Spectator competition: Mr Micawber’s Christmas round robin (plus: sell the Bible to modern audiences)

20 December 2014 9:30
'Micawber in his element' - Artist -  Fred Barnard  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This year’s festive comp asked for Christmas round robins as they might have been written by a well-known fictional character. It was all there: the boasts, bad jokes, inappropriate intimacies… Continue reading


Life isn’t easy for Gove’s guinea pigs. I should know – I am one

19 December 2014 17:12

Westminster hasn’t made life easy if you are a 16-year-old. Michael Gove’s education reforms are well underway but the reorganisation of A-level courses is yet to be implemented. Everything about… Continue reading


Cloakrooms should be free to stop young women freezing to death

19 December 2014 17:09
Scantily-clad girls heading off on a night out in Newcastle

As I wiggled into my tights in preparation for an end-of-term night out, I was faced with the perennial clubbing question: should I take a coat? Logic, and my mum,… Continue reading


The best (and worst) of ballet and dance over Christmas

19 December 2014 15:50
The highlight of the Christmas shows: Arthur Pita's The Little Match Girl. Photo: Phil Conrad

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, until 4 Jan *** The Little Match Girl, Lilian Baylis Studio, until 4 Jan ***** Edward Scissorhands, Sadler’s Wells, until 11 Jan *** Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Ballet, until 16 Jan ** The Mad Hatter’s… Continue reading

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Does Hollywood need bullies?

19 December 2014 10:47
The Sony leak revealed harsh emails about Angelina Jolie (Photo: Getty)

There have always been bullies in Hollywood; it’s institutionalised, like a form of hazing, but the key difference between the film business and the Marine Corps is that bullying in… Continue reading


The fatal contradiction at the heart of the Tory message: there is no money, except for people we like.

18 December 2014 16:55
David Cameron and George Osborne Visit Eastbourne Pier

Next year’s general election looks like being the most gruesomely entertaining in years. Entertaining because no-one knows what is going to happen; gruesome because of the protagonists and the sorry misfortune… Continue reading


Rod Liddle: my favourite books of the year

18 December 2014 15:32
?Explore the Home Counties?, LNER poster, 1936.

I’ve been away in Oslo. Not the world’s most exciting destination, I have to say. And the locals really do talk and smile exactly like Frances McDormand does in Fargo.… Continue reading


Why Frozen is a fabulously irritating film

17 December 2014 17:40

For a film I’ve never seen, I really, really hate Frozen. For those who don’t have children and don’t look into shop windows and don’t buy toys and are oblivious… Continue reading


Chelsea fan Brocket dampens Arsenal’s Christmas

17 December 2014 17:23
Lord Brocket with some friends. Image: Getty.

It could be a bleak Christmas party for Arsenal Football Club on the 22 December, as Steerpike hears their planned festive bash booked in at Brocket Hall in Berkshire may be a… Continue reading


Restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba? What’s with all this eruption of sanity in Washington?

17 December 2014 16:38

The conventional wisdom, at least in Britain, seems to be that Barack Obama’s presidency has been a desperate disappointment. That is partly a reflection of the extravagant – impossibly so… Continue reading


The new CEO of the Arts Council has been announced – Guardianistas won’t be happy

17 December 2014 16:10
Darren Henley - the new CEO of the Arts Council

It is difficult to describe with equanimity the culture shock that has been administered to Arts Council England, the 69 year-old benefits office for the creative industries. Invented by Maynard… Continue reading


Nigel Farage: Bigger Than Jesus

17 December 2014 12:09
Rochester and Strood Parliamentary By-Election

Ukip’s commonwealth spokesperson Winston McKenzie – he of Carnival of Colour fame – is never far from controversy. It was only a matter of time before a devout Ukipper compared their… Continue reading


Tony Abbott is no common sense speaking politician — just look at his comments on ISIL

17 December 2014 8:01
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott gives a statement to the media about the hostage situation which took place in Martin Place yesterday, at Parliament House on December 16, 2014 in Canberra, Australia.

Wow. Anyone who still harboured the idea that Australia was led by no-nonsense, common sense speaking politicians should look away now. Here is Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, talking… Continue reading


Reindeer roasting on an open fire

16 December 2014 12:59
Image: Getty

What’s wrong with eating reindeer? Well, if you normally eat meat, then I’d argue, absolutely nothing. But not everyone agrees with me. The fact that Lidl are selling packs of… Continue reading


Exclusive: Mrs Farage is still paid for by ‘public sector’ despite Gogglebox denial

16 December 2014 12:06
Nigel Farage with Steph and Dom Parker. Photo: Channel 4.

Ukip has confirmed this morning that Nigel Farage’s wife is still in receipt of public money — despite an on air denial from her husband. The party could not have paid… Continue reading


Dear Mary: How do I use my newly raised profile to meet celebrities?

16 December 2014 11:00
Kate Moss. Getty: Images

From Mr N.M. Gwynne Q. Have you any suggestions on how I could milk my newly raised profile (as a bestselling author on English grammar and Latin, and a regular… Continue reading

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Poor Farage was stitched up by Steph and Dom

16 December 2014 10:38
Nigel Farage with Steph and Dom Parker. Photo: Channel 4.

Steph and Dom are the posh-sounding, drunk couple from Gogglebox – the surprise hit programme where people are recorded sitting on sofas giving a running commentary on the TV shows… Continue reading


Steph and Dom Meet…Nigel Farage: the last authentic politician or tipsy fool?

15 December 2014 23:07
(Picture: Channel 4)

Would you invite Nigel Farage around for drinks and dinner? Steph and Dom Meet…Nigel Farage shows what happened when the ‘posh couple’ from Gogglebox did just that. The Ukip leader comes… Continue reading


A radical plan to ease Britain’s housing shortage – double the population of London

15 December 2014 13:55
House Prices Hit New High In The UK

Roger Scruton writes in today’s Daily Telegraph, a sentence that in itself fills me with a sense of Wa – harmony, order. He writes: ‘Whether or not our political class… Continue reading


Dear Mary: What would Mrs Fulford like for Christmas?

15 December 2014 11:00

From Francis Fulford Q. Have you any suggestions for what to give my wife for Christmas? She doesn’t want anything practical and was deeply unamused when I gave her a… Continue reading

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Jeremy Clarke’s heartbreak and A.L. Kennedy’s dislike of dates

15 December 2014 9:30
Moby. Image: Getty.

A.L. Kennedy Novelist I dislike dates. It’s either a yes, or a no. Why date? Sadly, I am both bad at reading the signals which indicate the outbreak of a… Continue reading

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Is torture acceptable if it helps save thousands of lives?

14 December 2014 11:20

This week’s Senate Report on the CIA hasn’t settled the question of torture once and for all, as Bruce Anderson has pointed out. When we talk about the heroes of… Continue reading


Dear Mary: Tom Hodgkinson asks how to earn more money

14 December 2014 11:00
Image: Getty.

From Tom Hodgkinson, Idler Academy Q. I have started my own academy where adults can learn skills such as ukulele, philosophy and calligraphy. This venture has every appearance of success: it… Continue reading


‘Torture is torture’ ignores the complex nature of intelligence gathering

14 December 2014 10:11

On Thursday I was on the BBC’s ‘This Week’ to talk about the CIA and torture. It is, for many reasons, perhaps the most gruesome subject possible. And not just… Continue reading


Matthew Parris and Dan Snow reveal their strangest dates

14 December 2014 9:30

Matthew Parris Spectator and Times columnist One evening in 1995 some friends brought a friend to dinner at my flat. His name was Julian, and he seemed rather bright. As… Continue reading