Featured articles


Telling tales | 29 November 2018

Germaine Greer described biographers as ‘vultures’. I prefer to think of myself as a version of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade: vultures hunt by instinct but the two private investigators went after secrets with deliberate foolhardy masochism. It’s human nature to want to know more about the writers we admire — but what you discover

The next Italian crisis

For those who believe in the European project, Brexit is a headache. Italy, on the other hand, is a bloody nightmare. Its new anti-elite populist coalition government of the alt-left Five Star Movement and the radical-right League is currently set on a collision course with the EU. This could easily start a chain reaction that

Home truths | 29 November 2018

King’s Cross station at 10.30 p.m. is not a happy place. Most commuters have long returned to their centrally heated homes, leaving the concourse free for the homeless to roam randomly in search of a few coins from stragglers. I was there to catch a late train to Potters Bar last week and almost missed

Bullets across the strait

On Europe’s eastern borderlands, trouble is brewing. Two headstrong leaders — Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko — both with authoritarian tendencies and both facing sagging popularity at home, have swapped trading insults for exchanging bullets across the Strait of Kerch. The frightening truth is that war would suit both presidents’ short-term interests.

On the side of Goliath

According to which bit of hype you read, there’s a copy of one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers sold somewhere in the world every four seconds, or every seven, or every nine. It’s a cute statistic and (as Child wryly notes), there’s an element of Barnum & Bailey hucksterism to it. But suffice to

The Corbyn effect

What’s wrong with UK financial markets? The global economy is recovering, but British stocks and shares are not keeping pace. The pound has failed to recover from the slide it experienced in the wake of the EU referendum. This is frequently blamed on investors being spooked by Brexit, even more so by the possibility of

Notes on...

The Isle of Grain

Perched on the edge of the Medway about 15 miles from Rochester is the Isle of Grain, a mass of wild marshes and pastures and great industrial infrastructure. Redshanks, curlews and egrets circle and dive around turbines, tunnels and tanks. The enormous chimney of the gas turbine power station stretches up into the enormous sky.