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We needed a Covid inquiry – but this isn’t it

What is the point of the Covid Inquiry? It should be to establish which parts of the government’s pandemic response worked, which parts didn’t, and what to do next time. Instead, it is a farce – a spectacle of hysteria, name-calling and trivialities. The stakes could hardly be higher. Lockdown was the most disruptive policy

Why Israel’s attempt to wipe out Hamas will not succeed

After three weeks of airstrikes, Israel has begun its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The goal, in the words of the defence minister, Yoav Gallant, is to ‘wipe them [Hamas] off the face of the Earth’. But without a long-term political vision, this objective is unachievable. Even if Israel deals a powerful blow against

Help! I’m on a dating blacklist

There’s a online blacklist of men you should avoid dating and I’m on it. I discovered this over the summer when a colleague gave me a nudge and showed me a screenshot of my dating profile. ‘That’s you, isn’t it?’ A wave of fear passed through me. I had been posted on a Facebook group

Can the killing of innocent civilians ever be justified?

Israel has made the first, rather tentative, moves of its ground operation against Hamas – but there’s nothing tentative about its aerial bombing. Here’s a report of one incident: at 4.30 p.m. on 10 October, an explosion collapsed a six-storey building in Sheikh Radwan, a district of Gaza City, killing, it was said, at least 40

Notes on...

How Vegemite took over the world

Vegemite is 100 years old. The first yeast paste, Marmite, was introduced in the UK in 1902, named after the French cooking pot; New Zealand Marmite, currently a quite different product, emerged in 1919. The mite suffix had nothing to do with might, but the association was irresistible, and Vegemite was created in Australia in