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Mary Wakefield

Let’s bring the abortion debate to life

No one ever really expected Nadine Dorries’s ill-fated abortion bill to succeed — not after the Lib Dems had made a fuss, and the PM had withdrawn his support with his usual principled grace. But what’s more surprising has been the strange and unpleasant consensus which has risen up from the debate about the bill,

To catch a spy

When Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opens next week, it is likely to have all the spooks in London flocking to the cinema. John Le Carré, who wrote the book and helped direct the film, created a wonderful, almost romantic world of British espionage — mental chess games played against deplorable, but often brilliant opponents in

Token gestures

Charity might begin at home, but worrying about charity begins at Waitrose. Those little green tokens they give you with your receipt — nice touch, I used to think. If the store won’t give me any of my money back by way of a loyalty card, at least they’ll give it to someone I can

Prince of war

Why shouldn’t one of Liberia’s most infamous psychopaths become its president? Human rights are universal and indivisible, existing as they do in an unexplored metaphysical sphere in which the European Court of Human Rights plays the role of Christopher Columbus. So it is a wonderful thing to see the court’s discoveries accepted, applied and even

Looting for scoops

Tripoli Coming pretty much straight from the London riots to the Libyan revolution has made me more contemptuous than ever of Britain’s self-pitying, self-indulgent, social-security-claiming insurrectionaries. For all the fear and death, Tripoli’s uprising has been far more disciplined. Cool young rebels, in their bandanas and Free Libya T-shirts, guard the streets. Barely a shop

Amy was right

Something queer has happened to Amy Winehouse in the six weeks since her death: she has been turned from an anti-rehab rebel into the poster girl for rehab. The tragic Camden songstress was famous for singing ‘They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no’. Yet now her demise is

A rich man for all seasons

Multibillionaire Warren Buffett may sound cuddly, but he’s talking from both sides of his mouth August was a typical month for Warren Buffett, America’s second richest man. While the leisure classes lolled, he called for higher tax rates for the rich. If America had a debt problem, he wrote in the New York Times, it