Stuart Reid

City that never pales

Ooh, sir! Do you? At your age, sir? Well, yes. Revolting though it may seem, I still love New York. Every time I go there — as I did earlier this month — I fear I am not going to like it, but every time I fall in love all over again. I think it

Now for something truly horrible

They say that things will be better between Britain and American — or at any rate between No 10 and the White House — when Hillary Clinton becomes president. How depressing is that? For an answer, check out these clips of the Laughing Hillary from Jon Stewart’s team at the Daily Show. The woman has

Travel special – Peak district: Away from the flock

Derbyshire’s landscape is hauntingly beautiful, says Stuart Reid, so long as you can make your peace with the sheep Sheep are ugly, dirty, stupid and cowardly, but by far the nastiest thing about them is that in the countryside they are given precedence over dogs. Take your dog for a romp in the Peak District,

Diary – 9 October 2010

Harry was so scared when we entered him in the Best Veteran category in the Friends of Tooting Common Dog Show that he tried to jump out of the ring, and when he found he couldn’t break free he clung on to me for dear life. Harry was so scared when we entered him in

Why I wish the Vatican would denounce Elizabeth

‘Rome condemns Queen Elizabeth again – this time over film of her reign’, says The Times headline today.  If only… The story is altogether less exciting. Franco Cardini, who holds the chair of medieval history at Florence University and once taught at the Lateran University, has said that the new film, ‘Elizabeth: the Golden Age’,

Hitchens’s inconvenient past

It is good for the soul to be reminded what a sharp and funny writer Christopher Hitchens was in the days before he collapsed under the weight of his own pomposity. Over the weekend, to take my mind off the excitement in Westminster, I picked up his 1988 collection, Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays

Did I watch the same speech?

What planet am I from? What have I been smoking? Matt and Fraser understand politics far better than I can ever hope to, but after reading their blogs I can scarcely believe we all witnessed the same event this afternoon. What I saw was a car crash, or at any rate an accident in a

King of the hill

‘Look at this,’ I said. ‘“Key management”. What’s that all about?’ My wife winced. ‘I suppose it’s about key management,’ she said, and immediately returned to her book. We were halfway to Rome and I was reading the user manual for the apartment we had taken for the weekend. It ran to 11,652 words and

Rain, glorious rain

I don’t mean to diss the recent sunshine, but hasn’t the rain today been happy and glorious? An hour ago there were ancient, damp smells on the streets of my south London neighbourhood: of dust and earth and grass. G. K. Chesterton was very fond of rain. Here is part of a letter he wrote

The meaning of life

Andrew Ferguson is one of America’s most accomplished conservative writers, but he is barely known here. That’s a pity because his sceptical pen would appeal to many English readers. The other day, on behalf of the Weekly Standard, he attended a panel discussion on the politics of Darwinism at the American Enterprise Institute. The theme


As Matt d’Ancona says, ‘hanging chads’ are the words that spring to mind when considering the technical disasters that attended the vote in Scotland. But there is another, less charitable way of looking at it. Not all the trouble, after all, was technical. Thousands of ballots were spoilt because voters couldn’t figure out which boxes

What a repulsive lot we have become

It is greatly to Jonathan Aitken’s credit that he has come to the aid of Lord Browne in today’s Guardian. It is also greatly to the credit of the Guardian that it commissioned the piece. Aitken does not offer false comfort (he commends “wintry realism” to Browne) and he does not make light of perjury,

‘We Christians need more persecution’

In Westminster Cathedral a dozen or so deaf mutes are doing the Stations of the Cross. They have reached the 14th station, ‘Jesus is laid in the tomb’. A priest leads the prayers in sign language. ‘We, too, O God, will descend into the grave whenever it shall please Thee, as it shall please Thee,

Diary – 8 May 2004

My granddaughter was christened at the Brompton Oratory on Saturday. Although the day was muggy and storms had been forecast, I am sorry to say that there was no thunder and lightening. Like Hector Berlioz recalling the circumstances of his birth — ‘I came into the world quite naturally, unheralded by any of the signs


Nothing is more important to a journalist than his integrity. The founders of the Independent were men of such unyielding principle that they would not allow their journalists to go on freebies. On other papers most journalists handled the integrity/freebie issue in the time-honoured fashion: by abusing any hospitality they were given — trashing a

Diary – 24 January 2004

New York It’s as easy as pie to get through Checkpoint Charlie. The very agreeable Hispanic immigration officer at Kennedy asked me to place my index fingers, one at a time, on a scanning machine. My prints were instantly checked against the dabs of (I suppose) suicide bombers, anarchists, white slavers, drugs barons, porn kings,

Diary – 9 August 2003

It’s no good complaining. The rail network inhabits the wrong kind of universe. If the sun shines for more than two days, the network goes down. You can’t argue with science. In the last heatwave I travelled back to London from Brighton in a train whose air-conditioning had given up under the strain. I rang

Diary – 31 May 2003

To Paris to attend a convivium on the Continuing Revolution, presided over by Dr Thomas Fleming. Dr Who? Tom Fleming is editor of the monthly magazine Chronicles, based in Rockford, Illinois, and big chief of the palaeoconservative movement – though movement may be too grand a word to describe an engagingly barmy political army that