Featured articles


Desperate state

The latest video from Isis introduces a new British executioner, a successor to ‘Jihadi John’, and it is a classic of the genre: bombastic, pompous, ridiculous yet terrifying. ‘O slave of the White House, O mule of the Jews,’ says a man in a ski mask, addressing David Cameron, ‘how strange it is that the

The Isis executioner and me

Even if Abu Rumaysah does turn out to be the new ‘Jihadi John’, shown on video this week presiding over the murder of five innocent men, I’m not sorry I encouraged him to go to Syria and join Isis. The last time I saw the 32-year-old Briton (born to a UK Hindu family as Siddhartha

Rwanda’s new tragedy

Never lighthearted, my African political exile friend sounded particularly lugubrious on the line from Washington. His voice was low and pensive. For the past few months, he said, he’d been hearing of plans hatched by the regime back home for his assassination. ‘They are very gruesome, very gruesome indeed.’ It was not the first time.

The painful truth for Ruth

Minority sects are often more interesting, and more colourful, than their more popular rivals. That must explain why the Scottish Tories continue to be the subject of so much fascination. Barely a month passes without someone, somewhere, asking if this — at long last — is the moment for a Scottish Tory revival. Spoiler alert:

Sticking to his guns

Whenever there’s another mass shooting in America, like the massacre in San Bernardino last month, I think immediately of my Uncle Bill in Texas, a retired military man, practising Catholic, Republican, NRA member, community volunteer and civil libertarian who lives in a gated community with my Aunt Bev (a retired nurse) on the outskirts of

Public trans sport

I had just sat down on the top deck of a number 38 London bus when I saw him looking at me. He was black and wore a fake-fur coat and orange leggings. There were glittering rings on his fingers, fake diamonds around his neck and bright red lipstick on his lips. In his large

Notes on...


Everywhere you look in Cirencester there’s another animal: a cockerel, a hare, a sheep or a skulking lioness. I rather fancied the big beasts that chase each other lustily around the Roman mosaics in the Corinium Museum, home to one of the liveliest archaeological collections I’ve ever seen. The Romans of first-century Cirencester (Corinium) strike