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Robocop returns

To the casual glance it looks like a normal police car — same markings, same lights, same faces at the wheel. Only the two small yellow circles, one at each of the top corners of the windscreen, tell you that this is a mobile armoury. It will often be a BMW X5: a SUV’s suspension

Letting terror win

There is nothing a government in a remotely free country can do to stop a suicide bomber in a crowded space. As a weapon, he has the precision of a drone missile. The only preventive task open to the police and security service is to penetrate and destroy a terrorist cell in advance. This means

Trump’s women trouble

Washington DC In La Crosse, Wisconsin, on Monday night, Donald Trump said, ‘If we do well here, folks, it’s over.’ He was right in theory. There were signs that the billionaire’s crusade against the Republican party establishment and the plutocrats who run it might find an ear in Wisconsin. The state has an industrial working

Live fast, die not too old

As an old man, well past my Biblical sell-by date, I cannot for the life of me understand why increased longevity is received as such a universal blessing. One thing’s for sure; its celebrants are not the oldies themselves, so it is time someone challenged this assumption. Let me start with a parable. It concerns

White power

Ruby Wax makes the point (repeatedly but it still gets a laugh) that the British discovered the practice of brushing their teeth in the 1980s. I dare say our dental hygiene is the butt of more jokes throughout North America, where wearing a brace is something of a fashion statement. But something strange is happening

Chips with everything

When Laura Rennie was told that the cat she lost as a kitten had been found 18 years after it wandered off, she was overjoyed. An animal welfare officer turned up at her home to say the tabby had been located and traced to her, thanks to its microchip. Toby had been hit by a

How to save the monarchy

On 21 April Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday, the first of our reigning monarchs ever to do so, and it will be a very happy occasion, just as her Diamond Jubilee was in 2012. Five years ago there had been a more sombre milestone for the queen’s eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales.

Bought off by Brussels

A letter appeared in the Independent a few weeks ago signed by various environmentalist grandees — heads of green lobby groups, former chairmen of eco-quangos and the like. It warned against Brexit on the grounds that EU laws had ‘a hugely positive effect’ on the environment. It didn’t explain why a post-EU Britain wouldn’t retain,

Notes on...

Downtown Los Angeles

There’s a certain kind of Englishman who falls hard for Los Angeles. Men such as Graham Nash, who swapped the Hollies and rainy Manchester for Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Laurel Canyon. The LA of beaches, semi-rural hills and freeways can work wonders on an English heart. But the city has another side — a