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James Forsyth

The human hand grenade

You can tell a lot about a minister from their bookshelves. Some display photos of themselves with the great and the good, others favour wonky texts. As you walk into Elizabeth Truss’s seventh-floor office in the Department of Education, the first thing you see is a think-tank pamphlet: ‘The Profit Motive in Education: Continuing the

The great divide | 29 November 2012

My career in politics nearly ended the day it began, when I was almost run over by a gang of Nazis in a Mini-Metro. Not a very butch car to be hit by, I know, and a rather pathetic substitute for a Panzer tank. But it was the early 1990s, and supporters of fascist government

The Turner prize is boring

Inside Tate Britain on Monday night, a fashionable London audience will applaud the award of the £25,000 Turner prize to whatever is judged the best thing a British artist under the age of 50 can come up with. Standing outside will be a group of Stuckists protesting against the overlord who for nearly a quarter

Not graphic and not novel

As someone who once spent a whole summer refusing to leave the house in anything except his Superman costume (to be fair, I was only 23 at the time), I was tickled to death by the announcement last week of a Costa Book Awards shortlist that included not one but two ‘graphic novels’, and the

The edge of destruction

The world came closer to thermonuclear warfare during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 than ever before or since. Most Americans now aged between their late fifties and late sixties remember ‘duck and cover’ drills during the crisis which taught them to hide under school desks and adopt the brace position in case of

A lifesaver’s lament

It was about as English as you can get. I saved a man from drowning, and ended up annoyed that he didn’t say thank you. The setting was a disused railway walk near the meadows of my local market town in Suffolk. I was out with my dog, enjoying one of autumn’s last sunny days.