My letter from Chris Packham

I do not know Chris Packham, the BBC nature broadcaster, personally, but he wrote me a letter last month, enclosing a book called Manifesto, The Battle for Green Britain by Dale Vince which, he tells me, ‘has something very important to say at this most important time’. In his letter, Chris says that ‘irrespective of any party politics’, ‘The coming election will be the most important of our lifetimes’ because we are ‘halfway through the last decade’ left to avoid ‘the worst of climate breakdown’. So ‘we must help young voters navigate the new voting rules’. Politics has ‘become the final frontier for a real greener Britain’. What Chris does

The Lebanese always return home

Beirut You might have thought that the threat of the Gaza war spiralling into an all-out regional conflagration, along with breathless travel advice from western governments urging their nationals to leave the country, would have deterred Lebanon’s expats from flying home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year. Not one bit. Flights, hotels and restaurants were fully booked despite Iran’s drone strike. The Lebanese know that even if there is fighting (and in South Lebanon, there is on an almost daily basis), if it isn’t on your doorstep, there’s no reason to stop the party. The Lebanese know that even if there is fighting, if it isn’t on your doorstep, there’s

Liz Truss returns – again

14 min listen

It’s 18 months since Liz Truss left Downing Street and her new memoir, Ten Years to Save the West, is out. She gave her first interview to Fraser Nelson on Spectator TV, covering why she wants to abolish the Supreme Court, Donald Trump, her husband’s warning that her leadership bid would end in tears, and so much more.   We also cover Iran’s missile attack on Israel, and what might come next.  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced by Megan McElroy.  You can listen to the full interview on Spectator TV:

Why do MPs send nude pictures of themselves?

Adam Dyster has gone to work for the shadow Defra secretary Steve Reed. I admit this is not an appointment which would normally trouble the political scorers, but it is a straw in the wind. Mr Dyster was, until recently, the adviser to both the chairman and the director-general of the National Trust. As Zewditu Gebreyohanes points out in her new pamphlet, ‘National Distrust: the end of democracy in the National Trust’, it was against the interest of the Trust that Mr Dyster advised both, since it blurred the necessary governance difference between the trustees and the management. Mr Dyster was previously, in the Jeremy Corbyn era, the national organiser

Portrait of the Week: Tory phishing, tension over Rafah and Cameron in America

Home The review by Dr Hilary Cass of gender-identity services for people under 18 called for an end to prescribing powerful hormone drugs; warned that children who change gender may regret it; and found that many had experienced trauma, neglect and abuse. More than 150,000 patients had to wait more than 24 hours in A&E before getting a hospital bed last year, a tenfold increase on 2019. Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, suggested that Labour could plug the gap in its spending commitments by getting more taxes sooner from non-doms. Five Bulgarians admitted in court to stealing more than £50 million in fraudulent claims for Universal Credit. Britain held talks

Rod Liddle

A new survey that may be of interest

My favourite opinion polls are those which elicit enormous shock in the population for stating something everybody knew for ages, or could have guessed. Such as those headlined ‘People in Torquay are happier than people in Rotherham’ – goodness me, etc. Surely we are reaching the time when bland, deceitful shibboleths should be replaced by reality The polls that always occasion the gravest shock, however – despite the fact they come out every year or so – are those dealing with the views of the British Muslim community. In the lacunae between these reports their findings are completely ignored in favour of the approved set of lies with which the

Even pilgrims are staying away from Jerusalem

Israel has a new train line: 25 minutes from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem. The Christian pilgrims would love it but they’re not here. Instead, there are soldiers and visiting American Jews. My taxi driver says American Jews come with thousands of dollars of cigarettes and drive around looking for soldiers to give them to. He says American Jews love Israel more than Israelis. Then he moves his machine gun – it’s on the front seat – and says: ‘Welcome to Israel.’ The American Jews go south to the massacre sites of 7 October to stare at the bullet holes. I don’t. You can’t forget the war here. At the

Charles Moore

The London Library should leave us in peace

Reading only slightly between the lines of US foreign policy on Israel/Gaza, I detect that its most urgent aim is to get rid of Benjamin Netanyahu. The same goes for the Foreign Office and Lord Cameron. The shocking killing of the World Central Kitchen workers is being pressed into the service of this cause by London and Washington. Obviously there are lots of reasons – corruption accusations, alleged divisiveness, Anno Domini – why it might soon be time for the Israeli Prime Minister to depart, but why is that a decision for Israel’s western allies? Don’t we normally allow fellow democracies to make up their own minds who leads them,

Who put the toddlers in charge?

Regrettably, we must conclude that our culture is being dictated by two-year-olds. I do not literally mean children of two years of age, some of whom are among my favourite conversationalists. I mean people with the mental age of a two-year-old. That is, people who have never been told ‘no’ and have gone through their adult lives behaving as such. These are people who have never been told ‘no’ and have gone through their adult lives behaving as such The rot began with the green lunatics. I’m all for saving the environment. Most people are. But the moment vandalism became an acceptable way to persuade people of your cause was

Putin may seem confident – but Russia’s future is bleak

How old will you be when Vladimir Putin’s next presidential term ends in 2030? Which of today’s world leaders will still be in office? By that time Putin will have been in power for 29 years, and just under half the population of the Earth at that time will have been born during his reign. On current form, Putin is set to see in at least two more US presidents – or more, if he chooses to stay in power until 2036. Putin has made a fetish of defending a Russian national sovereignty that no one had attempted to destroy When Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in 2022 many

