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James Forsyth

Boris Johnson’s cautious path out of lockdown

Ever since Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital on 5 April, the government has been in a holding pattern. No big decision could be taken without the Prime Minister, but he was in no position to make one. He is now back at work, though, and has a plan for what to do next. Put

Covid’s metamorphosis: has lockdown made the virus more deadly?

‘Nothing makes sense in biology, except in the light of evolution,’ the splendidly named biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in 1973. It’s a good rule of thumb. Despite near-miraculous advances in medical science we remain biological beings, subject to biological laws. None is more central to our understanding of disease than evolution. Yet this theory remains

Can Putin survive the coronavirus stress test?

Vladimir Putin knows that a poor state is a weak state. As a middling KGB apparatchik in Dresden in 1989 he saw the USSR’s authority over its empire collapse along with its economy. Two years later, the Soviet state itself imploded, unable to feed its citizens or command the loyalty of its own security forces.

‘Social distance shaming’ is getting nasty

The Queen said in her address to the nation that what’ll get us through the lockdown and its ramifications will be our traditional British good humour. I’m not certain. Tempers are beginning to fray — and as we are looking at another week, minimum, of house imprisonment, I predict disaster. It is getting quite tense

The competitive world of Covid brides

I had planned to spend this Saturday in a large white dress, sipping rosé and cutting into a three-tier rhubarb pavlova. Instead, I’ll be drinking gin on my sofa as family members dial in to offer commiserations to me and my fiancé. I am a Covid bride — one of the many whose weddings have

Notes on...

What do your lockdown slippers say about you?

Tartan, monogram, moccasin, clog. What do your slippers say about you? Trick us all you like with your office Manolos, your Loake loafers, your Louboutin mules, it’s the shame-making slippers that will tell us the truth. Fleece-lined slob or kittenish slip-on? Millennial Mahabis or ancestral tapestry? Japanese zori or plaited huarache? In George Bernard Shaw’s