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Fraser Nelson

Flight of the black swan

Nassim Taleb is banging a glass against a table to demonstrate his notion of ‘anti-fragility’. ‘This glass is fragile,’ he says. ‘Vulnerable to nasty surprises.’ The glass survives his test. ‘Now, what’s the opposite of fragile? Not “robust”, because robust things don’t respond to any surprise, nasty or pleasant. To survive shocks and be adaptable

King’s gambit

No one who knows Sir Mervyn King would describe him as a radical. The Bank of England governor looks every inch the owlish academic, yet he is midway through what is possibly the greatest gamble in Britain’s economic history. Under the frosted-glass term of ‘quantitative easing’, he may soon have the Bank artificially create £600

Enemies within | 11 February 2012

The Americans have 1776, the French have 1789 and we have 1940. The date is not official for us the way it is for them; it marks no formal founding of a nation or republic. But the events of that year — specifically, Britain’s lonely stand against the Nazi menace — have acquired the status

Be careful who you depose

Is the Syrian regime hellbent on political suicide? There can be no doubt that he is determined to crush any resistance, but if President Bashar al-Assad had really started a massacre in the city of Homs (as was reported by most of the western media) it would have been an act of complete madness. And

A churchwarden’s lament

When I take the dogs into the garden last thing at night, a dark shape looms up just beyond the garden wall. It is a 12th-century stone building, with a square tower, leaded and stone-tiled roofs, and large plain windows. It looms even larger in my imagination, since I am one of the two churchwardens