Did Maori MPs mean to insult King Charles?

The co-leaders of New Zealand’s Māori party, Te Pāti Māori, have defended their actions at the swearing-in ceremony at parliament in Wellington on Tuesday. The party’s MPs all broke with protocol by standing and giving a whaikorero (formal address) when it was their turn to be sworn in. In their remarks, members of the party swore allegiance to the mokopuna (grandchildren) and said they would exercise their duties in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi (New Zealand’s founding document, the treaty of Waitangi). They each then approached the Clerk of the House to give their affirmations of allegiance to King Charles, a prerequisite to formally becoming an MP.   Much of this tension

The war in Gaza is at a tipping point

The conflict in Gaza could be about to reach a defining moment. After weeks of air strikes, artillery bombardments and drone attacks, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) appear to have the Hamas leadership and those remaining fighters still loyal to the group’s murderous ideals trapped in ever-shrinking pockets of land. Intense street fighting is now taking place between Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen in the southern city of Khan Yunis, believed to be the last stronghold of the terrorist group. In the north, Hamas’s general headquarters, located within the Jabaliya refugee camp, has been occupied after a three day operation involving a naval commando unit and elements of the Israeli army’s

Is Nicolas Maduro planning to annex part of Guyana?

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro seems to be in something of a political pickle. On Sunday, he held a referendum on whether or not Venezuela should annex Essequibo, a dense jungle region which makes up two-thirds of neighbouring Guyana. In the end, 95 per cent voted to support Venezuela’s claim to the land (Maduro hailed this as an ‘overwhelming victory’) but turnout was at best, lacklustre.   ‘The people have spoken loud and clear,’ Maduro bellowed after the result in a televised statement, in front of a map which placed Essequibo inside Venezuela. But it’s the people who decided not to speak on Sunday that have placed him in difficulty.  It’s not exactly


Volhynia and the forgotten massacre of the Second World War

Completely innocent men, women and children have been slaughtered. ‘Terrorism’ hardly suffices to describe the savage rampage beyond the Gaza Wall undertaken by men from Hamas on 7 October. In the aftermath of the Second World War, when knowledge emerged of the crimes perpetrated by Nazi Germans and their collaborators, humanity vowed ‘Never Again’. Yet the world has descended once more into ever lower levels of depravity. What is more, thousands of innocents are now being killed as collateral in the on-going counterattacks. The kibbutz of Kfar Aza and kibbutz Be’eri, where some of the most barbaric crimes were carried out by Hamas, joins the long list of places of infamy where

Melanie McDonagh

Should Kyiv really ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church?

The war in Ukraine, which was until 7 October the only foreign news we could think about, is no longer centre stage but is continuing in an increasingly attritional way. And Ukrainian politics continue, inevitably, to be dominated by the war with the result that fundamental freedoms are now a casualty of the conflict. Specifically, there is a bill before the Ukrainian parliament, which has already passed its first reading, that would ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This historically has been located within the Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader, Patriarch Kirill, is notoriously invested in the war, on the Russian side. He is, moreover, close to Vladimir Putin. The bill would

Lisa Haseldine

Cameron’s Ukraine trip provides a welcome boost for Zelensky

Just days after returning to government as Lord Cameron, the former prime minister and new Foreign Secretary has made his first foreign visit. Unsurprisingly, the destination of this trip was Kyiv, to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.  The news of Cameron’s visit broke early this morning, although whether it took place this morning or earlier in the week remains unclear thanks to the wartime high security protocols that exist around such visits. In footage posted by Zelensky to X/Twitter, the Ukrainian premier is shown welcoming Cameron and his delegation to Kyiv. Shaking hands, Cameron calls it an ‘enormous honour’ to meet Zelensky. Cameron’s visit to Ukraine will have provided




Gavin Mortimer

France isn’t buying Macron’s excuses after the Eiffel Tower terror attack

There was more bloodshed in Paris this weekend, this time involving a man who, prosecutors claim, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). A German tourist was killed as he strolled close to the Eiffel Tower with his wife during the attack on Saturday evening. Two other passers-by, including a Briton, were wounded by the assailant, who French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ranted about Muslims dying in Afghanistan and Palestine as he launched his deadly assault. Police used a stun gun to stop the man who is being questioned by anti-terror police. France is supposed to be on high alert following the outbreak of war in

