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Putin’s rot

This is Putin’s time. Next week, the Fifa World Cup kicks off in Moscow, and the Kremlin has spared no expense to showcase Vladimir Putin’s new Russia as a vibrant, safe and strong nation. Half a million visitors will be welcomed — with the Russian press reporting that the notorious ‘Ultra’ hooligans have been officially

Europe’s new democracy

By 25 May the world was learning of the Italian populist parties’ plans to form a coalition government. This would ditch the ideological divide of left vs right while unifying the country’s north and south and its populists and the nationalists against a long history of technocratic governments and European Central Bank demands. Over the

The jihadi sisterhood

‘Does the pin make me go 💥?’ Like most 16-year-old British schoolgirls, Safaa Boular was adept at using emojis. She wanted to ask her online mentor if, when she detonated a bomb belt, she could be sure of killing both herself and her target. Safaa was a fast learner and, before too long, was planning

Too kind

I originally thought of calling this piece: ‘Kindness is the New Rock ’n’ Roll’ — but only as a joke. And then I discovered that the rock band Peace have a new album out called Kindness is the New Rock’n’Roll. And they aren’t joking. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that kindness is

The age of incivility

How long ago it now seems that the big political worry was apathy. Today, wherever you look — Brexit negotiations, US politics, the latest news from Europe — the talk is only of polarisation, division and a coarsening of political behaviour and language. According to a Ipsos MORI survey, most Europeans believe their countries are

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Are Trump’s tariffs a good idea?

Yes Supporters of the global free-trade regime that has been built up over the past 25 years like to think of themselves as capitalists. Benevolent capitalists, perhaps — ones who have only the interests of the world’s poorest workers and their own nations’ least wealthy consumers at heart — but capitalists nonetheless. So why is

Notes on...


Doubtless Spectator readers based in Caithness will scoff when I say that the old fishing port of Wick (top right corner of the country, close to John O’ Groats) is a bit remote. But for the rest of us, it is. Indeed, its relative isolation is one of the reasons it was chosen to house