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Who’s on the Supreme Court

Ordinarily, the Supreme Court sits in panels of no more than nine. All 11 justices will hear the government’s appeal, to avoid any suggestion that the composition of the panel might make a difference to the outcome. Caution is understandable: judges differ in philosophy, temperament and in how they understand their role. Lord Neuberger has been

Brexit in the balance

For once, a cliché is justified: the government’s appeal to the Supreme Court next week really will be a landmark case. The underlying issue could not be greater: the political future of the United Kingdom and its relationship with the European Union. The number of judges could not be greater either: 11 is the largest

Called to the bar

If you’ve missed the endless articles whingeing about pub closures, it must be because you’ve been too blotto to focus. It is impossible for a mediocre drinking hole to close its doors for the last time without some thirsty hack reaching for his collected George Orwell essays and waxing lyrical about the Moon Under Water

Ultimate fighting president

Last month a rich, boastful alpha male savoured the greatest victory of his life in New York City. Almost no one thought he could do it, but he made it look easy. In the build-up he ridiculed his opponent mercilessly and feuded with enemies on Twitter. ‘I’d like to take this chance to apologise,’ he

Europe: the Next step

It often seems like the European referendum campaign never really ended. Everything from budget forecasts to Britain’s Olympic performance is simply the cue for another round of In-or-Out arguments. But Simon Wolfson, the mild-mannered chief executive of the high street fashion chain Next, is trying to move things on. Having been one of the biggest

Algerian winter

It is more than possible that before any Brexit deal is discussed, let alone concluded, the EU will have effectively collapsed. And the key factor could be the demise of Algeria’s leader of 17 years. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is 79 and has needed a wheelchair since having a stroke in 2013. ‘His mind is even

A curse on silky teabags

Inventor of the silky teabag, take a bow. You have achieved something that until now no one would have thought possible. You have taken an item so simple, so perfect, so completely suited to its purpose that the idea of ruining it had occurred to literally no one — and you have ruined it. You

The Brits behind Trump

It’s the Brits wot won it. That is, the US presidential election was won for Donald Trump with the help of a bunch of British nerds — data scientists from a company called Cambridge Analytica. This was the claim, at least, made by the company in a press release a couple of days after the

Notes on...

A good night’s sleep

Have you, on hearing the story of the princess who felt a pea through 40 feather mattresses, ever thought that she was, well, a bit of a wet blanket? One measly dried pea through all that padding and she wakes up black and blue with bruises? ‘I can’t tell you what I’ve suffered!’ she quivers