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Katy Balls

The haunting: Rishi Sunak can’t escape the ghosts of PMs past

When Rishi Sunak embarked on a reshuffle of his cabinet this week, he wanted to avoid the traditional scrum of cameras as MPs walked up to the No. 10 door. Instead, the Prime Minister called each minister to inform them of his shake-up of their Whitehall departments to create new ministries to reflect his priorities.

Liz Truss vs the OBR

Liz Truss is on manoeuvres. She is spending lots of time where she is most comfortable, inside Westminster’s thinktanks, preaching her version of free-market economics. There are rumours she might assemble a new thinktank of her own, or work with an existing one, to set up an alternative to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s growth

The rise of the nursery spy app

Do you know what you were doing at 10.03 a.m. last Tuesday? Or what you had for breakfast three weeks ago? I don’t. You probably don’t either – unless you’re a spy, or you’re putting together an alibi for a murder. But like millions of parents, I know these things about my son. Not because

The true cost of Labour’s war on private schools

In a newspaper article five years ago, Michael Gove singled out the tax exemptions enjoyed by private schools thanks to their charitable status as one of the ‘burning injustices’ of our time. He took it for granted that scrapping these benefits would raise money and proposed spending it on children in care instead. ‘How can

Liz Truss: what really happened

The parable of Liz Truss is, by now, world famous. A free-market idealogue was elected leader by the radical wing of her party, then trashed the economy by enacting her deficit-financed tax cuts. She invoked Hayek and Thatcher and was cheered on by their admirers. But her mini-Budget terrified the market and she had to

Collecting the dead in Ukraine

Dovhenke, Ukraine The Russian soldier lay where he had fallen. His plastic combat belt and flak jacket were still intact, but his legs were splayed at an unnatural angle, and where his face and scalp had once been there was now only a skull with dark stains on it.   ‘The guys who died protecting our

Lee Anderson: ‘Capital punishment? 100% effective!’

Who is the worst man in Britain? According to the Daily Mirror, it’s the 56-year-old former coal miner and Tory MP Lee Anderson, who clinched the award a year ago after criticising England’s footballers for ‘taking the knee’. How did Anderson, who this week was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Tory party, respond to the accolade? ‘I immediately rang my parents to

In defence of amateur sleuths

Two weeks have passed since Nicola Bulley went missing while walking the dog in her Lancashire village. The police say their working theory is that she fell into the river but that they are also ‘keeping an open mind’ and pursuing ‘many inquiries’. The head of the underwater team searching the Wyre for Ms Bulley

Notes on...

Why do we associate Christian funerals with burial?

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust is all very well, but nowadays the melancholy business of disposing of human remains can be expedited with caustic soda. I only know this because the Church of England’s General Synod has been asked to consider the burial alternative of water cremation, or resomation, which uses a bath of