Does George Osborne really lock his office fridge at night?

18 November 2014 17:11

It seems the most exciting thing to come out of today’s Commons press gallery lunch with Danny Alexander was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s claim that George Osborne locks… Continue reading


Yvette Cooper steals Tory immigration slogan from 2005

18 November 2014 14:48
Conservative election poster from 2005.

At the height of the 2005 election, the then Tory leader Michael Howard (advised by one Lynton Crosby) declared: ‘Let’s be clear. It’s not racist to talk about immigration. It’s… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Stephen Walsh on Leningrad

18 November 2014 11:52
A Soviet soldier buys a ticket for the performance of the Seventh Symphony in Leningrad in August 1942

I’ve reviewed only a handful of books in 2014, but have struck lucky twice. Brian Moynahan’s Leningrad: Siege and Symphony (Quercus, £25) is one of the most moving books I’ve read for… Continue reading

1 Comment

Spectator books of the year: Ferdinand Mount on Colm Tóibín

18 November 2014 11:17
The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

I have always loved Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale. I now have an equal fondness for Sathnam Sanghera’s Marriage Material (Heinemann, £14.99), which is a reworking of the Black Country classic translated to… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Jeremy Clarke gives his apologies

18 November 2014 11:00

I haven’t read any books published this year —or last year, come to that. That disqualifies me — doesn’t it? Read the other Spectator books of the year

1 Comment

Criminalising mothers: the beginning of the slippery slope

18 November 2014 10:43
Should mothers be criminalised for heavily drinking during pregnancies?

The recent case reported in the press of a 17 year old mother who deliberately binge drank alcohol during her pregnancy, resulting in a baby with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)… Continue reading


Damon Albarn at the Royal Albert Hall: I’m sorry to say he killed it

18 November 2014 10:35

You can’t help but want to hate Damon Albarn. While he may not be the most irritating of the Britpop survivors, (as long as fellow Blur-ite Alex James is still… Continue reading


Is there anything Rory Stewart can’t do?

17 November 2014 17:00
Rory Stewart speaking at the Eden District Everything Everywhere 4G trial site in Threlkheld

Having walked across Afghanistan, governed a province of Iraq and written award winning books about his adventures, now Rory Stewart has delivered his own son: ‘Penrith and the Border MP… Continue reading


PR for hire: Max Clifford looks for work

17 November 2014 16:02
Max Clifford leaves Southwark Crown Court yesterday. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

After the disgraced PR guru Max Clifford was sentenced to eight years at Her Majesty’s pleasure for a series of indecent assaults, he was forced to close his management firm… Continue reading


Rest in peace: seven ways to stop snoring this Christmas

17 November 2014 15:50

Did you know that snoring was bad for your heart? It’s thought to cause changes in the carotid artery and is linked to metabolic syndrome, both of which put you… Continue reading


Newsnight’s arts coverage has descended into a string of fawning advertorials

17 November 2014 15:37
The Mike Leigh/Nick Serota puff piece for Newsnight

Newsnight‘s decision to interview misogynist comedian Daniel ‘Dapper Laughs’ O’Reilly has been slammed as a cynical ratings grab, a descent even from the depths plumbed by devoting 15 minutes to… Continue reading


Arnold Schwarzenegger wins Spectator Cigar Smoker of the Year 

17 November 2014 14:24
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

‘This a long way from the pigsties in east Kent where I smoked my first cigar,’ said 92 year-old Baroness Trumpington as she collected her lifetime achievement award at the… Continue reading


Another American citizen has been murdered — and it’s nothing to do with Islam

17 November 2014 12:37
Barack Obama. Getty Images.

I suppose this is the inevitable end-point of the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ meme. Another American citizen has had his head chopped off by a gang of men aspiring… Continue reading


The Taylor Wessing Prize has no future if it continues to be so insipidly PC

17 November 2014 12:19
The £12,000 first prize goes to... this: 'Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow' by David Titlow, 2014. Copyright: David Titlow

We know what to expect from the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Africans in tribal dress. Flame-haired girls posing with animals. Nudes, generally grotesque: obese hanging bellies, a limb missing here… Continue reading

1 Comment

Spectator books of the year: Jonathan Mirsky on dogs

17 November 2014 11:52
The Hardys with their dog Wessex in 1914. Image: Corbis

The Great Grisby: Two Thousand Years of Exceptional Dogs by Mikita Brottman (William Collins, £16.99). I have read thousands of books in my 81 years and this is the only one… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Roger Lewis on hating Sheridan Morley

17 November 2014 11:47
John Gielgud as Hamlet: the first young poet-prince

Sheridan Morley was an old enemy of mine, so I was thrilled to see him brilliantly denounced and called to account by Jonathan Croall in his first-class book about writing… Continue reading

1 Comment

When Arnie met Ross

16 November 2014 18:10
'An Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger'. Image: Yui Mok/PA

Arnie mania struck the capital last night. A thousand fans crowded into the Lancaster London Hotel to see Schwarzenegger in conversation with Jonathan Ross. He came bounding on stage, in… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Julie Burchill on Julie Burchill

16 November 2014 12:44
Getty Images

I couldn’t work out whether Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl (Ebury, £14.99) was aimed at mature adolescents or immature adults, but I loved it anyway — even before I came… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Susan Hill on David Walliams

16 November 2014 12:41
Getty Images

Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West by Matthew Dennison (Collins, £25). Brave man to take on the biography of Vita, and he has brought it off superbly. So many facets, so… Continue reading

1 Comment

A hard-Left anarchist tears into Isis and its liberal apologists. Blimey

15 November 2014 17:44
Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 16.54.39

Update: He’s called Martin Wright and you can see a clip of him speaking here at a Class War event in 1985. In it he reveals that he used to support… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: Thomas W. Hodgkinson on Morrissey

15 November 2014 12:36
Picture: Karl Walter/Getty

Inside the Dream Palace by Sherill Tippins (Simon & Schuster, £20). We’ve had biographies of great artists and writers, their spouses and children and their children’s pets. Here’s one about the… Continue reading


Spectator books of the year: A.N. Wilson on the British Pushkin

15 November 2014 12:31
nglish tea-chests are thrown into Boston harbour, 16 December 1773

Tristram Hunt’s Ten Cities that Made an Empire (Allen Lane, £25) is a stylish history of the British empire, told through its cities in sunny, civilised prose. He begins with the bungling… Continue reading


Spectator competition: buildings to love and hate (plus: rapping poet laureates)

15 November 2014 9:30
Love at second sight? The Pompidou Centre. Image: Getty

Buildings can provoke strong reactions and the call for poems in praise or dispraise of a well-known one produced a satisfyingly robust entry. Frank McDonald took me at my word… Continue reading


The other Brueghel…

14 November 2014 18:00
'The Bad Shepherd', Pieter Brueghel II © Christie’s Images Limited 2014 © Christie’s Images Limited 2014

This article first appeared on Apollo magazine’s website We often think there is something reassuring, even comforting, about the art of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Life goes on, in a… Continue reading


MI5 mystery at Millbank: has the pig left the building?

14 November 2014 16:38
Don't mention the pigs! Image: Getty

Of all the watering holes across the capital, Mr S knows full well that the Pig and Eye club is both the most elusive and exclusive. So Steerpike was curious to… Continue reading