Life imitates art as Game of Thrones returns to our screens

24 March 2014 15:48
Rose Leslie. Image: Getty

The last season of Game of Thrones ended while a rough and ready rabble from north of ‘the wall’ were preparing to make life difficult for the establishment down south… Continue reading


Being a student has made me see Oxford in a new light

24 March 2014 15:21
Oxford is meant to be experienced as a student - that's why I wanted to study there, despite having lived in the city for 18 years.

I have a confession to make: I go to my hometown university. The decision to stay in Oxford is one I often feel I have to justify. When people learn… Continue reading


Spectator Life: meet the ‘hot Scots’ with fiery views on independence

24 March 2014 14:06
Rose Leslie. Image: Getty

Ahead of the referendum in September, and as the country prepares for the Commonwealth Games, the spring issue of Spectator Life has a distinctly Scottish theme. In the spirit of… Continue reading


Tory MPs develop new Eton game

24 March 2014 13:35
Eton College. (Image: Getty)

Tory MPs from less privileged backgrounds than their leader have developed a fun new game to play in the members’ tea room: drawing up definitive rankings of Polite Old Etonians… Continue reading


Alain de Botton: We need art to help us to live and to die

24 March 2014 9:55
Alain de Botton. Photo: Francesco Guidicini

The world’s big national museums are deeply glamorous places. We keep quiet in their hallowed halls, we wander the galleries in reverence, we look at a caption here and there,… Continue reading


Venetian secessionists deserve to be punished!

23 March 2014 14:59
Luca Zaia, President of the Veneto region, where secessionist have won an unofficial poll for Venice to secede from Italy.  (Image: Getty/ ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

How should the western powers react when part of a friendly nation holds an illegal referendum and votes to secede from the country in which hitherto it was located? Sanctions?… Continue reading


What if the Crimea poll had been legitimate?

22 March 2014 17:15
Image: Getty

Just wondering: what would we be doing now about Crimea if the referendum a week ago had been done nicely? I know it’s not a good time to ask what… Continue reading


Competition: Write a book blurb to repel readers

22 March 2014 9:30
Image: Getty

You were on stellar form this week on the darker side of spring: the entry was full of wit and invention. There were references to Larkin, who could always be… Continue reading


Introducing Spectator Life Spring 2014

21 March 2014 16:52
Spectator Life's Spring 2014 edition cover

From Homeland to Game of Thrones and House of Cards, it’s an observation often made that we’re in a golden age of television. If there’s a TV renaissance afoot, and… Continue reading


Ed Miliband’s speech in Scotland: Mr Pooter meets Alan Partridge

21 March 2014 16:01
Ed Miliband's Speech To Scottish Labour Party Conference

Ed Miliband has just given a quite extraordinary speech. I don’t know if it was deliberately banal or merely unfortunately dull. It was certainly stupefyingly boring. The Labour leader gave… Continue reading


Newsnight of the long knives

21 March 2014 14:19
Duncan Weldon, Newnight's Economics Correspondent, admits that he had a teenage 'flirtation' with the early politics of Oswald Mosley.

The controversy over the appointment of TUC economist Duncan Weldon as Newsnight’s economics correspondent has taken a surreal twist. The former Labour Party adviser appears to have used his blog to deaden the impact of a… Continue reading


Stella Creasy, social media, and politicians with ‘hinterlands’

21 March 2014 12:48

Politicians like to insinuate that they have a ‘cultural hinterland’ — a range of interesting interests beyond Westminster. Take Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, who describes herself as an… Continue reading


Vladimir Putin’s Russia is jingoistic, angry and oppressive. But it’s nothing like Nazi Germany

21 March 2014 11:06
This pool picture provided 03 September

I’m conservative, so it’s hard for me not to love Vladimir Putin. His ripped torso, the way the sweat glistens on his pecs, the steely gaze, the cheeky smile. How… Continue reading


Vladimir Putin’s right about one thing: the West doesn’t observe its own rules

21 March 2014 10:10
These three leaders have more in common than meets the eye.

Congratulations to Stephen Glover for writing perhaps the only sensible piece about the Crimean crisis. There is a certain force, too, to Putin’s charge that the West believes itself a… Continue reading


Remembering the decimation of Crimea’s Tatars

21 March 2014 9:55
Pro-Ukrainian Tatars demonstrate against the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Crimea’s Tatars are nervous after Russia’s annexation of the territory. The Tatars, Sunni Muslims who account for 12 per cent of Crimea’s population, boycotted Sunday’s referendum worried that the Russians… Continue reading


Can we stop 24 hour news?

21 March 2014 9:39
The media pack, desperate for something to report on missing MH370, has decamped to Perth.

As there is an intermittent debate over media ethics in this country, might we reflect on the following? The story of the missing Malaysian plane is an unimaginable nightmare for… Continue reading


The BBC is more scared of offending Muslims than gay people

20 March 2014 17:39
Investigation In Jimmy Savile Allegations Continues

Just to ring the changes, I’ve written about the BBC and political correctness for the mag this week. Yeah, yeah, I know – you haven’t heard enough about that subject.… Continue reading


A selfie isn’t a form of protest, it’s a form of narcissism

20 March 2014 15:20
A poor attempt at protest (Photo: http://itooamoxford.tumblr.com/)

How to protest these days? You can’t rely on our music industry to kick out a good protest song, and the film industry does a pretty feeble job. So once… Continue reading


The Unknown Known: Errol Morris tries to trip up Donald Rumsfeld – and fails

20 March 2014 15:14
Former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Photo: Wally Santana/AP/Press Association Images

Before getting onto the film I should make a few disclaimers. There is a popular view that Donald Rumsfeld was a catastrophic US secretary of defence. I do not share… Continue reading


The fake proprietor calls

20 March 2014 14:47
Jerry Hayes relates the famous occasion when the editor of Punch tricked the Mail's Nigel Dempster into believing that Lord Rothermere (pictured) was on the phone.

Westminster and Fleet Street are all a flutter about An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip, the memoirs of former Tory MP, Jerry Hayes. It’s a fun, naughty read.… Continue reading


Should we make Magna Carta Day our national holiday?

20 March 2014 14:31
King John signs Magna Carta. Was this the defining moment in English history?

I know there are probably more important things in the Budget, but I for one (and probably, literally, the only one) am won over by the government’s decision to spend… Continue reading


Evan Harris glugs with the enemy

20 March 2014 12:45
Dr Evan Harris was drinking with the enemy last night...

Gongs all round at the Paddy Power Political Book of the Year Award at the Imax cinema in Waterloo. It was a bumper night for Spectator writers. Congratulations to Charles… Continue reading


First look at the BBC’s BBC mockumentary W1A

20 March 2014 0:05
The W1A team

So, OK, here’s the thing with W1A: it’s just as brilliant as 2012. So that’s all good. By which I mean the two most memorable characters from the BBC’s Olympics mockumentary –… Continue reading


Budget 2014: Osborne’s Budget banter

19 March 2014 14:21
A slimmed-down George Osborne poses with the Budget. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Budget has, in recent years, been more tears than laughter, more pain than gain. Yet the upturn in Britain’s economic fortunes has put the Chancellor, whose ‘5 and 2’… Continue reading


Why Alain de Botton is a moron

19 March 2014 13:08
Alain de Botton. Photo: Vincent Mentzel

It’s become too easy of late to be rude about Alain de Botton. His banal aphoristic “insights” and homilies on Twitter, his efforts to turn the media away from “meanness”… Continue reading