I’ve received a mystifying marriage proposal

22 February 2015 9:53

I have had many proposals of marriage recently via the internet, most of them coming from young ladies in Nigeria, Ghana, the DRC and so on. Some of them haven’t… Continue reading


Spectator competition: ‘Shall I compare thee to a camembert?’ — new ways with Sonnet 18 (plus acrostic poets)

21 February 2015 9:30
Image: Getty

The challenge to put a fresh spin on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 was the most popular competition for ages. The brief was to replace ‘summer’s day’ with a trisyllable of your… Continue reading


Ruth Davidson’s Blue-collar Conservatism subtly rebukes David Cameron

20 February 2015 18:49
David Cameron and Ruth Davidson MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives

Today’s Scottish Conservative conference in Edinburgh proved unexpectedly interesting. No, really. Or, rather, yes, really. Or whatever. David Cameron spoke, you see, and so did Ruth Davidson and they said… Continue reading


Virginia Ironside has no time for E L James’s ‘appalling’ prose

20 February 2015 15:21
Jamie Dornan stars opposite Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey has so far taken a record amount at the box office for an 18-certificate film. Virginia Ironside, however, will not be contributing to the film’s profits.… Continue reading


Teenage fathers and mental health: a true story unfairly reported

20 February 2015 13:34
A father and son making a toy car in a workshop circa 1950. Photo: Getty Images.

There’s a difference between something being true, and something being fair, as I’m sure you realise. I’m going to look at a story that is, on the face of it,… Continue reading


Coffee Shots: George takes Boris out for breakfast

20 February 2015 12:33
George Osborne and Boris Johnson stop for breakfast. Photo: @George_Osborne.

Boris and George have been painting London town red this morning. First, the Tory duo took over the Tate Modern at the crack of dawn to show off a very large,… Continue reading


The tragedy of these sex education plans is that five year olds might miss the joke

20 February 2015 11:52
Image: Getty

Most people look back fondly at their sex education classes, remembering the stammering, red faced teachers, the very silly jokes and the endless, irrepressible giggles. The real tragedy about this… Continue reading


Clash of the Titans: Rod Liddle calls Piers Morgan a halfwit

19 February 2015 17:36
Piers Morgan. Photo: Getty Images.

Piers Morgan’s claim in the Daily Mail that the Prime Minister of Israel’s reaction to the  terror attacks in Denmark ‘is a disgrace’ has caught the attention of Mr S’s colleague… Continue reading


Policymakers must address high male suicide rates

19 February 2015 17:15

It’s pretty tough to find good news in suicide statistics, but today’s figures for 2013 are particularly grim reading. The number of suicides increased from 2012, and the male suicide rate… Continue reading


Club wars: Robin Birley gives Ukip £55,000 while Annabel’s gives Tories £20,000

19 February 2015 12:26

Mr S has just been flicking through the latest figures released today by the Electoral Commission, and was intrigued to see that in the last quarter Robin Birley, the half-brother of Tory… Continue reading


Like Isis, Thomas More believed passionately in burning people alive

19 February 2015 12:11
Anton Lesser plays Thomas More in BBC2's Wolf Hall. Photo: Ed Miller/BBC

Next week, in the final episode of the BBC’s Wolf Hall, we’ll see Anne Boleyn face death by beheading. But if you watched last night’s episode, you’ll know – accurately –… Continue reading


‘Smoking kills, nicotine doesn’t’: a huge boost for campaigners who say e-cigs save lives

19 February 2015 10:09

Dr Derek Yach has done more than any man alive to eradicate smoking. A former professor of global health at Yale, he developed the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, now… Continue reading


Drugs Live drama: Channel 4 vs Home Office

19 February 2015 8:05
A marijuana shop in Los Angeles. MPs today recommended that the government should consider decriminalising some drugs. Picture: Getty

