The award of the Nobel prize has not hidden the EU's existential strain; if anything, it has exposed it further.

The Nobel Prize’s EU joke prompts questions about the nation state

12 October 2012 16:38

The award of the Nobel Prize to the European Union is a tremendous joke; and like all great jokes it has brought people together. Commentators of left and right are… Continue reading

Professor Mark Mazower believes that the era of international government is passing. What would such an event mean for the nation state? Image: Getty.

Governing the world – an interview with Mark Mazower

12 October 2012 13:36

‘People begin to feel that… there are bonds of international duty binding all the nations of the earth together.’ This quotation, which resonates so clearly as yet more blood is shed in… Continue reading

Image: Getty

How should we mark the Great War’s centenary?

11 October 2012 11:34

It seems strange now to recall that, it was not so many years ago, around the time of the millennium, that some in Whitehall were talking about how to scale… Continue reading

The Gospels have been translated into patois, the creole spoken as the primary language of most Jamaicans. Image: Getty.

Spreading the Word through patois

10 October 2012 12:35

The Jamaican High Commission in London held a party last night to launch a patois translation of the Gospels. The translation, published by the Bible Society, is the culmination of… Continue reading


Outliving Ozymandias

9 October 2012 10:02

In 1842, a wealthy heiress called Sarah Losh built a church in Wreay (rhymes with ‘near’, apparently), close to Carlisle. Coupling carvings of caterpillars with turtle gargoyles and a spattering… Continue reading

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Christopher Clark's monumental and brilliant study of the breakout of the Great War restates the case that all countries were to blame. Image: Getty.

Let’s not be beastly to the Germans

27 September 2012 15:11

The question of how Europe stumbled into the horrific abyss of  the First World War, the catastrophe which The Economist once called ‘the greatest tragedy in human history’ is obviously… Continue reading

'John Saturnall's Feast' would have been the ideal setting for Lawrence Norfolk's full descriptive talents. Image: Getty.

Review – John Saturnall’s Feast, by Lawrence Norfolk

25 September 2012 15:16

Lawrence Norfolk has always liked to centre his novels around a mixture of existing and constructed myth, and then let the action which happens centuries later be informed by or… Continue reading

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This week's Discovering Poetry column examines Thomas Jordan's anti-Republican polemics, written soon after the Restoration. Image: Getty.

The poetic lies against Old Ironsides

17 September 2012 15:19

‘How the War Began’ by Thomas Jordan, 1663. ‘I’ll tell you how the war began: The holy ones assembled (For so they called their party then Whose consciences so trembled).… Continue reading

A Possible Life is a rewarding and subtly engrossing novel. Image: Getty.

Review – Sebastian Faulks’s A Possible Life

14 September 2012 17:38

In a promotional video clip, Sebastian Faulks describes his new novel, A Possible Life, as like ‘a symphony in five movements… or an album in which the tracks are separate… Continue reading

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Richard III

Richard III should be buried in the north

13 September 2012 10:43

History is written by the victors. So Richard III might have anticipated that his death at Bosworth Field in 1485, the last English monarch to be killed on the battlefield,… Continue reading


Channel 4 cancels Tom Holland’s history of Islam, but the extremists will not win

11 September 2012 18:30

In what may prove to be the most depressingly predictable story of the year, we learn that Channel 4 has chosen to cancel a screening of Tom Holland’s programme ‘Islam:… Continue reading

Patrick Hennessey has answered this week's Shelf Life. Image: Getty

Shelf Life: Patrick Hennessey

5 September 2012 12:25

Patrick Hennessey was a founder member of the Junior Officers’ Reading Club, formed when the Grenadier Guards toured Iraq in 2006. He is the author of

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Midway, a battle which shaped the modern world. Image: Getty.

Midway: The overlooked battle

4 September 2012 10:33

For many of us the Battle of Midway is just one more Hollywood spectacular in, to paraphrase Neville Chamberlain, a far-away sea of which we know little. But having recently… Continue reading

The execution of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, 1641. Image: Getty.

John Cleveland: discovering poetry

3 September 2012 16:01

‘Epitaph on the Earl of Strafford’ ‘Here lies wise and valiant dust, Huddled up ‘twixt fit and just: STRAFFORD, who was hurried hence ‘Twixt treason and convenience. He spent his… Continue reading

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Tom Holland was not allowed to film in Mecca because he is not Muslim. Why he didn't he say so? Image: Getty

The history of Islam is not off-limits

1 September 2012 17:37

I’ve only just got around to watching Tom Holland’s documentary for Channel 4 from earlier this week: ‘Islam: the untold story.’ It had some good things in it, despite suffering… Continue reading

Sarkozy Joins NYC Mayor Bloomberg To Celebrate 125 Years Of Statue Of Liberty

American Exceptionalism: The Baloney and the Glory - Spectator Blogs

31 August 2012 13:03

I’m writing a column about Mitt Romney for tomorrow’s Scotsman so more on him later. Suffice it to say that I thought his speech less impressive than it had to… Continue reading

Walking deep into England. Image: Getty

In England’s green and pleasant land

31 August 2012 9:20

The idea came to me after I had just got back from South America after a long trip to Peru.  Perhaps because I was badly jetlagged, everything about England looked… Continue reading

England, UK . 7.7.2012. London . David Lomon, 93, one the last surviving British veterans of the Spanish Civil War unveils a plaque honouring the volunteers from the British Isles

General Franco’s British foes

29 August 2012 15:02

David Lomon was one of the lucky ones. While fighting in Aragon in south-west Spain in the spring of 1938, the former salesman from Hackney was captured by one of… Continue reading

George Washington

George Washington: Gentleman warrior

15 August 2012 11:24

It is easy to forget that the dignified eighteenth-century gentleman whose image appears on the one-dollar bill, the first President and father of his nation, owed his position entirely to… Continue reading

The Duk Ling  junk sails by the Hong Kon

Across the literary pages: Pankaj Mishra

30 July 2012 16:12

An easy, sure-fire way of generating a bit of publicity is picking a fight with a provocative public intellectual. Rather than criticising Bernard-Henri Lévy’s blow-dry, or kicking David Starkey in either… Continue reading

The Olympic Torch in London, Getty Images

The British invented the Olympics

26 July 2012 17:09

Is there any chance that you might, at any point in the next three weeks, be talking to anyone? About anything, in any setting, for any length of time? Then… Continue reading

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Royal Ascot, Getty Images

The delights of sin

23 July 2012 10:47

Epigram 7 from The letting of humours blood in the head-vaine ‘Speak gentlemen, what shall we do to day? Drink some brave health upon the Dutch carouse? Or shall we… Continue reading

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President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At Joplin High School

The paranoid centre and life in the American fever-swamp

13 July 2012 19:00

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told Fox News Sunday last weekend: ‘The fact is, it’s not a question of whether can Mitt Romney win. The statement is,… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Offers The Latest Technological Advances In Its Care

Britain does not need more mass immigration

13 July 2012 18:00

Jonathan has already mentioned yesterday’s Fiscal Sustainability Report from the Office of Budgetary Responsibility. He appears to welcome mass migration both now and as an inevitable part of our future.… Continue reading


Macmillan’s Night of the Long Knives

13 July 2012 16:00

One of the great goals of the pioneering Victorian explorers of Africa was to find the source of the Nile. The origins of the grievous miscalculation by Harold Macmillan of… Continue reading