Society

Anti-Semitism has returned to French politics

New Caledonia is an archipelago in the South Pacific not far from Australia. James Cook discovered it in 1774, but, after concluding that too many languages were spoken there, he declined to annex it to the British Empire. France, not as cautious, made it a distant colony under Napoleon III. Today, riots are convulsing the territory. Supposedly ‘decolonial’ in aim, they are most certainly violent and fuelled by the anti-white racism that, from London to Brussels and Paris, has become the trademark of the new radical left. The strangest thing is that among the flags of the Kanak independence movement, one also sees Azeri flags. Why Azeri? Because Azerbaijan, which

Letters: save our churches!

Free the C of E Sir: Patrick Kidd’s article on the shortcomings of today’s Church of England maintains the importance of the ‘volunteers in the pews’ who bind the church together (‘Miracle workers’, 18 May). He warns that these people ‘can so easily run away’. This is exactly what happened to the Church of Scotland in 1843 when the hierarchy got things badly wrong. The Great Disruption was caused by a disagreement over patronage: should a patron be the sole arbiter in hiring and firing ministers or did this undermine the spiritual independence of the congregation? The exit of more than 400 ministers from the Kirk’s General Assembly and the formation of

2655: Primacy

The unclued lights (one of two words) are of a recent kind. Across 10    Late bishop, terribly welcoming (10) 13    Farah off with English – that’s dull (8) 16    Confiscate trawler catching small fish (5) 17    Nick caught with grass in school (7) 18    Could be Turkish transport (7) 20    Poirot found by small transport plane (8) 25    John’s game (3) 26    Attachment to Hutton’s Test award (4,3) 28    Cavalrymen capture amateur looters (7) 29    He’s in jail again (3) 31    Ashes score shows adjustment on TV screen (4,4) 34    Main variation of Tchaikovsky work in Wales (7) 36    Monster’s toll on artist (7) 40    Overdue train is damaged completely

Olive oil was the key to Roman excellence

Owing to a rise in temperature in southern Europe and a reduction in rainfall, the production of olive oil this year may drop by nearly 40 per cent. For the Romans, who ensured that the olive spread all around the Mediterranean, it would have been disastrous. Olives were a food, and in its liquid form as oil it was used to light lamps, form a base for medicines and cosmetics, and as a skin moisturiser, cleansing agent, lubricant and contraceptive (Marie Stopes used it in trials and found it 100 per cent successful, whether virgin or extra virgin is not recorded). As an evergreen, it had great spiritual importance as

2652: A and M – solution

The unclued Across lights are makes of AUSTIN (in yellow) cars and the unclued Down lights are MORRIS (in red) cars, hence A and M in the title. First prize Chris Taylor, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire Runners-up Sara MacIntosh, Darlington; Stephen Smith, Messing, Essex

Rory Sutherland

Harris Tweed, the miracle fabric

To understand the development of technology, you may be better off studying evolutionary biology rather than, say, computer science. A grasp of evolutionary theory, with the facility for reasoning backwards which it brings, is a better model for understanding the haphazard nature of progress than any attempt to explain the world by assuming conscious and deliberate intent. One useful concept from evolutionary thinking is the idea of the ‘adjacent possible’. As the science writer Olivia Judson explains: ‘Evolution by natural selection only works if each mutational step itself is advantageous. There’s no such thing as advantageous in a general sense. It’s advantageous in the circumstances you’re living in.’ In the

Dear Mary: how do I stop our cousins’ dog peeing on the curtains?

Q. I have a friend whom I see quite often who keeps asking me if I will ‘get her invited’ for a weekend to the beautiful and luxurious country house of another friend. The country-house host is a long-standing friend and she barely knows the friend who wants to be invited. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting they invite her but am under constant pressure to do so. I am very fond of this first friend but am really embarrassed that she cannot see how pushy she is being and I don’t know how to get her to stop going on about this. What should I do? – F.G., Bath A. Next

The best bottle to come from the Gigondas

One needs wine more than ever, yet when imbibing, it can be hard to concentrate. So much is going on. We were at table and the news came through about Slovakia. Was this an obscure incident, regrettable but below the level of geopolitics? Or would it become a second Sarajevo? Fortunately, that seems unlikely. In Mitteleuropa, there are always ancestral voices prophesying war and there is usually plenty of dry timber. But it does not seem that this assassination attempt will be the spark. The Barruols have a reputation for delightful eccentricity but they are committed to their bottles When we had come to that conclusion, there was an obvious

Matthew Parris

Are ultra-processed foods really so bad?

