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Boom! Bombshell poll annihilates Labour in Scotland

30 October 2014 15:54
Mushroom Cloud

Grotesque. Unbelievable. Bizarre. Unprecedented. Today’s Ipsos-Mori opinion poll is the most astonishing survey of Scottish political opinion in living memory. Perhaps, even, the most remarkable survey of all time. It is, of course,… Continue reading

88 Comments

Lies, damn lies and health statistics – smoking is more deadly than serving in Afghanistan

30 October 2014 12:51
A British soldier (left) takes a smoke break on base in Sangin valley in Afghanistan's Helmand province, May 2007 (Photo: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Basically nothing is as bad for you as smoking. Short of fairly obvious things like blunt-force trauma or falling out of buildings, anyway. That is a fact worth keeping in… Continue reading

20 Comments

How do you solve a problem like the NHS? The Spectator asks the experts

30 October 2014 12:14
Nurses of Whipps Cross Hospital, in London, singing Christmas carols to a patient in December 1952 (Photo: Monty Fresco/Getty Images)

So ingrained is the NHS as part of British life that it’s hard to imagine it disappearing. But it can’t go on as it is: its budget is being squeezed… Continue reading

28 Comments

Sup with a long spoon at the new Shepherd’s

29 October 2014 18:58
By Jules Morgan from Montreal, Canada (Cheese soufflé  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The news that Westminster lunch ‘institution’ Shepherd’s is to reopen its doors after closing them eighteen months ago has been greeted with enthusiasm, not least by the cheese soufflé devotees of SW1. But… Continue reading

7 Comments

Are bowls of pasta Blairite?

29 October 2014 18:54
Blairite food. Getty Images

If Thatcher was Britain’s Bonaparte, then Blair was most certainly our Louis-Philippe. It was during the reign of the latter that the bourgeoisie came to dominate the status quo in… Continue reading

5 Comments

Did she say that out loud? Gay marriage muddle from Nicky Morgan

29 October 2014 10:49
Nicky Morgan: did you say that out loud? (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Mixed messaging from education secretary Nicky Morgan, who also moonlights as the equalities minister: Despite saying previously that ‘marriage to me is between a man and a woman’, and voting… Continue reading

80 Comments

Save Isis (the dog on Downton Abbey… not the terrorists in Iraq and Syria)

28 October 2014 14:53
'Isis' the labrador on Downton Abbey, on far left (Photo: Giles Keyte/ITV)

Downton Abbey fans are on high alert that something drastic might be about to happen to the loyal labrador of the house, ‘Isis’. On this week’s episode she was pointed… Continue reading

15 Comments

Should Cameron be worried about Neville Thurlbeck’s New Year surprise?

28 October 2014 11:55
Neville Thurlbeck (Photo: Getty)

Given how close the phone-hacking scandal got to the heart of Downing Street, the Tories will be hoping nothing will provoke more questions this side of the election about Cameron’s hiring of… Continue reading

5 Comments

Border controls are a basic human right – is it un-Christian to oppose mass immigration?

28 October 2014 10:13
Pope Francis meets immigrants at the pier in Lampedusa, Italy, in July 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)

Is it sinful to be not so keen on the whole immigration thing? I suppose Justin Welby thinks so, according to his recent comments. ‘We have to be careful and… Continue reading

188 Comments

Jim Murphy is Scottish Labour’s only hope

27 October 2014 18:06
BRITAIN-SCOTLAND-INDEPENDENCE-VOTE

At the risk of intruding into someone else’s calamity, if you can’t enjoy this what can you enjoy? By this I mean, of course, Scottish Labour’s meltdown. (Suggestions the party… Continue reading

91 Comments

Calorie-counting six sweets at a time

27 October 2014 13:13
(Photo: Peter Robins)

Anyone who is trying vaguely to control their weight and still eats tasty, nasty processed foods — me, for instance — gets used to playing the game of ‘guess how… Continue reading

18 Comments

This opera is simplistic and dangerous. So is banning it

27 October 2014 12:39
Alan Opie, left, and Jesse Kovarsky in The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met, New York. Photograph: Ken Howard

My father’s house was razed In 1948 When the Israelis passed over our street I’ve never forgotten the opening lines to John Adam’s 1991 opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Crisp, elegiac, this  ‘Chorus… Continue reading

22 Comments

Spectator competition: Autumn villanelles (plus: poems in praise or dispraise of well-known buildings)

