Latest from Coffee House

Latest from Coffee House

All the latest analysis of the day's news and stories

Israel’s attack on Iran was perfectly calibrated

Today, there have been reports of explosions in Isfahan, in central Iran, in what is presumed to be a strike by Israel. The world had been waiting for Israel’s promised retaliation after Iran launched an unprecedented attack at Israel directly from its own territory, using 300 missiles and drones. Despite the hysterical commentary that Israel

Lisa Haseldine

Is Georgia’s future with Europe, or Russia?

On Wednesday, Georgia’s government came one step closer to realising its desire to embed the country deeper within Russia’s sphere of influence. A year after mass protests forced them to pull the plug on a controversial ‘foreign agents’ law, the Kremlin-sympathetic ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is once again trying to force this ‘Russian-style’ legislation

Steerpike

Watch: Sturgeon reacts after husband charged in police probe

Might this be the worst week of 2024 for the Nats so far? Hapless Humza Yousaf demonstrated extraordinary indecision over the Cass review, Patrick Harvie’s barmy army helped ditch a Scottish government green pledge and, to top it all off, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband has been charged with embezzlement. You couldn’t make it up. The long-running

We’re better off with Hamas in Qatar, than out

The news that Qatar is ‘re-evaluating’ its role as mediator in the ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, amid claims by the Qatari Prime Minister that its efforts are being ‘misused for narrow political interests’, will have been met with consternation in many western and Middle Eastern capitals. Qatar’s potential withdrawal comes at a time when talks

Will Israel continue its strikes on Iran?

The reported Israeli strike on an Iranian air installation near the city of Isfahan in central Iran appears to have been the most significant of a series of attacks carried out by Israel in the course of last night. While the full picture is still emerging, there are indications that an additional strike of some

Spectator TV Presents

‘It’s the weakest case I’ve seen in 60 years’: Alan Dershowitz on the Trump trial

It’s not over yet between Israel and Iran

Is that it? This is the immediate and understandable reaction in some quarters to the news that Israel has carried out a series of limited air strikes against Iran. Explosions were reported in the sky over the cities of Isfahan and Tabriz. Details are still sketchy but US officials were quick to brief that Israel

Israel’s warning to Iran

Symbolism is important. Israel’s overnight missile attack against Iran was a warning to the ayatollahs residing in Tehran that it can hit any target, wherever and whenever it wants. The missile is believed to have struck a military airfield near Isfahan, a city in central Iran, which is also the location of a major missile

James Heale

Sunak targets Britain’s ‘sick note culture’

Rishi Sunak has returned to one of his pet bugbears: getting the unemployed back into work. His speech to the Centre for Social Justice this morning was peppered with his favourite facts about the post-pandemic welfare crisis embroiling Britain. The number on long-term sickness benefits has jumped by a third since Covid and now stands

Isabel Hardman

MPs need a proper HR service

The most damning bit of the lurid Mark Menzies case is that the Conservatives had been aware of the allegations for three months before they story broke this week – but only stripped him of the whip yesterday. It’s not a particular surprise, though: for years it has been clear that the whips office holds

Peter Murrell’s re-arrest has plunged the SNP into crisis

There is what can only be described as a mood of despair in SNP circles following the news that the former party chief executive Peter Murrell, husband of Nicola Sturgeon, has been re-arrested and charged with ’embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National party’. It is the latest shocking twist in the long-running investigation into

Kate Andrews

Will Sunak’s sick note crackdown get Brits back to work?

Alongside the Prime Minister’s speech on welfare today, the Department for Work and Pensions quietly released updated forecasts. The numbers are stark: DWP expects there to be 3.96 million working-age claimants by 2028-29, a rise from 2.8 million in 2023-24. Meanwhile the number of working-age people receiving disability benefits is forecast to rise to 1.16

Gavin Mortimer

Iran should be banned from the Paris Olympics

Few would disagree with Ben Wallace’s description of Iran as a ‘bully’. The former defence secretary made his comments earlier this week after Iran’s missile attack on Israel. ‘The only option when Iran and Russia hit, I have concluded, is to hit back twice as hard and not stop until they get the message,’ wrote

Israel launches retaliatory strike against Iran

Israel conducted missile strikes against Iran on Thursday night, as confirmed by a senior American military official to NPR. Explosions in Iraq and Syria have also been reported. Despite Joe Biden’s warning, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have decided not to ‘take the win’ following an Iranian retaliatory attack on Saturday night in which more than 300 drones

Steerpike

The SNP’s net zero hypocrisy

The Scottish nationalists are no stranger to hypocrisy, as their latest U-turn shows. For on Thursday afternoon the Yousaf regime — the only government in the UK which boasts Green politicians — announced that it was, er, ditching its flagship green commitments. Yes, that’s right, amid a litany of stories about SNP sleaze, the government

Katja Hoyer

A Russian spy scare won’t undermine German morale on Ukraine

The news that German police have arrested two alleged Russian spies in Bavaria has understandably raised some alarm bells in Berlin. The men stand accused of targeting military infrastructure, aiming to undermine German support for Ukraine; such acute security threats are always bad news. But the response so far has been more defiant than divided.

Steerpike

Nicola Sturgeon’s husband charged in SNP police probe

Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the SNP, has tonight been charged with embezzling money from his party. Murrell, the husband of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, was taken into police custody earlier today for a second time in connection with Operation Branchform, the probe into SNP funds. Murrell was arrested at 9 a.m. today,

Nicholas Farrell

Why Giorgia Meloni is taking on Alfa Romeo

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s crusade to defend Italian excellence from the destructive side of globalisation has won a small but symbolic victory. Global car colossus Stellantis, which owns Alfa Romeo, has bowed to pressure from Italy’s right-wing government and changed the name of its new SUV, less than a week after its launch. Given

Why did Swedish conservatives relax gender-change laws?

In the 2010s the main political dynamic inside western societies could be boiled down to simple left and right. Figures such as Jordan Peterson, and others loosely grouped under the banner of the ‘intellectual dark web’, were only just rising to prominence and had begun to discuss the new-fangled idea of the ‘culture wars’.  These

Is North Korea developing biological weapons?

The threat North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme poses to the world is well known. But as the hermit kingdom actively expands its weapons arsenal, and international institutions struggle to contain it, we shouldn’t ignore its development of chemical and biological weapons either. A recent report from the United States State Department asserts that North Korea has a

James Heale

What the Mark Menzies scandal means for the Tories

You’ve got to feel for Rishi Sunak. He spends his days slaving around the clock to shave half a percentage point off inflation, only to find one of his MPs making lurid headlines, again. Today, the Tory boat has been rocked by Mark Menzies, who lost the whip following claims that he had misused campaign

Steerpike

Prince Harry ditches UK as primary residence

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Queen of Privacy never manage to keep out of the news for too long. This time it transpires that the red-headed royal has now officially changed his primary country of residence from the UK to the US. Too good for us, Harry? Documents on the Companies House site

Ross Clark

Labour should think twice before taxing pensioners

Labour, according to Rachel Reeves, is now the party of low taxes. She has said she won’t raise income tax, National Insurance, capital gains tax and corporation tax, as well as ruling out a wealth tax. But that still leaves a few options for jacking up taxes, as one of Reeves’ advisers, Sir Edward Troup

It’s no surprise the SNP’s climate change law has failed

When Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the SNP’s climate change pledge in 2019, the First Minister boasted that Scotland had the ‘most stretching targets in the world’. The problem was that they were too stretching: five years on, the flagship goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 has been binned. The decision