British empire

Does the curriculum really need ‘decolonising’?

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Layla Moran, the Lib Dems’ education spokesman, has written to Gavin Williamson urging him to do something about ‘systemic racism’…

We should build more memorials to controversial people

27 June 2020 9:00 am

It is hard to find benign examples of imperialism

In defence of the British Empire

8 May 2020 5:00 pm

Is it my imagination, or are the whitened bones of the British Empire being yet again dug up and trampled…

Labour won’t win voters back by denigrating Britain’s past

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

They never learn, do they? Lisa Nandy, the dark horse candidate in the Labour leadership race, has demanded the word…

The forgotten masterpieces of Indian art

21 December 2019 9:00 am

As late as the end of the 18th century, only a handful of Europeans had ever seen the legendary Mughal…

This election will change Britain – and Europe – for good

7 December 2019 9:00 am

This election campaign feels unreal. Commentators focus on spending plans and personal foibles, but what will make next week’s vote…

Shameless and corny: ITV’s Beecham House reviewed

29 June 2019 9:00 am

ITV’s new drama Beecham House is set in late 18th-century India where the British and French were still battling it…

Maisie Williams as Caroline in the breathtaking new play 'I and You' at Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

One of the best plays I’ve ever seen: I and You at the Hampstead Theatre reviewed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Lauren Gunderson’s play I and You opens in the scruffy bedroom of 17-year-old Caroline. Lonely, beautiful and furious, she’s unable…

The dumbing down of the Reith Lectures

30 June 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a heavyweight week on Radio 4 with the start of the annual series of Reith Lectures and a…

Playing it safe

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

BBC1’s latest Sunday-night drama The Last Post, about a British military base in Aden in 1965, feels like a programme…

Catherine Tate’s talents are wasted on this meandering musical about nuclear fallout

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Miss Atomic Bomb celebrates the sub-culture that grew up around nuclear tests in 1950s America. The citizens of Nevada would…

Flying from Donald Trump to the beautiful ruins of another empire

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Just as the presidential race in America started to get really crazy, I left for India. On the morning of…

What to do about Syria – the view from 1916

6 February 2016 9:00 am

From ‘The future of Syria’, The Spectator, 5 February 1916: We say with all the emphasis at our command, and…

‘Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman’ or ‘The Music Lesson’, 1662–5, by Vermeer

Artistic taste is inversely proportional to political nous

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Wherever the British settle, wherever they colonize,’ observed the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, ‘they carry and will ever carry trial…

The students tearing down Cecil Rhodes’s statue are still upholding his legacy

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Protesting students in Cape Town may disdain the statue of Cecil Rhodes, yet they do not reject his legacy

Gymkhana is morally disgusting – and fortunately the food’s disgusting too

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Gymkhana is a fashionable Indian restaurant in Albemarle Street. It was, according to its natty website, ‘inspired by Colonial Indian…

English tea-chests are thrown into Boston harbour, 16 December 1773

A Labour MP defends the Empire – and only quotes Lenin twice

14 June 2014 8:00 am

In a grand history of the British empire — because that is what this book really is —  you might…

When Britain Burned the White House, by Peter Snow - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Peter Snow explains that he decided to look into this extraordinary story when he realised how few people knew about…