Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris is a columnist for The Spectator and The Times.

Lord Sumption is wrong: laws can change facts

It’s with triple reluctance that one disputes anything said or written by Jonathan Sumption. First, Lord Sumption is among the commentators I most admire, with an intellect against which it must be foolhardyto pit one’s own. Secondly, as a former Supreme Court justice, his legal expertise will be immense, whereas I only read law as

You can’t trust the will of the people

Abraham Lincoln’s ringing declaration echoes down the years. His 1863 Gettysburg Address, delivered 160 years ago this Sunday, gave us ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people’: a clear and simple formulation, it has come to be seen as the very definition of democracy. But Lincoln was wrong: wrong then and wrong

Katy Balls, Matthew Parris and Fabian Carstairs

20 min listen

This week: Katy Balls reads her politics column on Keir Starmer’s ceasefire predicament (00:54), Matthew Parris warns us of the dangers of righteous anger (06:48), and Fabian Carstairs tells us how he found himself on an internet dating blacklist (14:29).  Presented by Oscar Edmondson.  Produced by Cindy Yu and Oscar Edmondson. 

When righteous anger goes wrong

From abroad I’ve returned to a country where, in language to which the word ‘shrill’ hardly does justice, fellow British commentators have been letting fly on both sides of the argument about Gaza and how Israel should or should not respond to Hamas’s unspeakable attacks on 7 October. There’s just one thing both sides –

The four big questions our politicians need to answer

Anyone would think (anyone, that is, who has followed our three main annual party conferences this autumn) that Britain’s principal political parties were proposing distinct solutions to Britain’s problems. After all, the heat if not the light emitted by domestic politics in recent years has been unremitting. Sir Keir Starmer spent more than half his

The folk wisdom that’s just wrong

I was only a boy when I first began protesting against the idiocy of so much of the folk wisdom handed down to us. Proverbs, adages and aphorisms (‘a pithy observation that contains a general truth,’ says my dictionary) are recited to children by grown-ups, often in a singsong, holier-than-thou voice; and I couldn’t help

Matthew Parris, Dan Hitchens and Leah McLaren

23 min listen

Matthew Parris, just back from Australia, shares his thoughts on the upcoming referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (01:08). Dan Hitchens looks at church congregations and wonders why some are on the up, while others are in a spiral of decline (08:32), and Leah McLaren describes the delights of audio and tells

Italy’s new wave: Europe’s escalating migrant crisis

45 min listen

This week: Christopher Caldwell writes The Spectator’s cover piece on Italy’s new wave of migrants. This is in light of the situation in Lampedusa which he argues could upend European politics. Chris joins the podcast alongside Amy Kazmin, Rome correspondent at the Financial Times, to debate Europe’s escalating migrant crisis. (01:23) Also this week: In his column, Matthew Parris

Australia’s disastrous indigenous voice referendum

My partner and I have just returned from the most magical trip. As guests of Western Australia’s tourist board we’ve driven almost 1,500 miles across the top left-hand corner of the Australian continent. This is the north-west: a landscape like nowhere else on the planet. Three times the size of England, they call it the

Britain has an entitlement problem

An Institute for Fiscal Studies paper, published at the end of last month, makes grim reading. Through the prism of the media reports it generated (‘One in 11 workers in England could be NHS staff by 2036,’ said the Guardian; ‘NHS staff will make up 49 per cent of the public sector workforce in 2036,’

The hypocrisy of Nigel Farage’s supporters

Much heartened by the barrage of criticism I’ve been receiving from both Spectator and Times readers, I’m returning to the subject of Coutts’s customer selection. I’ve learned over the years how to spot the emergence of a herd opinion, not just by the volume of shouts but also by how members of the herd begin

In defence of Coutts

Dame Alison Rose should not have resigned as head of NatWest over the Nigel Farage affair – and ministers who forced this by flinching in the face of a silly media storm should be ashamed of themselves. In the great Coutts debate this columnist finds himself in a minority. I express no opinion on the

Don’t write off Rishi

Were I sure this was about me alone, I’d hardly bother to mention it: but I may be typical of quite a few others. If so, it’s a touch too early for the Tories to abandon hope. Last Saturday I wrote in the Times about Sir Keir Starmer, suggesting he lacks the voice or personal

Our God complex

Pantomime is meant to be silly and perhaps superficial, but fun. One does not (for example) join an audience for Cinderella to be driven into deep contemplation of life, morality and the cultural roots of human duty. But that is what happened to me last Saturday afternoon while watching the most marvellous performance at Nevill

Why Conservatives must get behind Rishi

The hubbub about Boris Johnson is blocking the view. He is, of course, an easy and undemanding topic of conversation. His behaviour is, of course, unedifying. His unsuitability for office is beyond question. And his capacity to horrify, amuse, disgust or worry us appears limitless. So here we all are again, talking about ‘Boris’. And

Red Rishi

39 min listen

On this week’s episode: Price caps are back in the news as the government is reportedly considering implementing one on basic food items. What happened to the Rishi Sunak who admired Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson? In her cover article this week, our economics editor Kate Andrews argues that the prime minister and his party

Price caps are a slippery slope

Sometimes it’s the little things that depress most. I groaned last week to hear the news item. The government is contemplating a ‘price cap’ on ‘basic items’ in ‘supermarkets’. Forgive the quotation marks, but each of these terms is so horribly problematic that one has to start by asking what they even mean. Has Conservatism

Could Derbyshire survive on its own?

Since at least the beginning of this century there has been a mood abroad – cultural as well as political – to trash the place that contributes most to British culture and the British economy. Without London and its population, we in the rest of the United Kingdom would be unable to continue living in

On looking without seeing

Guadix is a windy, dusty town on the slopes of the dry side of the massive ridge that is the Sierra Nevada in Andalusia, Spain. These slopes are the rain-shadow badlands of the province of Granada: a place few foreign tourists visit. The other side of the mountain, the Mediterranean side, is called the Alpujarra

The problem with St Paul

On Easter Saturday, I wrote for the Times about the victimhood of Christ, describing this as a regrettable foundation for a world religion. In online posts beneath my column came hundreds of comments from Christians protesting that I’d misunderstood the Crucifixion’s meaning, which was (they said) the ultimate victory. Triumphantly, Jesus redeemed our sins. Or