Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones is a historian and journalist

Why Nadine Dorries walked away

Plop! That was the sound of another rat leaving the sinking Tory ship as Nadine Dorries announced on her Talk TV show that she will quit parliament at the next election. The former Culture Secretary and unashamed Boris Johnson fan joins a lengthening list of departing Tory MPs who have read the writing on the

Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle won’t save him

Winston Churchill had a stamp on his office desk reading ‘Action this day’ with which he marked documents demanding immediate attention from his officials and ministers. It seems that Rishi Sunak has exchanged this stamp for one reading ‘Inaction this day’ to judge by his government’s paralysed inactivity in the face of pressing events. His

Is Germany the West’s weakest link?

At the height of the Cold War, it was Britain that appeared to be infested with Russian spies and moles. From the 1950s to the 1980s a series of security scandals, from the defections to Moscow of the Cambridge spies Burgess, Maclean and Philby, to the exposure of the Queen’s art advisor Anthony Blunt as

Why Putin is channelling his inner Stalin

Vladimir Putin has journeyed to the southern city of Volgograd – better known by its former name of Stalingrad – to take part in the 80th anniversary celebrations of the great Soviet victory in the city this weekend. The battle was the turning point of the second world war. While there, the Russian president specifically

Who governs Britain? Not Rishi Sunak

Almost half a century ago, on 28 February 1974, Britain went to the polls in a general election called by Tory prime minister Edward Heath. The election was called in the midst of a crisis eerily resembling the situation that confronts Rishi Sunak today. Britain was ‘working from home’ on a three day working week announced

Rishi Sunak is no John Major

As the skies darken over Rishi Sunak’s embattled government, with ministers being fired or placed under investigation, opinion polls dire and few signs of better times ahead, Tory optimists are (somewhat desperately) searching for signs that all may not yet be irretrievably lost for their party. The hopeful precedent that they have come up with

Nadhim Zahawi and the end of honour

Nadhim Zahawi, who has been sacked by Rishi Sunak after days of headlines over his tax affairs, could learn a lot from the example of one of his predecessors as chancellor. Labour chancellor Hugh Dalton entered the House of Commons to deliver his autumn Budget on 10 November 1947. On his way in, he was

Is sloppiness our new national vice?

The Germans have a word for it. When they wish to criticise their Austrian cousins’ alleged tendency towards carelessness and inefficiency they call it schlamperei. The rough equivalent in English is ‘sloppiness’ – and a flurry of current cases suggests that it may be Britain’s new national vice, too. How many times in recent years and

The whiff of decay hangs over the Tories  

‘To suffer one scandal,’ as Oscar Wilde didn’t quite write, ‘may be regarded as a misfortune. But to suffer three at once looks like carelessness.’  ‘Careless’ is indeed the very word used by Tory party chairman Nadim Zahawi to describe his handling of his own tax affairs – just one of several potential scandalettes gathering

Germany is paralysed by pacifism

Germany’s marked reluctance to supply Leopard 2 tanks to help Ukraine repel the brutal Russian invasion has very little to do with the feeble evasions and excuses offered by Berlin, and everything to do with the long shadows cast by German history. January 30 sees the 90th anniversary of Adolf Hitler becoming Germany’s Chancellor, yet

Rishi Sunak has wasted his first 100 days as Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak has been Prime Minister for nearly 100 days – but what has Sunak done with his victory since moving into No. 10? Sadly, the answer is very little. Despite enjoying a healthy Commons majority inherited from Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory, no new legislation has been passed and dubious measures from the old

William, Harry and Britain’s long history of royal sibling spats

Fraternal relations rarely run entirely smoothly. But the degree of animosity revealed in reports of the physical clash between Princes William and Harry in the latter’s book Spare is nothing new in the turbulent history of Britain’s royals. In fact, the alleged spat between the brothers pales in comparison to the murderous hatreds between past

Is King Charles safe?

The news that his security experts are conducting an urgent review of the King’s safety during his expected traditional Christmas Day walkabout near his Norfolk home, Sandringham – where he will be accompanied by his wife – is sad but scarcely surprising. Already in his short reign there have been two disturbing incidents: eggs were

Should soldiers cover for striking NHS workers?

The government has a plan for dealing with the wave of walkouts affecting nurses, paramedics, Border Force staff and a swathe of public sector workers: send in the soldiers. Unfortunately though the idea has hit a snag: the army is not impressed. The head of the armed forces himself, Admiral Sir Tony Radakan, chief of

Why are political failures like David Cameron so richly rewarded?

The news – reported in the FT Weekend – that former Prime Minister David Cameron is to teach a three-week course in politics next month at the New York Abu Dhabi University is quite something. For Cameron’s political career ended in spectacular failure – and he has hardly covered himself in glory since. A review of

Have the Tories passed the point of no return?

If an election were held tomorrow, not only would Labour win, they would bury the Tories with a landslide majority of 314 seats, leaving the Conservatives with a forlorn rump of just 69. That’s the verdict of an opinion poll from Savanta. Even for an embattled Tory party, the verdict is notably grim. According to

The troubling truth about Germany’s failed coup

Germany is one of the world’s most successful liberal democracies. It is an unlikely place for a coup. Yet attempts to seize power – such as the far-right plot exposed by the country’s security services, that resulted in the arrest of 25 people this week – are more common in Europe than we might like

The Tories need to get tough on the strikes

This Christmas, Britain is facing what is not far short of a general strike. Rail workers, ambulance drivers, nurses, postal workers, and firefighters have already announced a strike wave or are balloting their members for authorisation to do so. Rail traffic across the country will be paralysed. Families will be unable to easily get together

Invented female characters are a betrayal of history

The popular historian Ben Macintyre is a fortunate fellow. No sooner has the BBC’s acclaimed adaptation of his account of the SAS’s wartime birth Rogue Heroes wrapped up, than on 8 December ITV launches an equally lavish drama series, A Spy Among Friends based on another of his bestsellers – the story of Soviet super

How revolutions begin, and how they can end

Across China, the world’s most populous nation and its second largest economy, scenes unprecedented since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 are unfolding. In city after city crowds of young people are taking to the streets, holding up blank placards in eloquent protest against state censorship, and demanding to be treated ‘as citizens not slaves’.