Featured articles


A visit to Bulgaria with Nigel Farage

One Sunday evening, while I was trying to avoid ironing my shirts, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to take Nigel Farage to Bulgaria or Romania. The Ukip leader is convinced that hordes of people from these countries are poised to pour into Britain when the rules are relaxed next

We must save the bread-and-butter letter from extinction

When my parents received a thank-you letter from a good friend recently, we all read it with (I’m afraid) not affectionate pleasure but a rising sense of indignation. The trouble with the letter was its extreme banality. It had been a lovely party, wrote the friend, the food delicious and the company great. The nerve,

Ukip vs the world

Ukip hope that this week’s county council elections are just the fireworks display before the big bang. In 2014 they think they can blow open British politics by winning a nationwide election. If they can succeed in doing that, they would almost certainly force Labour into matching the Tories’ pledge to hold a referendum on

If there was ever a time to intervene in Syria, it has passed

It is more than ten years since I first sat down with members of the Syrian opposition. Back then they included real moderates, but even these didn’t predict a bloodless transition. ‘We will have to unite the country against the Alawites,’ I remember one saying, referring to the minority from which the Assad dynasty comes.

Why Russia’s diplomats should learn swimming-pool etiquette

The first couple of evenings there was just me and a middle-aged couple swimming decorously up and down. On the third day it changed. There were three more people, spread out at the shallow end. You would not have thought that an extra three people in a decent-sized pool could have caused such irritation and havoc.

Investment special: Confessions of a stock picker

My name’s Freddy and I’m an online gambling addict. The problem started a few years ago when I opened an account on Betfair.com. At first it was small bets on football games, maybe the odd greyhound. A fiver here, a tenner there. Click, click, click. It was fun. Pretty soon, however, the hobby had developed

Investment special: The case for gold

Few assets are more misunderstood than gold. I might even refine that statement — if you’ll pardon the pun — and say that few assets are more misunderstood than money. Gold happens to be both. Technically, of course, we are constrained by government edict to use pounds sterling for the payment of our taxes and