William Atkinson

William Atkinson is the Assistant Editor at ConservativeHome, and a former Spectator intern

Who can blame Boris Johnson for feeling smug?

The real victor of these local elections? Boris Johnson. According to Oscar Wilde, the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. It’s a sign of Boris Johnson’s skill in attracting headlines that even as the Conservatives suffer a shellacking at the local elections, his being turned away from

Is it time to ban George Osborne?

George Osborne has taken a break from his myriad jobs to give his thoughts on health policy. Orange juice should be taxed, and smoking banned, according to the ex-Chancellor. Doing so had been ‘too controversial’ while he was in government; those ‘anti-nanny state Conservatives’ who oppose it are ‘not worth listening to. Leaving aside the

British universities aren’t institutionally racist

There is a spectre haunting British universities: the spectre of institutional racism. ‘There is a lot of evidence that points towards universities perpetuating systemic racism, being institutionally racist,’ the University of East Anglia’s vice-chancellor, David Richardson, told an upcoming BBC Three documentary ‘Is Uni Racist?’. Viewers are likely to be left in no doubt that

Rory Stewart is the wrong man to revive Oxford’s fortunes

Rory Stewart is a successful podcast host, but would he make a good Oxford University chancellor? The former Tory MP is in the running to replace Chris Patten, who is retiring. Stewart is the bookies’ front runner in the race: ‘This is a very interesting idea and an amazing role,’ he said, ‘but I would naturally

What’s wrong with Tory MPs supporting Trump?

Asking Liz Truss for advice on how to make conservatism popular seems as wise as consulting Paula Vennells on how best to treat your employees. That hasn’t stopped the ex-PM from giving her blessing to the new Popular Conservatism group. But at least one of her fellow PopCons might suggest it isn’t their former leader

Will expat voters really help the Tories at the next election?

With opinion polls predicting an oncoming electoral shellacking for the Conservatives, it is unsurprising that Rishi Sunak is hoping to find extra voters wherever he can. CCHQ’s latest bet is in the two million or so Britons living overseas who have just had their lifetime voting rights restored. On 16 January, rules came into operation allowing

Is it time to scrap the Covid inquiry?

Why do we have inquiries? The late Geoffrey Howe suggested six principal reasons: to establish the facts, to learn from the events, to provide catharsis for those affected, to reassure the public that matters are being resolved, to allocate accountability and blame, and the political urge to show something is being done. By those metrics,

Tory supporters should curb their enthusiasm for Penny Mordaunt

A confession: Penny Mordaunt was my teenage political crush. Publicly admitting that would be rather more embarrassing if the performance of the Leader of the House of Commons at the coronation didn’t have my fellow Conservatives infatuated. God knows what my 15-year-old self would have made of her eye-catching role on Saturday, but many Tory

We should support Oxford’s crackdown on motorists

Now that Morse has cracked his final case, Oxford’s streets will be freed from the annual disruption caused by successive Jaguars and their attendant film crews. But that’s of little comfort to residents facing a new source of gridlock – one, ironically, caused by those protesting efforts to reduce the city’s notorious congestion. Last month 2,000 eclectic

Zoomers like me don’t realise how lucky we are

For millennials like me, talkin’ ’bout our generation usually involves complaining. We Generation Zs – or zoomers – can’t seem to catch a break. Even before the pandemic, we were on track to be the first generation worse off than our parents since the Great Depression. It takes us twenty-somethings six times as long to

Oxford students should resist these medieval trigger warnings

In 1408, the Archbishop of Canterbury convened a synod in Oxford to prohibit the reading of John Wycliffe’s English translation of the Bible without the Church’s permission. Long before Martin Luther, Wycliffe – a priest, theologian, and Oxford fellow – argued scripture was the only reliable guide to God’s truth, and that the Papacy had no Biblical

The Oxford-Cambridge arc shows why the Tories don’t get it

Rishi Sunak has long sought to give Britain its very own Silicon Valley. Partially because pseudo-Californian beaches would provide respite from snarling backbenchers, but mainly because creating a European hub for innovation in Britain would be a good way to rejuvenate our sclerotic growth rates. Hence why today the government is stumping up £2.5 million

Scrapping university personal statements is a mistake

The decision to scrap personal statements shows up our university system for what it really is: the priority is no longer about educating students, or academic endeavour, but expansion for expansion’s sake. Ucas (the Universities and College Admissions Service) plans to replace the current applicant essay with a survey. This will reportedly ask taxing questions

Oxford’s Oriental name change is a mistake

Oxford’s Faculty of Oriental Studies has had a name change: it will now be known as the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. University bigwigs opted to drop the word ‘oriental’ over fears that it might be too outdated and potentially offensive. This is a small-minded attack on a great and important subject. It’s also a distraction from

Boris Johnson should quit now to save his career

The greased piglet will soon be sausages. That, at least, seems the obvious outcome of this week’s Tory party confidence vote. With over 40 per cent of his MPs in open revolt against him, even Boris Johnson, the great political escapologist, is running out of road. He may have survived now. But with two by-election

Durham should be proud to be a second-rate Oxbridge

Durham University has long been considered the destination of choice for Oxbridge rejects. But this is an image some students in Durham are keen to shake off. Durham’s Students’ Union hopes to end the stereotype that it is the alma mater of choice for those who don’t make the cut at Britain’s ancient universities. It has published

Oxford’s petty war on smokers

Life is about to get even more miserable for smokers living in Oxford. Oxfordshire county council has announced plans to make the region ‘smoke-free’ by 2025. Smokers will be prevented from having a puff outside cafes, pubs, and restaurants, while employers will be asked to impose smoke-free spaces in workplaces. Hospitals, schools, and public areas will be

Studying history isn’t what it used to be

Is history in danger of becoming a thing of the past on campus? In recent weeks, Aston in Birmingham announced a consultation on plans to close its entire history department. Meanwhile, London South Bank has announced that its history course will not be recruiting students from this Autumn.  The condemnation was swift. Former regius professor of history at Cambridge Richard