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The Australian way

 Sydney Most ordinary Australians are shocked that our immensely civilised country is reviled in polite society here and abroad, when the world has so many blatant human rights abusers. The latest accusation comes from a New York Times article complaining that our policies on asylum-seekers are harsh, insensitive, callous and even brutal, and urges European

Merkel’s folly

[audioplayer src=”http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/merkelstragicmistake/media.mp3″ title=”James Forsyth and Holly Baxter debate Merkel’s offer to Syrian refugees” startat=38] Listen [/audioplayer]Of all the irresponsible decisions taken in recent years by European politicians, few will cause as much human misery as Angela Merkel’s plan to welcome Syrian refugees to Germany. Hailed as enlightened moral leadership, it is in fact the result

The cruellest month

In six months’ time, my son is due to attend an assessment day for a nursery. The details on the nursery’s website are deliberately sketchy — presumably to avoid parents coaching their children — but it seems to involve my son being observed while he plays and graded on the results of his burbling: it

Adoption begins at home

Would you open your home to a migrant child? If the reaction to the drowning of three-year-old Alan Kurdi is anything to go by, thousands of families across Britain are ready to welcome Syrian refugee children — including an impressive number of politicians. Bob Geldof has offered space for three families in one of his

France’s fight on the right

A year has passed since Nicolas Sarkozy announced his return to frontline politics, and the political landscape in France is still recovering from the shock. His rivals for the leadership of the French right have watched while their cordially disliked ex-leader consistently outmanoeuvred them. They had made the mistake of believing in the sincerity of

Out of the ashes | 10 September 2015

As a nation, we are learning to accept that our firemen are more and more redundant. The Fire Brigades Union fights austerity at every turn; its spokesmen say that every reduction in station numbers or jobs is a threat to public safety. One of their campaign posters even showed David Cameron and George Osborne alongside

Lethal temptation

‘I want to die. Please help me.’ It was 2 a.m. in the good old days when patients had 24-hour cover by their own GPs. I knew Martin well. His bladder cancer had been diagnosed the year before, but more recently it had spread to the lymph nodes in his pelvis and he had run

Monumental heroes

Leptis Magna was deserted when I last visited — no wonder. Tourists daren’t visit Libya these days and so I had the ruins to myself. I climbed the steps of the vast Roman theatre, looked out to where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea, then stopped. Men with AK-47s. My immediate fear was that they

Notes on...

The perfect pub

Whenever one of those news stories appears about how many pubs have been forced to close in the last year, I always think of George Orwell. He would have had the correct reaction: lots of pubs are forced to close because they’re terrible. Yes, the pub is a wonderful British institution, with a long and