The National Theatre could – and should – survive without state funding

9 July 2014 12:18
The NT is the jewel in the crown of our artistic heritage

Two glorious playhouses grace the south bank of the Thames. Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre stage the finest shows available anywhere in the world. Both are kept in business… Continue reading


Let’s call time on the unpleasant ritual of vaginal examinations

9 July 2014 12:11
There are better ways to screen for illness than an internal vaginal examination. (Image: JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images)

An internal examination is an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience for many women. The process involves a doctor inserting two gloved lubricated fingers into the vagina while using the other hand… Continue reading


The problem with the NHS? The soft bigotry of low expectations.

9 July 2014 11:57

In many ways I’ve endured enjoyed a very fortunate life. Not least because, perhaps unusually, I’ve had almost no dealings with the National Health Service. I mean, apart from a… Continue reading


Nick Clegg’s self-pitying guide to parenting

8 July 2014 17:08
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

‘I’m like any parent,’ says Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister, privy councillor and universally derided leader of the Liberal Democrats). Speaking to the Radio Times, as any old parent might do, Average Dad… Continue reading


Whatever happened to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’?

8 July 2014 17:00
Cross-party MPs gather outside the Houses of Parliament on May 13, 2014 in London for a photocall to show their support for a group of abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls. Not much has happened since, has it? (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Whatever happened to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’? I only ask because it’s now three months since Twitter and all other social media, Michelle Obama, Christiane Amanpour, David Cameron etc. joined… Continue reading


Team Scotland’s Commonwealth Games uniforms are a headache waiting to happen

8 July 2014 16:37
Members of Team Scotland pose in their opening ceremony uniforms. Image: PA

If you want a laugh, and I suspect you do, take a look at the Team Scotland parade uniform for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. It’s awful. A kilt that… Continue reading


Miliband’s main man blames the voters

8 July 2014 15:04

Labour Party guru David Axelrod popped up in Sunday’s New York Times, presumably to promote his new book. He spoke candidly to columnist Maureen Dowd, attempting to explain why Barack Obama is… Continue reading


Why Eric Gill would have enjoyed the 3D-printed dildo as much in principle as in practice

8 July 2014 11:05
3D-printed houses in China

‘At the Sign of the Cross in St James’s Street, When next you go thither to make yourselves sweet By buying of powder, gloves, essence, or so, You may chance… Continue reading


Labour’s true believers ask Ed Miliband to repeat past Tory mistakes.

8 July 2014 10:49
Ed Miliband election campaign

The first, and perhaps most important, thing to say about the 2015 general election is that it is Labour’s to lose. The second thing to say is that Ed Miliband… Continue reading


Aha! Steve Coogan sticks it to Rupert Murdoch

7 July 2014 16:49
Alan  Partridge: Alpha Papa World Premiere Day & After Party

Mr S would like to draw your attention to two separate articles in the Guardian, which he passes on without so much as a smirk. The actor and comedian Steve… Continue reading


How should we describe ‘assisted dying’?

7 July 2014 15:40
Soham Trial Nears Conclusion

There is, I realise, no perfect, neutral way of describing ‘assisted dying’, the substance of Lord Falconer’s bill which comes up for its second reading on 18th July. ‘Right to… Continue reading


Chuka’s struggle

7 July 2014 12:55

Chuka Umunna was on the receiving end of an internet storm after he suggested that people who vote UKIP are either too old or too stupid to do things like… Continue reading


Video – The leader of ISIS makes his first public appearance

5 July 2014 17:31

A video has just emerged of the new ‘Caliph’, otherwise known as the leader of the Islamic State (aka ISIS). Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is shown leading Friday prayers earlier this week… Continue reading


Kanye West is a sanctimonious prat – which is exactly why he’s so great

5 July 2014 13:37
Kanye West at Wireless. Picture: Getty Images

What’s the difference between Kanye West and the space cadets of Speakers’ Corner? Without having access to their bank statements, the biggest distinction between the two parties is that when… Continue reading


Why I love Tracey Emin’s bed

5 July 2014 13:10
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed'. Picture: Getty Images

My Bed, one of the works that failed to win Tracey Emin the Turner Prize (she lost to Steve McQueen in 1999), made £2.2m at Christie’s this week, going to… Continue reading


Hacking Trial: the movie

5 July 2014 12:38
Bonnie Langford for Rebekah Brooks? Picture: Getty Images

We may have had the verdicts and the sentences in the hacking trial, but the biggest question remains unanswered: who’s going to play everyone in the movie? There’s one clear… Continue reading


The eternal allure of the Caliphate

5 July 2014 10:12
Palestinian supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir silhouetted behind a banner bearing the Arabic word ‘caliphate’. Image: Getty

There’s nothing like a caliphate to rally disparate groups. The Sunni Islamic organisation ISIS has recruited fighters from all over the world with its dream of a single Muslim state,… Continue reading


Spectator competition: Decide what Leigh Hunt’s Jenny did next (plus oblique cooking with Yoko Ono)

5 July 2014 9:33
Yoko Ono. Image: Getty

As if there weren’t enough recipe books in the world, the latest assignment challenged competitors to invent a title for yet another one, with a fresh angle, and supply a… Continue reading


Baldwin’s blunder

4 July 2014 16:44
Tom Baldwin, master of spin. Image: Getty

Labour’s ‘media grid’ for this week had Miliband’s millionaire spinner Tom Baldwin pencilled in to brief Times journalist Rachel Sylvester and give her an exclusive story for Tuesday’s paper. When… Continue reading


Tony Blair is advising a murderer. Is there anything he won’t do?

4 July 2014 13:40
Image: Getty

I see that Tony Blair is to advise Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on economic reform. El-Sisi has incarcerated 20,000 protestors, a bunch of journalists and murdered 2,500 opponents. Is… Continue reading


The Spectator’s summer party, in pictures

4 July 2014 13:09
Absolution. Father Julian Large and Taki

Last night The Spectator held their annual summer party at what the Mail Online have now christened ‘Spectator House’ (aka our Old Queen Street offices). Here is a selection of photos… Continue reading


Jailing old celebrities is not a challenge to our current culture

4 July 2014 8:45
'We know, from his own account, that Russell Brand has slept with a great many women.' Image: Getty

‘A culture changes by example and a licentious old man being found guilty will help do that,’ says a leader in the Times. Perhaps, but I would be much more impressed if… Continue reading


What have we done for ISIS not to hate us?

3 July 2014 15:06
Scenes you seldom see. Why don't they hate us? Image: Getty

After 9/11 the Western world’s response fell between two poles; on the one hand lots of people agreed with General Norman Schwarzkopf that it was not our job to forgive… Continue reading


Ed’s business speech literally cloaked in darkness

3 July 2014 12:14

Mr S wandered down to Ed Miliband’s big business speech at the ‘Inclusive Prosperity’ conference at the Science Museum today, and it has to be said: it was all a… Continue reading


Shot at Dawn: an emotionally charged WWI musical

3 July 2014 10:53

A court-martial — followed by an execution: not exactly promising ingredients for a musical. But Ross Clark’s new music drama Shot at Dawn turns out to be unexpectedly moving. On… Continue reading