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Too Indian to adopt

I am not surprised that the mother of a white Christian girl should be upset that her daughter was placed by Tower Hamlets council in London with a foster family reported to adhere to a strict form of Islam. But my experience is very different — one in which cultural sensibilities were taken into account,

Theresa May’s great comeback is now underway

Theresa May has always made her holidays sound as sensible and lacking in exoticism as she is. But something strange happens to the Prime Minister when she takes a break. After her last break, she decided she wanted a snap election. Now she’s back from the three-week holiday that was supposed to help the Conservative

Lessons from Houston

The numbers are awesome. In a matter of hours, Hurricane Harvey dumped nine trillion gallons of rainfall on Houston and southeast Texas: at one stage, 24 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Like all American cities, Houston is prepared for hurricanes and floods — but Harvey was of a different magnitude. ‘We have not

‘Kill! Kill!’ yelled the mob

 Laikipia, Kenya Following Kenya’s recently concluded elections, I took a walk on my Laikipia farm and lit up a cigar, stale because I had saved it for a day when I might hear a bit of good news that never seemed to come. I felt it was the end of a terrifying five-year ordeal when

Let’s redo lunch

As a young sub-editor on the Times in 1926, Graham Greene, future author of The Quiet American and Brighton Rock, had his meals in the office canteen. Elevenpence bought two kippers, a pot of tea and a slice of syrup roll. Plenty to keep a man going through a long subbing shift. Is that ‘pot’

Iran is our natural ally

The Saudi town of Awamiya — like so many countless cities across Iraq, Syria and Yemen that are witnessing an unleashing of the ancient hatred of Sunni for Shia — now exists in name only. Last month, days before an assault on its Shia inhabitants by the Saudi regime, the UN designated it a place

Why is the National Trust hounding hunters?

For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed/ And the cry of his hounds which he oft times led/ Peel’s ‘View, Halloo!’ could awaken the dead/ Or the fox from his lair in the morning. Back in the early 1800s, the legendary huntsman John Peel galloped all over the northern Lake District.

Notes on...

Greater Oxbridge

Oxbridge is an ivory-tower state of mind, perhaps, or at least two ancient rival universities, but how about this: in the future the word could describe a fully connected English economic region, a rival both to London and to the great midlands and northern cities. This is the aim of the National Infrastructure Commission, headed