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Spectator competition: the best opening paragraphs to the worst of all novels (plus: a thriller in three text messages)

3 August 2015 13:10
Edward Bulwer-Lytton: ‘the worst writer in history'

The latest challenge was a shameless rip-off of the annual Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest which asks for ‘the opening sentence to the worst of all novels’ (Edward Bulwer-Lytton is often described… Continue reading


There’s nothing hip about Jeremy Corbyn’s beard

3 August 2015 12:36
Jeremy Corbyn Takes The Lead In The Labour Leadership Race

Mr Corbyn has a beard. If he becomes leader, he will be the first bearded leader of any main party since Keir Hardie. The beard as a fashion item is… Continue reading


The Islamic historian who can explain why some states fail and others succeed

3 August 2015 12:06

I have a new Kindle Single out, an essay on the 14th century Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun, who can rightly claim to be called the ‘father of social science’. Ibn… Continue reading


Ministers stick to the Summer Crisis rulebook on Calais

3 August 2015 10:18

One of the most important rules for politicians dealing with a Summer Crisis is that you must be seen to be Doing Things to deal with that crisis, even if… Continue reading


A Joe Biden run for the presidency is actually the best thing Hillary Clinton could hope for

3 August 2015 10:07
Joseph "Joe" Biden, Jr. (born November 20, 1942) 47th and current Vice President of the United States since 2009.

Let’s not be too cynical. It is a touching thought that Beau Biden’s dying wish was that his father Joe, the Vice President, should have another tilt at the White House.… Continue reading


Chris Leslie stands up to ‘Corbynomics’ — other should follow his example

3 August 2015 8:52
Labour MP and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Chris Leslie addresses delegates at the Progress annual conference in central London on May 16, 2015.

Finally, someone in Labour is tearing apart Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas. Overtly criticising what Corbyn stands for is something the leadership candidates have been reluctant to do. You can see why: his popularity… Continue reading


The internet is eroding the presumption of innocence

2 August 2015 13:45
The cover of New York magazine

Last week, New York magazine ran a front-cover photo of 35 of the 46 women who have accused actor Bill Cosby of sexual assault. The feature inside includes individual interviews with… Continue reading


Why George Galloway won’t be rejoining Labour anytime soon

1 August 2015 10:18
George Galloway MP arrives at a Labour Party panel hearing in London. Mr Galloway was suspended from the party earlier this year and is to discover whether he will be expelled from the party for his outspoken criticism of the war in Iraq. 22 October 2003.

George Galloway has announced that he would like to return to the Labour party if Jeremy Corbyn is elected leader. The former Respect MP for Bradford West sees Corbyn as… Continue reading


The SNP are masters at playing Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

31 July 2015 10:50
SNP Launch Their Manifesto In Edinburgh

All political parties have their cultish moments but some are more cultish than others. That doesn’t mean all their supporters are kool-aid drinkers, just that, on balance, they’re more likely… Continue reading


Trade unionists are putting themselves on the path to obscurity

31 July 2015 9:01

Jeremy Corbyn is the trade unions’ favourite candidate for Labour leader. From the more militant folks at Unite to the moderates at Unison, the comrades are buying into ‘Jez we… Continue reading


Podcast: the Osborne supremacy and why Labour’s grassroots don’t matter

30 July 2015 20:27

George Osborne reigns supreme over Westminster — how did he end up with all this power? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Isabel Hardman discusses our cover piece on the Chancellor’s… Continue reading


Poor boys are losing the university battle of the sexes

30 July 2015 17:23

Something worrying is happening to university access. It’s not what opponents of higher tuition fees predicted, which is that the higher rates would put off poorer students, so it might… Continue reading


Watch: Nigel Farage on why Ukip is still relevant

30 July 2015 16:38

Nigel Farage emerged from his summer break today to kickstart his party’s No campaign. The Ukip leader hit out at Eurosceptic Conservatives who he believes are lazy and ‘there is… Continue reading


