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Is Putin winning? The world order is changing in his favour

‘This is not about Ukraine at all, but the world order,’ said Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, a month after the invasion. ‘The unipolar world is irretrievably receding into the past … A multi-polar world is being born.’ The US is no longer the world’s policeman, in other words – a message that resonates in

The lucrative business of war

‘Yalla! Yalla! Yalla!’ shouts a Saudi man. There are arms dealers, fixers, military men and gun geeks; tanks, assault rifles, mortars and drones. Jets do aerobatics overhead and a band plays Maroon 5. A Chinese robot dog bangs into delegates. Welcome to the International Defence Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates. Business is booming. On

The tyranny of World Book Day

‘Dear parents, a reminder that we are dressing up for World Book Day! Don’t forget your child should come to school in costume as their favourite character tomorrow…’ It’s the email every parent dreads receiving. (Or one of them, anyway.) It tends to be opened at eight o’clock the evening before World Book Day, to

How Giorgia Meloni is remaking Europe

Ravenna, Italy Italy’s first female Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, is steadily becoming the most important political leader in Europe. Some are even saying that it is her destiny to be the next Angela Merkel. If so, that would mean a dramatic change in direction for the European Union towards what she calls a confederal, instead

My search for London’s cheapest flat

Maternal nocturnal worry number 57a: how are our offspring going to get their toes on any rung of the property ladder if they want to carry on living in London? I’m sure thousands of us mothers of young adults lie awake at 2.30 a.m. contemplating the fact that a one-bedroom flat in Leytonstone now costs

How Labour can win: Bridget Phillipson on childcare, Brexit and faith

On 12 April last year, Boris Johnson’s fixed penalty notice was dominating the news. Few noticed another, perhaps equally seismic political story in Bournemouth: a member of Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet was being booed by the unions. Speaking at the National Education Union’s annual conference, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson faced a revolt. She had

South Africa’s energy crisis is becoming a political one

Cape Town South Africa is falling apart. Blackouts of up to ten hours a day are bringing businesses to a halt, making teaching harder and turning traffic lights dark. Food is rotting in warm fridges. There were more than 200 blackouts last year and they have continued every day so far in 2023. ANC strategists

Notes on...

Is it time to get rid of my beloved DVDs?

The problem with being a film collector is that the technology on which films are preserved keeps changing. I’m not talking about abandoning my DVD library – although I’ll come to that – but my collection of LaserDiscs. LaserDiscs were a forerunner of DVDs. They were the same size as LPs and you often needed