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Behind the bar in my local pub, above the pork scratchings and jars of pickled mussels, is more preserved wildlife, a shelf of Victorian stuffed birds and rodents in glass boxes. No doubt the publican keeps these here to remind the punters of life’s fleeting nature and that they might as well get in another

Man of many guises

David Garrick (1717–79) was widely acknowledged to be the greatest actor of his age, and he was also a successful businessman, managing the Drury Lane Theatre for nearly 30 years. He was broadly interested in the arts, wrote his own plays, and had many friends, among whom were some of the finest painters of the

Why we need Khodorkovsky

Rachel Polonsky on the fight to save a private school that is threatened by Russia’s new cultural and economic thuggery Moscow In Britain, it is easy to forget what an important human freedom non-state education represents. In post-totalitarian Russia, where civil liberties are in first bud in a hostile climate, this recently regained freedom is

The key to No. 10

There is a piquancy. Back in 1997, Michael Howard launched a confident challenge for the Tory leadership. He had influential supporters, a good team and a strong case: that his experience and political stance made him the best qualified candidate. Yet his campaign never left the runway. The plane had too much baggage. Suppose he

‘I been born to play domino’

The sound in the Grand Hall is like the chattering of sparrows. Milling at the door, most wearing bright yellow T-shirts with plasticky decals so big they practically double the weight of the cotton, are the domino sharks, kibitzing and waiting their turn for the tables. Inside, at the far end, a dais is decorated

Britain is furious with America

A distinguished American writer reported after visiting Iraq: ‘The troops returning home are worried. “We’ve lost the peace,” men tell you. “We can’t make it stick.” Friend and foe alike look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly disappointed they are in you as an American…. Instead of coming in with a