Allan Scott, 1946-2024

Allan Scott, who died in mid-May, was one of the country’s pre-eminent crossword compilers and will be remembered by some of our Spectator solvers as Ascot. Allan was born in Southport in Lancashire in 1946. He married his first wife, Hilda, in 1967 and they had two children, David and Carol. He worked in insurance in London until his retirement in 2000. Soon afterwards he moved from Essex to Llandudno with his partner, Christina, whom he married earlier this year. His first crossword had been published in the Listener back in 1977 and in the mid-1980s, while working in Manchester, he had collaborated with Harold Massingham (Mass in The Spectator) on four collections of cryptic

A tribute to Christopher Brougham

Christopher Brougham has been a Spectator crossword setter for well over 25 years and his puzzle in this week’s issue is his final regular compilation for our series. After a serious illness, he has retired from the Bar as a KC and feels it is time to take things more easily. Chris began solving crosswords in the Evening Standard, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph as a teenager. While studying law at Oxford in the 1960s, he mastered the Times crossword and later participated in the first Times crossword championships. In 1980 he discovered the Azed clue-writing competition in the Observer and has competed in these monthly challenges ever since. In

Ask the expert: Rachel Fowler, Financial Planner at Charles Stanley, answers your questions

Inflation may be falling, but 2023 looks set to be another difficult year for the British economy. The Spectator’s economics editor Kate Andrews sat down recently with Charlotte Lambeth, director of private clients at Charles Stanley Wealth Managers, and The Spectator’s business editor Martin Vander Weyer, for a special virtual event on Spectator TV. They discussed how in yet another year of high inflation, low growth and general economic turbulence, you can take control of your wealth and preserve it for the next generation. Following on from that discussion, Rachel Fowler, financial planner with Charles Stanley, answers some of your questions. How much should I keep in cash? It’s often

Fraser Nelson

A new comments system for The Spectator

From its inception, The Spectator website has helped to facilitate conversation with – and between – our readers. Not all of them, of course: fewer than 1 per cent of subscribers currently leave comments, although 20 per cent read them. This is why it is a shame that, when we launched our new app, we were not able to import this important feature. Readers love our new app, but they miss the comments. So, we have created a new comments system that you can use on both our website and app – and there’s one big change you need to know about. Comments will now automatically be left under the

Fraser Nelson in conversation with Karol Sikora

Professor Karol Sikora was supposed to be a guest on a Spectator panel last year when one sponsor said they would pull their funding unless he was dropped. Instead the sponsor was dropped, Sikora stayed and today he was back again, opening The Spectator’s Health Summit with our editor Fraser Nelson.  Does it matter if the UK has world-beating cancer treatment if the structure to implement it isn’t there? Or if the UK is the sixth highest funded country in the OECD if it’s one of the worst countries for patient outcomes? The organisational problems in our health service, Professor Sikora says, are worsening its performance. The senior oncologist began

Did Rishi Sunak need to introduce a smoking ban?

To the surprise of some, the Prime Minister used his conference speech in Manchester last year to announce a New Zealand-style lifelong ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after a cut-off date of 31 December 2008. The ban, which has since been announced in the King’s Speech as the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, could apply to all tobacco products: cigars, pipe and heated tobacco included. The Bill also introduces restrictions on the sale of vapes, though not an outright ban. Is the ban necessary, is it practical, and what are the political motivations behind it? This was the subject of a roundtable discussion held at The Spectator’s

Is the NHS badly run?

You don’t often hear calls for more managers to solve the crisis in the NHS. But at The Spectator’s Health Summit held in Westminster this week, a panel hosted by Isabel Hardman asking ‘Is the NHS badly run?’ came to that conclusion. Conservative MP and chair of the Health Committee Steve Brine, Labour’s shadow health minister Karin Smyth MP, NHS chief strategy officer Chris Hopson and director of the Reform think tank Charlotte Pickles all agreed that managers might be the answer. ‘The NHS is actually woefully under managed in terms of operational performance,’ said Pickles. ‘And that is an issue. And yes, in some instances you do want clinicians as managers and

Wanted: a broadcast producer for The Spectator

We’re looking for a new producer to join The Spectator‘s broadcast team. You would be one of four on the broadcast team and one of only 30 journalists working here at The Spectator, producing a suite of podcasts ranging from British and US politics to lifestyle, religion and literature. The team is also behind Spectator TV, our YouTube channel which has grown by more than 140,000 subscribers this year alone, regularly featuring fantastic guests like Douglas Murray and Julie Bindel. Our shows are still growing, and we are always looking for fresh ideas and ways to do things better. You should be someone who knows current affairs well enough to

Answers to Spot the Shakespeare Play

1. Romeo and Juliet 2. Much Ado About Nothing 3. All’s Well That Ends Well 4. Hamlet 5. Twelfth Night 6. A Comedy of Errors 7. The Winter’s Tale 8. Coriolanus 9. Measure for Measure 10. As You Like It 11. A Midsummer Night’s Dream 12. Timon of Athens

