Matthew d’Ancona

Matthew d’Ancona


Matthew d’Ancona is a British journalist and award-winning political columnist who writes a weekly column for the Guardian. He was Deputy Editor The Sunday Telegraph before becoming editor of The Spectator in 2006. During his editorship, the magazine enjoyed record circulation and he was named Editor of the Year (Current Affairs) in the 2007 BSME awards.

He was the Sunday Telegraph’s political columnist for 19 years.  He also writes for the Evening Standard, International New York Times and GQ. He is a visiting research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, and the author of several books including In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition.

He wrote Being British: The Search for the Values That Bind the Nationwhich was published in 2009 with an introduction by Gordon Brown. His earlier works include the international bestseller The Jesus Papyrus in 1997 and The Quest For the True Cross in 2000.

Photograph/Alistair Richardson

Matthew d'Ancona @MatthewdAncona

This @tortoise report by ⁦@xtophercook⁩ on higher education in the coronavirus era is an absolute must-read.

Amazing interview with Rose McGowan, actor, musician, and activist. Moments of scalding caustic intensity.

About to go on @bbc #theworldtonight to discuss #cummings @tortoise

I know we're all talking about Dominic Cummings. But the crisis facing our arts industries matters too.

As Prince Charles speaks up tonight, my *long* column on this is up @theipaper. Thanks @kwamekweiarmah @edvaizey Nica Burns & @julianpbird for input

Exclusive: Cummings spotted testing his eyesight.

Did the PM just say this was harder than the Second World War?

The PM’s plan to ‘move on’ is not going to plan.

So. Will whoever briefed the press on DC’s behalf that the original Mirror/Guardian story was ‘fake news’ now apologise?

After No10 pressers, when I worked there, we’d get asked what we thought the story would be. After watching that one, I’d say it’s: pressure mounts on PM as defiant top aide refuses to apologise - “I used my judgement” - & admits 2nd lockdown breach (50mile “test drive” to river)

Cummings: “you’re allowed to exercise judgment”

This is the heart of the matter. Thanks to govt communications and a very effective communications campaign (one he doubtless helped design) that just isn’t how people saw it nor really what they were told.

The conversation that neither Cummings and the PM can remember fully is their equivalent of Nixon’s lost 18-and-a-half minutes of recording.

I think we are going to have to find new shorthand to explain what Cummings does - ‘evil genius’, ‘Svengali’, and ‘master of the dark arts’ can all do one.

And if the PM was too ill to be consulted, he could have asked someone else. Raab. Gove. The Cabinet Sec.

Never have the words ‘Take Back Control’ seemed less apposite.

Nothing Cummings has said suggests his circumstances were exceptional.
He & his wife should have stayed at home as everyone else did. Only his wife was ill when they drove to Durham. Their child was never at risk. The Barnard Castle story doesn’t add up remotely.

Not a motorist myself but can I just check: when you want to check it’s safe for you to drive is the normal procedure putting your family in the car and going for a half hour drive?

In the end, this boils down to: ‘I’m important, I’m different, fuck off’.

The centrepiece of the Cummings testimony underlines the problem. Mr Cummings’ child ended up in a Durham hospital. DC said that he was concerned he would end up there too. This is what the authorities wanted to avoid and why people were urged to stay in their primary residence.