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Freddy Gray

Don vs Ron: the fight for the American right

When Donald Trump ran for the presidency in 2016, he took on a very well-funded politician who had been a successful governor of Florida. And he destroyed him. Trump humiliated ‘low-energy’ Jeb Bush, son of one president and brother of another, and trashed his family’s legacy so comprehensively that the Bush-era Republican party is now

How much longer can Simon Case cling on?

When Simon Case was named as cabinet secretary in September 2020 he became, at the age of 41, the youngest appointee in more than 100 years. He will probably earn another distinction soon: the youngest ex-cabinet secretary in history. In Westminster, some say his departure is a question of when not if. Should he go

The Lockdown Files are a historian’s dream

For all that the Lockdown Files, as reported in the Telegraph, sometimes read like the screenplay of The Thick of It, they will be a wonderful resource for historians. Whatever one thinks of the morality of Isabel Oakeshott’s actions vis-à-vis Matt Hancock, we now have 2.3 million words of WhatsApp messages that offer a rare

Meet the architect behind ‘Putin’s palace’

Lanfranco Cirillo, architect and interior decorator to the Russian elite, is shaking his head in horror. ‘Absolutely not. No.’ He is answering my question about whether he put a gold toilet and even a gold toilet brush into a villa he built that the Russian opposition says belongs to President Vladimir Putin – and which

Sweden’s street gangs are gaining power

Stockholm Barely a day goes by in Stockholm without a shooting or a bombing. In one part of the city, housing estate residents have been informed about what to do if their building is a bombing target. For all too many Swedes, this is the new normal. Under Swedish law, children under 15 cannot be

Michael Caine: no, Zulu doesn’t incite far-right extremism

Michael Caine is 90 this week, and he offers to accept questions by email, which he will then answer by email, as if we are communicating between galaxies. Normally this would bother me – gah, actors – but it is Michael Caine, so I can’t mind. Maurice Micklewhite’s invention Michael Caine – he named himself

My case against Russia’s war criminals

Lviv My favourite hotels in Lviv were all booked out over the weekend. The world’s justice elite were in town for a gathering on how to hold Russia accountable for its crimes. The US Attorney General and the Chief Prosecutor from The Hague, as well as President Volodymyr Zelensky, were there. It was an apposite

Notes on...

The truth about corsets

There’s a scene in the recent film Corsage in which Vicky Krieps, playing the melancholy anorexic Empress Elisabeth of Austria, has a strop with her maid. As part of the arduous process of getting dressed, she must be encased in an impossibly small corset (the real Empress reportedly had a waist of 16 inches). Krieps