Featured articles


A matter of whim and fashion?

Raphael, affirmed Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘stands in general foremost of the first painters’. In other words, he was the best artist who ever lived. When Reynolds wrote this — in the second half of the 18th century — Raphael’s reputation had remained on that peak for centuries. He was the ideal, the model for students

Putin the poodle

Under communism, the ‘open letter’ was a device by which political hacks publicly advocated certain policies. The party hierarchy was then usually only too happy to comply, as happened when the 1968 ‘Letter to Brezhnev’ from a group of Czechoslovak commies begged Soviet tanks to crush the counter-revolution in Prague. The historical resonance was therefore

The shocking truth about Kilroy

Rachel Johnson meets Ukip’s pin-up boy and finds to her horror that she likes him In order to interview Robert Kilroy-Silk, the orthodontically perfect public face of Ukip, it is first necessary to talk to his people. But his people, it turns out, are his wife Jan. ‘So,’ Jan growls in what the BBC calls

A question of trust

Since his sudden emergence in the 1990s Tony Blair has easily eclipsed three successive Conservative leaders: John Major, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith. No prime minister for a century has dominated his opponents in such an emphatic way and for so long. The 2004 party conference season has changed this landscape. It is now