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The China model: why is the West imitating Beijing?

‘There’s an osmosis in war, call it what you will, but the victors always tend to assume the… the, eh, trappings of the loser,’ says one of the officers in Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. ‘We might easily go fascist after we win.’ Americans have long been haunted by the notion of the

The case for sending vaccines to India

Hospitals in Delhi are openly pleading for supplies of medical oxygen, a commodity so scarce that it is now being sold on the black market for almost ten times the normal cost. Makeshift crematoria are being set up around the city to cope with the surge in the number of deaths. Richer countries are asking

What should we put in our time capsule of the plague year?

The ladies of my church knitting circle (note, we are open to those who identify ‘-otherly’, and to practitioners of diverse crafts) are an enterprising bunch, and no techno slouches either. Unbowed by Covid, we have continued to meet via Zoom, bringing along our own tea, cake and creative endeavours. We love a project, and

The insidious creep of corporate friendliness

Have you noticed it? The slide towards faux-friendliness and fake sincerity from the companies with whom we used to have an impersonal and transactional relationship. The deal used to be simple: we paid them, they did things or provided stuff, thank you and goodbye. If something went awry, we told them and, with luck, they

Can Anas Sarwar rescue Scottish Labour?

When the Scottish parliament was set up by Tony Blair in 1999, it seemed as if Labour would govern Holyrood for the foreseeable future. The Scottish Tories were a contradiction in terms. Devolution was sold as a device that would kill nationalism ‘stone dead’. Suffice to say, this plan did not quite work. The Scottish

Notes on...

In defence of dandelions

Dandelions are one of the cheeriest wild flowers. They are loved by children for their ‘clock’ seed heads, are entirely edible for humans and are a source of food for many insects and birds. And yet many gardeners go to great lengths to get rid of them. This year’s daffodils may have faded, but dandelions