Nicholas Farrell

The Italian left wants to blame Giorgia Meloni for the patriarchy

This weekend, demonstrations took place in major Italian cities to mark the UN’s international day for the elimination of violence against women. Many on the Italian left used the opportunity to suggest Giorgia Meloni is aiding and abetting the murder of Italian women – even though she is Italy’s first female Prime Minister.    The largest protest was in Rome where demonstrators, mainly women – 500,000 according to the organisers – brandished placards saying ‘The Patriarchy Kills’, ‘We Support Female Fury Against The Fascist Meloni Government’ and ‘Meloni Fascist Zionist Collaborator’. Palestinian flags fluttered surreally alongside LGBTQIA2-S rainbow flags, as I think they are now called. Elly Schlein, leader of the main left-wing opposition Partito Democratico, was there and told journalists: the only way to stop ‘the

Gavin Mortimer

Macron’s France is trapped in a cycle of violence

On Monday, the spokesman for Emmanuel Macron’s government, Olivier Véran, visited the village of Crépol in south-eastern France. A fortnight ago few people had heard of Crépol, but on the evening of Saturday 18 November a gang of youths from an inner city a few miles away gatecrashed the village dance.   In the maelstrom of violence that ensued, a 16-year-old local called Thomas was fatally stabbed. Several other young partygoers were wounded and one eye-witness told reporters their attackers had stormed the venue vowing to ‘kill a white’.   The bitter truth is that few people in France have any confidence left in Macron and his government For 24

The reason Xi and Putin liked Henry Kissinger

On Henry Kissinger’s passing, Xi Jinping published a letter, extolling this ‘old friend of China’ as a man of ‘outstanding strategic vision’, whose exploits not just benefited the relationship between China and the United States, but also ‘changed the world’. Xi’s tribute reads like an indictment of the current lamentable state of Sino-American relations (clearly by design). Xi presents Kissinger as a model statesman that China would like to have in place of the current US foreign policy elite.  Russia’s Vladimir Putin, too, sent a rare letter of condolences, praising Kissinger as an ‘outstanding diplomat, wise and farsighted statesman’, who pursued ‘a pragmatic foreign policy’ and helped broker détente. Andrei Kortunov, a foreign policy hand

Israel should think twice before assassinating Hamas’s leaders

Israel knows that airstrikes alone cannot help it to win its war against Hamas. To handicap its enemy, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) must kill or capture the group’s leaders, both in Gaza – where they are hiding out in intricate tunnel complexes – and elsewhere, in other countries in the Middle East, including Qatar. But the cost of such dangerous operations will be high – and could easily backfire. For now, the priority for Israel is targeting Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip. On the hitlist is Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza; Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades; and Deif’s second-in-command,

Brendan O’Neill

The chilling link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

Isn’t it remarkable how similar anti-Zionism is to anti-Semitism? The latest proof of an intimate link between these two ideologies comes from Philadelphia. There, last night, a baying mob gathered outside a Jewish-owned restaurant to accuse the owners of being complicit in ‘genocide’. Guys, the 1930s called, they want their bigotry back. Last night’s protest was a genuinely vile affair. Actually, ‘protest’ is far too grand a name for this kind of gathering. It was more like a mini-pogrom, the noisy harassment of a restaurant for its sin of being founded by a Jew. The restaurant is called Goldie. It is owned by Mike Solomonov, an Israeli-born, Pittsburgh-raised, award-winning chef. ‘Goldie, Goldie, you

Why Israel is changing tactics in its war on Hamas

The conflict in Gaza is about to enter a crucial phase as Israel continues its military campaign to destroy Hamas. After a seven-day pause in hostilities saw Hamas release 110 hostages in return for 240 Palestinians, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are now locked into a more complex and politically tricky battle as they venture into southern Gaza. If the IDF adopts the same tactics in the south as they did in the north of the Gaza Strip, then thousands more Palestinian civilians will die. There are signs, however, that Israel is changing tactics after bowing to pressure from allies. Over 15,000 civilians have been killed, according to the Hamas-controlled

Fraser Nelson

The thinking behind Rishi Sunak’s common sense Net Zero approach

Rishi Sunak has a new approach to Net Zero, defining himself against ‘zealots’ and acknowledging the side effects of proposed green taxes. He’s replacing the old, often hyperbolic precautionary-principle logic and bringing in the language of tradeoffs: stressing the importance of democratic consent and the futility of green taxes that voters will not accept and are likely to rebel against. The Prime Minister has just taken his case to the UN ‘Cop’ Climate Summit in Dubai and his short speech deserves more attention than it has received. The standard form, in such events, is for leaders to try to outdo each other in ‘dark green’ jeremiads and say ‘we’ must

