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Katy Balls

Survival plan: is Rishi ready for the rebels?

Ever since Rishi Sunak became leader of the Conservative party, he has been preparing for this week. Entering 10 Downing Street without winning a general election or even the Tory membership vote, he owes his position entirely to Conservative MPs. At any moment, they could decide to replace him as they did Boris Johnson. This

Paris, city of blight

You know that feeling when you haven’t seen someone for several years and when you do, you really notice the changes? Generally it is a melancholy moment: you spot the extra wrinkles, the added pounds. Occasionally it can be positive: gym-toned physique, amusing new green-and-orange hair. Lots of us had these moments as we emerged,

Meet Hillingdon Man, Britain’s unhappiest chap

It’s official. I live in the unhappiest place in Britain. Who says so? My neighbours here in Hillingdon, that’s who. They’ve been polled by the property company Rightmove, along with citizens the length and breadth of the country, and Richmond came top(seems money can buy you happiness, after all) while my own London borough, Hillingdon,

Wales is facing a US-style opioid crisis

In Europe at the end of the Noughties, the problem drug was krokodil. The semi-synthetic, necrosis-causing alternative to heroin was cheap. My father favoured it so much before his death that he started importing it from eastern Europe into Wales. Across the pond right now, the problem drug is fentanyl, which has made its way

Joseph Stiglitz: ‘We know where fascism led last time’

When Joseph Stiglitz talks, the left listens. The Nobel laureate has advised multiple Democratic presidents and the World Bank, where he worked as chief economist and senior vice president. He’s long been a leading critic of the liberal leanings that have dominated the West’s economic policy for four decades. So when we meet in The

The government’s pathetic response to the Now Teach scandal

One Saturday last July, a couple of hundred people gathered in a conference centre on the bank of the Thames to talk about education. In an earlier life they were lawyers, bankers, engineers, publishers and software engineers, but now they are all secondary school teachers and here they were giving up part of their weekend

Why Trumpists think the real conspiracy is RFK Jr

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Winston Churchill’s description of Soviet Russia in 1939 could also apply to the independent candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr in the presidential election of 2024. What we can say with certainty about RFK Jr is that, in a year when the American electorate is deeply

Notes on...

In praise of the 1/3 pint

The worst thing that happened to me over the pandemic was I got ‘really into beer’. I was already into it in the most straightforward way: I liked drinking it and I liked getting drunk. I liked the ceremony of it: walking into the pub, ideally at noon on a balmy Saturday, inhaling that rich