Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones is a historian and journalist

What explains the rise of Austria’s Freedom Party?

We don’t hear much about Austrian politics in Britain, which is not perhaps surprising since the landlocked Central European republic of some nine million souls, is scarcely a major player on Europe’s chessboard. Nonetheless Austria, like Britain, will hold elections this year, and a populist party with Nazi roots looks certain to emerge with the

The thankless life of a Post Office mistress

One of the fascinating aspects of the Horizon Post Office scandal is the way that the sub-post masters and mistresses who were victims of the bungling or maybe malevolent Post Office management, are represented as a class. They seem to sum up the qualities that used to be thought of as quintessentially English: honest, respectable,

When will Nigel Farage get off the fence?

Nigel Farage’s indecision continues. Despite being hyped in advance as a major unveiling of the rebel party’s programme, Reform UK’s press conference yesterday was something of a damp squib, not least because Farage failed to actually show up. Reform leader Richard Tice said the ex Brexit party leader is ‘still assessing’ the ‘extent of the

Why is Sunak snubbing the Greeks?

Whatever position people take on the long-running dispute over the ownership of the Elgin marbles, there can be little doubt that Rishi Sunak’s last-minute cancellation of a scheduled meeting with visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the issue is an unnecessary, foolish and snippy snub to one of Britain’s few friends in Europe. It

Of course Richard III killed the Princes in the Tower

When archaeologists digging beneath a Leicester car park in 2012 uncovered the battered skeleton of King Richard III, it made headlines around the world. The discovery was hailed as the most exciting archaeological find since the unearthing of the boy king Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Now England’s most notorious king is back in the news.

What Britain owed to Gracie Fields

Simon Heffer is the supreme Stakhanovite among British writers. Where the original Stakhanov moved 227 tonnes of coal in a single shift, within the past decade Heffer has produced four massive volumes of modern British history, each little less than 1,000 pages. Alongside them he has edited three equally voluminous diaries of the waspish socialite

Germany’s Ukraine tank blunder is embarrassing for Berlin

Ukraine is reported to have rejected a consignment of Germany’s Leopard 1 tanks – on the grounds that they are technically flawed, and that Ukrainian engineers lack the skills and training to fix them. Embarrassingly for Germany, this is the second time that Ukraine has turned its collective nose up at a delivery of German

Biden and Trump are too old for office

Like the little boy who pointed out that the emperor was naked, veteran US politician Mitt Romney has just voiced an uncomfortable truth that everyone knows, but few wish to utter: America is being run by men who are too old for office. At 76, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts and presidential contender is

Rishi Sunak’s crime crackdown is too little, too late

Conservative parties everywhere have traditionally been identified with maintaining law and order and cracking down on crime. As part of his successful campaign to appeal to right-of-centre voters, even Tony Blair before his 1997 election triumph famously vowed to be ‘tough on crime – and tough on the causes of crime’. So, in yet another

Is Putin outsourcing his espionage to Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is a country that doesn’t often feature on Britain’s radar – beyond being a location for cheap package holidays and even cheaper wine. But the arrest of three Bulgarian citizens who have lived in Britain for a long time and are being charged with spying for Russia may change that. For the country bordering the

Why is Germany riddled with Russian spies? 

Yet another suspected Russian spy has been arrested in Germany – the third such case in recent months.  The suspect – named only as Thomas H. by the Geman media for legal reasons – is an employee of the department of Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr, responsible for procuring defence technology.  The country that produced the

Why can’t the AfD work out where it stands on Europe?

Members of Germany’s AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland) party gathered in the eastern city of Magdeburg this weekend. The party’s aim during its conference was to choose candidates for the upcoming elections to the European parliament and thrash out policies on such thorny topics as immigration, and Germany’s place in Europe, including a possible ‘Dexit’. But

The shadow of the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler still haunts Germany

Seventy-nine years ago today, 20 July 1944, Colonel Count Claus von Stauffenberg, a much-wounded young Wehrmacht officer, packed a briefcase in a broiling Berlin and flew to the ‘Wolf’s Lair’ the headquarters of Adolf Hitler deep in a Polish forest 100 miles behind the eastern front.  Stauffenberg – who had lost an eye, a hand,

Dutch government collapses following migration row

The growing continent-wide crisis caused by mass immigration into Europe has claimed another country with the collapse of the Dutch coalition government led by veteran centrist politician Mark Rutte. The Dutch prime minister announced that he will hand in his government’s resignation to King Willem-Alexander today because of ‘profound differences’ among the four coalition parties

John Major has learned nothing over Brexit 

Rishi Sunak’s government is sometimes compared to that of John Major, the man who succeeded Margaret Thatcher in 1990, went on to win an unexpected election in 1992 – and then went down after a landslide defeat at the hands of Tony Blair’s New Labour in 1997. On an episode of The Rest Is Politics, a podcast

In seven years, Lenin changed the course of history

The upheavals convulsing the Russian empire in 1917, Victor Sebestyen argues convincingly, were the seminal happenings of the past century. From them directly stemmed the second world war, the Cold War, the collapse of European imperialism and the dangerous world we inhabit today. There are many weighty modern accounts of these epochal events by historians

Biden is right: China’s Xi is a ‘dictator’

Just as a stopped clock shows the correct time twice a day, so president Joe Biden, amidst the plethora of gaffes that regularly issues from his lips, occasionally utters the plain and unvarnished truth. So it was at a Democratic fundraiser in California yesterday when Biden called China’s president Xi Jinping ‘a dictator’. Explaining why