How Hamas’s ceasefire gamble backfired

Hamas’s refusal to negotiate the return of the remaining women still in captivity and an early morning missile attack on Israel brought the ceasefire to an abrupt end on Friday. The Israeli government would have continued to put up with minor infractions by Hamas, and carried on with the deal, despite their repeated violations. However, Hamas’s insistence on drastically changing the terms of the agreement pushed Israel to resume assaults in a sign to Hamas that it refuses to be pushed around. Hamas needed the ceasefire, but miscalculated – thinking that it could push the envelope even more without consequence. It went too far. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has been

Is opposition to Kim Jong Un growing in North Korea?

North Korea is hardly the first country that comes to mind when you think of elections. Yet since the inception of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948, parliamentary and local polls have, in fact, taken place. The former occur every four to five years and elect members of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament and highest body of state authority. Since 1999, local elections have also been held, responsible for electing governors, mayors, and local assemblies at municipal, county, and provincial levels. Predictably for a totalitarian regime, local elections – much like the Supreme People’s Assembly – are little more than a mere formality, with voter

Can Hamas really be ‘eliminated’?

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell offered a provocative insight into the nature of Hamas this week. Speaking at the Union of the Mediterranean Forum, Borrell said that: ‘Hamas is not merely a group of individuals but an unkillable idea and ideology.’ This view is a worrying one for Israel as it seeks, in the words of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to ‘eliminate’ Hamas. But what if Borell is right that Hamas cannot be destroyed? History suggests that seemingly invincible organisations and ideologies can indeed be defeated, often after military defeat, through thorough socio-economic and political reformations. Take Nazi Germany. While comparisons with the Third Reich are easy to reach

Putin’s ‘loyalty cards’ are a new low for his regime

Loyalty cards in the West are used by supermarket chains to influence our shopping habits. They are fortunately absent from our politics, and we can freely speak our minds about public affairs, history and morality. In Russia it is different. The Russian TASS news agency reported on Wednesday that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared a mandatory ‘loyalty agreement’ for all foreigners entering Russia. Our supermarkets do not demand a personal declaration of loyalty, and our governments make no such requirement of visiting foreigners. But travellers to Russian parts will run into as yet unspecified trouble if they are thought to engage in ‘distorting’ the record of Soviet people

Henry Kissinger saw his world fall apart

The leading advocate of world order died at a time when it all appeared to be coming undone. Henry Kissinger spent the last months of his century-long life travelling to China to temper escalating tensions with the United States, pushing for negotiations to end a war begun by Russia in Ukraine (he made his first intervention on this war in The Spectator last year), and watching as Israel and Hamas entered a new death struggle. Even more discouraging, isolationist tendencies were ascendant again in the US, and American democracy seemed crippled by divisions that shut down Congress repeatedly. Kissinger’s last book, co-authored with Google’s Erich Schmidt, warned that artificial intelligence was on

Hamas has made a mockery of the ceasefire deal

Early this morning, Hamas fired the first shot that signalled the end of its ceasefire deal with Israel, roughly an hour before the truce was due to expire. Before the ceasefire broke there had been a night of intense negotiations over the next stage of the hostage releases. Hamas, as it has done since negotiations started, tried every trick in the book to buy time and maximise its gains. Last night, it did not agree to Israel’s demand to release the remaining surviving women. Hamas has violated the ceasefire deal on several occasions. It breached some of it terms about separating mothers and children. It also broke the ceasefire in

Gavin Mortimer

The EU is in denial about stopping the boats

The Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling is the latest EU initiative to address the continent’s migrant crisis. Unveiled in Brussels on Tuesday, the aim of the alliance is, in the words of the EU, ‘to close the loopholes in national legislation and international systems and prevent this criminal trade in human lives.’  Europe should brace itself for a fresh migrant surge in 2024 The EU president, Ursula von der Leyen, used social media to boast that the Global Alliance will, among other things, ‘Intensify cooperation with partner countries to tackle this issue globally’ and ‘strengthen the role of Europol’, the EU’s agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.  Forgive the cynicism but haven’t

Does a political solution to the Israel-Gaza conflict exist?