2023 Christmas quiz – the answers

Fairly odd 1. Lilt 2. For driving at 25mph in a 20mph zone 3. India 4. President Joe Biden 5. Boris and Carrie Johnson 6. Pakistan 7. The Seychelles 8. Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi 9. Chocolate 10. The Graf Spee, scuttled in 1939 You don’t say 1. Boris Johnson 2. Donald Trump, on appearing in court in Miami 3. Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England 4. President Vladimir Putin of Russia 5. Also President Vladimir Putin of Russia 6. Nadine Dorries, in an open letter to Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, on leaving Parliament 7. Rishi Sunak 8. Suella Braverman, when Home Secretary, saying why immigration should come


Watch: Piers Morgan clashes with Corbyn

The Gaza conflict is a crisis that requires the upmost tact and diplomatic skill. So it was perhaps inevitable that Jeremy Corbyn would be reduced to angrily yelling at Piers Morgan about his past words about Hamas. Appearing on TalkTV last night, the man who led the Labour party three years ago failed 15 times to call the group a terrorist organisation. Hardly the most difficult question to answer… ‘Can you call them a terror group?’ demanded Morgan, whose guest shot back ‘Is it possible to have a reasonable discussion with you?’ Morgan replied by stating, ‘It’s my show, you answer my question’. ‘Are Hamas a terror group … answer

Live: Rishi Sunak scraps HS2 extension in Tory conference speech

Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the HS2 line between Birmingham and Manchester will be scrapped. The Prime Minister said he was ending the ‘long-running saga’ and vowed to invest the money saved – £36 billion – ‘in hundreds of new transport and infrastructure’ projects. The PM also used his Tory conference speech to unveil a crackdown on smoking. He also announced a new qualification to replace A levels.

Jake Wallis Simons

Children need to fight back against political indoctrination

There’s something troubling happening in our schools. In art class, my children have been instructed to make Black Lives Matter posters. Their assemblies in recent years have been a dreary parade of presentations on sexuality, identity and race politics. They have been subjected to workshops involving LGBTQI+ flash cards and printouts of tweets about transgenderism, and taught that Sam Smith – who is obviously overweight and wears provocative bondage clothing – is a shining example of ‘body positivity.’ The government, until very recently, has effectively conceded the education system to a cabal of zealots It’s not that I object to them being exposed to this stuff at school. I’d be quite happy

2607: Streetwise – solution

The unclued lights are characters in Coronation STREET. The three forenames are (27, 34, 46), along with one surname (1A), four full names (18, 19, 42, 44) and two pairs (1B/7 and 3/5). First prize B.J. Widger, Altrincham Runners-up Brian Taylor, Horwich, Bolton; Stephen Saunders, Midford, Bath

Can hydrogen help us reach net zero?

Rarely a week goes by in politics without a reminder of the Conservatives’ ambitions to hit net zero by 2050. But how well do they understand the path to get there? Amidst the barrage of funding announcements and energy strategies, there remain outstanding questions about the road ahead – and one of the most persistent is around the role of hydrogen. To its advocates, this abundant chemical element could be the key to weaning large economies off their dependence on natural gas, providing a reliable and greener power source that can be deployed at scale. Yet to its doubters, the hydrogen dream remains inefficient and impractical – rendering it a

Can the UK emerge as a world leader in renewable energy?

When it comes to renewable energy, the ambitions of recent Conservatives have verged on the superlative: from one prime minister’s infamous pledge to turn Britain into the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’ to a seemingly exponential explosion of green jobs across the country (half a million by 2030, according to Grant Shapps). The green transition has launched quite the rhetorical arms race. Can the UK really emerge as a world-leader in renewables? That was the question on the agenda as The Spectator convened a panel of experts, industry voices and politicians at this year’s energy summit. It was time to get beyond the bluster and shine some light on that all-important question:

How should the government reform Britain’s asylum system?

Britain’s asylum system is in need of reform. At the end of last year, there were 166,261 asylum applications awaiting a decision – a 200 per cent increase from just three years ago. As a result of slow decision making, there’s a bottleneck in the system, meaning normal asylum accommodation is full and £5.6 million is being spent every day on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers. New plans announced in March also mean asylum-seekers currently in hotels will be moved to disused army barracks and barges.  The Prime Minister recognised the degree of public concern in his pledge to stop dangerous journeys being made across the Channel in small boats. But

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The new Spectator app has a fresh look and plenty of new features to help you make the most of our world-class writing and broadcasts. Get instant worldwide delivery of the weekly issue to your device from 4 a.m. on Thursdays. Or, get the latest analysis on the breaking news of the day in the Coffee House section. Make the most of your subscription – download the Spectator app today. App highlights: • A daily mixture of political commentary, cultural criticism and humour • Each issue of the weekly magazine published every Thursday at 4 a.m. • Receive alerts on breaking news – and the latest from Spectator writers • Listen to all Spectator podcasts • Read articles when