebook that he is ‘not a woman’ with ‘no plans to become one’ and ‘under the BBC’s diversity rules, uniformity of gender is required’. Secondly, the job didn’t appeal. He wrote ‘bureaucracy is the enemy of creativity. The BBC can only be a bureaucracy.’ But with Lord Moore now poised to become head of the BBC

Letters: Stop talking, Rishi – and take action

Sick note Sir: Kate Andrews illuminates how, for us British, the successful diagnosis of a major medical condition is frequently a matter of chance and, even then, usually occurs later than it should (‘Why are the British so anti-doctor?’, 2 September). The near asymptomatic nature of many serious conditions combined with the cultural pressures of stoicism and reluctance to be the bearer of bad news allows many cancers, for example, to run free for years before discovery. In addition, while treatments from the NHS can be brilliant, they vary enormously across the country in terms of accessibility and availability. James Wilson  South Beddington, Sutton Spare the Rod Sir: I was

At last, the Conservatives are showing some fight in the culture war

A beautiful noise rang out last week in the wake of the news that the government is considering Charles Moore to become the new chairman of the BBC and Paul Dacre to be the head of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. The noise was the sound of the British left wailing that toys they thought were theirs alone might now (under a Conservative government) finally go to identifiable conservatives. The former editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger shrieked that ‘this is what an oligarchy looks like’. This and similar tweets were presumably sent from the lodgings of the Oxford college that Rusbridger was made principal of five years ago. Others who

Why I’m moving to England

Gstaad It is not exactly a stop all the clocks occasion, let alone cut off the telephone, but I’ve finally come to a decision. My looking-at-cows time is over. I am going to leave good old Helvetia and find somewhere nice in the green and ‘unpleasant land’ I read about in Charles Moore’s Notes last week. (Corinne Fowler, what a halfwit; now, according to her, the British countryside is racist.) Easier said than done. The reason I want to move is that I’ve had it. For the first time in my life I’m bored with my surroundings. Sixty-two years is a long time, but then Gstaad isn’t the charming little

My friend Margaret Thatcher

By the time you read this it will all be over, but will it? I’ve had a bad feeling all along about those who opposed the result of the 2016 referendum. When they don’t get what they want, they play dirty — just look what they did to Lady T 29 years or so ago. And speaking of the greatest prime minister ever, Charles Moore’s biography of Maggie, a magnificent achievement, has left me open-mouthed at his scholarship and ability to write 3,000 pages in such a relatively short time. It should be required reading in schools, but that, in turn, would require students to be able to read and

Rory Stewart: Am I still a Conservative?

My parents gave me a subscription to The Spectator in 1984, when I was 11. When I was 12, I wrote a letter to the editor, criticising the progressive views of the Bishop of Durham, and Charles Moore — who had just become the editor at the age of 27 — published it under the headline ‘Very young fogey’. Who knows what a weekly diet of The Spectator did to my impressionable mind? Is Taki responsible for my taking up martial arts? Or Roger Scruton for my views on ugly buildings? I think it was the book reviewers, so unintimidated by even the grandest book, who made the greatest impression. They

High life | 20 June 2019

Bellamy’s and Oswald’s are the two best restaurants in London. They are owned by two friends of mine — both gents, both English — and the service and food are as good as it gets. And it don’t get better, as they say in Chicago. Last Friday I got off the plane and went straight to Bellamy’s, where the owner Gavin Rankin, Tim Hanbury, annually voted father- and husband-of-the-year since 1980, and Charles Glass, left-wing author and right-wing bon vivant, were waiting. Vodka, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, beer and brandies followed. Living in Gstaad does for the mind what cocaine does for the libido. The last conversation I had back home was with

Brexit has driven me mad, but I can’t let it go

Rosé wine is, I know, considered naff. Were you unaware of this you’d fast conclude as much from the incidence of lifestyle commentary informing us that rosé is newly smart. As with those columns advising that everyone is drinking sherry now, or that some prosecco is actually OK, or that men will be wearing skirts this summer, it’s usually a safe assumption that the opposite is true but an enterprising journalist aims to surprise us with an amusing unlikelihood. Anyway, I love rosé wine and we had brought a case of pretty inexpensive stuff back from Rioja, of all places. The bank holiday weather was glorious, the llamas were frolicking

Prick up your ears

On paper and on air, there’s nothing to suggest that the Radio 4 series Across the Red Line will have sufficient listening power to draw you in so that once you’ve reached home and need to get out of the car you’ll rush straight in to switch on the radio. The billing in Radio Times describes it simply as a 45-minute show in which the journalist Anne McElvoy ‘invites figures on opposing sides of a political issue to listen to each other’. And that’s exactly what it is. A pair of talking heads tossing about a topical football, guided by McElvoy, who has as her sidekick a conflict resolution expert,

Are driverless cars the future?

