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Kate Andrews

Red Rishi: the Prime Minister’s political makeover

What kind of conservative is Rishi Sunak? This time last year, there was a clear answer: he was a fiscal hawk who was worried about how much the government had to borrow to fund the Covid crisis. As chancellor, he was always fighting with the prime minister over high spending. When Sunak tried to raise

The civil service’s exercise in navel-gazing

Are you happy in your work? In 37 years of journalism I don’t remember once being asked that question by my bosses. Nor did I expect to be. But in the civil service there is a bureaucratic machine to make sure employees are asked once a year if everything is all right, dearie. At unpublicised

How Ireland lost its craic

So, which country is putting health warnings and calorie counts on bottles of alcohol for the benefit of its citizens? Nope, not Canada or New Zealand. But you’re getting warm… It’s Ireland, the country that gave us Guinness, Jameson, Bushmills and, for those who like that kind of thing, Baileys. That’s right: a health warning

Don’t cancel Beatrix Potter

I spoke too soon. Beatrix Potter, I suggested in an afterword to my 2016 biography of the author and illustrator, had escaped the distortions of sexual and racial revisionism that now blight so many eminent and long-dead British writers. But no longer. Last week a specialist in postcolonial literature at a northern university accused Potter

Gag order: China’s stand-up comedy crackdown

‘The Chinese Communist party is probably the funniest thing that exists,’ the dissident artist Ai Weiwei once told me, ‘but it doesn’t have a sense of humour.’ The brave band of comics in China’s fledgling stand-up comedy scene are discovering that poking fun at the grim-faced old men who run the country with an ever-tighter

Dr Jean Twenge: Gen Z aren’t OK

There’s never been an older generation that didn’t complain about the younger one. Parents tut and fuss over errant youth. That’s the way of it. But in the end the kids come around. Swingers grow into Karens. The wild child pays his bills. But kids these days… they do seem different. It’s not just that

My life as a meth addict

I’ve spent most of my adult life addicted to amphetamines, including crystal meth. I first tried speed when I was 17 at a techno party while visiting Germany. I had been struggling with my A-levels and always found school hard because I was constantly exhausted, sleeping for 12 hours a day and still falling asleep

Notes on...

Why I was evicted from a lesbian squat

Since my squatting experience back in the 1980s, the practice has gone somewhat out of fashion. Squatting laws in the UK have become much stricter, and eviction by police and landlords is easier. Spanish squatters have it relatively good at the moment, with criminal gangs targeting second homes in Spain, claiming to be homeless and