Damian Reilly

Damian Reilly

The wonderful guilelessness of Rishi Sunak 

Could Rishi Sunak’s emergence as this nation’s greatest gaffe machine since Prince Philip come in time to endear him to the electorate? At this point in his campaign, you’d have to say it’s a tactic he might as well lean into. After all, one of the best things about being British is the manner in

Voters won’t forget Sunak’s D-Day snub

It’s hard to think of anything Rishi Sunak could have done that would cause greater offence to the British sensibility. You do not, not if you’re the British prime minister, sack off the D-Day commemorations in Normandy to return home early under any circumstances – least of all in order to do an ITV interview

Tim Dillon, your tour guide to the end of the world

Tim Dillon is a comedian who not so long ago worked as a New York tour bus guide and subprime mortgage salesman. He started a podcast from his porch in 2016 and used it to talk about world events, what he and his lowlife friends were up to, and, frequently, to complain about how broke

Football obviously has a doping problem

For an astonishing length of time the attitude of football authorities to the prospect of widespread doping at the sport’s highest levels seemed best summed up in a 2017 tweet by the often spectacularly dim-seeming Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker. ‘Doping is not really an issue in football. Doping doesn’t help players play better. No

Does tennis have a doping problem?

Is it more remarkable that Romanian two-time Grand Slam tennis champion Simona Halep took performance enhancing drugs, or that she was caught? I ask only because the sport’s authorities seem to catch vanishingly few dopers, which surely means either they’re very bad at it, or elite players rarely cheat to win enormous sums of money.   Certainly, it’s

Bankrolled: Labour’s new paymasters

36 min listen

In this week’s cover story, The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls writes about Labour’s new paymasters – Keir Starmer’s party now receives more money from private donors than it does from trade unions. What do the new donors want, and what does Starmer want from them? Katy joins Will and Lara alongside the writer and Labour

Why the Enhanced Games won’t work

If like me you’re convinced a lot of professional sportspeople are doped to the gills, perhaps you’re excited by the launch of the Enhanced Games – a proposed rival to the Olympic Games in which competitors will be encouraged to take as many performance-enhancing drugs as they can get into their bloodstream.  After all, if so many are already juicing – and, crucially, not

Is this the end of the road for Meghan?

Has there ever been a more brutally effective piece of social satire than the South Park episode that mocked Harry and Meghan?  Since it aired in mid-February, the Duchess of Sussex, previously a seemingly ubiquitous and unstoppable cultural phenomenon, has effectively withdrawn from public life. She’s made just one formal appearance – at an awards show, which

The Schofield saga has become an unedifying spectacle 

In the mid-90s when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate I did work experience at the now defunct The Face magazine. They put me in what they called the fashion cupboard. Looking back on it now, I recall I spent a hot fortnight in August either hoiking large volumes of clothing around London for various photoshoots

Nish Kumar’s podcast is actually not bad

Nish Kumar’s grandiosely titled podcast Pod Save the UK isn’t anything like as annoying as you’d expect. Yes, his speaking voice – a high-pitched nasal gurgle – can grate a little, especially when punctuated, as it is often and loudly, with a laugh that is very obviously insincere. But I listened to the full hour

Who could replace Gary Lineker on Match of the Day?

Just when you thought you couldn’t handle any more depressing news, Gary Lineker has started dropping hints that his days in the Match of the Day presenter’s chair may be drawing to an end. I know. It really puts things into perspective. ‘I’m ancient,’ Lineker said, Aslan-like, on the latest Match of the Day podcast,

The vindication of Michael Vaughan

It’s perhaps still too early to tell if the Jewish and Muslim communities, here in Britain and indeed throughout the world, were brought closer by the actions of the former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq.   How refreshing it is to see the quaint concept of proof being demanded before a man’s life is ruined Rafiq, you

We’re finding out who really runs the BBC 

The high-profile political activist Gary Lineker will not present Match of the Day tonight after he likened the rhetoric of the government to 1930s Germany. Several pundits and commentators are boycotting the show, while the BBC has also been forced to pull from air Football Focus, Final Score and Fighting Talk.  Many people are professing themselves baffled that this story about a football presenter

Is Facebook’s verification scheme a scam?

Is Facebook’s scheme, announced over the weekend, to encourage its three billion users to pay $12 (£10) a month to have their accounts verified really just a form of corporate extortion? I ask only because last year someone – I strongly suspect a deranged Novak Djokovic fan – took the time to create a fake

Why I couldn’t wait to buy a Twitter blue tick

I’ve just given Elon Musk $8 a month to get a blue tick by my name on Twitter. The fact I haven’t been able to secure one of these ticks on merit like so many other nonentities has been a source of near-constant irritation for the past half decade, particularly given how much time I

Kremlin crack-up: who’s out to get Putin?

39 min listen

This week: In his cover piece for the magazine Owen Matthews writes about the power struggle at the heart of Russia. He is joined by Jade McGlynn, specialist in Russian Studies at the Monterey Initiative, to discuss whether Putin might be running out of time (01:00). Also on the podcast:  Has America’s pot policy gone