The Spectator’s Notes

What would Jane Austen say about Debrett’s going digital?

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Seventy-five years ago on Saturday, the July plot failed. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg placed a bomb in a briefcase…

Kim Darroch speaks at the British Embassy in Washington to mark Donald Trump’s inaugura-tion (Getty)

Sir Kim Darroch failed to recognise Trump’s communicative genius

13 July 2019 9:00 am

When I last talked to Sir Kim Darroch, he was a slim young private secretary, so it was a long…

Thankfully, the world is waking up to the threat of China

6 July 2019 9:00 am

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, is offering to meet Jeremy Corbyn about the Times story last week which reported…

Boris’s big mistake? Agreeing to the BBC debate

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Boris and his team made a mistake by agreeing to take part in Tuesday’s BBC leadership debate. In such decisions,…

The silliness of ‘serious’ leaders

15 June 2019 9:00 am

You would think it would be unarguable that ‘Serious times demand a serious leader’. This, with small verbal variations, is…

My profoundly impractical, unquenchably generous, thoroughly benevolent father

8 June 2019 9:00 am

My father Richard, who died last month aged 88, was a profoundly impractical man. He could not drive a car,…

The strangeness of Jeremy Hunt’s leadership campaign

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Jeremy Hunt’s approach is very odd. It is the first time I remember an aspirant for the top job saying:…

If you’re going to leave Notre Dame in ruins, why not set fire to Oxford University?

25 May 2019 9:00 am

Almost everyone agrees it is a pity that so few pupils from ‘disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds’ get into Oxford. But no…

What would happen if the Gospels were judged in a history contest?

20 April 2019 9:00 am

This week, the Wolfson History Prize announced its shortlist. It is always worth drawing attention to, precisely because it is…

(Getty)

Is it Islamophobic to disagree with Baroness Warsi?

13 April 2019 9:00 am

In his famous speech to both Houses of Parliament in March 1960, General De Gaulle praised Britain: ‘Although, since 1940,…

The logic behind Theresa May’s late move to Labour

6 April 2019 9:00 am

There is a logic in Mrs May’s late move to Labour. It is the same logic by which both parties,…

The obvious solution to the problem of Brexit

30 March 2019 9:00 am

There is an obvious solution to the Brexit problem. It is based on a recognition that we want out and…

Britain’s fate now lies in the hands of Angela Merkel

23 March 2019 9:00 am

Angela Merkel says disdainfully, ‘I admit I was not on top of the British parliament’s 17th-century procedural rules.’ Her implication…

Leadership requires imagination, but Theresa May has never displayed any

16 March 2019 9:00 am

I had forgotten, until I checked this week, that Mrs May timed the general election of June 2017 in order…

Artists are not always good people, but should their work really be boycotted?

9 March 2019 9:00 am

A kind billionaire called Jeremy Hosking, whom I do not know personally, has invited us to join the Britannia Express,…

(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Corbyn’s handling of Brexit has been magnificently opportunistic

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Jeremy Corbyn never ceases to attack Mrs May for trying to run down the clock. She has certainly done that,…

Carrying cash is becoming a minority occupation like smoking

23 February 2019 9:00 am

The BBC reported on Tuesday that the proposed closure of Honda’s plant at Swindon was largely caused by the prospect…

It turns out I sound much cleverer in French

16 February 2019 9:00 am

On Tuesday, Le Monde published a piece it had commissioned from me to explain why, from a British point of…

The genius of Titania McGrath

9 February 2019 9:00 am

I am in a small minority in turning off the news when it is not about Brexit. The slow, agonising…

Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier must understand that without a deal their hard-border bluff collapses (Photo: Getty)

The EU’s hard-border bluff will soon collapse – and then it can get serious about Brexit

2 February 2019 9:00 am

The House of Commons does work better than it seems to, I promise you. When a big subject comes up,…

When ‘politician’ is the biggest insult of them all

26 January 2019 9:00 am

This column has laughed before at the BBC’s satirical wit in having a slot called ‘Reality Check’ on Brexit. If…

In defence of unicorns

19 January 2019 9:00 am

The scale of the government’s defeat on Mrs May’s deal is, as everyone keeps saying, amazing — yet also not.…

Behind the story of Anna Soubry being called a Nazi lies a classic Brexit sequence of events

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Behind the incident of Anna Soubry being called a Nazi by a small group of Leave yobs beside College Green…

When it comes to champagne, the English are on the French’s coattails

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Earlier this month, the Quorn and Cottesmore hunts took separate votes on merging. The Quorn voted for, the Cottesmore against.…

If May’s deal falls, there may be enough Labour MPs to gain a majority for ‘Norway plus’

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Inside the Dominic Grieve amendment carried on Tuesday is the embryo of a new political party. Any parliamentary majority for what…