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Simon Kuper

The spy who stayed out in the cold

I suspect George Blake, the MI6 officer turned KGB double agent, would enjoy toddling over to the Hampstead Theatre to see himself in the new production of Simon Gray’s play Cell Mates. The problem is that the instant he landed at Heathrow, he’d be arrested and made to serve the remaining 37 years of his

Crossing the line

When I negotiated the Good Friday Agreement nearly 20 years ago, no one foresaw a day when the -United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union. It was impossible to imagine how the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, from which the barriers were removed as part of the agreement,

The trouble with Miss Markle

‘The thing is,’ said my friend, after the broadcast of the engagement interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, ‘you can’t imagine actually bowing or curtseying to her, can you?’ That is pretty well the crux of the engagement issue: can you see yourself doing either in the case of the newest prospective member of

The marriage gap

Whatever their views about the monarchy, most people will warm to the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. Sentimental as it sounds, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the last royal wedding and how happy I felt for Prince William and Kate Middleton, as she was then. It was one of

Let Katie speak

I had an all-day ticket for the Lewes Speakers Festival at the All Saints Centre on Saturday. I was keen to hear the writer Damien Lewis on the wartime Special Interrogation Group who’d disguised themselves as German soldiers and stormed Tobruk, Andrew Monaghan on his book Power in Modern Russia, and Theodore Dalrymple, ex-Spectator columnist

Missed connection

To me, the strange words ‘Marsh Gibbon’ once meant I was nearly home. My heart lifted as we creaked and shuddered into the little station at Marsh Gibbon and Poundon, on the slow and pottering line between Cambridge and Oxford. Usually it was dusk by the time we got there, and I can remember seeing

Notes on...

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka

Standing in sweaty silence for an hour on a precipitous sliver of muddy footpath above a waterfall may not be everybody’s idea of fun, but for a small cluster of birders anxious to see the Sri Lanka whistling thrush it was a small price to pay. Eventually, as the cicadas shrilled and the dark closed