flat white

Time to patch up our ragged economic miracle

Australia’s vaunted economic miracle is looking a bit ragged after another sluggish quarter. There is still growth, but barely enough…

18 Jun 2019

We can’t pick and choose when freedom maters

The AFP raids on the ABC and a News Corp journalist are alarming, but the discussion needs to go beyond…

18 Jun 2019

Snowflakes and crocodile tears

It’s been a very entertaining few weeks following Sydney University’s decision to take disciplinary action against key organisers of the…

17 Jun 2019

Goodbye, Hong Kong?

I worked as a journalist, both in print and radio, in what used to be the British Crown Colony of…

17 Jun 2019

What about John Setka’s freedom of speech?

If, like me, you think free speech is the bottom line of a free society, and don’t care what is…

17 Jun 2019

The CBD returns with low-emission bright sparks for these dark days

Our peeved yet perspicacious political insider writes exclusively: As CBD slowly recognises the need to reconcile oneself to the fact…

Remember beauty

A kind heart, joyful smile, orchestral harmony, architectural brilliance, the majesty of nature. Timeless beauty, whatever its form, is the…

16 Jun 2019

The real problem with the Australian economy

The unemployment figures came and went yesterday with just the usual passing mention. There is a real problem in Australia,…

14 Jun 2019

Matt Hancock’s Boris endorsement irks One Nation Tories

Is Boris Johnson’s route to No. 10 now unstoppable? The former foreign secretary has more MPs backing him than any…

17 Jun 2019

Tory leadership hopefuls turn on one another in Channel 4 debate

The first televised Tory leadership debate drew as much attention for who wasn’t there as who was. After Boris Johnson…

17 Jun 2019

How Rory Stewart derailed his Cabinet colleagues’ campaigns

When Rory Stewart first announced his intention to enter the race to be the UK’s next prime minister, he was…

16 Jun 2019

Boris Johnson’s clear lead increases the chances of a short contest

Boris Johnson has today confirmed his place as the frontrunner to be the next prime minister. In the first voting…

13 Jun 2019

Undie-cover agents

Last week, with all the stealth of the pirates of Penzance, Australia’s Federal Police, raided not one but two major…

15 Jun 2019

It’s China, not climate

Despite constant doom-saying over climate and commentators wringing their hands over floods in Queensland and droughts in NSW and Victoria,…

15 Jun 2019

Tory turmoil

Since the advent of cable news and the internet most politically-interested Aussies now follow US politics more than UK politics.…

15 Jun 2019

Boris or oblivion

They recently released a poll over here in Britain. Only women were polled and they were asked ‘Would you sleep…

15 Jun 2019

Libs must now lead

The euphoria is understandable. After trailing Labor in the polls throughout the last parliament, the Liberals can be forgiven a…

15 Jun 2019

Press and government at war. Thank heavens

The suggestion that Australia may well be the world’s most secretive democracy is even more ludicrous when we consider its…

15 Jun 2019

They’re a weird religious mob

‘I cannot believe in this election that there is a discussion even under way that gay people will go to…

8 Jun 2019

The Donald next door

From tomorrow, and for a few days thereafter, my wife and I will have a new neighbour here in London. …

8 Jun 2019

On the Beach at Trouville 1870. Bequest of Michel Monet 1966

A magnificent Empire-style townhouse near the Bois de Boulogne contains a remarkable collection of paintings. On rue Louis Boilly, the…

15 Jun 2019

Alyona Kovalyova and Jacopo Tissi in Diamonds Act 3 of Jewels

The name is a byword for exacting standards and grand tradition. The Bolshoi Ballet, at the peak of the ballet…

8 Jun 2019

Anna Bolena

Where would we be without the Tudors? Certainly our shelves, stages and screens would seem empty without their era which…

1 Jun 2019

Captain James Cook. Wedgwood and Bentley, c.1779

Three speakers: one is Director of The Royal Collection comprising over a million objects in 13 royal residences across the…

25 May 2019

Boris is the only one who can save the Tories

A lady once offered to go to bed with me if I could ensure that she would write The Spectator’s…

15 Jun 2019

The joy of my local paper

As usual I go downstairs at five o’clock in the morning and into the dining room, which now serves as…

15 Jun 2019

My planning permission hell

When is planning permission for four loft windows actually planning permission for two? Or simultaneously vice versa? It’s a very…

15 Jun 2019

The timing of Channel 4’s cricket highlights show is an outrage

Hardly any men can hit a tennis ball on clay better than Dominic Thiem. Unfortunately he ran into one who…

15 Jun 2019

Heroism in a hopeless cause: why the crusades remain fascinating

The crusades are part of everyone’s mental image of the Middle Ages. They extended, in one form or another, from…

15 Jun 2019

Mystery in the Sundarbans: Gun Island, by Amitav Ghosh, reviewed

Meet Deen Datta, a nervous, practical and cautious man, born and brought up in Calcutta, who now lives in Brooklyn,…

15 Jun 2019

Naomi Wolf is holed below the waterline

What is it about Naomi Wolf that inspires such venom? Perhaps that she’s American, brash, media-savvy and not averse to…

15 Jun 2019

Searching for Coco on the Côte d’Azur

Anne de Courcy, an escapee from tabloid journalism, has become a polished historian of British high society in the 20th…

15 Jun 2019

Gunning for Narendra Modi

K.S. Komireddi sets out to establish his secular credentials before he sets up his primary argument: which is that India’s…

15 Jun 2019

Is one of history’s most rousing speeches apocryphal?

As rousing death-and-glory speeches go, it is one of the best. With a besieging Roman army only hours from storming…

15 Jun 2019

Has Daisy Dunn chosen the wrong Pliny to write about?

I couldn’t help thinking, as I read this book, of an old story, vaguely recalled from English A-level classes, about…

15 Jun 2019

The great anti-hero of our time: Diary of a Somebody, by Brian Bilston, reviewed

Brian Bilston’s life is summed up perfectly by the incident with his neighbour’s dog. The annoying Mrs McNulty comes round…

15 Jun 2019

The rollicking adventures of a real-life female sleuth

Susannah Stapleton’s erudite but hugely entertaining debut is a true-life detective story about the quest for a true-life detective. A…

15 Jun 2019

As long as poverty and maritime trade exist, so will piracy

Western attitudes to piracy have dripped with hubris. In his classic history of 1932, Philip Gosse confidently argued that European…

15 Jun 2019

Moby — from teetotal vegan to promiscuous party monster

In 2002 I flew to New York to interview the dance music producer whose 1999 release Play remains the bestselling…

15 Jun 2019

Hostility to Islam has disguised a host of other prejudices

In 2011, when the editor of Charlie Hebdo put Muhammad on the cover, he did so as the heir to…

8 Jun 2019