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Heckler’s verdict: Bercow ‘wounded’

1 September 2014 16:49
John Bercow. Image: Getty

‘It was an utter humiliation’, says Bercow’s biographer, after the Speaker was openly mocked by MPs as he retreated in the row over who will be the new Commons clerk. listen… Continue reading

14 Comments

A thundering row on the right

1 September 2014 16:24
Image: Getty

It’s open warfare at the Times between two leading lights on the right – the newspaper’s former Comment Editor Tim Montgomerie and longtime columnist Matthew Parris, who held no punches… Continue reading

33 Comments

Would Scottish independence compromise its museums and galleries?

1 September 2014 15:15
National Gallery of Scotland (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

This article first appeared on the Apollo Magazine’s website. The Scottish independence referendum takes place on 18 September. What would a ‘Yes’ vote mean for the country’s museums and galleries?… Continue reading

35 Comments

Spectator competition: compose a poet’s verse selfie (plus: what happens when the lights go out)

30 August 2014 10:30
Image: Getty

Submissions to the latest competition, which invited you to provide a poetic preview of when the lights go out, were impressively varied and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable mentions go… Continue reading

0 Comments

The false paradise of Metroland

29 August 2014 18:39
Stills from Sir John Betjeman's BBC film 'Metro-Land'

Gaily into Ruislip Gardens runs the red electric train… Near the end of the Metropolitan Line, where London dwindles into woods and meadows, stands a Tudor manor house, built within… Continue reading

15 Comments

And the best private hospital for food is… 

29 August 2014 16:50
Image: Getty

News today that the government is going to try to improve NHS food with that old New Labour favourite, the league table. Not that I’m knocking it – I’ve been… Continue reading

4 Comments

A very Scottish dinner for the Prime Minister

29 August 2014 16:44
pen

Mr S could not help think that last night’s Scottish CBI dinner looked a little dreary and frankly a bit ‘budget’. The PM was coming to town; could they not… Continue reading

6 Comments

Will we learn to love our ugly houses?

29 August 2014 15:57
Will we ever learn to love Leicester's Opal Court, 2007 winner of the Carbuncle Cup?

What are the root causes of Britain’s housing crisis? The Philosophers’ Mail – which has copied the format of MailOnline but I suspect is not aiming at quite the same demographic… Continue reading

18 Comments

Hacked Off deliver ludicrous blessing of the Rotherham investigation

28 August 2014 13:36
A blessing from Joan Smith and Hacked Off (Photo: AFP/Andrew Cowie)

Andrew Norfolk, the Times journalist that blew open the Rotherham child abuse scandal, can sleep well in his bed tonight, for he has been completely vindicated now. Forget the Jay… Continue reading

91 Comments

Douglas Carswell: Darling of the Tories, Labour and now Ukip

28 August 2014 12:44
(Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty)

This is no ordinary defection. It would be easy for the Tories to brush off a member of the old guard as a swivel-eyed headbanger, but Douglas Carswell is not… Continue reading

22 Comments

Douglas Carswell’s defection is a disaster for David Cameron and great news for Ed Miliband

28 August 2014 12:13
Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.12.14

I like Douglas Carswell. He thinks for himself and has always, I think, added some welcome colour to parliament. But I don’t understand his defection to UKIP at all. If… Continue reading

182 Comments

Why are there so few female jockeys?

27 August 2014 21:44
Hayley Turner. Image: Getty

In this week’s ‘The Turf’ column, Robin Oakley bemoans the lack of female jockeys in horseracing. This, he claims, is a result of the sport’s lack of opportunities for women:… Continue reading

19 Comments

Modern Britain’s apathetic, inadequate response to child sexual abuse

27 August 2014 19:07
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

The customs developing around how modern British officialdom reacts to the gang-rape of children is very interesting. I’ve just watched an interview (above) with Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime… Continue reading

264 Comments

To understand the causes of child abuse we need to look at its perpetrators’ backgrounds

27 August 2014 18:19
Shoppers walk through the streets of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Day two of the Rotherham scandal—or rather the fallout from the latest report on it—and there’s a marked, obvious change in the coverage of it from the last time the subject… Continue reading

124 Comments

Citizen Brand

27 August 2014 12:58
Image: Getty

So it turns out the revolution will be televised after all. ‘Brand’, a full length documentary about the comedian turned political activist Russell Brand, is heading our way next year.… Continue reading

21 Comments

Kate Bush Hammersmith Apollo review: still crazy after all these years

27 August 2014 9:13
She's still got it (Photo: Ken McKay/Rex)

It says something about Kate Bush’s standing in the music world that, perhaps uniquely in the history of long-awaited live comebacks, nobody has suggested — or possibly even thought —… Continue reading

24 Comments

Why the World Health Organisation’s fears about e-cigarettes are based on prejudice, not science

26 August 2014 20:06
(Photo: Getty)

This is an extract from this week’s Spectator, available from Thursday. To subscribe, click here. I was waiting on an office forecourt recently puffing on an e-cigarette when a security… Continue reading

60 Comments

The reluctance to talk about the link between beheadings and Islam

26 August 2014 19:37
Police forensic experts search for clues by the body of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Van Gogh was shot, stabbed and partly beheaded while cycling along a street in Amsterdam. Image: TOUSSAINT KLUITERS/AFP/Getty Images

Why do they behead people? Why do Islamic extremists—like those who killed the American journalist James Foley—choose beheading as their savage tactic of choice? I have not heard anybody ask… Continue reading

361 Comments

Isis are armed with smartphones, but so are we. Let’s fight them online

26 August 2014 19:33
(Photo: AP Photo/Raqqa Media Center)

I’ve written about online activism before. I thought the #nomakeupselfie was a vanity movement. The #bringbackourgirls one was self-righteous. I’ve had to bite my tongue mighty hard to hold back a rant… Continue reading

23 Comments

‘I didn’t want to appear racist’ is the ‘I was only obeying orders’ of our age

26 August 2014 18:44
child shadow

Up to 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham. Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham,… Continue reading

307 Comments

Not Tonight, Darling

26 August 2014 12:59
BRITAIN-SCOTLAND-POLITICS-VOTE-MEDIA

Well that was a gubbing. No doubt about it. Alex Salmond won last night’s debate against Alistair Darling just as thoroughly as he’d lost their first encounter. Sure, some Unionists… Continue reading

187 Comments

Salmond vs Darling: round two – live

25 August 2014 20:22
Salmond doing his David Cameron-style walky talkie thing.  Photo: Getty

Welcome to tonight’s liveblog of the BBC debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. 00:05 In this View from 22 podcast special, Isabel Hardman, Alex… Continue reading

117 Comments

Alex Salmond vs Alistair Darling, the Rematch

25 August 2014 15:10
Television Debate Between Alex Salmond And Alistair Darling

Like Paradise Lost, no-one – not even humble freelance hacks – ever wished the Scottish independence referendum campaign longer. We are, most of us, exhausted. Almost all passion has been spent.… Continue reading

40 Comments

Working with Dickie Attenborough

25 August 2014 14:19
Richard Attenborough on a location shoot on Brighton beach. Photo: John Williams/Getty Images

During my short and probably best forgotten acting career, I found myself on the pointy end of Dickie Attenborough’s camera on two memorable occasions. The first was a cough and… Continue reading

4 Comments

Remember Richard Attenborough for his acting – not his directing

25 August 2014 12:44
Richard Attenborough as Pinky in 'Brighton Rock' (1947). Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jurassic Park has a lot to answer for. When I was growing up, I was convinced Richard Attenborough was a real dinosaur scientist. I was also convinced that Richard was David. When… Continue reading

2 Comments