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The prince of PR…

This week, Mohammad bin Salman, also known as MBS, is on his not-quite-state visit to Britain. A parade down the Mall and a state banquet could only be afforded to his father, old King Salman, who made MBS crown prince last June and has given him unprecedented latitude to liberalise Saudi society, lock up his

… and of progress

In an interview this week, Mohammad bin Salman offered an extraordinarily frank assessment of how to combat terrorism. It means rooting out Islamist ideology, he said, as much as sharing intelligence. He presumably would take this blunt message to MI5 and MI6 in his meetings with those agencies, as well as to Theresa May’s National

The Russia problem

Mischief and mayhem work better for Russia than steady cooperation with the western powers. This at least is what the Kremlin leadership decided a decade ago, after Putin had accommodated the American wish for an Uzbekistan base for its Afghan war only to find that President George W. Bush continued to criticise him for the

The real war on women

How hard is it for women to talk freely about sex, gender and the law? Not very, I used to think. I’d heard about a few no-platforming incidents on campuses, where speakers including Germaine Greer were blocked from appearing because of their views. What I hadn’t realised was just how far the problem has spread.

A very EU coup

Martin Selmayr has always dreamed of being known beyond the Brussels bubble. His wish has now been granted, albeit in not quite the way he might have hoped. It has arrived in the form of a brilliantly executed coup that has handed this 47-year-old German bureaucrat near-total control of the EU machine. The coup began

Two nations

Last month, a 17-year-old business student of Somali extraction, Abdikarim Hassan, was knifed to death outside a corner shop, 70 yards from my home in Kentish Town, north London. At that very moment, in a parody of middle-class life, I was having dinner with friends, playing bridge in my flat. Less than two hours later,

Notes on...

The Katherine Mansfield House

One of the more surprising attractions of Wellington, New Zealand’s small but perfectly formed capital city, is what might be described as England’s farthest-flung literary shrine — the Katherine Mansfield House. The author’s birthplace and childhood home, this modest house in the relatively plush suburb of Thorndon is open to the public — and who