Plan Bibi: stalemate suits Netanyahu

48 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week we will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator to bed each week. On the podcast this week: plan Bibi In the early hours of Friday morning, Benjamin Netanyahu leaked his ‘Day after Hamas’ plan for post-war Gaza. But the plan is not a plan, writes Anshel Pfeffer – it is just a set of vague principles that do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny. Its sole purpose is rather to keep the ministers of Netanyahu’s fragile cabinet together to ensure

Idris Elba’s champagne makes the world seem less troubled

Gloom. Relentless rain out of a sullen sky enhanced an already pessimistic mood. We were talking geopolitics and agreeing that the West ought to brace itself for a hard landing. Try as we might, we could find no good news, anywhere. Where is the self-belief of the Reagan/Thatcher years? Instead, a culture war is taking place Some of us were veterans, one or two of whom had spent time in Washington in 1980, the build-up to the Reagan era and the prelude to the most successful decade in modern peacetime history, in which Margaret Thatcher played a crucial role. By the end, the West had won the Cold War, the

Permanent stalemate in Gaza suits Netanyahu

Jerusalem After midnight on Thursday is dead-time for the Israeli media. The weekend editions have gone to print (newspapers don’t come out on Shabbat) and the Friday night TV news shows have been pre-recorded. The country’s journalists are yearning for respite from a long week covering the war. Benjamin Netanyahu chose that black hole of news, 2 a.m. last Friday, to leak his ‘Day after Hamas’ plan for post-war Gaza. There was no speech. No briefings. Just a page and a bit, double-spaced, presented to his cabinet for discussion. The plan has not been designed to end the war in Gaza. It is about Netanyahu’s own political survival But the plan

I’m a rosé convert

Paris is more than a city. It is a state of mind, an aspiration. Though it glorifies the military, it remains feminine and beguiling. Its heroes moved effortlessly from triumphs on the battlefield to triumphs in the boudoir. The very stones of Paris seem redolent of the dreams and ecstasies of past lovers, and of their frustrations, follies and pains. Heloise and Abelard loved and suffered here. We had come to perform two simple tasks: sitting in judgment over wine and food In many respects, alas, contemporary Paris has fallen a long way from romance. Everyone has stories of rubbish, dirt and rats. The days when bon chic, bon genre

The miracle of limoncello

Consider the paradox of lemons. In Italy, one associates them with scented groves. A few years ago, Helena Attlee wrote the book The Land Where Lemons Grow, in which citrus fruits become a golden thread running through the history of Italian agriculture. Yet though the lemon is arguably the most beautiful of fruits, its tart taste is bracing. A spremuta di limone finds a swift route to any shaving nicks. Most limoncello is produced on the Amalfi coast but there is an outlier from Godalming But the lemon can be sweetened, in the form of limoncello, an after-dinner drink of no great subtlety, good for pouring over puddings but hardly a

John Fetterman’s noble support for Israel should be no surprise

Politicians are like bad boys: never fall in love with them, they’ll always hurt you in the end. But try as I might, and I have tried mightily, I can’t fight it anymore. I’ve fallen head over heels for the junior senator from Pennsylvania. Friday night tipped it for me. John Fetterman was at home in Braddock, a rundown Pittsburgh suburb where he lives with his wife and three children, when an anti-Israel mob gathered outside and began chanting: ‘Fetterman, Fetterman, you can’t hide; you’re supporting genocide!’ Another Democrat might have requested a police evacuation or issued a cuckish statement of solidarity with the demonstrators in the hopes they would

It will be difficult for Israel to ignore this ICJ ruling

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered an interim ruling on South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. Its decision is likely to please neither side of the debate, but seems broadly balanced: it criticised Israel, but failed to demand a suspension of the conflict.  The court, which sits in The Hague, was formed in 1945 and is one of the principal organs established by the Charter of the United Nations. It is the UN’s highest court.  On 29 December, South Africa brought its proceedings in the ICJ under Article 9 of the Genocide Convention of 1948. It claimed that Israel was engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people

Conrad Black adheres firmly to the ‘great man’ view of history

George Orwell has a story that when Sir Walter Raleigh published the first volume of his projected history of the world while in prison, he witnessed a brawl outside his rooms in the Bloody Tower which resulted in the death of a workman. Despite diligent enquiries, Raleigh was unable to discover the cause of the quarrel. Reasoning that if he could not even ascertain the facts behind what he had observed he could hardly accurately report what had happened in distant lands centuries earlier, he burned his notes for the second volume and abandoned the entire project. No such doubts assail the 79-year-old Conrad Black, sometime proprietor of The Spectator,

I’m raising a glass to the Tory party’s future

Wine stimulates the wits, emboldens debate, and inspires the mind. Judicious quantities, abetted by judicious quality, encourage the participants to attack the important questions. Thus it has been over the past few days, discussing God and the Universe. I was talking to an astronomer, whose day is spent contemplating the vastness of interstellar space. Consider one single light year, and how far that would take us from our own celestial neighbourhood. Then let your mind give way before the unimaginable distances. Already daunted, move onwards to the queen of the sciences, theology, and the question posed by that outstanding 20th-century theologian, Mr Prendergast in Decline and Fall. He could not

Portrait of the week: Post Office scandal, Tube strikes off and dog meat banned

Home Although it had long been known that between 1999 and 2015 more than 700 sub-postmasters were convicted of false accounting, theft and fraud (based on the faulty Horizon computer accounting system software), the government suddenly proposed to do something about it because of a public outcry following an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office. The Metropolitan Police was investigating the Post Office over fraud possibly arising from money being ‘recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions’. Paula Vennells, who held high office in the Post Office from 2007 to 2019, said she was handing back her CBE ‘with immediate effect’, although it is