Yes, Virginia, the World Gets Better

31 January 2011 14:33

The year before I was born fewer than one in three countries in the world could be considered properly free. Today, according to Freedom House, nearly one in two can… Continue reading


Thank you, Nacia Anastazja Brodziak

27 January 2011 15:08

Today is Holocaust Day. A day to remember the horrors of the past. But it should also be an occasion to recall the moments of hope and the people –… Continue reading


Theatre to mark Western decline

11 January 2011 12:12

USO is not what it once was. The days of Bob Hope’s wisecracking have receded into the past, and ogled Playmates no longer sex their way across stages. The Pentagon… Continue reading


The Greatest Englishmen XI

16 December 2010 23:08

17th September 1932: Members of the MCC cricket team aboard the liner ‘Orontes’ at Tilbury, en route for Australia (left to right) Walter Hammond, Douglas Jardine (captain), Brown, Bowes, Duckworth… Continue reading


Why we must remember the lessons of the Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment

7 December 2010 14:20

The Adam Smith Institute kindly asked me to speak at their Christmas reception last night, and yesterday I was mulling what to say. When at The Scotsman ten years ago,… Continue reading


A thinker of arresting and compelling grandeur

27 November 2010 13:51

John Ruskin is the greatest writer whom, today, an educated person can admit not having read without embarrassment. One professes ignorance of Shakespeare or Dickens with apology or defiance, but… Continue reading


The strange case of Turkey, Islamic history and V.S. Naipaul

25 November 2010 18:09

Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul has pulled out of the European Writers’ Parliament in Istanbul, following pressure from Turkish writers who felt ‘uneasy’ about comments he had made about Islam in… Continue reading


Who will benefit from the Royal wedding?

23 November 2010 16:33

David Cameron is playing down the effect the Royal Wedding will have on the 5th May elections, especially the AV referendum. Fleet Street’s having none of it however. On the… Continue reading


There was more to Blair than a winning smile

20 November 2010 14:36

Following Sir Christopher Meyer’s review of George Bush’s Decision Points, here is the other half of the double act. The closest I’ve come to meeting Tony Blair was knocking into… Continue reading


This Island Story

9 November 2010 17:34

I half-agree with James’s (dangerously!) quasi-Whiggish view on the teaching of British history but would put it slightly differently: pupils in England should learn how Britain became a United Kingdom.… Continue reading


What about Whig history?

9 November 2010 16:00

Simon Schama, who is advising the government on drawing up a new history section of the national curriculum, has an essay in The Guardian today setting out why and what… Continue reading


Flodden vs Culloden

14 September 2010 2:47

Further to this post, it’s not a fair fight. Commenter Ben G asks: But isn’t Culloden more significant? The effective end of a Scottish claim to the throne. Remember, after… Continue reading


Remembering 9/9

9 September 2010 22:28

The annual memorial service at Flodden. Photo courtesy of Grant Kinghorn. Today marked the 497th anniversary of the battle of Flodden, perhaps the gravest military disaster in Scottish history and… Continue reading


"Henceforward all men everywhere will be living on the edge of a volcano"

6 August 2010 16:46

With today being the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, I thought I’d excavate The Spectator’s leading article from the time:    A Crisis of Civilisation, The Spectator, 10… Continue reading


Ranking the Presidents

5 July 2010 1:36

Like Matt Yglesias and Jonathan Bernstein, I’m delighted that Ulysses S Grant’s reputation is currently being revised and that, consequently, he’s no longer thought of as one of the worst… Continue reading


Bannockburn Should Be Celebrated

25 May 2010 14:28

The usually estimable David Maddox has a very strange post up at the Scotsman’s politics blog complaining that Alex Salmond wants to exploit the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn. Apparently: While… Continue reading


Robin Hood and the Laffer Curve

17 May 2010 21:12

I’ve been assuming that Ridley Scott’s interpretation of the Robin Hood saga must be terrible. After all, it’s nearly a decade since Black Hawk Down, Scott’s last properly good movie.… Continue reading


Obama & Napoleon

22 March 2010 18:48

Historical analogies are always fun! Health Care reform was going to be, as Senator Jim DeMint argued, "Obama’s Waterloo". Now that it haspassed conservatives are having to rethink that. The… Continue reading


Why we should give the Elgin Marbles back to Greece

4 March 2010 10:45

While we’re talking about countries on the brink, it’s worth taking a look at Greece – which has probably passed beyond it.  The government has published its package of austerity… Continue reading


Apart from the Slavery, the Peasantry was Free, You Know…

28 February 2010 22:37

More on this essay on American exceptionalism in due course, but first Conor Friedersdorf: In a post on President Obama and American exceptionalism, Victor Davis Hanson explains why he thinks… Continue reading


An apology for Alan Turing

7 September 2009 15:24

In early August this year, John Graham-Cumming, a computer programmer, presented a petition to the government asking to give the war time hero and scientific genius, Alan Turing, a posthumous… Continue reading


Can Cameron learn from Wilson?

2 September 2009 12:28

Few Tories will enjoy looking back on 1974, but they may find it useful to study the second Wilson government and its successor, the Callaghan government, when it comes to… Continue reading


Commemorating the victims and the survivors

1 September 2009 14:01

Seventy years ago today, and only a week after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact had been signed, a Nazi German battleship opened fire on a Polish fort on the Westerplatte peninsula outside… Continue reading


Political viewing

31 August 2009 14:34

If you feel like wearing a political anorak on this sunny bank holiday Monday, then here’s a video history of the Conservative Party which the Tories have updated for the… Continue reading


Obama’s Summer Reading List

25 August 2009 17:58

Since we’re speaking of lists and, you know, it’s still August, Barack Obama’s summer reading list  is a mixture of the good (George Pelecanos) the middlebrow (David McCullough) and the… Continue reading