Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones is a historian and journalist

My doomed run for parliament

I had always been interested in politics but had not done anything practical until the rise of Nigel Farage’s Ukip. He was proving a thorn in the side of David Cameron in 2013, which attracted my admiring attention, so I decided to try and get involved. Despite having done my bit for European unity by

Labour purges are nothing new

Sir Keir Starmer’s determination to prove to voters that Labour has changed, by purging the party’s far left, may look like cruel contemporary opportunism to his opponents. However, it actually fits a pattern that has recurred throughout the party’s history. Ever since Labour’s foundation in 1900, the party has been an uneasy coalition between a

The sad decline of the Evening Standard

It’s always a sad day for journalists when a newspaper goes to the great printing room in the sky. But for all Londoners, the death of the capital’s last surviving evening paper is particularly poignant. The Evening Standard has announced that it is to cease publication as a daily paper – remaining alive only as a weekly edition.

It’s time for Nigel Farage to get off the fence

Rishi Sunak’s snap summer election means that Nigel Farage faces a decisive moment. For months if not years, Farage has held back from taking a role in the heat of the political fray. Instead, he has preferred to be a backseat driver to his ally Richard Tice as leader of the Reform UK party he

Guns, drugs and beatings – I loved boarding school

My son and various well-meaning friends have been advising me to abandon writing history books and cash in on the trend for boarding school misery memoirs. On the face of it, as someone who was sent away aged seven and remained in these institutions until I was 18, I am well qualified to add my

Is Dominic Cummings’ ‘start up party’ a non-starter?

We haven’t heard much from Dominic Cummings since he walked out of No. 10 Downing Street in November 2020. Now the cerebral Vote Leave mastermind has broken his silence and given us an insight into his latest project. He has proposed a new ‘start up’ party to replace the Tories after what he expects will

My strange hobby: a life in search of death

As George Orwell astutely observed, England is a nation of hobbyists – and their sometimes eccentric private pursuits are one of the reasons that this country did not follow the rest of Europe into totalitarian dictatorship during the 20th century. A people bent on taking a fishing rod to stream or canal every weekend, or

Why Portugal’s coup worked

Fifty years ago today, on 25 April 1974, Europe was stunned by an almost bloodless military coup that removed the continent’s most durable dictatorship: Portugal’s authoritarian ‘New State’ that had held the country in an iron grip since 1926. Military coups have an evil reputation in Europe. We associate them with ham-fisted juntas, arbitrary arrests,

Europe’s coffee houses are in trouble

There’s bad news for coffee fans: the price of your favourite beverage – which has already rocketed in recent years – is about to soar. A prolonged heatwave in Vietnam, the world’s second largest coffee producing country after Brazil, is damaging the coffee crop and sending the cost of robusta beans – used in instant

Does Reform believe in democracy?

For the third time in recent years a party created by Nigel Farage is threatening the Tory party’s fading hopes of re-election. But this time the Tories’ very existence is at stake. Reform UK was founded in 2018 by Farage from the ashes of Ukip – which forced David Cameron to call and lose the

Was Russia right to torture the Moscow attackers?

The court appearance of the four men accused by Russia of carrying out the Moscow massacre of 137 innocent concert goers at the Crocus City Hall venue told its own grim story. All the suspects bore marks of torture: one was wearing a bandage on his ear, following reports that it may have been at

Who really betrayed the Great Escape prisoners?

Anyone for whom a screening of the film The Great Escape is an annual Christmas tradition will know how strong a hold the myth of that escapade holds over the collective British imagination. But a myth is all it is. The old 1960s movie, with its star-studded cast performing stiff upper lip heroics, manages to

In defence of private members’ clubs

The members list of the men-only Garrick Club in London’s West End has remained a closely-guarded secret – until now. King Charles, Richard Moore, the head of MI6, and Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, have been named as members of the club after the Guardian revealed what it called ‘the roll call of (the) British

The enduring lesson of Julius Caesar’s assassination

In Rome today a group of ancient history enthusiasts will drape themselves in togas and re-enact that most infamous act of political murder: the assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44BC. The re-enactors will be able to do their anniversary deed on the actual site of the assassination, now a sunken square

Meet Portugal’s new hard-right kingmakers

Portugal goes to the polls this weekend for parliamentary elections and it looks likely to become the latest European country in which a populist hard right party shakes up politics. Chega – which means ‘enough’ – was only founded in 2019, yet it is forecast to more than double the 12 seats it won at

Germany is the West’s weakest link against Putin

Two massive security scandals this weekend have given a shot in the arm to Putin’s war on Ukraine. Yet again they have exposed Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Germany as the West’s weakest link in its ongoing confrontation with Russia. Scandal Number One came when the loose-lipped Chancellor revealed that British and French troops were in Ukraine

David Cameron and the long history of the posh Arabist

Anyone with a smattering of knowledge of Britain’s troubled history in the Middle East will be unsurprised by Lord Cameron’s increasingly pro-Palestinian pronouncements on the Gaza war.  Twice in recent days Cameron has called on Israel to ‘pause’ its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, and he says he has personally challenged the Israeli government and

Why have Germany’s spies opened a file on their old chief?

It’s not often that an ex-spymaster is spied upon by his former colleagues. But just that has happened in Germany, where Hans-Georg Maassen, the former head of the country’s internal security service, the BfD (equivalent to Britain’s MI5), has been placed on a watch list for official observation as a suspected right-wing extremist. Maassen, who ran