Featured articles


Putin’s rage: the Russian President won’t be easy to topple

 Moscow How will Vladimir Putin’s hold on power end? Will he be quietly retired by Kremlin rivals angry at a national humiliation, like Nikita Khrushchev after the debacle of the Cuban missile crisis? Deposed by KGB men even more hawkish than himself, like Mikhail Gorbachev? Overthrown by a popular revolt, like Tsar Nicholas II? Or

My escape from Kiev

I spent my last night in Kiev in the ‘Presidential Suite’ of a city hotel – what used to be known as the underground car park. The general manager, a man whose name I never knew but who I hugged tightly before leaving, had promised to make it a shelter for guests who hadn’t checked out

Why are so many classic British brands going downmarket?

Huntsman, at No. 11 Savile Row, was once an understated beacon of good taste. But if you visit today, you are likely to be met by a gaggle of tourists posing for selfies in front of the window across which is splashed in very large letters: ‘The King’s Man, only in cinemas now.’ The tailor,

Could the Ukraine war save Taiwan?

The phrase wuxin gongzuo – ‘working with your mind on Ukraine’ – has been trending on Chinese social media network Weibo. Essentially what it means is ‘distraction from work because you’re obsessed with the war’. One blog that monitors the site, What’s on Weibo, reports that shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a page with

The untimely death of the landline

I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know who still have a landline telephone, and I am not among them. Getting one installed in my new home is feasible but why, my children ask, would I bother? I have a mobile phone, albeit a very basic one, and what more

Were old children’s history books racist?

If Brighton and Hove Council has its way, children as young as seven are to be taught about the ‘white privilege’ supposedly derived from 500 years of colonialism. But is it true that the history we have been learning from childhood has been infused with the great isms of our day – colonialism, imperialism and

In Japan, being a token westerner is big business

About ten years ago I was interviewed in Tokyo for a job as a fake Catholic priest, performing wedding ceremonies for Japanese couples who wanted the aesthetics of a Christian service without all the hassle of actually being Christian. In a room cluttered with tacky plastic religious paraphernalia I watched a training video of the

Notes on...

The prickly truth: hedgehogs face a struggle to survive

No wild animal is closer to the hearts of the British than the hedgehog. In poll after poll, it has been voted our favourite mammal. This is hardly surprising. Hedgehogs naturally inspire affection. Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, the companionable washerwoman created by Beatrix Potter, is only the most celebrated of a whole host of them who trot