×
coffee house

Coffee Houserss

A full separation of powers could reinvigorate parliament

26 July 2014 13:22
Big Ben and the The Houses of Parliament

Last summer, parliament was recalled after President Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in Syria. David Cameron wanted the Commons to support air strikes against the Syrian regime in response. But… Continue reading

121 Comments

Is it time for ‘nose-peg Toryism’?

24 July 2014 16:24
Image: Getty

Before the election in 2005, the magnificently grand Polly Toynbee made a generous offer to Guardian readers reluctant to vote for Tony Blair after Iraq. ‘There is much to be… Continue reading

48 Comments

Michael Fallon marks century of Muslim service in British armed forces

24 July 2014 14:45
Muslim prayer taking place in the Memorial Courtyard of the Ministry of Defence in London on 23rd July 2014. (Image: Ministry of Defence)

After nineteen hours without food, nor even a drop of water, the prospect of the single succulent date which breaks the fast looms ever larger in the mind as sunset… Continue reading

33 Comments

Rory Stewart elected Chairman of the Defence Select Committee

14 May 2014 15:53
Rory Stewart, the new Commons Defence Select Committee chairman. Image: Getty

Rory Stewart, the colourful and interesting Tory MP, has been elected as chairman of the Defence Select Committee. Stewart is a formidable appointment. He is knowledgeable on defence and foreign… Continue reading

37 Comments

Will Philip Hammond challenge the SNP’s conceits?

15 April 2014 8:51
AUSTRALIA-NAVY-MILITARY

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas has said, in the Telegraph, that the sum of the Royal Navy’s parts is not greater than its whole. Scottish independence, he says,… Continue reading

123 Comments

Ukraine increases mistrust and misinformation between Russia and the West

14 April 2014 8:48
World Leaders Meet For G8 Summit AT Lough Erne

The tense situation in Ukraine has escalated overnight. A deadline has passed for pro-Russian agitators to vacate government buildings in eastern Ukraine or face military action. There is no indication… Continue reading

73 Comments

Women should not fight on the frontline

10 April 2014 13:44
Operation Buzzard

Writing in the Spectator Diary some time ago, the evergreen Peregrine Worsthorne, observed that one of the things about getting on was that you ended up forgetting the reason why… Continue reading

145 Comments

Scottish independence: an exemplary or cautionary foreign policy Rorschach Test?

9 April 2014 15:35
(FILES) A file picture taken in 1971 sho

The eyes of the world are upon us. Or so Scottish Nationalists like to say. Whae’s like us? There is some truth to this even if you think unseemly all… Continue reading

150 Comments

America won’t be Europe’s policeman any more – but that’s good for Britain

25 February 2014 14:32
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel. Image: Getty

The US Army’s cuts are good for Britain. They will force our European allies to think about their own defence and re-evaluate their policies. This will highlight the benefits of… Continue reading

48 Comments

Tory rebels and government are fighting yesterday’s wars

20 November 2013 9:27
British soldiers inspect a 'Snatch' Land Rover vehicle outside Basra in September 2006. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has a battle on his hands. 20 or so Tory MPs have signed John Baron’s amendment to the Defence Reform Bill. The bill aims to… Continue reading

39 Comments

Philip Hammond: Britain can do better than a blank sheet of paper or the Lib Dems

29 September 2013 15:27
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

listen to ‘Hammond: 'A Conservative government will never send our forces in to battle without the right kit'’ on Audioboo Philip Hammond’s speech to the Conservative conference was accompanied by… Continue reading

25 Comments

Jim Murphy: Labour does believe in intervention

23 September 2013 10:26
Shadow defence minister Jim Murphy. Photo: PA.

When Ed Miliband dropped his support for the government’s motion on military intervention in Syria, it was seen as a convenient way of the Labour leader avoiding the thorny question… Continue reading

19 Comments

Philip Hammond: No 2nd Syria vote ‘unless the circumstances change very significantly’

2 September 2013 16:50
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

Defence Questions this afternoon was, as you might expect, a rather chippy affair. It seemed that whenever Philip Hammond rose to answer a question, he answered it by reminding the… Continue reading

65 Comments

Argentina’s G-20 membership should be revoked

12 August 2013 17:07
Argentina's President Kirchner is not afraid to play on the global stage by her own rules. Britain should stop her. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

When Argentina appears in British public discourse, it is normally in relation to one of the two ‘f’s – football or the Falklands. The behaviour of President Cristina Kirchner’s regime… Continue reading

75 Comments

What did President Eisenhower say about the ‘military industrial complex’?

