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Leo McKinstry rss

Tea-Time

The squeezed middle is a myth

16 August 2014

Almost from the moment the coalition came to power four years ago, a mood of deepening grievance has gripped parts of the middle class, fuelled by a sense that they… Read more

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If homophobia is a problem for bobsled, why is it OK for cricket?

8 March 2014

Where are the threats of a boycott, the calls for isolation, the outraged letters to the Prime Minister? Where are the rainbow logos, the delegations of human rights activists, the… Read more

Gin Lane

Less alcohol, fewer drugs: how the British seem to be shedding their harmful habits

25 May 2013

Gripped by his habitual despair, the French novelist Gustave Flaubert wrote to a friend in 1872, ‘I am appalled at the state of society. I’m filled with the sadness that… Read more

A mayor for Whitehall

21 April 2012

Siobhan Benita’s sanctimonious and mystifying bid to run London Ken Livingstone wept last week at the launch of his election broadcast, but when it comes to narcissistic self-pity, he’s been… Read more

Lack of appeal

7 April 2012

Here we go again. Like a macabre version of Groundhog Day, mass murderer Jeremy Bamber is making yet another bid for freedom. This nasty legal saga has been dragging on… Read more

Give me strength

24 March 2012

Carlsberg Special Brew is the beer of Churchill, Kingsley Amis – and me. They can’t ban it I have a confession to make: I am writing this article under the… Read more

In praise of the police

8 October 2011

Outside London, at least, there are still officers who have their priorities right – as I discovered when my home was burgled The moment we stepped through the front door… Read more

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Aces high

23 June 2010
The Battle of Britain James Holland

Bantam, pp.592, 25

Gun Button to Fire Tom Neill

Amberley, pp.320, 20

Last of the Few Dilip Sarkar

Amberley, pp.240, 20

Seventy years after the RAF repelled the Luftwaffe, the Battle of Britain continues to have a powerful resonance. The conflict not only decided Britain’s very survival as an independent nation,… Read more

Our lazy firemen must make a radical change

23 July 2008

Britain’s firefighters are under-worked and inflexible, says Leo McKinstry. It’s time we created a unified emergency service A cooling breeze wafted through the plane trees under the inky-black Provence sky.… Read more

Naked commercial greed meets Stalinist control

4 June 2008

When Leo McKinstry objected to his neighbours’ plan to build two blocks of flats, he quickly discovered the limits of ‘community empowerment’ under New Labour There is an increasingly Orwellian… Read more

Fighting Gerry on two fronts

28 May 2008
A Good War Patrick Bishop

Hodder & Stoughton, pp.392, 12.99

The Battle of Britain and the campaign by the French Resistance make ideal settings for fiction, since they are full of potential for conflict, romance, adventure, heroism and moral dilemmas.… Read more

Sorry, but family history really is bunk

30 April 2008

When I visited the National Archives at Kew last week the place was full of them, scurrying about with their plastic wallets in hand, a look of eager concentration on… Read more

A working-class villain

23 April 2008
Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone Andrew Hosken

Arcadia Books, pp.435, 15.99

Leo McKinstry on Andrew Hosken’s biography of Ken Livingstone One of Margaret Thatcher’s more bizarre achievements during her premiership was to have transformed Ken Livingstone from municipal hate figure into popular… Read more

No more Troubles

6 February 2008

Thirty years ago Belfast was about as appealing a destination as Kabul or Baghdad are today. Growing up there at the time, we witnessed thousands of troops and armed police… Read more

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How to waste £2.3 billion of public money

28 November 2007

In these times of green awareness, waste management has become an increasingly fashionable issue for the public sector, always keen to find new excuses for bureaucratic intervention. The South East… Read more

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How labour unrest nearly lost us the Battle of Britain

14 November 2007

‘The nation had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to give the roar,’ Winston Churchill said of his role in achieving victory in the second world war. The idea… Read more

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Why the kid should have gone to the chair

12 September 2007

Towards the end of the classic 1957 American courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men, the toughest juror turns bitterly on his colleagues: ‘Brother, I’ve seen all kinds of dishonesty in my… Read more

Rosebery: the other waiting Scot

30 May 2007

Since the late Victorian age there have been two prime ministers who have come close to nervous breakdowns while in Downing Street. The first was Anthony Eden, dosing himself on… Read more

Not ‘cricket’s darkest hour’

23 August 2006

In the post-war history of English cricket, there have been few more universally respected figures than John Lever, the Essex left-arm bowler. Modest, friendly and hard-working, he was regarded by… Read more

High priestess of Tory sleaze

18 March 2006
Nothing Like a Dame: The Scandals of Lady Porter Andrew Hosken

Granta, pp.400, 20

‘She can’t stand that woman,’ an aide of Mrs Thatcher once said of Dame Shirley Porter, the notorious, scandal-prone leader of Westminster City Council during the 1980s. Such contempt was… Read more

Hate, hypocrisy and hysteria

21 January 2006

When it comes to sex, Britain now seems to be gripped by a dangerous form of schizophrenia. On the one hand, there is mounting panic over the issue of paedophilia,… Read more

Young people are the business

12 November 2005

Lazy, ignorant, shallow and irresponsible, more interested in taking drugs than in proper study, too apathetic to make it to the polling station but not to an ecstasy-fuelled rave: those… Read more

Disability allowances

17 September 2005

An insidious paradox lies at the heart of the modern thrust for disability rights. This agenda is supposed to promote equality and fair treatment, goals to which no one could… Read more

Harmless old buggers

18 June 2005

Despite the not guilty verdict, Michael Jackson’s reputation has collapsed as dramatically as the ravaged features on his face. The revelations about his fondness for boyish company will haunt him… Read more

Not ill — just naughty

26 February 2005

Apart from the weather, the food and the landscape, one of the great joys of visiting France is to witness the behaviour of the children there, which is in such… Read more