Harry Mount

Harry Mount is editor of The Oldie and author of How England Made the English (Penguin) and Et Tu, Brute? The Best Latin Lines Ever (Bloomsbury)

Why does the National Trust hate itself so much?

In its latest bout of self-hatred, the National Trust has declared that ‘people from the global majority are widely under-represented in the outdoors, accounting for only 1 per cent of National Park visitors in 2019’. That’s despite 15 per cent of the population in England and Wales being represented by the global majority. It’s one

Conspicuous luxury looks cheap

Street robbery has become an epidemic. Horrible thugs are stealing luxury watches and jewellery in broad daylight. The number of luxury watches stolen almost doubled in England and Wales between 2015 and 2022 – with 25,802 stolen in 2022. The problem is particularly bad in London, where the Metropolitan Police have set up a special unit

Easter special: how forgiveness was forgotten

36 min listen

This week: how forgiveness was forgotten, why the secular tide might be turning, and looking for romance at the British museum.  Up first: The case of Frank Hester points to something deep going on in our culture, writes Douglas Murray in the magazine this week. ‘We have never had to deal with anything like this

Could I find love at the British Museum?

Mirabile dictu, as we Latin lovers like to say. In other words, wonderful news! Attractive women have fallen for ancient Rome – and for classicists. Well, that’s what the British Museum thought when it cooked up its advertising campaign for its new show, Legion: Life in the Roman Army, about Roman legionaries. The Museum put

When John Lennon took on Barry Humphries

Barry Humphries would have been 90 on 17 February. To commemorate his life, Radio 4 is broadcasting Barry Humphries: Gloriously Uncut that evening. For the programme, I recalled the joy of talking to Barry about the column he wrote for the Oldie. What a delight, too, it was to hear from the great diplomat Sir

Lionel Shriver, Angus Colwell and Toby Young

32 min listen

On this week’s episode, Lionel Shriver asks if Donald Trump can get a fair trial in America (00:39), Angus Colwell speaks to the Gen-Zers who would fight for Britain (08:25), Matthew Parris makes the case for assisted dying (13:15), Toby Young tells the story of the time he almost died on his gap year (20:43),

The grim life of a Roman legionary

Over the heather the wet wind blows, I’ve lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose. The rain comes pattering out of the sky, I’m a Wall soldier, I don’t know why. The mist creeps over the hard grey stone, My girl’s in Tungria; I sleep alone. W.H. Auden was right. Life for

Starmer is wrong to defend the National Trust

Keir Starmer is drawing up his battle-lines for the next election. First, he came for the public schools, pledging to whack VAT on school fees. Now he’s going for the traditionalist wing of National Trust members.  In a speech today, he accuses the Tories of ‘waging a war’ on charities and civic society. He claims

The Elizabethan grandeur of Middle Temple Hall

It’s the most beautiful restaurant in London – and the oldest. Built in 1573, Middle Temple Hall is celebrating its 450th anniversary. It’s also where Shakespeare held the premiere of his Christmas play, Twelfth Night, in 1602. How strange that hardly anyone knows about the best Elizabethan hall in London. It’s mostly used by barristers but the public

The joy of an archive

It’s amazing how quickly you become ancient history. Thirty years after I left Oxford, my old college, Magdalen – alma mater of Oscar Wilde, Edward VIII and my fellow undergraduate George Osborne – sent out a request to former students. The college archivist asked for ‘Academic work. Records of student societies. College magazines and newsletters.

In defence of Eton’s Provost

The world divides into two groups. Those who liked school and those who didn’t. Sir Nicholas Coleridge, the next Provost of Eton, is firmly in the first group. In an article in the Telegraph, he has frankly admitted that he prefers people who went to Eton, as he did. He said: I am bound to say

Women are obsessed with the Romans, too

Infamy! Infamy! That was my response to the TikTok trend about ancient Rome. Women asked their partners how often they thought about the Roman Empire. Many men admitted they thought about it every day; three times a day, said one. One confessed he was obsessed with ‘aqueducts and the fact that they had concrete that

How the Aeneid was nearly destroyed

According to legend, Vergil declared of himself ‘Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc Parthenope: cecini pascua, rura, duces.’ (‘Mantua bore me, Calabria took me; now Naples holds me: I sang of pastures, fields, and leaders.’) In her rigorously researched biography, the American classicist Sarah Ruden shows that this is largely true – even if

Why some men are obsessed with the Roman Empire

Why do men think about the Roman Empire so much? That’s the subject of a new social media trend, where women ask their partners how often they think about ancient Rome.  Some men do it every day; one admitted to doing it three times a day. But why is it men who love the Empire

What’s in a school nickname?

‘Have you met Sperm?’ a friend from Westminster School asked me at a teenage party once. Sperm was a charming, pretty, confident girl but, still, I didn’t feel quite ready to use her startling nickname on our first meeting.   My own nickname – Mons, Latin for Mountain or Mount – seemed unadventurously fogeyish by comparison.

‘She had no neutral gear’: Lindy Dufferin remembered

In 1957, when my dear godmother, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava (1941-2020), was 16, she began her diary. The granddaughter of the Duke of Rutland and daughter of Loel Guinness, an MP, financier and Battle of Britain pilot, Lindy Dufferin had a gilded childhood. Her entries as a teen are like no other: ‘Randolph

After Putin: how nervous should we be?

37 min listen

This week: In the magazine we look at the Wagner Group’s failed coup and its implications for Putin’s reign. The Spectator’s Russia correspondent Owen Matthews examines why the Kremlin permits the existence of private armies such as Prigozhin’s Wagner Group, and joins the podcast alongside Jim Townsend, former deputy secretary of defence for European and NATO policy

The lewdness and lyricism of ancient Roman graffiti

Throw him to the lions! That’s what I thought when I saw the video of a grinning moron desecrating the walls of the Colosseum with the words ‘Ivan + Hayley 23’. He must have been referring to his girlfriend, standing by his side – and the year. It wasn’t just the fact that he’d defaced

Humza Yousaf and Anas Sarwar’s debt to private schools

Humza Yousaf, the favourite to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scottish First Minister, has been ticking all the right boxes in his campaign so far. Last week, he declared: ‘As your SNP First Minister, and as someone from a minority background myself, I will stand up and champion equal rights for all.’ I don’t imagine he’ll