democracy

Let’s choose our politicians by random selection

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Athens Standing right below the Acropolis, where pure democracy began because public officials were elected by lot, I try to…

Credit: andersen_oystein

Why 1919 wasn’t the year it’s cracked up to be

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Gstaad The funny thing is that I was at school with a man called Ted Widmer, and I recently read…

Corbyn’s false democracy

6 October 2018 9:00 am

At the Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn said that he would do whatever his party members told him to. This,…

Put your trust in Hungarian wine (yes, really)

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The wines of Tokaji run like a golden thread through Hungarian history. There are references to their nectar-like quality in…

East vs West: the new battle for Europe

27 January 2018 9:00 am

The occasion was a central European conference on the subversive disinformation campaigns of Putin’s Russia (which, incidentally, are real, subtle,…

Animal or vegetable?

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Against by Christopher Shinn sets out to unlock the secrets of America’s spiritual malaise. Two main settings represent the wealthy…

High life

5 August 2017 9:00 am

I’ve stayed far away from the new barbarians with their choppers, tank-like cars, home theatres on board, and fridge-shaped super…

A democratic future for the 75 per cent

29 June 2016 12:29 am

You needed only to look at the headlines to realise things had not gone to plan. They were damning; Time…

A lesson from Italy on the futility of referendums

23 April 2016 9:00 am

As we prepare in Britain for our momentous referendum in June, Italy has just had one. It happened last Sunday…

Long may we Brits laugh at our absurd demagogues

23 April 2016 9:00 am

In Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke warned that ‘pure democracy’ was as dangerous as absolute monarchy. ‘Of…

Tax avoidance and the wisdom of pitchfork-waving crowds

16 April 2016 9:00 am

In a way the headline to my fellow columnist Dominic Lawson’s Sunday Times commentary on 12 April said it all.…

Whoever invented the referendum deserves a kicking

9 April 2016 9:00 am

My favourite quote of the year so far comes from the author Fay Weldon. ‘If this were an all-woman society,’…

Donald Trump's angry America

5 March 2016 9:00 am

It was, in the end, the best possible night for Donald Trump. On Super Tuesday, 11 American states voted for…

A conservative case for voting 'in'

5 March 2016 9:00 am

I open a dusty binder and look at my yellowing Spectator articles from Poland, Germany and Russia in the dramatic…

The 5 per cent of people who decide everything (and how to be one of them)

27 February 2016 9:00 am

What happens when 95 per cent of people like something, but 5 per cent of people prefer something else? You might think…

Rwanda is sliding into a new tragedy. And this time we’re funding it

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Never lighthearted, my African political exile friend sounded particularly lugubrious on the line from Washington. His voice was low and…

Actors from the Belarus Free Theatre during a performance of ‘Being Harold Pinter’ at the Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney, 2009

Theatre and transgression in Europe’s last dictatorship

7 November 2015 9:00 am

In a drab residential street in foggy, damp Minsk, four students are at work in a squat white building that…

What Tiberius could teach Jeremy Corbyn about democracy

26 September 2015 8:00 am

The virtuous Mr Corbyn is insisting that New Old Labour should return to its traditional republican ways and take decisions…

Why the Middle East needs more kings

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Watch the videos of 1950s Iraq on YouTube and you glimpse something close to an idyll. It’s true that Pathé…

In praise of the ‘Don’t know’ voter

6 June 2015 9:00 am

I am scraping the edges of my memory here, but I am fairly sure that opinion polls in my childhood…

How to vote like Hercules

11 April 2015 9:00 am

To judge from elections, the purpose of politics is to win power by promising to make people better off. Plato,…

Deng Xiaoping: following in Mao’s footsteps

6 December 2014 9:00 am

Much has been written about Deng Xiao-ping (1904–1997), most recently by Ezra Vogel in Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of…

The lesson of Athens: to make people care about politics, give them real power

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Voters explain their apathy about politics on the grounds that the politicians do not understand them. No surprise there, an…

What really scares Beijing about the Hong Kong protests

4 October 2014 9:00 am

 Beijing There’s a nondescript building tucked away near my house, about the size of a college dormitory. Sometimes I wave…

Am I wrong to fear another Tiananmen?

4 October 2014 9:00 am

For Beijing, the tens of thousands of protestors choking the centre of Hong Kong are such a dangerous outrage that…