So far Channel 4′s Drugs Live series has examined the effects of ecstasy while next month’s installment will look into cannabis use. However, for those wondering which illicit substance will be next, the programme’s host… Continue reading


Emir Kusturica interview: why Slavoj Žižek is a fraud

19 February 2015 8:00
Emir Kusturica in Andrićgrad

Last month I was invited on a press trip to Serbia. The whole thing sounded great; free accommodation, free food, free travel. I said yes, obviously. But there was a… Continue reading


Dippygate: Natural History Museum’s diplodocus sacrificed on the commercial altar

18 February 2015 17:23
(Image: Casson Mann/Natural History Museum)

There was outcry last month when it was announced that ‘Dippy the Diplodocus’ is to be removed from the Natural History Museum’s vast Hintze Hall, where he has been greeting… Continue reading


Hunting may be banned, but the fight still goes on

18 February 2015 17:18
Image: Getty

Ten years ago today, Tony Blair’s ban on hunting with dogs came into force. Rural communities had marched, Otis Ferry had stormed the Commons, but none of it made any… Continue reading


The Kremlin is dictating Russian culture once more – and it’s neo-Soviet and anti-Western

18 February 2015 14:42
Vladimir Urin, head of the Bolshoi Theatre Photo: Corbis

It’s suddenly gone icy-cold in Russia’s arts relations with us and the US. Last year’s Russia-UK Year of Culture just snicked under the wire before the political chill started building… Continue reading


Al Murray tries to muster some funds for his FUKP campaign

18 February 2015 14:33

The Conservatives held a Black and White Tie Ball earlier this month to raise funds for their election campaign, while Ukip are reported to have recently taken a princely sum from Richard… Continue reading


UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4, review: a sad, predictable, desperate hatchet job

18 February 2015 11:31
Television UKIP: The First 100 Days

This is an extract from this week’s magazine, available from tomorrow Just three months into Ukip’s shock victory as the party of government and already Nigel Farage’s mob are starting… Continue reading


La Donna del Lago, Met Opera, review: Colm Tóibín on a night of masterful singing

18 February 2015 11:13
Joyce DiDonato as Elena in the Met's new production of 'La Donna del Lago'
Photo: Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

This is an extract from this week’s magazine, available from tomorrow. La Donna del LagoMetropolitan Opera, New York, in rep until 14 March La Donna del Lago, based on a… Continue reading


Peter Oborne has performed a great public service today

17 February 2015 21:48
Maria Miller's adviser tried to warn the Telegraph off publishing a story about her expenses by mentioning her connection to Leveson. Picture: Getty

Well, this is awkward. Peter Oborne is a friend and The Spectator shares a proprietor with The Daily Telegraph. So there is a danger that anything written in this space… Continue reading


Jon Snow on skunk: ‘I felt utterly bereft’

17 February 2015 14:28
Who am I?

Jon Snow previously investigated the effects of taking ecstasy in a Channel 4 documentary. Now, in the interests of investigative journalism, the newsreader has been filmed taking skunk for a follow-up… Continue reading


Iolanta/Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Met Opera Live, review: enterprising take on two masterpieces

17 February 2015 12:53
Anna Netrebko in the Met's new production of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta. Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Iolanta / Duke Bluebeard’s Castle  Met Opera Live The Met’s antepenultimate relay of the season was an enterprising pairing of two operas, one of which we should see more often, and both of… Continue reading


A true feminist will defend the unborn girls being aborted in the UK because of their sex

17 February 2015 11:52

Question: Is abortion on gender grounds illegal in the UK? Answer: yes and no and maybe – depends who you ask. Ask Britain’s biggest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory… Continue reading


‘Ukip: The First 100 Days’ shows the media prefers to laugh at than understand the party

17 February 2015 11:42
Television UKIP: The First 100 Days

What would happen if Britain left the EU later this year? According to Channel 4, the country would descend into riots and anarchy. Last night’s one-off drama Ukip: The First… Continue reading