Ross Clark

Ross Clark

Ross Clark is a leader writer and columnist who has written for The Spectator for three decades. His books include Not Zero and The Road to Southend Pier.

Harry, Meghan and the absurdity of the awards industry

Can I have a Legend of Aviation award please? I deserve it for the time I flew Aeroflot and lived to tell the tale. Then there was the time I flew from Denmark to Amsterdam, taking off from a snowbound runway in a twin-propped plane which looked like something out of Biggles; that was pretty hairy,

Boris Johnson can’t lecture Sadiq Khan on rail strikes

London mayor Sadiq Khan has just given us a foretaste of a Labour government by capitulating to the RMT and averting a tube strike at the last moment by, to borrow Nye Bevan’s phrase, stuffing the rail workers’ mouths with gold. That, at least, is Boris Johnson’s assessment of the 11th-hour agreement to avert the

eBay side-hustlers deserve to get taxed

There will be people outraged by the latest initiative of HMRC: to demand that the likes of Airbnb, eBay, and Vinted furnish it with details of everything bought and sold on their online platforms. The taxman should keep his nose out of the sharing economy, many will say. People who sell their secondhand clothes, books,

House prices aren’t falling any time soon

Economic forecasts rarely survive far into the New Year. Just look at last year’s prophecy by the IMF that the UK economy would shrink by 0.6 per cent in 2023, which was already being revised by March. But we are only three days into 2024 and already the forecasts of falling house prices are beginning to

Fact check: the truth about the asylum backlog

When is a backlog in asylum applications not a backlog? When it is made up of ‘complex cases’ and of new applications which hadn’t been made at the time ministers promised to clear the backlog. Today, the Home Office has been chirping about its success in tackling illegal migration by announcing ‘the legacy asylum backlog

Why is it so hard to leave the country?

This should have been the year when we could finally put Covid behind us and return to normal. But as far as public transport is concerned it has instead turned out to herald the realisation that paralysis has become the normal condition, not a product of the pandemic. Any Eurostar passengers who thought they had escaped

The Conservatives are indulging in fantasy economics

Finally it seems to be dawning on many Conservative MPs that abolishing – or seriously cutting – inheritance tax at the same time as jacking up income tax for millions of low earners is not a great way to tackle a strong Labour lead in the polls. Several backbenchers have written to the Prime Minister

The foul truth about wood-burners

My first instinct is to rush to the attack against any think tank which calls for stuff to be banned. But in the case of a proposal by Bright Blue that wood-burners should come with a health warning, and that their use should be prohibited on certain days when pollution is high, I will make

Is Britain heading for a recession after all?

Are we going to end 2023 with a recession after all? The great non-arriving recession of 2023 has so far confounded the forecasts of the Bank of England (which forecast a shrinking economy throughout 2023), the IMF (which forecast growth of -0.6 per cent over the course of the year) and others, too. But could

The Tories should be wary of an election tax giveaway

Anyone for more tax cuts in the spring budget? You might as well hand out free beer. For many Conservatives, tax cuts provide the last tiny chink of light before the door closes on their electoral prospects for good. This month’s government borrowing figures might just provide some encouragement, too. Net borrowing in November was

Scotland pioneers the 84.5 per cent tax rate

You can say one thing about Jim Callaghan’s Labour government of the 1970s. It certainly kept migration under control. Over the course of his government, Britain saw net migration of around minus 65,000. That had quite a lot to do with a top tax rate of 83 per cent. Whether Scotland’s new tax rates will

Ross Clark

Is the cost of living crisis over?

This morning’s inflation figures are good news. The fall in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to 3.9 per cent, from 4.7 per cent, not only exceeded market expectations by a healthy margin, but in November prices actually fell by 0.2 per cent. Given that averages earnings are rising by 7.3 per cent it is hard

Michael Gove’s housing fantasy

Remember ‘localism’ – when David Cameron was going to return powers to local people when it came to things like planning? If that is how the Conservatives’ 14 years in power began, they seem to be ending with the opposite: with Michael Gove threatening to seize the planning reins from Sadiq Khan and get more

A Trump presidency could be good for Britain

Donald Trump may be offensive in many ways. He may have defiled his office during his previous stint as president by claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him. But at some point over the next ten and a half months before polling day in 2024 even his detractors are going to have to start

The huge cost of Scotland’s ‘free’ tuition fees

‘The rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scotland.’ So read the words carved into a stone outside Heriot-Watt university in Edinburgh unveiled by Alex Salmond while he was first minister. But as the SNP’s education policy begins to unravel and the budgetary pressures build at Holyrood,

What to expect from the housing market in 2024

The housing market indices have stabilised, started rising even. So is that it? Is the great housing market crash over, before it had had a chance even to begin? Not according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). Buried in its latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook report is a prediction that the slump is far from over.

Ross Clark

Cop’s pledge to move away from fossil fuels is a farce

So, a deal has been reached. The world has agreed on what Cop 28 president Sultan al-Jaber has called a ‘robust action to keep 1.5 Celsius in reach’. The world is to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels. And meanwhile, back in the real world? If the world really had just made a meaningful commitment to end the