Mary Wakefield

Mary Wakefield

Mary Wakefield is commissioning editor of The Spectator.

The real reason the civil service needs reform 

Just as Francis Maude was revealing his exciting plans for grand reform of the civil service, I received a message from a friend who once worked in Whitehall. In the subject field: ‘What fresh hell is this?’ Underneath, a screenshot of an email she’d just been sent by a civil servant. There was the name

Keeping the peace: the politics of policing protest

41 min listen

On the podcast: In his cover piece for The Spectator Ian Acheson discusses the potential disruption to Armistice Day proceedings in London this weekend. He says that Metropolitan Police Chief Mark Rowley is right to let the pro-Palestine protests go ahead, if his officers can assertively enforce the law. He joins the podcast alongside Baroness Claire Fox

Are smartphones making us care less about humanity?

Generation Z were the first to grow up attached to smartphones. They spent their adolescence bathed in screen-light and now they’re depressed and anxious. Should we have seen it coming? Until very recently my parent friends were in determined denial. Z is the best generation that has ever lived, they said, free from prejudice and

I regret not having more children

Life doesn’t always work out perfectly. You can make the wrong decisions. You can leave things too late. I wish, though I’m not distraught about it, that I’d had another child, maybe two even, and given my small son siblings. The tacit assumption was always that children are an obstacle to the noble process of

Mexico’s progressive hell

Every morning I check to see if Rodrigo Iván Cortés has published the ‘apology’ that the court in Mexico has written for him and which it has ordered him to post on his social media accounts for 30 days in a row. I still have a flicker of faith left in civilisation and the rule

The insane craze for dog ice-cream

During the few hot days we had in June, I came across my first tub of dog ice-cream nestled among the Häagen-Dazs in my local supermarket. Scoop’s vanilla: ‘Tubs that get tails wagging.’ My first thought was that it was a joke, or perhaps for people who identify as dogs. So I looked it up as I

You don’t need to ‘Queer’ the Mary Rose

I have an idea for the Mary Rose museum in Portsmouth. My idea is for a Mary Rose Ultimate Experience – a funfair ride which replicates the experience of those 500 young boys and men as they sank with the great Tudor warship. There’ll be no need for expensive visuals because it would have been

Supercops: the return of tough policing

40 min listen

In this week’s cover article, The Spectator‘s political editor Katy Balls takes a look at the bottom-up reform that’s happening in some parts of the country, and asks whether tough policing is making a comeback. Katy joins the podcast together with Kate Green, Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor of Crime and Policing. (00:50) Next, the war has

The dangerous cult of ‘toxic parents’

Complaining about ‘toxic parents’ has been a viral hit on TikTok with videos on the topic racking up several billion views. Only one of those views is mine and there won’t be another because it was like peering through a window into a cross between a padded cell and a charnel house. In video after

Freddy Gray, Mary Wakefield, Gareth Roberts and Rachel Johnson

28 min listen

This week (01.13) Freddy Gray, on why Ron De Santis is no longer ‘de future’ in the race for the Presidency, (09.50) Mary Wakefield recounts the train journey from hell,(16.10) we hear from Gareth Roberts about the screenwriters and actors striking over AI potentially taking their jobs and (22.24) Rachel Johnson shares her diary of

Why your summer holidays might be doomed

The first LNER train I booked on Sunday from Durham to London was cancelled due to ‘action short of a strike’. I hadn’t heard the phrase before, but I instantly admired it. It’s so impressively confusing. With a strike, you know whose side you’re on. You can look up the salary of a train driver,

The narcissism of Gavin Newsom

Back in the late 1990s, when I lived in Dallas, Texas, I became fascinated by television evangelists. They were hucksters to a man, offering healing or ‘financial blessings’ in exchange for donations – usually a very specific sum that the Lord had revealed to them. ‘Sow a $73 seed into my ministry, and you will

Matt Ridley, Martin Newland & Mary Wakefield

22 min listen

This week: Matt Ridley reveals the identity of the Chinese scientists in the lab linked to Covid, Martin Newland makes the moral case for becoming a foster carer, and Mary Wakefield has a plan for her old age to rid the world of drones. Produced by Linden Kemkaran

Should we ban drones from our national parks?

I have a plan for my old age. Now that we all might live for a century or so, feeling redundant and bemused, it’s important to prepare and I have. In my eighties I will be a destroyer of drones. All drones will fall within my remit but my speciality will be hobby drones, the

Dr Jean Twenge: Gen Z aren’t OK

There’s never been an older generation that didn’t complain about the younger one. Parents tut and fuss over errant youth. That’s the way of it. But in the end the kids come around. Swingers grow into Karens. The wild child pays his bills. But kids these days… they do seem different. It’s not just that

I know how AI will bring us down

On the smooth marble concourse by the exit doors at Heathrow Airport I met my first cleaning robot. It was purple, made by a company called Mitie and about waist-height – the size and shape of a park bin. It ran on wheels, dragging a grubby mop behind it, and it was polite. As my

Here’s why the NHS is broken

I was having tea with my neighbour in her second-floor flat when a man, a stranger, appeared in the room. This is quite a regular occurrence at Alice’s. She’s deaf and she can’t really walk so any number of agency staff have access to her front-door key. They materialise wearing gloves and usually a face