Another union backs Corbyn as the antidote to a Blairite ‘virus’

30 July 2015 13:44

Jeremy Corbyn is stormin’ his way through the trade unions affiliated to the Labour party. The Communication Workers’ Union has announced it backs him in the leadership contest, not because… Continue reading


George Osborne hires Economist journalist to chair Council of Economic Advisers

30 July 2015 13:32
Richard Davies of the Economist is set to join the Treasury. Photo: BBC World News.

George Osborne has recruited Richard Davies, The Economist’s economics editor, to replace Rupert Harrison as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Coffee House understands. This position is essentially the Chancellor’s top… Continue reading


Is David Aaronovitch taking the piss out of himself?

30 July 2015 11:05
Image: Getty

This job is getting harder and harder, because it is no longer possible to parody or satirise the blithe stupidity of the liberal London middle class. It now exists in… Continue reading


Nigel Farage: I wouldn’t describe migrant groups as ‘swarms’

30 July 2015 8:53
Cross Party Support At Homes For Britain Rally

Nigel Farage briefly grabbed the moral high ground on the Calais migrant crisis this morning. He told the Today programme, rather loftily, that he wouldn’t use the word ‘swarm’ as David… Continue reading


While Labour panics, the Lib Dems are keeping their cool

29 July 2015 16:22
Gordon Brown Meets With Vietnamese Prime Minister

After May’s general election, both Labour and the Lib Dems needed a new leader, but the contrast between their leadership elections could not be starker. Labour is in the midst… Continue reading


John McTernan: if Corbyn wins the Labour leadership, he should be deposed immediately

29 July 2015 16:01
John McTernan (L), Director of Political Operatiosn, Prime Minister Tony Blair and author Ian Rankin (R) sit on a train from Barrhead to Kilmarnock, on April 26, 2007 in Scotland.

John McTernan is a Blairite who is not afraid to speak his mind. On this week’s View from 22 podcast, the former Labour special advisor discusses the state of Labour’s… Continue reading


Unison backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader

29 July 2015 15:57
Jeremy Corbyn poses for a portrait on July 16, 2015 in London, England

The momentum just keeps building behind Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for Labour leader. This afternoon, Unison has announced it is backing the veteran socialist’s candidacy, with General Secretary Dave Prentis saying:… Continue reading


In our global village, we have recreated the intolerance of village life

29 July 2015 15:47

Poor Walter Palmer – I bet he wished he’d stayed home in Minneapolis and left Cecil the Lion alone, because now he’s officially the Worst Person on Earth and there… Continue reading


Join the revolution to save cricket!

29 July 2015 14:19
ECB president Giles Clarke and chairman Colin Graves (Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty)

While Aggers, Blowers, Tuffers and the Test Match Special team entertain us from Edgbaston this week, a different sort of cricket commentary is being broadcast live from a sports bar in north London. Guerilla Cricket, son of the alternative Test Match Sofa, is everything… Continue reading


Labour stays oddly quiet on the Calais migrant crisis

29 July 2015 14:12

The second, less well-attended stop for the outrage bus today after Cecil the lion is the situation in Calais. One young man died last night as he tried to enter the… Continue reading


Nick Clegg turns down Lib Dem job as new spokesmen announced

29 July 2015 12:04
New Liberal Democrat Party Leader Tim Farron gives a speech as he becomes the new leader of the party at Islington Assembly Hall on July 16, 2015 in London, England.

The Lib Dems have announced their 22 strong ‘spokesperson team’ — or what other parties would call its frontbench. During the leadership election, Tim Farron said the party wouldn’t ‘bother… Continue reading


There’s only one person who can save the Queen’s corgis

29 July 2015 11:16

The Queen, we learnt earlier this month, has decided not to take on any more corgi pups as, at the age of 89, she is worried about leaving any young… Continue reading