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James Forsyth

Boris’s plans for a new Brexit clash

In next week’s Queen’s Speech, a remarkably controversial bill will be announced in the most anodyne language. The government will legislate to protect the Belfast Good Friday agreement in its entirety. These words will be a coded threat to the European Union that the UK is prepared to unilaterally tear up parts of the Brexit

Why Sinn Fein holds sway on both sides of the border

If Sinn Fein emerges with the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections this week, it will not be because the party has grown in popularity since the last vote in 2017. It will be because support for the DUP is at its lowest in more than two decades. The DUP has suffered because

The new White Russians: the fate of émigrés fleeing Putin

It’s spring in Tbilisi. The fruit trees are in full blossom, the nights are warm. The Purpur restaurant near the Gudiashvili Gardens and Vinzavod No. 1 on Rustaveli Avenue – favourites of visiting Moscow hipsters and creatives for years – buzz with Russian conversation. ‘Everyone I know is here now,’ says Katya, 43, a museum

The monarchy’s real race problem

The monarchy has a race problem. And it has much more to do with Theresa May and Boris Johnson than the hazy accusations of the Sussexes. Two royal tours on the trot have now been upstaged by accusations of ‘colonialism’. First, the Cambridges took the Queen’s Jubilee message to three of her Caribbean realms. Then

Chump or champ? Why Ben Wallace could be the next PM

During the Afghanistan crisis last summer, Ben Wallace decided that he had what it took to be prime minister. He had suspected it before then, according to friends, but during the evacuation of Kabul the Defence Secretary came to a definitive conclusion. His prediction that the Taliban would take Kabul had been proved correct, when

The strange return of the Philippines’ brutal Marcos dynasty

For Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, the frontrunner for Monday’s Philippine presidential election, a reframing of the country’s past has been crucial to securing his future. Last week, he reminded a television audience what a ‘political genius’ his late father, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, was. Bongbong’s revisionist history has infuriated many Filipinos but, it seems,

Notes on...

The romance and rebellion of an Iranian picnic

Iranians adore a picnic. During the country’s most ancient festival, Nowruz, the Persian new year, they brandish baskets of food as they swarm into parks and gardens to celebrate Sizdah-bedar, the 13th and final day of the Nowruz celebrations and the coming of spring. In Britain, it’s only just getting warm enough to enjoy a