Featured articles


Ian Williams

How China bought Cambridge

One of the first places Professor Stephen Toope visited as Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University was the Chinese embassy in London. He posed for photographs with ambassador Liu Xiaoming and the two men discussed furthering the ‘golden era’ of China-UK relations. Shortly after that 2017 meeting, Toope told Xinhua, China’s state news agency: ‘There will be

What’s behind Cambridge’s anonymous reporting system?

Here is a challenge. Cambridge University provides an electronic Daily News Digest to anyone who wants to see how the university is being reported in the press. Will the News Digest include this article? On past form, that seems unlikely. When arguments arose in the past few weeks about Cambridge’s Report + Support website, which

Is this the last chance to save the Church of England?

I am a key limiting factor. That’s a new one for a clergyman of the Church of England. We’ve traded under parson, cleric, priest, minister, padre and even pie-and-liquor, but never before have I heard us described as ‘key limiting factors’. That this phrase was used during the announcement of a new C of E-endorsed scheme —

Why everyone should try streaking

One evening a few summers ago, I convinced a friend to run with me up Portobello Road completely naked. As we reached the finish line, we could hear the sirens in our wake. We were accosted by two policemen. I was convinced they would throw us in the slammer. Instead, the officers gently told us

Lil’ Kim: should the West prepare for chaos in North Korea?

On 24 June, North Korean state TV aired a short interview with an unnamed Pyongyang resident. The man, who appeared to be in his fifties, said that his fellow countrymen had all been left heartbroken and in tears when they saw the new, ‘emaciated’ look of Kim Jong-un. The country’s hereditary dictator, who hadn’t been

How I was stitched up by the Royal Academy

Recently I found myself cancelled by the Royal Academy. It was a strange affair, and this is how it happened. I’m an artist who makes a living out of creating intricate hand-embroidered portraits and flowers. I was working in my garden one afternoon last month when a glance at Instagram took me aback. My friend


The Prince Harryfication of Boris Johnson

The acting one sees upon the stage doesn’t show how human beings actually comport themselves in crises, but simply how actors think they ought to. It is the same with politicians, but they are not actors, only a sort of reductio ad absurdum of a thespian. Their profession bears the same relation to proper acting

Notes on...

I was a skateboarding pioneer

I was 12 when I got into skateboarding: the same age as Sky Brown, the youngest member of Team GB’s skateboarding squad at the Tokyo Olympics. And unlike most old fogies, I’m pleased that boarding has finally been recognised as an Olympic sport. When I took it up, I was constantly being told that it