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


Ed Vaizey for the BM?

9 April 2014 15:28
BAFTA Los Angeles 2011 Britannia Awards - Red Carpet

There was only one topic of discussion at the launch of Nadine Dorries’s novel Four Streets last night – will Maria Miller survive? The conversation was particularly pointed because Ed… Continue reading


An extraordinary event in the history of Anglo-Irish relations

9 April 2014 14:11
First State Visit Of An Irish President

If there’s one thing a poet is good for, it’s memorable circumlocution, which is why Michael D Higgins (the D is crucial; people wouldn’t know who you were talking about… Continue reading


Martin McGuinness at Windsor Castle. What an odious sight

9 April 2014 11:53
Former IRA commander Martin McGuinness attended a banquet at Windsor Castle to mark the visit of President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland. (Image: Getty)

I know that the official line is delight at the ‘progress’ allegedly represented by the presence of Martin McGuinness, in white tie and tails, standing to toast the Queen’s health… Continue reading


Let’s not stop at Maria Miller. Let’s get rid of the Department of Culture completely

9 April 2014 10:20

The arts world will not shed a tear at the news that Maria Miller has resigned. Though it was Jeremy Hunt who wielded the axe to the arts budget, it… Continue reading


Staggers Drawn at Fortnum & Mason Awards

9 April 2014 9:30
The Speccie and The Staggers will go head to head at the Fortnum and Mason drinks writer of the year award.

As the two leading British political weeklies, the Spectator and the New Statesman, have for many years enjoyed a relationship of jocular antagonism. This amiable sort of rivalry can been maintained as their differences… Continue reading


How do you fix MPs’ expenses conduct? Give them more control over it.

8 April 2014 18:46
Image: Getty

It’s not often I would, in the fashion of the late Tony Benn, pass lightly over the personalities in a row in favour of discussing what he liked to call… Continue reading


A tipple and a scribble with Gerald Scarfe

8 April 2014 12:46
Finally, Gerald Scarfe has made it: he has had a bar named after him. (JENS SCHLUETER/AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Steerpike longs for the day that he has a bar named after him, so he went to doff his cap to Gerald Scarfe at Scarfe’s Bar last night. Cartoonist… Continue reading

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House music is great music – or can be

8 April 2014 12:14

When Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles died last week, a novelty number by a Brylcreemed Aussie pop punk group had just reached number one. It displaced Duke Dumont & Jax Jones’s… Continue reading


Alas poor Jeremy Browne, the man who loved this government not wisely but all too well

8 April 2014 11:20
United Kingdom Minister of State for For

Poor Jeremy Browne. Sacked for believing in the government in which he served*. Then again, no-one claims politics, or life, is fair. So it is good to see Mr Browne… Continue reading


Let women fight on the front line, but only if they pass the tests

8 April 2014 11:17
Women should have access to all areas of the army (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty)

The head of the British Army has given the clearest sign yet that women will soon be given the right to fight on the front line in a combat role.… Continue reading


BBC1′s The Crimson Field: manipulative, saccharine, shallow – and addictive

8 April 2014 9:33

Thanks to BBC1’s new World War One drama The Crimson Field, I know now how to fake the symptoms of syphilis. All you need is a red hot needle, to… Continue reading


Game of Thrones: ‘Our Island Story’ for the HBO generation

7 April 2014 16:23

When I was a boy I used to love the stories of the old kings of England, devouring book after book on the subject until I could rather involuntarily memorise… Continue reading


Eight of Clarissa Dickson Wright’s finest moments

7 April 2014 15:30
The inimitable Clarissa Dickson Wright. Image: PA

The funeral of Clarissa Dickson Wright: cook, television personality, countryside campaigner and, at the time, the youngest woman ever to be called to the Bar, was held in Edinburgh this… Continue reading


To avoid revenge porn, don’t let someone film you having sex

7 April 2014 15:02

How do you solve a problem like revenge porn? It’s a strange new social evil. More and more men are getting back at women who dump them by posting sex… Continue reading


You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

7 April 2014 14:49
Image: EPA/Loretta Brennan

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could ameliorate pain with soft words and bans on ‘inappropriate’ language.… Continue reading


Tory MPs turn on Maria Miller – and Dave

7 April 2014 14:38
Maria Miller's support is vanishing as press moves in for the kill. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Maria Miller is losing friends, fast. Furious briefing over the last 24 hours has seen a host of Tory MPs withdraw their support for the embattled Culture Secretary - and question the judgment… Continue reading


Our infatuation with high-rise housing has been catastrophic. Good riddance to the Red Road flats

7 April 2014 12:25
The Red Road flats are to be demolished as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies. Photo: Getty

‘If you meet anyone in a pub or at a party who says he is an architect,’ advised Auberon Waugh, ‘punch him in the face.’ Typically, the late, great Spectator… Continue reading


What happens at conference stays at conference

7 April 2014 12:17
Stop the press! Delegates at the 2011 Conservative Party conference in Manchester are alleged to have taken part in a gay orgy! (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Readers of yesterday’s Mail on Sunday were treated to what appeared to be the perfect ‘Tory Sleaze!’ story. But appearances can deceive. Here’s what the Mail reported: ‘A Tory Minister… Continue reading


When it comes to childbirth, I’d rather be a sheep than a woman

7 April 2014 10:51

I know this because I have now sat through five series of One Born Every Minute (Channel 4) and three series of Lambing Live (BBC 2), and compounded it all with a weekend on… Continue reading


Ladies of the Guardian: please stop writing about sex

6 April 2014 13:38
Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 13.34.50

I’m generally a fan of the Guardian’s website, and sometimes write for it, but I’m sick of how much space it gives to ladettes banging on about sex. It’s a… Continue reading


Why have D&G fallen out with Victoria Beckham? They just miss Posh spice – don’t we all

6 April 2014 13:07
Dolce and Gabana with Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and Linda Evangelista in 2003. Photo: Stephen Trupp/STARMAX/PA Images

Dolce and Gabbana’s barbed attack on Victoria Beckham was a stab in the very slender back of their friend and former muse. But then the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Italian… Continue reading


The Grand National 2014: Could the ‘Royal Dude’ triumph?

5 April 2014 10:49
Image: Getty

Channel 4 have gone all out with their coverage of today’s Grand National (sponsored, for the first time, by Crabbie’s). As well as the race itself, the channel boasts of having… Continue reading


Anthony Hopkins and a musical luvvie-fest

4 April 2014 17:48

Has anything ever been more luvvie than this?


Why do people always assume critics are male?

4 April 2014 12:05
Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.35.54

I offer you a riddle. It’s worthy of the Sphinx guarding Thebes, but if you’ve got half the brain of Oedipus you might get it. A father and his son… Continue reading