Featured articles


Save me from the cult of instant intimacy

The other day I made a couple of calls to a bank about a loan. After the usual jumping over hoops to get to talk to a human being — the failure of voice-activated systems to understand a word I say, even when it’s the word ‘loan’, is particularly wounding — I got through to

Iran vs the rest: the Middle East has reached a tipping point

Last year, in the cigar bar of an opulent London hotel much favoured by visiting Arabs, an interesting conversation took place. My friend was rich enough to have two private jets and claimed to be doing private shuttle diplomacy between Israel and one of the Gulf states. Smoke curled around our heads and a young

The ‘anti-racism’ movement is sowing deeper divisions

Have you ever claimed to be ‘not racist’? If so, sorry, but you’re a bigot. Should this seem incoherent, then you’re clearly not well versed in critical race theory: a once niche academic field that has gone mainstream and popularised concepts such as ‘white privilege’, ‘white fragility’ and ‘systemic racism’. According to Ibram X. Kendi,

Why has eBay banned me for life?

Imagine a country where there is no rule of law, where you might be scooped off the street without warning, put before a kangaroo court and sentenced to life in prison without parole and without right of appeal. You have no idea of the charge against you because no one in authority will tell you.

Trade not aid: spending more doesn’t mean we care more

Outside the Catholic mission I walked through rows of women in traditional hide skirts, squatting or sitting with legs astride, palms upturned in supplication. Many suffered from scabies and cradled emaciated babies, and all looked 20 years older than their true age. These are my memories of the Uganda famine in 1980 and these were

The problem with ‘immunity passports’

Just a few months ago it was not certain that we would find a vaccine for Covid-19. Now, we have three, with potentially more on the way — and the rollout of the Pfizer jab due to begin next week. It’s an extraordinary achievement for the research community, our best hope of restoring normal life

Notes on...

The traditional cricket tea is under threat

Cricket is not renowned for embracing change. The introduction of the middle stump, overarm bowling and Kevin Pietersen were all greeted with great suspicion. But now the biggest change of the lot is proposed. Forget the Hundred: the traditional cricket tea is under threat. This summer, as a result of guidelines to tackle Covid-19, amateur