26 October 2014 9:30
Image: Getty

Stephen Fry is a fan of the villanelle — it was what inspired him to write his how-to book for poets, The Ode Less Travelled. And so are you, if… Continue reading

4 Comments

Russell Brand: Newsnight’s tragic solution to its plummeting ratings

25 October 2014 17:17
russell

The issue is not that Russell Brand seems to believe that 9/11 was some sort of joint effort between George W Bush and the bin Laden family – that’s sort… Continue reading

365 Comments

Alas, poor Johann Lamont: a symptom, not the cause, of Labour’s decline in Scotland

25 October 2014 11:31
Alex Salmond Takes First Minister's Questions

It was the wee things that did it. Things like vision, inspiration, confidence and all the other details that coalesce into that strange something called leadership. There are many types… Continue reading

212 Comments

First look at the new Dad’s Army

25 October 2014 11:05
The new Dad's Army cast (left to right): Blake Harrison as Pike, Danny Mays as Walker, Tom Courtenay as Corporal Jones, Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Bill Paterson as Fraser, Bill Nighy as Wilson, Michael Gambon as Godfrey

Back in the last century, when people still watched television rather than computers, I fulfilled the lifetime ambition of every comedy nerd when I finally got to meet David Croft… Continue reading

15 Comments

Iraq and Syria are lost causes: Western intervention can’t help – or can it?

24 October 2014 18:05
Iraq-and-Syria-debate-website-image-700x350

Iraq and Syria are lost causes: Western intervention can’t help. Well, at least that was the motion put forward on Wednesday evening at a Spectator debate, in association with Brewin… Continue reading

63 Comments

Smoking weed won’t make your kids smarter, but it won’t make them brain-dead, either

24 October 2014 16:20
(Photo: Getty)

I don’t want this to become the ‘Tom Tells You To Get High’ blog, so this will be the last time I write about cannabis for awhile, I promise. Unless… Continue reading

164 Comments

A federal UK? Home Rule all round? We have been here before.

24 October 2014 11:48
Dublin 1912: a crowd gathers on Sackville Street (as was) for Herbert Asquith after the government introduces a bill for Irish Home Rule. Photo: Getty/Hulton.

There are fewer truly new things in politics than you think. The present constitutional uncertainty – which, it should be said, could scarcely have been avoided – is no exception.… Continue reading

58 Comments

Dylan Thomas: speeches for Hitler, balderdash for Walton and the true meaning of Under Milk Wood

24 October 2014 11:11
Dylan Thomas in 1946. Photograph: Francis Reiss/Getty Images

My father came across Dylan Thomas in a Swansea pub in 1947. ‘Chap over there,’ said one of the regulars ‘is a poet.’ ‘What’s his name?’ asked my father. ‘No… Continue reading

5 Comments

Westminster’s gone barking

24 October 2014 10:40
This year's winner, Diesel and Rob Flello MP

It’s that time of year again – sandwiched between conference season and the Autumn statement – when the nation’s political pooches (and their owners) descend on Westminster. Yes, yesterday saw the… Continue reading

8 Comments

How to cure bad breath (and continue eating smelly foods)

24 October 2014 10:31
Baby's breath - or not (Photo: Hulton Archive)

Have you ever tried that good old test for halitosis – licking your wrist, letting it dry, then having a good whiff – and been shocked at the result? The… Continue reading

3 Comments

The EU’s gift to Nigel Farage – Brussels demands £1.7 billion more from Britain

24 October 2014 10:15
(Photo: AFP)

With truly dreadful timing, the European Commission has sprung David Cameron with a demand for £1.7 billion in extra British budget payments to the EU. The commission says this amount… Continue reading

234 Comments

Paedophile crimes should not be used to score points against ‘The Establishment’

23 October 2014 18:36
Fiona Woolf. Image: Getty

Fiona Woolf, as you can probably tell from her Maggie-Smith-in-yet-another-costume-drama photograph above, is a member of The Establishment. She’s Lord Mayor of London. And a QC. Plus, she has been… Continue reading

110 Comments

This new Sherlock Holmes exhibition will have Cumberbitches salivating

23 October 2014 17:57
First editions of Conan Doyle's novel A Study in Scarlet, which are on show at the Museum of London. Photograph: Museum of London/EPA

Have you ever experienced the joys of Jawohl, meine Herr’n? If not I strongly advise an appointment with YouTube. The song features in the 1954 film Der Mann, der Sherlock… Continue reading

3 Comments