Is there a political solution to the Gaza conflict? Earlier this morning, the seven-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas broke down, with the IDF reporting that it had intercepted rocket fire from the Gaza strip. Israel then resumed hostilities, with air strikes in northern and southern Gaza against Hamas. Almost from the moment of its inception, 73-years ago, Israel has been in a state of perpetual war. This is not something of Israel’s own choosing. No other country in the modern era has fought so many wars of national survival against adversaries whose sole ambition was the complete annihilation of  a people. If there was an opportunity for a prolonged

Has Israel learned the lessons of Ukraine’s war with Russia?

Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas – which has allowed for the release of dozens of hostages – looks set to continue. But make no mistake: this war is far from over. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas, a mission that he will not back down from any time soon. The fight against an estimated 30,000 Hamas soldiers will be a long and difficult one. While Israel’s firepower vastly outmatches that of Hamas, defeating an insurgent army will prove a difficult endeavour for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Israel could find itself in a situation comparable to Ukraine – another country with state-of-the-art weaponry that struggles to deliver

Can I stay in Britain?

Brexit Britain, for all its flaws, has been welcoming to me. When the UK was a member of the European Union, the only way to control immigration was to crack down on non-EU visas. Ten years ago, Americans like me who studied in Britain and wanted to stay needed to earn £35,000 a year (which would be £47,000 now). That was unrealistic for a recent graduate. After Brexit, Boris Johnson brought back the old post-study visa, giving us two years to find work and requiring a more achievable minimum salary of £26,000. Finally, international students who won places at British universities could meet their EU equals as, well, equals. We

Philip Patrick

The deep affinity between Japan and Israel

Tokyo Japan and Israel have a curious bond, which recent events have highlighted. A video showing a group of Japanese senior citizens singing ‘Japan loves Israel, and Israel loves Japan’ (in Hebrew) while waving Japanese and Israeli flags has received more than 900,000 views. The group, believed to be Christians, may be at the extreme end of Japanese philo-Semitism but their passion is generally shared. A crowd of 1,200 (big for Japan and probably greater than the number of Jews in the entire country) demonstrated in support of Israel in Tokyo earlier this month, just one of several similar events. The philosophy of the kibbutzim chimed with Japan’s collectivist culture

Why Argentina is turning its back on Brics

‘Today, the rebuilding of Argentina begins’, Javier Milei declared in his first speech as the new president-elect. The anarcho-capitalist is wasting no time in his mission.  Milei has already pulled the plug on what was set to be current president Fernandez’s career-defining achievement: Argentina’s historic admittance to Brics (a loose alliance of economies led by Brazil, Russia, India and China). Argentina’s new leader intends instead to swivel westwards, prioritising trade and relations with ‘the liberal democracies of the world’, while casting a backwards glance at China. Is Milei right to reorient Argentina, or is he biting the hand that feeds him? Beijing has declared it a ‘grave error’ if Argentina

Cindy Yu

Dialect and identity: is Mandarin bad for China?

44 min listen

Across the span of China, a country as big as Europe, there are countless regional dialects and accents – perhaps even languages. Often, they’re mutually unintelligible. The Chinese call these ‘fangyan’, and each Chinese person will likely be able to speak at least one fangyan, while also understanding Standard Mandarin, the official language of the People’s Republic. It means that the Chinese are more multilingual than you might think. But it also means that the question of language is inherently a political one. Standard Mandarin has a relatively short history, created by the country’s founding fathers to unify the spoken word in a huge country. But with the ubiquity of

Can Israel’s ceasefire in Gaza hold?

Originally meant to expire on Monday, the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been extended by at least two days. During the first four days of the ceasefire, 69 hostages abducted on 7 October, including 50 Israelis and 19 foreign nationals were freed by Hamas. In return, Israel freed 120 Palestinian prisoners, many incarcerated for terrorism offences. The deal also included a substantial increase in humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. Across the two added days of ceasefire, Hamas has agreed to release 20 additional hostages. It is likely that, following this extension, with about 170 hostages remaining in Gaza, the sides will agree to prolong the ceasefire. It seems

Dublin is a city on the edge

At 1.30 p.m. last Thursday, a horrific knife attack was perpetrated outside a school on Parnell Street in Dublin’s north inner city. Three children and an adult female were viciously stabbed by the attacker who has now been confirmed to be an Algerian male who acquired Irish citizenship and has been living in the country for the last 20 years. Both the attacker and his four victims have been hospitalised. One of those victims, a 5 year old girl, remains in a critical condition, while her female carer, who tried to stop the knifeman, remains in the Mater hospital. If it wasn’t the horrifying knife attack on Thursday that set