Spectator books of the year: Matthew Parris on his growing fear that Owen Jones might be right

19 November 2014 14:53
Owen Jones: was he right all along? Image: Getty

As the year unwinds I’m rebuked by hints all around me that a book I comprehensively panned in Literary Review is basically true. The Establishment and How They Get Away With It by Owen… Continue reading


Why Paddington is anti-Ukip propaganda

19 November 2014 12:46

Well, I’ve just been to see the new Paddington film – the one Colin Firth bowed out of on account of not feeling up to being the voice of the… Continue reading


Like everyone else, I want to think Bob Geldof’s awful – but I can’t

19 November 2014 12:04
Band Aid 30

Band Aid 30 is officially the fastest selling single of 2014. Yet this attempt by successful musicians to heal Africa through song has not met with universal cheer. Instead, a… Continue reading


Should old people start wearing stilettos?

19 November 2014 11:13

It must, I sometimes think, be exhausting, if you actually take health advice from newspapers; diligently eating eggs one week but not the next, avoiding mobile phones in case they… Continue reading


Kajaki review: never have I seen a more gruesome depiction of war

19 November 2014 11:07

On September 6th, 2006, a mortar unit from 3rd Battalion, 3 Para, defending the Kajaki dam over the Helmand River in Afghanistan, spotted an illegal road block set up by… Continue reading


Neither the Tories nor Ukip deserve to win the Rochester by-election

19 November 2014 11:05
UKIP Hold A Public Meeting  Before Rochester And Strood By-Election

Let’s be honest, just for a moment. The Rochester and Strood by-election has been a disgrace. It has been a sewer race during which the two leading protagonists have done… Continue reading


Yes, Bob Geldof, Africans know it’s Christmas. Do you know it’s time to pack Band Aid in?

19 November 2014 10:19
(Photo: AFP/Andrew Cowie)

In this week’s Spectator, out tomorrow, our leading article looks at the Band Aid 30 single and why it’s time for Bob Geldof to pack Band Aid in. Pickup a copy tomorrow… Continue reading


Pope Francis and ‘the Great Division’: the Catholic civil war draws closer

18 November 2014 17:45
Pope Francis Named Time's Person of the Year

In the magazine a couple of weeks ago I asked if we were in the early stages of a Catholic civil war fuelled by confusion over Pope Francis’s apparent willingness to… Continue reading


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

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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

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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


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

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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