  Philip Hammond’s last Budget focused on driverless cars as an example of the brave new technological world. But should we believe the hype? The Spectator arranged for Christian Wolmar, author of a new book on the subject, to meet Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather and The Spectator’s Wiki Man columnist, to talk about the future of driving and transport.   Wolmar: Let’s face it: we’re talking about a technology that will never happen. There may be some driverless cars going round Phoenix in a very limited way but the owners, Waymo, which is part of Google, are very secretive about precisely what they’re doing. The hype is being

High life | 31 August 2017

I was appalled. She had asked Lord John Somerset to ask me to join her, and I rose rather unsteadily to do so. This was during a Jimmy Goldsmith ball, and I was writing the Atticus column in the Sunday Times, as well as High life. A German girlfriend of mine at the time warned me about going over. ‘If you go to her, that’s it,’ she told me. ‘Auf Wiedersehen,’ I answered. The princess signalled for me to sit, and that’s where the appalling part comes in. I missed the chair and ended up under the table. Without missing a beat, she stuck her head underneath and asked me:

High life | 18 May 2017

At a chic dinner party last week, a Trump insider gossiped about an American president having had an affair with a former French president’s wife. Actually, Carla Bruni has denied the rumours concerning her and the Donald, although they did have a date once upon a time. It seems that everything about Trump is controversial and some of us are having a rough time defending him. If only he’d shut his mouth and stay away from Twitter once in a while. Mind you, his enemies have become so desperate, and their charges so outrageous, that the 45th president of the good old US of A might even become popular —

Bias and the BBC

Last week, Nick Robinson wrote an article in the Radio Times saying Radio 4’s Today programme no longer has an obligation to balance its coverage of Brexit. This led to criticism from Charles Moore that he was, in effect, admitting to BBC bias. The two met for a discussion in The Spectator offices. Nick Robinson: As you’re so fond of pointing out, Charles, most economists, business organisations, trade unions and FTSE 100 chief executives were Remainers. The BBC’s difficulty is that news tends to be about interviewing people in power: scrutinising them, asking tough questions. It’s right that we should go and look for other voices, look for critics. But

High life | 9 February 2017

When I was young my recurring nightmare was that I would die and be reincarnated as a polo pony. I squeezed in lots of polo during the years I played, at least three matches per week, mostly in Paris, and I felt that polo ponies had the kind of deal the mass media are now handing Trump. I wasn’t mad about the people I played with either. Back then, in the Sixties and Seventies, fat businessmen who cantered hired good Argentines to carry the can, but picked up the cup after strolling around the field and yelling quite a lot. Well, now I’m over it, but have an even worse

Brexiteers need ladders to climb down

I am worried about the mental state of many Brexiteers. The author of The Spectator’s weekly Notes, Charles Moore, always a sharp observer of the passing scene, noticed my worry almost before I noticed it myself. He complained here a few weeks ago that I’m citing among my reasons for distrusting the Leave case the fact that so many of its adherents strike me as headbangers. He went on to suggest I’ve become psychologically incapable of even listening to their argument. Personality traits displayed by Brexit-eers do indeed worry me and help inform my response to their case. To help me weigh an argument, I’m in the habit of taking

Letters | 25 August 2016

Golden age problems Sir: Johan Norberg’s ‘Our golden age’ (20 August) is absolutely right — we do live in a golden age; antibiotics still work, we have less starvation, the world is open for trade, with all its benefits. But there is a fly in the ointment: human overpopulation. Global warming (if you believe in it), degradation of the environment, extinction of species, all are consequences of it. It is a result, in fact, of our success. The only country to have grasped the nettle — China — is now having second thoughts. Perhaps wind and solar power can provide for our needs when we are 70 million in these islands; but what when

Long life | 2 June 2016

It was a famous American editor and columnist Michael Kinsley who once defined the political ‘gaffe’ as something that occurs when a politician tells the truth; and he was right, for it is usually the case that a person gets into most trouble when he publicly says what he actually believes. There were a couple of examples just the other day — one when the Queen said that Chinese officials had been ‘very rude’ to a British ambassador during a visit to London, and the other, even more embarrassing, when David Cameron described Nigeria and Afghanistan as ‘fantastically corrupt countries’. They had both been overheard while chatting with guests at

Last words | 5 May 2016

This, my 479th, is to be my last contribution as a regular columnist to The Spectator. I have written here for 33 years and 4 months, a way of life really, and one I have greatly enjoyed. I thank Auberon Waugh in absentia for suggesting me to Alexander Chancellor in the first place; and Charles Moore for keeping me on in the early years, once we were up and running. I also thank three quite exceptional arts editors: Gina Lewis, Jenny Naipaul and the doyenne of these pages, Liz Anderson. Things have moved on from my habitual think pieces, outraged rants, ad hominem demolition of palpable idiots written in the

Letters | 14 January 2016

Borderline case Sir: Alex Massie (‘The painful truth for Ruth’, 9 January) correctly identifies the challenges facing the Scottish Conservatives. But he is wrong to say it will ‘never’ be the moment for a Tory revival. Tax devolution is a game-changer. For the first time in years, the Conservative party gets to fight a Scottish battle on its strengths of economic competence; meanwhile, the SNP finally gets to demonstrate how to eliminate austerity and raise public spending — all without raising taxes. (In a low oil-price environment.) Toxic Tories? Not half as toxic as Labour are now. Post-referendum, voter positions are deeply entrenched and a party that can’t even agree on