9 August 2013 9:03
HMS Illustrious is on its way to Gibraltar.

The ‘routine’ deployment of HMS Illustrious and two bustling frigates to Gibraltar, en route to the Gulf of Aden, has excited the morning papers. And the evacuation of the American… Continue reading

61 Comments

Is José Manuel Barroso after the top job at Nato?

24 July 2013 13:30
Image: Getty

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, put on a suspiciously big-time press conference today to launch what were really no more than some modest proposals to standardise the… Continue reading

25 Comments

If David Cameron wants a military capable of toppling Assad, he’ll have to pay for it

18 July 2013 9:05
"I heard that you were short of air cover in Afghanistan, so the guys at DFID made you something..."

Libya is a success from which David Cameron might not recover. This, at any rate, seems to be the fear of Sir David Richards who has marked his exit as… Continue reading

29 Comments

Soldiers’ right to protection remains, and so it should

28 June 2013 13:59
British soldiers inspect a 'Snatch' Land Rover vehicle outside Basra in September 2006. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the Snatch Land Rover / Challenger II cases, which allowed the families of four soldiers who lost their lives while serving in Iraq to… Continue reading

16 Comments

Bring on the drones – the Supreme Court has changed the way we fight wars

20 June 2013 11:30
British soldiers inspect a 'Snatch' Land Rover vehicle outside Basra in September 2006. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

On the face of it, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow three suits to be brought against the Ministry of Defence is surprising, almost shocking. My colleague Alex Massie has… Continue reading

19 Comments

Cameron wants to change the military balance in Syria, but how do you do that without arming the Islamists?

16 June 2013 18:20
A Syrian army tank patrols an area in th

David Cameron and Vladimir Putin have just concluded their pre G8 talks, the main topic of which was Syria. Cameron wants to use the next few days to try and… Continue reading

64 Comments

Why Defence Secretaries go native

14 June 2013 9:26
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

When Philip Hammond was sent to the Ministry of Defence, his skills as a bean counter were much lauded. Colleagues hoped that he wouldn’t, like other Defence Secretaries, go native.… Continue reading

24 Comments

Cutting and running from Afghanistan

10 April 2013 12:29
Spectator Cover Art

MPs on the Defence Select Committee made a similar warning this morning about the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as Con Coughlin made in The Spectator last month. He wrote that… Continue reading

17 Comments

Nuclear weapons, Scotland and the future of the United Kingdom

5 April 2013 10:47
HMS Astute sails up Gareloch on the Firth of Cylde to her base at Faslane. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

David Cameron – who, in case you’d forgotten, leads the Conservative and Unionist Party – made a rare visit to Scotland yesterday. He spoke about defence. His message was clear:… Continue reading

43 Comments

Vince Cable tells Philip Hammond, cut Trident not welfare

3 March 2013 12:16
The Adam Smith Institute predicted that if Vince Cable got his way and capital gains tax rates were increased to match income tax rates, the Treasury would not make anything out of it. Picture: Getty

On The Sunday Politics today, Vince Cable told Andrew Neil that he disliked ring fencing particular departments. But he accepted that the NHS and DFID budgets would remain protected for… Continue reading

25 Comments

The Tory branch of the National Union of Ministers says cut welfare, not our budgets

2 March 2013 13:31
Philip Hammond was made defence secretary because of his ability to balance the books. Picture: Getty.

Philip Hammond is a cautious and loyal politician. He is not a boat rocker. This is what makes his interviews in the Telegraph and The Sun today so noteworthy. He… Continue reading

44 Comments