Last week saw a flurry of media reports, of whose headlines one of the worst preceded one of the best reports. ‘Eating too many ultra-processed foods has been linked to a higher risk of early death,’ barked the Telegraph – but went on to explain carefully and fairly a ground-breaking report. Other broadsheets opted for the easy option: big report, ultra-processed food, death. Food-type blaming can be a comforting evasion of a simple truth: overeating makes you fat The report caught my eye because I’ve been consistently sceptical about sensationalist books and statements demonising in wholesale terms the consumption of foods categorised, in pseudo-scientific language, as ‘ultra-processed’. I question the

Lloyd Evans

Admit it – Italian food is rubbish

Every year I’m summoned to a gathering which I strive to avoid. My first cousin, who loves a boozy party, assembles the extended clan in an Italian restaurant for a convivial lunch. I fear that my list of excuses – ‘back pain’, ‘gout’, ‘baptism in Scotland’, ‘last-minute undercover journalism assignment’ – is wearing a bit thin and I’ll have to show up this year. No sane human could feel fondness for a cuisine whose leading dish, pizza, can’t be eaten with a spoon It’s not my relatives that I dislike. It’s the stuff on the plates. No sane human could feel any fondness for a cuisine whose leading dish, pizza,

The myth of the global majority

‘You make the cotton easy to pick, Mame,’ sang my husband with execrable delivery. ‘No,’ I said, ‘You can’t sing things like that now. In any case, I was talking of Bame, not Mame.’ The hit musical from 1966, starring Angela Lansbury, has only the most tangential relevance to the latest lurch in approved terminology for what we were encouraged to call Black and Minority Ethnic people until that term was expelled from polite conversation. Now the trendy label is global majority. ‘The term Global Majority was coined as a result of my work in London on leadership preparation within the school sector between 2003 and 2011,’ says someone called

Bridge | 25 May 2024

We all pause to think when playing, but – let’s be honest – it’s usually as basic as re-capping the bidding or counting points and distribution. When great players stop to think, you just know they’re on a higher plane, probably contemplating things that wouldn’t occur to the rest of us. But what? Luckily, when they’re good friends, you can simply ask. During the recent European Transnational Championships, David Gold made an intriguing play which I later quizzed him about (see diagram). *Hearts and a minor. South led the ◆5. David won with the ◆A, and played ♠A and another spade. South won and exited with a diamond. David won

Rod Liddle

Obesity isn’t an ‘illness’

About 20 years ago, Burger King stopped selling its magnificent Double Mushroom Swiss burger, an act of corporate vandalism matched only by the decision of Heinz to discontinue its exciting range of Toast Toppers. The Double Mushroom Swiss clocked in at 910 calories, to which you could add another 150 or so by requesting a slice of bacon with it, which I always did. It is surely no coincidence my own weight began to rise from the time my favourite burger was scrapped I was reminded of this delicacy when I read the ‘Global Burden of Disease’ report in the Lancet and, in particular, the news that worldwide obesity has doubled

Who has the worst voice in parliament?

For the first time in more than two decades we are dog-less, and the house feels horribly empty. Our Patterdale terrier, Bonnie, led a long, vigorous life but her balance had gone and her breathing was heavy, so we called the vet. Patterdales are little imps and Bonnie was ‘known to the police’. I never discussed politics with her but she liked Lib Dems; that is, she liked biting them. A public footpath bisects our garden. Most ramblers escaped intact but Bonnie had a habit of nipping tall, grey-ponytailed men with walking poles. She nipped the vicar, too, tearing a cartoon-style square out of the seat of his chinos. The

Ross Clark

What happened to the electric car revolution?

China is often characterised as a copycat when it comes to industry and technology but in one way it has proved to be a pioneer. It was China which saw the first boom in electric cars – and it was China that was the first to suffer when demand for them collapsed. The vast graveyards of unsold vehicles found in Hangzhou and other Chinese cities are the result of a huge, subsidised push to manufacture electric vehicles, demand for which has never caught up with supply. Ride-share services bought the vehicles– in a rerun of the great cycle-share fiasco of 2018, which led to piles of unused and unwanted bikes.

Portrait of the Week: Infected blood apologies, falling inflation and XL bully attacks 

Home Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said: ‘I want to make a wholehearted and unequivocal apology’ for a ‘decades-long moral failure at the heart of our national life’, as described in the report by Sir Brian Langstaff from the Infected Blood Inquiry, which found that successive governments and the NHS had let patients catch HIV and hepatitis. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, apologised too. So far more than 3,000 have died, of the 30,000 infected with HIV or hepatitis C from blood products or transfusions between 1970 and the early 1990s. Interim compensation of £210,000 will be paid to some within 90 days. BT postponed until January 2027 a

Stephen Daisley

Stop children from suffering when their parents go to jail

Writing about the impact on children of having a parent in prison, you always hit the same brick wall: no one knows how many children have a parent in prison, including the Ministry of Justice. The MoJ estimates that ‘approximately 200,000 children’ have a parent in or heading to prison. Ministers have commissioned a review which is due to provide an updated figure on 13 June. The charity Prison Advice and Care Trust, pulling together various strands of MoJ statistics, suggested something in the ballpark of 100,000, though they only counted male prisoners. Meanwhile, Crest Advisory, a criminal justice consultancy, puts the figure much higher, at 312,000. If this lack of reliable data makes it difficult