William Astor

William Astor: Why voting Leave won’t mean we leave the EU

It is difficult not to be Eurosceptic. The euro is in trouble, Greece has been bankrupted by Angela Merkel’s fiscal rules, and the Schengen agreement on open borders is collapsing as economic migration seems impossible to stop. Genuine refugees are sadly lost in the human tide of misery landing on the shores of Greece and Italy. And the

Peer review

When I took my seat in the Lords as a very nervous 21-year-old, Manny Shinwell, the redoubtable Labour peer, welcomed me with the words ‘I knew your grandmother Nancy. She was a rebel like me. Enjoy yourself. You won’t be here long before they chuck you out.’ Forty-two years later I am still here —

The SNP land grab

Just under 100 years ago the headline in the Oban Times read ‘American family buy lodge and estate on the Isle of Jura’. They were my grandparents, who, although by then British, had both been born in America. They bought our lodge from the Campbells of Jura, who had had the misfortune to lose their

William Astor: My father, his swimming pool and the Profumo scandal

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_9_January_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Richard Davenport-Hines discusses the Profumo affair’s enduring appeal”] Listen [/audioplayer]Christine Keeler and Jack Profumo might never have met in the swimming pool at Cliveden if it had not been for a filly called Ambiguity. As children, growing up at Cliveden, we all swam in the Thames. In the summer, the river was cold,

Signal failure

Rail privatisation by the Major government heralded the largest growth in passenger numbers in decades. This was down to improvements in service and a timetable to suit passengers, coupled with some attractive fare offers. But future growth of rail travel is unlikely to be at the same high rate and there we have the nub

Signal failure | 12 January 2012

The latest Spectator is out today, and it contains an article by William Astor that attacks the government — and, by extension, David Cameron — over their decision to proceed with HS2. Given that it’s causing quite a stir across the news agenda, we thought CoffeeHousers might like to see it for themselves:    Rail